Tuesday, January 9, 2018

212 Say It Ain't So, Stan!

Could the Nicest Newsmaker of 2015 (as voted by Ye Olde Blogge) be forced to trade in his Christmas stocking for a lump of coal?

According to the Daily Mail, Stan "The Man" Lee, the Walt Disney of super heroes, is accused of groping nurses and (SHUDDER!) demanding oral sex in the shower of his $20,000,000 Los Angeles home,but he has sent a "cease and desist" letter to the nursing company employing those women insisting he is the victim of a shakedown.

The nurses claim he wants to be seduced in his bedroom and drops the F-bomb in their presence.

That does NOT sound like the Stan I know and love! Granted, he DID make a little inside visual joke at the expense of the late Hugh Hefner in the first IRON MAN movie, (Nuff said!) and his STRIPARELLA adult cartoon starring Pamela Anderson could hardly be confused for wholesome family entertainment, but, to be quite honest, the #MeToo train has gone off the rails, and anybody, and I DO mean, ANYBODY, with a beef against  a former employer who, in their opinion, MAY be a little too huggy, can just hop on social media, call the local press, or do anything they dang well please, to scream bloody murder and drag the lousy son of a bench's name through the mud.

MY Stan is a nice guy who never hesitates to take time out of his busy schedule to talk comics with the fans who helped him prove wrong the naysayers who said super hero comics were just Pablum with wooden, too-good-to-be-true characters. MY Stan, the one who coined the imperishable phrase, "With great power there must also come great responsibility!", has never forgotten his own words, and takes HIS responsibility as a leader in the entertainment world seriously. He turned a publishing company noted for pulps and rip-offs of Playboy and Mad into Marvel Comics, the gold standard in the industry, famous for reflecting real life while simultaneously transporting the reader to worlds beyond their ken. (Once upon a time, WAAAAY before Marvel's merchandising deal with McDonald's, I sent Stan a Mickey D's gift certificate for the holidays, and a friend of mine at the Marvel Bullpen doubted Stan would know a Big Mac from a Whopper, but a picture of Spider-Man (along with a veritable plethora of Marvels) came swinging my way, and the balloon issuing forth from Spidey's mask said, "Hi,Steve! Thanks for the McDonold's (sic) gift certificate!" In addition, MY Stan is a devoted husband to novelist and actress Joan Comstock Lee and father to Joanie, as well as proud parent of Spidey, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Black Widow, and more heroes (and villains) than I can possibly name here. The icon who made these names household words could not POSSIBLY be the old man sources for the nursing company claim to be a doddering shadow of his former magnificent self.

Don't get me wrong, I believe Donald Trump, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, Russell Simmons,and,of course, Harvey Weinstein, are guilty of any possible wrong doing and deserve to be punished as the courts see fit (in the Donald's case, impeachment, and not a moment too soon), but the Stan I know, the Stan of "EXCELSIOR!", the Stan who created so many beloved characters, would never commit such a heinous crime, and deserves to have his name cleared. Hollywood, I appreciate your concern, but, to quote the brilliantly talented Shel Silverstein, "Some helping is the kind of helping that helping's all about/And some helping is the kind of helping that we can do without."


Monday, January 1, 2018

211 Welcome Back,My Friends, to the Show that Never Ends!


Congratulations on surviving 2017, and welcome to this, the very first Steve's Blog of 2018. Before I go any further, I would like to thank the people of Boston, MA, especially the Sheraton Boston Hotel, the Newsfeed Cafe at the Boston Public Library, Newbury Comics, the Reform Action Committee (who hosted a fantabulous Biennial  which I had the pleasure to attend as part of a delegation from GORGEOUS Temple Emanu-El) and everybody at TD Garden, especially the Celtics and Bruins who defeated their respective adversaries JUST FOR LITTLE OL' ME, for a great long weekend from 12/6 to 12/10. I know that NYC and BOS are supposed to be rivals, but they really know how to roll out the old red carpet for tourists!

It may be brutally cold in NYC as I take keypad in paw, but Lord willing and the creek don't rise, I plan to visit Springfield in the aforementioned great state of MA during the Fourth of July holiday to see the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, (also the home of Cumulus Broadcasting's WMAS-FM and WHLL-AM, the latter previously affiliated with Scott Shannon's True Oldies Channel and ESPN Radio, now affiliated with CBS Sports Radio as well as the New York Yankees Radio Network, driven by Jeep, so I shouldn't feel too homesick) the Springfield Cardinals, (looking forward to a whole lot of "Slam-A-Lama-Ding-Dongs," to use a phrase coined by the MLB St. Louis club's lead sponsor, Anheuser-Busch. Hey, "Ballantine Blast," was already taken, and 'sides, Bud, not Ballantine, is a St. Louis beer!) and museums dedicated to other Springfield institutions such as Dr. Seuss and Parker Brothers of Monopoly fame. I'm feeling warmer just thinking about it!

Seventeen may have been a bummer of a year, but, at least Mariah Carey redeemed herself with a spectacular performance of her 1990 classic "Vision of Love" on last night's DICK CLARK'S NEW YEAR'S ROCKIN' EVE! The best thing about it was I watched in the comfort of my warm home. Everybody out there who froze their butts off just to see the festivities, you're a better person than I! (And Rudyard Kipling is spinning in his grave!)

Even though Seventeen took with it "alternate facts," "Fake News," and "covfefe," unfortunately it also took Rose Marie, who boomers may remember as Sally Rogers on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, and Sue Grafton, better known as the creator of Kinsey Milhone and her alphabetical adventures. (Z you up in Heaven, Sue.)

Just so you know, portions of the preceding blog were last seen vacuuming confetti in Times Square, all opinions are mine, and friends don't let friends drive drunk or spoil the ending of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. (I WILL say the Force is VERY strong with this one!)

Happy New Year, Buckaroos!
Steve out!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

210 Santa Steve's Nice List


Matt Lauer has been relieved of his TODAY show anchor duties thanks to reports of sexual misconduct. I WOULD say I'm surprised, but after his tempestuous relationship with Ann Curry which ended in her demotion to international correspondent, not so much. Fancy a lump of coal, old chap? Other last minute bad boys: Garrison Keilor, formerly of A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, Jonathan Schwartz,former DJ and WNYC radio air personality,and Russell Simmons, hip hop legend. (Attention Boston-area readers: Not even Fannee Doolee likes Matt Lauer and Russell Simmons. Nuff said!)



And the countdown continues...


Some may criticize me for putting you guys at the bottom of the table, but you guys, police, fire, medical etc., did such a great job responding to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria (Although our President could have helped a lot more in Puerto Rico!), and this nice list is gonna be VERY crowded, consider it a perfect ten!


I was once told "Remember where you come from." The man behind HAMILTON certainly does, and his efforts to help his ancestral homeland of Puerto Rico deserve more than an honorable mention!


This Florida native combined country, rock, and punk elements to become a voice of his generation, if not THE voice! From his work with his own band, The Heartbreakers, to the Traveling Wilburys sessions with George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison, Petty's influence was anything but. Not only did he write and sing "I Won't Back Down," he also lived it. That song also became an anthem of unity against the terror of the Las Vegas hotel shooting, and deservedly so. Hope you get that Rickenbacker guitar and Chuck Berry songbook you always wanted on Earth for Christmas up there in Heaven, Tom!


Lively Len went from idolizing comic masters such as Stan Lee, Carmine Infantino, and Julius Schwartz to working alongside them. To paraphrase his "baby," Wolverine, he was the very best he was at what he did.


Behind that hick persona and his beloved character Gomer Pyle (which grew out of a cabaret act) was a multi-talented performer with an operatic singing voice. From his annual performance of "Back Home Again In Indiana" at the Indianapolis 500 to his regular appearances on THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW, Jim, one of the earliest gay performers to come out and an honorary Marine Corps seargant, among his many accomplishments, was an all-around entertainer and a truly great American. Golllly, will he be missed!


Called everything from "The Walt Disney of sex" to "Mr. Playboy" to names best not quoted here, "Hef" launched an empire which was equally praised and assaulted for its approach to sophisticated men's entertainment, including the wildly successful Playboy Club concept, which launched the careers of such famous "Bunnies" as punk rocker Deborah Harry, Hanna-Barbera voice actress B.J.Ward, and actress/writer/entrepeneur Kathryn Leigh Scott, among others. Through the pages of his signature magazine, PLAYBOY, Hef introduced an often-imitated-never-duplicated approach to magazine interviews, fiction by authors such as Philip Roth and Ray Bradbury, and superstars such as Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy, who acknowledged that Hef DID use her, but she also used  HIM as a steppingstone to bigger and better things. To paraphrase cover copy written by Stan Lee, some loved Hef, others hated him, but one thing remains: Nobody will ever forget him.


If any show REALLY needed a reboot in  Trumpmerica, it was WILL AND GRACE. The platonic pair, flanked by Megan Mullaly as the loud and proud Karen and Sean Hayes as "JUST JACK!", not only celebrate the LGBTQ population, but also America as a whole as a place of freedom, and are not afraid to throw vocal pies in the face of Mr. Trump and those who support him. If I may borrow a line  from their recent Christmas show, "Peace on Earth, goodwill and grace!"


They didn't only win the World Series, they won the hearts of their hometown fans and people, not just baseball fans, around the country, and, possibly the world, as proof that the people of Houston are resilient and not going to let a silly little thing like a hurricane stand in their way. Not just the eyes of Texas, but the eyes of the world were upon them, and we liked what we saw! Congratulations to the 'Stros in general and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Co-Sportsman Of The Year Jose Altuve on stepping up to the plate in more ways than one!


She may no longer be part of the witching Charmed Ones, but she still has power as a major advocate of woman's rights, an actress, a mom, and a businesswoman. Who's the Boss? After reading your tweets and hearing about your accomplishments in the #MeToo movement, you are, 'Lyssa! (In honor of the Power Of Three that held the Charmed Ones together, this blog will donate three dollars to UNICEF for whose benefit Alyssa recorded the classic "We Need The Children.")

And now, we're up to the nicest newsmaker of the year, and a real life fairy tale beyond the wildest dreams of Walt Disney, the Brothers Grimm, or anybody else.

Once upon a time in a kingdom far, far away, August 4, 1981 in Los Angeles, California, to be exact, Rachel Meghan Markle was born to an Emmy-winning Caucasian lighting director and an African-American social worker.Clearly, this was no Cinderella story in the traditional sense as her parents were divorced. When she was only 11 years old, she successfully persuaded Ivory Snow to change a commercial she viewed as sexist and was the subject of a Linda Ellerbee interview on NICK NEWS.In 2003, she graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor's degree in theater and international studies, and ten years later,she told VOGUE magazine that despite running short of credits to complete her junior year.She began her run in show business as an extra on GENERAL HOSPITAL and ultimately became a "suitcase girl" on the game show DEAL OR NO DEAL and a guest on CSI:NY, CENTURY CITY, and THE WAR AT HOME, but her breakout role was as Rachel (ironically enough) Zane on the USA series SUITS, which was filmed in Toronto, ON, where she met Prince Harry on a blind date a mutual friend had set up in 2016. After an unexpectedly smooth courtship,  Clarence House announced in November of 2017 that they would marry in May 2018 at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, thus making her only the second American and first mixed-race woman to marry a British woman. Although the wedding is,unlike others, not a bank holiday, it will, no doubt, have a positive effect on women in particular and the world in general. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry of Wales, we now pronounce you our Steve's Blog Nicest Newsmaker Of 2017, and, in your honor, we will divide US $20 between the Invictus Games Foundation,the HALO Trust, the London Marathon Charitable Trust, and Walking With The Wounded. We wish you nothing but the best, and that you live happily ever after.

And there you have 'em, the Top 10 Naughtiest and Nicest Newsmakers of the year ending December 7, 2017.We would like to thank Bettijane L. Eisenpreis, Alice Steinberg, Scott Shannon, Patty Steele, Kaitlin Monte, Scott Menville, and especially Louie Pulice for their support (We WOULD like to thank Matt Lauer, but for, obvious reasons, THAT is out of the question!) over the past year, and of course, we would like to thank you, our readers, because without you I would be playing to an empty room, and who wants that? We continue to thank our troops, police officers, and first responders around the world for their efforts in the defense of freedom. Until, January 2018, when once again we will cover the world from our own unique perspective,  keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!


Steve out!

Monday, November 27, 2017

209 Santa Steve's Naughty List

Hello, everybody, (Especially BOSTON 25 NEWS!) and welcome to Santa Steve's Naughty List, the first of two year-end specials that count down the best and worst newsmakers of 2017. Last year there was no list (for reasons that escape me!), but in 2015, ISIS got the lump of coal and our winner was the patron saint of super heroes, his birth certificate calls him Stanley Martin Lieber, but fans all over the world know him as Smiling STAN LEE. Who gets to ride in the sleigh and who should remember to be good for goodness sake? There's only one way to find out: Line em 'up and count 'em down!


Why do I keep messing up? I promise, this year's list is well worth waiting for!


To use the title of his now-defunct daily political analysis show, modeled on ESPN's PARDON THE INTERRUPTION, With All Due Respect,sir, the Anti-Hannity I had a nice conversation with regarding the also-now-defunct POLITICS LIVE show on the similarly-now-defunct ABC NewsNOW channel, has been swallowed up by a perverted sicko. Although I remember your irreverence and inability to take yourself seriously, I'm happy your name is absent from Bloomberg TV and MSNBC, and I hope it stays that way until you straighten  up and fly right.


From CBS and PBS to just plain BS in nothing flat!


I'd like to see Less of Moore!


Some great Judgement-Free Zone YOU are! You just instituted a dress code, ordered guests who were required to cover their heads to take off their burquas, yamulkles and whatnot and employ snarky trainers. If that isn't judgemental, I don't know what is!


You went on MEET THE PRESS and gave Chuck Todd what you called "alternate facts." Now, is it just me, or is your nose just a few inches longer?


Blake Shelton is the Sexiest Man Alive. Yeah, right. And the Easter Bunny brings fireworks at Christmas. What are George Clooney and Brad Pitt, CHOPPED LIVER? Don't get me wrong, I love Blake as a country music performer, but he just doesn't strike me as Sexiest Man Alive material.


You sold out to Meredith Corporation with the blessings of the Koch Brothers who claim they WON'T stick their noses into TIME magazine's reporting. One word: HA!


For the love of cheese, PLEASE don't buy the Tribune Broadcasting stations, including New York's Very Own PIX 11 ! Google would be a WAAAAY better owner!


WHY does the Trumpster only rate second place? Because FIRST PLACE is the sole province of...


He put the SICK in the SIXTIES! Give my best to Hitler, Eichmann, Sadaam, and all those other "sweethearts!" Ding,dong, the madman's gone!

Opinions expressed are mine alone, just so you know. Last time the incredible Stan Lee smashed his way to the title of Nicest Newsmaker. Who exercised their great power with great responsibility THIS year? The answer awaits you in our next Stevetastic episode, or, in the immortal words of Mr. T, "I said BE THERE!"


Monday, November 13, 2017

208 An "OK,Google" (Or, "Hey,Google!") Question Nobody's Asking, But Should!

If you have Google on your phone or electronic home assistant, you already know that if you say, "OK, Google", or, "Hey,Google!" on certain equipment, it can look up local listings, order online, or read the top stories. I bet one question nobody's asking Google, one VERY BIG question, which has nothing to do with why the sky is blue or why "eleven" isn't pronounced "onety-one" is this...


Before you send me nasty letters, hear me out: Tribune's stations, including PIX 11 (WPIX New York), KTLA 5 (Los Angeles), Chicago's Very Own WGN 9, and PHL 17 (WPHL Philadelphia), have always been staffed by true news professionals who know their home towns and aren't afraid to speak truth to power. Although Google's entry into journalism was opposed by many longtime news veterans, it has become respected for combining different news sites into one cohesive unit. Google News isn't Republican, but it is democratic with a small "d" in that it yields the platform to so many voices, allowing its visitors to make their own judgments. If Google applied its free spirit to TV news in general and the Tribune stations in particular, not only would ratings skyrocket, but it would bring a perspective not currently seen on a lot of local broadcast news outlets.

What are you waiting for, lovers of Liberty and Googlephiles? Search Google on their own page, add them to your Google + circles, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, subscribe to their YouTube channel, follow THEIR blog (The Keyword on blog.com/google) but, WHATEVER you do, tell 'em THEY are a better fit for the Tribune stations than ultra-tribal, ultra-right, ultra-Trump Sinclair Broadcasting. (Sinclair was also the name of a gasoline that had a dinosaur for a mascot. It figures.)

God Bless America and Google! (And of course, you for stopping by!)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

207 Life

The very first scene in the history of SEINFELD shows Jerry telling his nightclub audience about people. (That's you and me, Charlie.) We people go out to a ball game, a concert, or a comedy club to get away from the hardships of the day only to worry about getting home and getting to bed on time. Life, as a whole, is pretty much the same deal, unfortunately, never so much as in the past few days.
For every Brad Peacock, the winning pitcher in the seventh game of the World Series for Houston, there's a Roy Halladay, the pitcher for the Phillies and Toronto, who lost his life in a plane crash.
For every Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, which never fails to amaze, astound, and amuse us, there's an ISIS sympathizer who senselessly takes innocent lives on a day supposedly all about the monsters of fantasy and fable.
For every Shalene Flanagan, the first American woman to finish the TCS New York City Marathon since the 1970's and a beacon of light in the midst of darkness, there's another gun-crazed sicko, this time on the outskirts of San Antonio, TX, who executes a crowd of innocents for the "crime" of exercising their freedom to worship.
For every memory of the sun-kissed paradise called Puerto Rico that has lingered in my mind since my trip a long time ago, there are the all-too-real images of a hurricane-battered island with little electricity and an inept alleged "president" whose idea of leadership is throwing a roll of paper towels into the crowd.
Unfortunately, that's life. C'est la vie. There's a lot of bad stuff going on, (Just ask Harvey Weinstein!) but look at it this way...
The holidays ARE coming. (Even if those who haven't discovered Amazon have to deal with the WWE-trained shoppers and the classically-trained whining babies.)
Donald Trump's days ARE numbered. (At least I HOPE so!)
Some of the best movies in recent memory ARE headed for a the-yater near you. (Hey, at least there are no HOWARD THE DUCKS out there, right?)
And we STILL live in the Land of the Free because of the Brave. (Happy Veteran's Day!)
Besides, as a certain magazine, which also happened to be named Life, used to say, "Consider the Alternative."
Now, I admit. This hasn't been exactly Mosaic, Talmudic, Socratic, or anything-ic. (I hope you don't think it was just "ick.")
But those thoughts WERE weighing heavily on my mind, and I just had to get them out, so, ladies and germs, here they are for your reading pleasure.
Hmmm, I guess there's nothing else to say, but...

...Have a nice life!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

206 Island Hopping

Yes, I HAVE been thinking about the events in Charlottesville, VA , on Fifth Avenue,  on Pennsylvania Avenue, and in Texas(Thoughts and prayers go out to everybody in HOU.) and I have a real hot-rockin' flame-throwin' booty-kickin' blog kicking around the old noggin, but for NOW, since it's still summer,  at least for a few more weeks, and there are people coming to New York City who, hard as it may be to believe, don't give two shirts (Unlike our barely tolerated president, I don't want to offend anybody!) about El Jefe and what he has to say about anything and just want to do some sightseeing, sooooo, ladies and germs, I give you A TALE OF TWO ISLANDS! (With one thing in common: They're connected by the F subway line.)

CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn, New York

Get on the Sixth Avenue D or F from Queens or Manhattan, the Broadway N from Queens or  Manhattan or the Second Avenue Q from Manhattan,(and enjoy the view as your train crosses the Manhattan Bridge into downtown Brooklyn. Brooklyn Bridge Park, and DUMBO, the area Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, are great destinations for a future visit.) and ride all the way from the subway platform to the El(evated) at the Stillwell Avenue-Coney Island stop. As soon as the recorded voice of New York radio personality Charlie Pellett urges, "Everybody please leave the train," walk down the ramp (or take the escalator) and you'll find a VERY mini-version of Grand Central with its own newsstand, Subway and Checkers restaurants, newsstand, ATM, and one-stop store for all your beach needs. Exit the station on the Boardwalk, and you'll see a row of shops including a team store for Brooklyn's first major league team since the 50's, the (formerly New Jersey) Nets and one of two current Wahlburgers restaurants in the New York City area. (An Upper East Side store is already open and a Times Square store is on the way.) Luna Park is back and open from Spring to Fall, and the house that Nathan and Ida Handwerker built, I refer, of course, to Nathan's Famous, is open 24/7/365 serving their world famous hot dogs to locals and tourists alike. (Also of note, Applebee's, Rita's, and Gargiulo's Restaurant, a Coney Island institution for more than a century right across the street from MCU Park.)Walk down Surf Avenue to W 15th Street and see MCU Park, the home of the New York Mets' short season New York-Penn League affiliate, the Brooklyn Cyclones. (The name seems a natural, since the Park directly faces its world famous namesake, the legendary 90-year-old wooden roller coaster ready to entertain and thrill those hardy enough to take it on, but it's actually the result of a contest sponsored by the Mets and the Daily News. Brooklyn SWEATHOGS? Up YOUR nose with a rubber hose! Brooklyn HONEYMOONERS? Hardy-har-har! Any OTHER name than Brooklyn CYCLONES? Fuhgeddaboudit!) You CAN,and SHOULD, root root root for the home team, but it doesn't REALLY matter if they win or lose, it's how much fun you have watching the game. King Henry, a rotund gentleman from Send In The Clowns Entertainment, a proud Mets sponsor, is your happy host, the Beach Bums dance team is there to pump up the crowd, (When the Clones are away, the third iteration of the legendary New York Cosmos will play North American Soccer League sides from Puerto Rico, Indianapolis, and the Carolinas, among others.) and Sandy and Pee Wee, two VERY Brooklyn seagulls, are there to bring smiles to fans of all ages. Before the game, stop over at the Coney Island Museum (1208 Surf Avenue, visit http://www.coneyisland.com for complete scheduling information) and relive the glory days of what comic writers Len Wein and Marv Wolfman erroneously described as "Brooklyn's halfhearted version of Disneyland", checking out funhouse mirrors, artifacts, even meeting descendants of the original sideshow oddities. If you want to relive those days in a more relaxed atmosphere, go up West 19th Street to Mermaid Avenue and visit the Coney Island Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, where, with proper ID, you can log on to your own computer and search newsreels of Coney's glory days on YouTube, or check out (If you want to LITERALLY check 'em out, you have to sign up for a library card.) books on everything Brooklyn from Coney to the Dodgers (Even current LA fans are welcome!) to Spike Lee to the Revolutionary War Battle Of Brooklyn. If you got kids, the Coney Island Library also has its own play area and a full selection of kids and Young Adult books (including the classics) and graphic novels including favorites such as Brooklyn's most super powerful resident, the one and only Captain America. You might also want to check out the beaches, and the Ford Coney Island Ampitheatre on West 23rd Street and Surf Avenue,especially with HOT 97's "On Da Reggae and Soca Tip" coming on September 1,The Second Avenue Coney Island Freestyle Funhouse on September 2, and El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico on September 3. Coney Island, the subject of everything from romcoms to a musical number on the original Mickey Mouse Club to a GEICO commercial for the New York market, also hosts its own film festival from September 8 to 17. Advance tickets are now available at http://www.coneyislandfilmfestival.com   Just TRY to visit Coney Island and be bored!
(Also visit http://www.bklynlibrary.org, http://www.brooklyncyclones.com, http://www.nathansfamous.com , httpa://www.gargiulo.com, and http://www.fordampitheaterconeyisland.com and http://www.nycosmos.com .) BTW, the New York Aquarium on West 8th Street is undergoing extensive renovations and is only PARTIALLY open.It has its own stop on the F line.


If you have time during the day after your visit to Coney Island, get on the F and take it to Roosevelt Island. On your way, look at the station signs and listen for the names "Washington Square," "Bryant Park," and "Rockefeller Center," all also great ideas for future visits. Unfortunately, if you're expecting a small town railway station like the ones on the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Rail
Road (serving Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Kings' Counties  and Connecticut) or the Staten Island Railway, prepare for a disappointment: It's a near-carbon-copy of the Lexington Avenue-63rd Street Station (the last one in Manhattan proper) and, unlike the Coney Island Station, boasts no amenities. (Steer clear of the village idiot when you leave the station.) Walk straight to the center of Main Street(On your way, you can find the Riverwalk Bar and Grill,Nonno's Foccaceria,the Fuji East Restaurant,Pier NYC, Starbucks, and a Duane Reade There IS a Nathan's, but it's only a food truck..)  and, as you stand right under the Edward I. Koch Queensboro Bridge, (celebrated in Simon and Garfunkel's "59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy)" ), you can see the Roosevelt Island Tram Station and Visitor Center. Islanders point proudly to the Tramway,which takes you to 59th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan and back again with spectacular views of the East River, Midtown and Queens at no extra charge. It will only cost you $2.75 per ride, the current price of a NYC Subway or bus, which, of course, is subject to change) as the better ride over the subway, although the Citywide Ferry Service is slated to add the Island to its route. The Visitor Center,located right next to the Tram Station and operated under the auspices of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, is your one stop center for everything related to the Island and its history, including a classic Spider-Man cover pitting the Wall-Crawler against the Punisher with the Tram in the background which is sold as a poster. Continue to the right and you
will see reminders of Roosevelt Island's history as Minnehonock, a province of the Lenape Indians, Hog Island under the Dutch,a British colony originally under the name Manning's Island and subsequently under the name Blackwell's Island, after the then-owner Robert Blackwell, whose grandson Jacob constructed the Blackwell House, the oldest surviving structure on the Island,and the sixth oldest structure in New York City. The City purchased the Island for $32,000 ($700,000 in today's money), and structures that have survived since then include the Octagon Tower, now a residential building,the Church of the Good Shepherd,and the Blackwell Island Light. While Coney Island has always been a popular travel destination, Roosevelt Island, or Welfare Island as it was known for a while, wasn't so much. Charles Dickens wrote a series of essays criticizing the conditions at the Octagon in his 1842 book "American Notes,"crusading journalist Nellie Bly went undercover at the Women's Lunatic Asylum and published her findings in her 1887 book "Ten Days In A Mad House,"and the 1939 John Garfield movie "Blackwell's Island" concerns corruption in the prison. You can also see the Delacorte Fountain, facing the United Nations, which opened in 1968. The fountain began the renaissance of what was officially renamed Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Island in 1971. While Coney Island is a  neighborhood in the borough of Brooklyn under the jursidiction of the Brooklyn Borough President and the Mayor of New York City, Roosevelt Island is owned by the City and leased to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation of the State of New York. To return to our walking tour, continue along Riverwalk to the crown jewel of the island,  Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, located adjacent to Smallpox Hospital on the southernmost tip. This park is both a tribute to FDR's State of the Union address celebrating America's Four Freedoms and a place for relaxation and quiet reflection, although there are parties every Friday night. ,
If you exit the subway station on the left, you will enter Northtown, consisting of the WIRE buildings (Westview, Island House, Rivercross, and Eastwood.) Rivercross is the only co-op of the otherwise rental buildings. Continue to the Roosevelt Island Library, originally a community room before moving to 524 Main Street in 1979. It has been part of the New York Public Library since 1998, and, like the Coney Island Library, you need a card to borrow one of the books and examine  Roosevelt Island history (visit http://www.nypl.org for THAT).Ask the staff for "The Dead House" by Linda Fairstein,"Code Orange" by Caroline Cooney, or "City of Bones" by Cassandra Clare. The closest the recently concluded Roosevelt Island Summer Movie Series has come to a movie that truly speaks to the residents has been Eddie Murphy's "Coming To America" wherein our hero, an African prince who must find a wife, proclaims, "I'm going to Queens!" (As mentioned later, the Island is connected by its own bridge to Long Island City in the borough of Queens, whose history and modern buildings, including the Citi Tower on Court Square, are topics for another day.) Despite the Tram's appearances in the Billy Crystal-Meg Ryan classic "When Harry Met Sally," and a Coca-Cola commercial, it hasn't always been treated kindly by Hollywood. Some cases in point:The Foot Clan's hideout in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie is located on the Renwick Ruins on the Island, the Green Goblin blows up the Tram Station in the first Spider-Man movie, and in an early episode of the 1950's procedural NAKED CITY,Detective Halloran (James Franciscus) posed as a mental patient on the Island to uncover a murder.
As you continue along Main Street, you might see one of many bus stops for the RIOC Red Bus, a free shuttle service which begins at the Tramway Station and terminates at the Octagon Apartments at 868 Main Street, and the MTA Q102, which begins at Coler-Goldwater Hospital, continues on the Roosevelt Island Bridge, a vertical lift bridge crossing the East River, and terminates in Astoria, Queens.(It ain't the Cyclone, but a trip on the 102 to Queens via the RI Bridge is a pretty cool ride!) The Island IS protected by the NYPD, but in what we hope is the unlikely event there's something strange in the neighborhood, who do you call? The RIOC Public Safety Department, which has its own storefront office which is also on Main Street, as are an art gallery,a Subway restaurant, and,soon,Lord willing and the creek don't rise, a bubble tea place where millenials can get their fix.  As explained earlier, Queens itself has a rich history and is worth a visit for another day.
Unfortunately, Roosevelt Island has no sports tradition unlike Brooklyn or its next door neighbor, Queens, but it DOES have a gym called Sportspark at 250 Main Street and baseball and softball fields (Permit required!) for Little League teams or corporate softball games. Ultimately, (and this is no knock on Roosevelt Island, although Coney Island, though no Magic Kingdom, still has its own unique charm.) the highlight of a Roosevelt Island visit is taking the tram back over the East River to Manhattan. http://www.rioc.ny.gov (Check out the Island's news site of record, The Main Street WIRE at http://www.mainstreetwire.com .)

In short, there's not a lot of summer left, but we still have TWO great islands where you can forget about the ills of the world, at least for a little while.

Thanks for stopping by!