Urban Granny

A Seasoned View of Urban Life




On my last post I recommended for Father’s Day a Clear Pass.  As another sign of the times, this morning I received the following email informing me of the closing of Clear. I am sorry for any inconvenience or confusion.  I will be back on those airport lines once again.

Sincerely, Urban Granny

Clear to Cease Operations

At 11:00 p.m. PST today, Clear will cease operations. Clear’s parent company, Verified Identity Pass, Inc. has been unable to negotiate an agreement with its senior creditor to continue operations.

After today, Clear lanes will be unavailable.

Sincerely, Clear Customer Support

Posted under Travel

Fabulous Very Last Minute Father’s Day Gifts

clear_logoGive a Clear Membership. I have one and love it. Any person who travels a lot will find that a Clear Pass speeds them through security and places them at the very front of the security check lines at most US Airports. Even if you are a priority traveler the individualized service of a Clear Representative cannot be beat.


I also just received my Global Entry verification this week, it allows me to use a special kiosk when entering the US from abroad rather than standing in a passport line. This maybe more difficult a gift but definitely worth try.


Save Kahki

Save Khaki

If you need a gift for a son, son- in -law or father and a one stop shop is the most convenient for last minutes then go to Save Khaki. There are two locations, one in NOHO and one on the LES. There is classic casual clothes at all price ranges with more personality than some of the other choices around.


Happy Father’s Day

Posted under Gifts, Shop, Travel

Mr. Mayor your J train is disgusting

 A few days ago I had the occasion to take my four-year-old grandson, Benjamin Henry, on the J train. I know that New York City is not responsible for the woes of the MTA.  However, one has to ask, doesn’t the Mayor have some kind of civic pride when it comes to the subway system and the stations that are part of this great city, a city he governs?  Especially when it is the City Hall station.

Benjamin and I descended down into the J station under City Hall.  The condition of this station was unspeakable. Ben asked me very quietly, as I felt his grip on my hand grow tighter, who is in charge of the trains? MTA is a concept too difficult for a four year old to grasp so I said the Mayor. He knows his name is Bloomberg, and he began to ask all sorts of questions; what is his first name, is he married, does he have a mother and does he have children? I answered him and he sat quietly as we waited for the train.  Then he said to me that he wanted to write the mayor. I told him we would write a letter together when we got back home later that evening.

I knew he was upset about the station and perhaps the letter would help?

Here is the letter he dictated to me that evening.

Dear Mayor Michael Bloomberg,

I was going with my grandma to the lower eastside to have lunch at Katz’s as a treat and to meet my uncle. I live near City Hall and we walked to the train. It was the J.  There was garbage everywhere and it smelled gross.  I was afraid to walk because there was even throw up on the floor. It was very gross and disgusting.  How can you let the station so close to your work be so terrible? What can we do to stop the people from throwing garbage? It is bad for the environment and the dirt is not healthy for us kids.

The train did not come for a very long time and we hated being down there so grandma took me back up the stairs and we had to find a taxi. We got to lunch late but it was fun to be there.

I am almost four and I have an older sister and a baby brother.

Can you write me back?  Soon. I am Benjamin ——– and I live at —–.




Ben's Letter to Mayor Bloomberg

Ben's Letter to Mayor Bloomberg



As they say, out of the mouths of babes. All Ben wanted to know after that if the mayor was sad without a wife, I told him I didn’t think so.






Posted under Children, Observations

May Is New York City’s Bicycle Month


May is NYC Bike Month

May is NYC Bike Month

The month of May not only brings out the flowers but also all those marvelous recreational bicyclists.


Luckily, a top priority of Mayor Bloomberg has been to increase the use and ease of bicycling for city residents and visitors.

New Yorkers can’t help but notice all the great changes that have been made. We have miles of designated bike lanes, beautiful new bicycle shelters and new subway gratings that double as bike racks and benches. BRAVO!

Love these new bike racks

Love these new bike racks


In addition there are more city sponsored bicycling safety programs, more street closings, better signage and a continued dedication to opening more and more miles of bike lanes throughout the boroughs.

I am an avid recreational biker and live in lower Manhattan.  On weekends, traffic is considerably thinned and I feel much more comfortable navigating the quieter downtown streets. I make tremendous use of the wonderful bike lanes along the Hudson River from Battery Park to Riverside Park and often follow the wonderful bike routes printed in Timeout and New York Magazine each spring. And yes it is marvelous to do errands on the weekend using your bike.

Contact 311 and ask them to send the FREE NYC Cycling map. It contains all the city’s bicycle routes, bike rental and safety information. You can download the map from the 311 site . Remember to take it with you when you ride.

Sign up for the NYC Government Bicycling newsletter, which gives you constant updates of new lanes and information.

Go to the New York Bike Month for essential information and special event sign up.

Take the New York Water Taxi to Brooklyn, Bikes ride for free, and avoid the treacherous Brooklyn Bridge, too many pedestrians and nonspeaking English visitors. They DO NOT get out of your way, even in the bike lanes.

DO take your bike to Governors Island by ferry and bring the kids. There is Free Bike Fridays throughout the season if you need to borrow.

Do know the most trusted bike shops in your area. Their professionals will help you pick the right bike and help maintain your bicycle with regular tune-ups.  Rent before you buy to see if you like the sport.  Most bike shops rent good reliable bikes and there are numerous bike rental shops scattered throughout the city.

Do know where to get your bike repaired on Sundays and holidays. Not fun to lug a broken bike on the train home. Tip: By the South Street Seaport the rental guys are nice enough to help if you need an emergency repair.

Do buy the best lock possible, a hardened chain and padlock is probably the best. A good bicycle will get stolen.

Chain lock

Chain lock


Do carry only essentials and make sure you have ID and emergency numbers with you,

Some helpful things I have picked up over the years besides the very obvious WEAR A HELMET at all times:

  • Learn the rules of the road and follow them.
  • Going against traffic is dangerous. 
  • Beware of opening car doors.  They will cause a serious accident.
  • Beware of Lance Armstrong WANT TO BEs
  •  Never trust a moving vehicle.
  •  And finally never trust a fellow cyclist. 

Do pack a lunch and have a safe and fun Bicycle Season!




Posted under Recreation

Made with Love For Mother’s Day

Mother’s day, on Sunday May 10th,is just around the corner. I have been a daughter for over 50 years, a mother for over 35 years and now a grandmother for over 5 years. I have given and received countless gifts over all these years.

The most memorable and probably the least expensive were gifts made for me or by me.

I cherish the ceramic plate with painted stick figures and the names of all my kids.

Painted Pottery

Painted Pottery




Or the afghan I knit for my mother several years ago that she still uses when she watches television

Knit a heirloom

Knit a heirloom

My daughter loves the little photo album I made of her family of the previous year. Now I just do a new one each year.

I am thrilled to have a wonderful playlist that my youngest son burned for me of my favorite music, which I now listen to on my iPod.

This year for all my daughters I made a recipe book of our family’s favorite recipes including those of my dear mother in law, Grandma Gert, who died several years ago but lives on through her wonderful and delicious recipes, which otherwise would have been lost.

Or the gift of time by a son who helped his grandmother learn to use an Apple computer for the first time.

All simple, affordable and preciously made with love.


Favorite Family Recipes

Favorite Family Recipes













Posted under Observations, Shop