A Day with A Dude in New York City

Mary in Manhattan

While The Ultimate Girls’ Getaway to NYC has been written, it’s time to pay attention to the dudes. I’ve decided to bring the men to Brooklyn first, where it’s all about wide open spaces, whiskey, meats and hot sauce in a very simplistic format. Then, on to Manhattan for the evening to experience a FAB comedy show, a bar with a bunch of distractions and a place that serves up the best food I’ve ever eaten. Note: All the activities below have been tried and tested.


  1. King’s County Whiskey Distillery
  2. Fette Sau – BBQ
  3. Heatonist – hot sauce tasting
  4. Coffee Break at Diviera Drive
  5. Comedy Cellar
  6. Fat Cat
  7. Quality Eats

2:00 p.m. – King’s County Whiskey Distillery: When the first stop on the list includes whiskey tasting, you know it’s going to be a good day. Check out my latest post about what to expect on the tour and how…

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MTA Metro-North, LIRR log strong ridership gains in 2015

Annual ridership on MTA Metro-North Railroad reached an all-time record of 86.1 million last year, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced yesterday.

The figure marks a 1.6 percent increase over 2014, MTA officials said in a press release.

Passengers on board an MTA commuter train
Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Additionally, the number of passengers commuting to work on Metro-North nudged up 1 percent, while non-commuter ridership rose 2.3 percent.

Meanwhile, MTA Long Island Rail Road‘s (LIRR) ridership rose by 2.1 percent to 87.6 million in 2015. The railroad remained the busiest regional railroad in the nation, MTA officials said.

The number of commuters riding LIRR trains increased by 2.1 percent to 50.4 million, while the number of non-commuters bumped up 2 percent to 37.3 million.

Each railroad surpassed previous ridership records set in 2008, when gasoline prices were high, said MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast, noting that the trend in ridership continues even as gas prices have dropped.

“We are seeing the confluence a strengthening regional economy, healthier downtowns around the region, a new generation of millennials who values public transportation, and greater productivity on board our trains through the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and laptops,” Prendergast said.

Riders also are responding to improvements the MTA has made, such as more frequent trains, better on-time performance, a fleet of modern electric cars, expanding availability of real-time information and more channels for customer communication, Prendergast added.

Investments included in MTA’s 2015-19 Capital Program are aimed at positioning the commuter railroads for further growth in the years ahead. The program includes funding for the construction of four new Metro-North stations in the Bronx, the expansion of Metro-North’s New Haven Line to Penn Station, and adding a third track to LIRR’s Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville.

The capex program also provides funds for the construction of new LIRR stations in the Queens neighborhoods of Elmhurst and Sunnyside.

World Trade Center’s Oculus set to open Thursday

The World Trade Center rail hub “Oculus” will officially open in Lower Manhattan on Thursday, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) announced late last week.

The opening will provide 100,000 riders that use the PATH rail facility daily with below-ground access to a new entrance on the corner of Liberty and Church streets, a few blocks from Wall Street.

A rendering of the Oculus.

The hub replaces the World Trade Center terminal that was destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City. Although PATH trains have been using the new hub since May 2015, the facility has not been fully operational.

Over the next few weeks, the eastern entrance to the Oculus will open, providing PATH riders with direct access to Church Street and to the Fulton Street Transit Center. In late spring, the new access from the Oculus to the corner of Vesey and Church streets will open, PANYNJ officials said.

The hub’s centerpiece is a soaring wing-shaped steel structure designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava.

“Lower Manhattan soon will have an architecturally visionary 21st century rail station, combined with world-class retail shops, that will be a focal point for downtown commerce,” said PANYNJ Vice Chairman Scott Rechler in a press release.

The main transit hall is 365 feet, 90 feet longer than Grand Central Terminal’s main concourse.

Know Your Craft: Barleywine, another cold weather companion

My last column highlighted the “chicken-soup effect” a Russian Imperial Stout can have on a bleak winter day.

Another favorite — and potentially mood enhancing — cold weather go-to is the barleywine. Not actually a wine, it takes its name from being a strong beer with wine-like gravity (i.e. alcohol content).

This beer is another great sipper, and its big hop character combined with a deep, amber-red-brown maltiness can brighten up almost any dark day.

Generally between 8 to 12 percent ABV for a nice impression of warmth, it also has big malt sweetness balanced by moderate to heavy hoppiness.

Similar to, yet stronger than, an Old Ale, the barleywine is another English style represented by many great versions on each side of the Atlantic.

According to Dave Carpenter of Craft Beer and Brewing Magazine, an English barleywine “exhibits a chewy, complex malt body that evokes plums and toffee and leaves residual sweetness in the final product.”

The American version also presents a warming effect from the high alcohol as well as dark fruitiness, but tends to be hoppier (brewed with northwest U.S. hops, which give it distinctive citrus and pine traits), more bitter and stronger.

This style improves with time, so cellaring a good barleywine from six months to 10 years or more will allow it to evolve into a beer that is remarkably similar to a nice port.

For a classic English barleywine, seek out Fuller’s “Golden Pride” from London, or Anchor’s “Old Foghorn” from San Francisco (brewed in the British tradition).

One of the original American barleywines, Sierra Nevada’s “Bigfoot” is a bittersweet craft beer classic that should definitely be on your craft beer bucket list.

For something a little bit different in the category, check out a Spanish interpretation of the barleywine with La Sagra’s “Bohio,” a bottle-conditioned English-style barleywine at 10.4% ABV, with notes of chocolate, caramel and apple.

The British have influenced America so much so that our cultures still mirror each other’s in many ways.

But, while I enjoy an occasional cup of green tea, tea time never quite stuck here in the states.

Fortunately, the tradition of English barleywine did, making an indelible mark on American craft beer culture that is undoubtedly here to stay.

This week’s recommendation: La Sagra “Bohio,” a English-style barleywine with malt fruitiness, moderate hop bitterness, and big alcohol presence. 10.4% ABV. Numancia de la Sagra, Spain.

Colin Hubbell is co-owner of The Green Onion Pub and the Hop & Goblet in South Utica. His column appears weekly.

Cornel West: “Sister Hillary Clinton Is the Milli Vanilli of American Politics”

West accused Hillary Clinton of only gave “lip service” to social justice policies and compared her with the German music duo Milli Vanilli.


he U.S. philosopher Cornel West accused Hillary Clinton of only giving “lip service” to social justice policies, comparing her to German duo Milli Vanilli, whose Grammy award was revoked after it was revealed that the pair had not actually sung their songs, but lipsynched to other singers.

“Sister Hillary Clinton is the Milli Vanilli of American politics … She lip-syncs, she gives lip service. But when it comes to policy, who supported the crime bill? Who supported, not just the deregulating of banks, but also pulled the rug from under welfare?” West said in an interview on CNN.

West, a Sanders supporter who is also a prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America, said last week that the Vermont senator is “better for black people” than his Democratic rival Clinton. He officially endorsed Sanders in August and has given speeches on his behalf at historically black colleges and universities.


The Utica Comets could not complete the weekend three-in-three sweep and were dropped by the Hershey Bears 5-1 on at the GIANT Center Sunday night.

Alexandre Grenier (1-0-1) scored on the power-play, for the Comets only goal of the evening, while Richard Bachman made 29  saves in the loss. Ronalds Kenins collected an assist on the Comets goal to extend his point-scoring streak to five games, and has run his point total to 11 points in his last nine games.

It took almost 19 minutes, 18 combined shots, and several highlight-reel worthy saves from Richard Bachman before the game’s first goal to be scored. The Bears were the ones to strike first when Nathan Walker scored his 13th goal of the year after he emerged from the corner with the puck.

The Bears doubled down on their lead when Travis Boyd tapped in a back door, cross-crease pass, from Jakub Vrana just 52 seconds into the second period. Chris Bourque picked up a secondary assist to become the first player to 60 points this season.

A little over the halfway mark of the game Grenier found his 10th goal of the season, and second goal in as many nights. Kenins streaked across the top of circles and ripped a wrist shot on net after he received a pass from Taylor Fedun. Grenier, as he battled with two Bears defenders, redirected the shot under the arm of Dan Ellis for the power-play goal.

51 seconds later the Bears re-established their two goal lead thanks to Riley Barber. For the third time this evening, a Bears forward capitalized on a back door pass after Walker connected with Barber. The lead was stretched to 4-1 when the American Hockey League’s leading point-scorer slipped a shot past Bachman for his 24th goal of the season.

Zach Sill scored 10:45 into the third period for the Bears to cap off the game’s scoring.

With the loss the Comets record drops to 27-19-5-3 on the season, and 0-3-0-0 against the Hershey Bears.

The Comets are off until Friday night when the league-leading Toronto Marlies visit The AUD. Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm.