Today is Memorial Day: Here’s What’s Open and What’s Closed

by Paul Riegler

Today, Monday, is Memorial Day in the United States, a national holiday that honors Americans who died while in military service.
The holiday also marks the unofficial start of summer and, since 1970, is observed on the last Monday in May. It stems from the ancient idea of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers and evolved from various local holidays, first in the South in the early 1860s, known both as Decoration Day …

Aging Boeing 737 in Cuba Crash Had Strong Safety Record, Unlike the Airline Operating It

by Paul Riegler

The Boeing 737-200 that crashed shortly after taking off from Aeropuerto Internacional José Martí in Havana was one of the oldest passenger airliners still in operation and was believed to be airworthy although questions remain about the operator of the flight, a little-known Mexican charter company hired by Cubana de Aviación.
Founded in 1929, the story of Cubana de Aviación, Cuba’s flagship carrier, mirrors that of the island nation. As so …

Review: Russian Samovar Restaurant and Piano Bar, New York City

by Jonathan Spira

Enjoying Russian cuisine and culture doesn’t necessarily require a trip to Mother Russia. New York City has several excellent Russian restaurants, and one of them is the Russian Samovar.
The Samovar, a Russian water heating urn, literally means “self-cooker.” The restaurant was founded in 1986 by the Russian exile and poet Joseph Brodsky, who died in 1996 and whose poetry, with its poignant images of wandering and loss, won him two …

Review: ‘Harry Clarke’ at Minetta Lane Theatre

by Jonathan Spira

As a boy of eight, Philip Brugglestein realized he didn’t fit into his Indiana surroundings so he invented an alter ego who came from London and spoke the Queen’s English. This was too much for his alcoholic Midwestern father who threatens to take the boy for electroshock therapy in order to turn off the “Britty Brit” accent and persona.
What eight year old would say, “Don’t get your knickers in a …

Hello? It’s Me, Robocaller. Here Are 3 Tips to Combat the Machines

by Paul Riegler

The ingenuity of the presumed humans behind robocalls oftentimes seems boundless, a fact that is small comfort to the humans whose mobile phones and legacy (landline) instruments are flooded by call after call.
Just to review, in case you’ve been on an extended Martian holiday, a robocall is a phone call placed by computer to deliver either a human being or a sometimes interactive pre-recorded message. They are typically associated with …

‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,’ ‘My Fair Lady’ Sweep Outer Critics Circle Awards

by Anna Breuer

The Outer Critics Circle award winners for the 2017-2018 Broadway season were announced Monday morning. The awards encompass 27 categories and include both Broadway and Off-Broadway shows.
“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and “SpongeBob SquarePants” were awarded Outstanding New Broadway Play and Outstanding New Broadway musical, respectively, while “My Fair Lady” and “Angels in America” took home honors for Outstanding Revival of a Musical and a Play respectively.
John Tiffany won …

Review and Test Drive: 2018 Volvo XC60 T8 E-AWD and T6 R-Design

by Jonathan Spira

Those not in the know might assume that the typical Volvo wagon driver is a retired college professor, or perhaps a dentist somewhere in New England. Starting with the introduction of the storied automaker’s Scalable Product Architecture and the S90 sedan, Volvo is the epitome of Scandinavian cool, that image has become obsolete.
The new XC60 exemplifies this trend and we spent several weeks with two different XC60 models – the …