Monday, July 21, 2008

No More Greedy Edy's for Me

Several years ago in Seattle I discovered a wonderful thing called Edy's ice cream. Their "light" ice creams, to me, are just as good as the real thing, and it's the only brand of ice cream I've put in my freezer for about a decade.

A few weeks ago I was shopping at my local Key Foods over on Altantic Avenue in Brooklyn. As I passed the ice cream case I thought about getting a container of Edy's light French Silk. But as I looked through the frosty glass I was taken aback. Some of the cylindrical containers were shorter than the others. They were all Edy's brand - same markings, same flavors - everything was the same except the size. Even the price was the same - $5.99. The smaller containers looked like little mutant ice creams, they were so out of place.

I thought, "No way." I opened the door. Sure enough, some of the containers were 1.75 quarts, and the rest were 1.5 quarts. I double-checked the price: $5.99. No!!! This can't be! Say it isn't so! I knew I was going to be pissed.

Sure enough, I was pissed. First of all, I didn't realize that, all this time, they've been ripping us off with their fancy schmancy cylindrical containers. Ice cream is supposed to come in half gallons. Growing up, I remember ice cream being packed in those rectangular half-gallon containers. Remember those? I didn't realize that the maker of Edy's, (Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream), had tricked us years ago by packing their ice cream into round containers that were 12.5% smaller than the traditional ice cream container - for the same price, actually more. It just never occurred to me to look at the size. Why would it not be a half gallon? Who would do that?

When I moved to NYC in 2005, it took me a long time to adjust to the idea of paying six dollars for (what I thought was) a half gallon of ice cream. Then, all in one blow I find out that I've been paying that much for just 1.75 quarts of ice cream the past few years, and now Dreyer's expects me to pay the same ludicrous amount for another 15% less ice cream?! Are they nuts? Do they think that consumers are that stupid? Like we won't notice?

Oh, oops. I guess we were that stupid with the advent of the cylindrical carton (or at least, I was).

Well, you're not fooling me this time, Dreyer's. I have been a loyal customer for years. I'm done with you and your stupid tricky carton and your new mutant sized ice cream container for the same price. This type of scam is downright wrong. I'm so tired of being ripped off. My god, if it's not the LASIK "surgeon" (I use the term surgeon loosely) or the local so-called emergency veterinarian or the lousy fence contractor who can't tell fpur inches from six, does it have to be the ice cream man? What is this country coming to?

Besides 1.5 quarts is like two bowlfuls for those of us who are serious about our ice cream. What good is that? You want me to pay three bucks a bowl now? Forget it.

Sure, I'd be mad if they'd raised the price of ice cream by 90 cents (that's 15%) and kept the carton the same size. But I would have continued to buy it when it went on sale, as I've done in the past. This is different. This is underhanded. This is a ploy. It's a scam. It's a scheme. It's consumer cruelty. I'll bet that a bunch of overpaid marketing muckety-mucks spent weeks on end in conference room meetings with their Starbucks lattes, pecking away at their Blackberries and making stupid customer jokes while dreaming this one up. I have news for those idiots: Bad idea.

I'm done with Edy's. I hereby officially boycott Edy's ice cream. Forever. Or until the 1.75-quart (or 1/2-gallon) container is reinstated. Even then, I might never go back. I'm just too mad.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Beach Observations

July 19, 2008

Today I explored quite a bit of the local Long Island coastline on foot, and I'd like to provide this brief report of the three main Brooklyn beach areas that I visited:

  • Sheepshead Bay - for those who can afford to gas up their Hummers
  • Manhattan Beach - for those who buy their bikinis from the "gigantic" rack
  • Brighton Beach - where the thin, young, beautiful people are
  • Coney Island - where you'll see some downright un-pretty folk wearing 80's hair and way too much clothing for 97-degree weather

I must say, it's blistering hot here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Weekend Explorations in the City

July 13, 2008

Yesterday I took the 2 train to the Upper West Side. It was a beautiful, hot, breezy day. Not too humid, for a change.

The express train dropped me off at W. 96th Street, where I was going to jump on the 1 train and ride up to 110th St. I was trying to save on footsteps because I knew I had a long walk planned for later in the day. But, unbeknownst to me, the 1 train was out of service at that stop.

So I walked to my first destination at 110th and Amsterdam, where I toured the massive Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. Together with its outlying buildings, gardens, camp ground, and school, the cathedral encompasses an entire city block.

The massive church itself is 146 feet wide and the length of two football fields. The interior space is overwhelming. The first cornerstone was laid in 1892, but the church, now in its 200th year of construction, is still only two-thirds completed. Once completed, it supposedly will be the largest cathedral in the world.

They say that the world's largest cathedrals can take 500 years to complete - I guess St. John's is living proof.

Inside, it is more than just a church. Beyond the main pulpit is another series of smaller chapels, each designed in its own unique style, and a baptisry.

My favorite things about the church were outside the church. The huge Peace Fountain scultpure was surrounded by lots of smaller, hand-size nature sculptures created by children - dolphins, penguins, birds, and more - plus an intricate Noah's ark sculpture.

Back behind the church I came upon a beautiful Biblical Garden. In the center of the carefully designed, colorful landscape was a three-tiered fountain that was alive with small birds bathing and playing about in the water. It was so serene. This must be the most peaceful place in the city.

From there I walked over to the edge of Morningside Park, which has a panoramic easterly view of Harlem. The architecture of Morningside Heights really caught my eye. I passed by St. Luke's Hospital, Columbia Law School, and walked through Columbia University - a beautiful campus.

Near the library I sat down briefly on a bench to eat a raisin bran muffin and was quickly joined by three sparrows. I threw a few crumbs, and suddenly there were 10 more sparrows and a pigeon. Within moments the number of birds at my feet had doubled, then tripled.

After that I walked west, past more beautiful architecture, to Riverside Park. I thought, "This must be where the upper half lives."

I'd never been that far north in the park before. And I headed south. I trekked south along the Hudson from W. 116th St. all the way to W. 13th St. (yes that's over 100 blocks!).

I'd been on this route many times before, but never this much of it at one time. One thing I noticed (in the west 60's) was that Donald Trump has added yet another apartment building to Trump Place. Each time I walk by that area it seems Trump Place has grown.

In the west 50's (near where I used to live), I passed a huge Norwegian cruise ship docked. I think it is the largest ship I've ever seen that close up. Later, further south around 18th Street, I stopped momentarily to gawk at this funky contemporary all-glass building labeled "IAC" over near the Chelsea Piers that I'd never seen before. It's really something. Wouldn't that be a cool place to work?

From W. 13th I turned into the city and headed toward Greenwich Village. My feet were about to fall off by the time I got to Sheridan Square. Of course, the train schedules were still all messed up, meaning the 2/3 wasn't running to Brooklyn, so I took the 1 to South Ferry and walked over to Bowling Green where I took the 4 home.

After my shower, I left the house twice to run errands (to the pet store for 30 pounds of cat litter, then out to grab some dinner). By the end of the day I determined I'd walked over 130 blocks yesterday - at least 7.4 miles. When I fell into the bed last night, I thought I'd never get up again.

So today - (another beautiful day!) - I limited my walk to Prospect Park and back - about six miles. :) God I love New York! It's such a great walking city.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The New York City Waterfalls

July 5, 2008

They are calling it "Nature and the City," this waterfall art exhibit that lasts through mid-October.

Several weeks ago, on one of my walks around Brooklyn, I noticed a lone scaffolding rising from one of the piers beneath the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Mystified, I wondered what purpose a scaffolding could serve there in the middle of nowhere. I see scaffolding going up around buildings every week (never see that being used, either), but this seemed really bizarre.

Later, I saw scaffolding going up under the Brooklyn pier of the Brooklyn bridge and thought that they must be doing some work under the bridge.

Then, week before last, someone at work asked me if I'd seen the waterfalls yet. He told me to go look out the window. Sure enough, there on Governor's Island was a waterfall. I then put 2 and 2 together and finally realized what the mysterious scaffolding was for. We could see that waterfall, too, from our southeast window on the 9th floor at One New York Plaza.

My employee remarked, "Fifteen million dollars it cost the city." Yikes!

So, one evening this week I took a walk to see some of the falls close up. I think the waterfalls are nice, but not 15 million dollars' worth of nice. For that kind of money, I'd like to see some fans installed in the subway platforms. (I'll never understand how the city can possibly think that it's OK to not have ventilation down there where it's well over 100 degrees this time of year. Five minutes' wait will leave you soaked with sweat on your way to work.)

Anyway, here are some photos, and a link to the official web site for the falls, where you can meet the artist:

Friday, July 04, 2008

Cat Food

Hmmm. I'm in the mood for a snack. Do I want Triscuits and cheese, Goldfish and peanuts, or a . . . . um, Baby?