My Thoughts On The Boston Marathon Tragedy

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The shock of yesterday has left me speechless, but I will stand on my soapbox once again and advocate the use of "Paid Detail" police officers at large clubs. Go to a TD Bank and you might see a real police officer standing where everyone can see him. TD Bank was once described as too easy to rob, and they took advantage of the NYPD’s Paid Detail to beef up their security. Simply, a firm pays $37 an hour to the cop and a 10-percent administrative fee to the city and they get a cop dedicated to protecting them. Wall Street has these officers protecting their world as well. In fact, the program paid the city $1,184,000 in 2011, which means private firms shelled out $11,800,000 for armed police officers with ticket books and arresting power. The events in Boston demand a rethinking of a department policy that disallows NYC clubs to participate.

Nightclubs invariably attract hundreds – if not thousands – of revelers. Highly trained and bonded security are there to protect and serve. They mostly toss a few drunks, break up a small skirmish between frat boys, deter pocketbook and cell phone thieves, and help door people keep out troublemakers or the unkempt. They are a thin line, pretty much helpless against serious threat. An armed police officer is necessary to protect these large, nightly gatherings of people. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, usually a bastion for public safety, has nixed the Paid Detail program for premises with liquor licenses. I have been told fear of corruption is the issue, yet he’ll let them work for bankers?

Rotating cops through should easily solve that issue. The bad guys have struck clubs before and will again. The party animals boozing around and being promiscuous are a ripe target for the hateful. As I write this, it is unclear who attacked Boston and our world of wonder, but it is clear that maximum mayhem was intended. Nightclubs are built to withstand most fires and wear and tear, but are ill-equipped against determined assholes. Allowing NY City’s finest to look out for the public in places they choose to gather seems like a good idea for these times.

Follow me on Twitter for my latest rants, observations, and controversies. 

Photo: usatoday.

Amy Poehler Offers Advice on Coping With the Week and Sends Love to Boston

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This week has been terrifying. Last night, while glued to local news streams and Twitter feeds at 2:30AM, a friend who was awake doing the same asked how she was ever going to fall asleep. I felt that way as well but eventually dozed off after putting on an episode of Parks and Rec in an attempt to feel a bit lighter. And speaking of the show, wonderful human being Amy Poehler has now provided a few wise words of her own on just how to cope with everything that’s been going on in the last few days. 

On her weekly web series Ask Amy, she responded to a question about dealing with the bombardment of images and videos we’re presented with everyday on the internet and knowing just when its okay to turn away. And although no one has a clear answer for that, she offered up the suggestion, to first, "think what these images are doing to our brain and our heart," asking how we can deal with wanting to stay informed and connected without exploiting people. She gives the advice to "get out eyes a break" and to "be okay with letting some things rest in peace."

Take a look at her full response below.

Casey Affleck Becomes Creative Advisor for Boston’s Independent Film Festival, Obviously

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Casey Affleck: model citizen of New England. And of course, as Boston’s finest cinematic gem—save his multi-Oscar-winning brother and/or Matt Damon—Affleck has taken on the job of Creative Advisor to the city’s Independent Film Festival. For IFFBoston, which kicks off this year on April 24,  the actor, director, and writer will “offer programming output, reaching out to studios, filmmakers and talent, connecting the festival with local charities, and advising on it’s growth into a ‘a world-class film festival.’

And speaking to the partnership, Adam Roffman, the IFFBoston program director had to say that Casey, “Casey has exemplified the kind of artistic and risk-taking choices in his work that we strive to champion each year at the festival, and we are very excited to welcome him into the IFFBoston team." Well, you can’t argue with them apples!

So, to perk up your day, let’s just watch some videos of Casey throughout the years.

Five Best Boston Sports Bars to Watch the Super Bowl

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Every Boston-dwelling Patriots fan needs their bar to watch the game, chow down on some loaded potato skins, and eventually cry into their coagulated nachos and eighth Heineken. Lucky for them, we’ve found the five best Boston sports bar to do just that. No matter who they’re with and what atmosphere they’re craving, these spots will leave them happy on Sunday – or, at least, as happy as they can possibly be. 

Top-Rated Tradition: Coined the #1 Sports Bar in America by Sports Illustrated, The Four’s boasts 42 plasma TVs, cozy burled wood walls, and years of venerated history. 

Biggest TV: Champions Sports Bar‘s 12-by-24 foot projection screen turns the game into an IMAX movie.

Close Enough to See Them Sweat: Tucked under the Fenway bleachers, Bleacher Bar is the place to devour fried pickles and pastrami sliders. Bring your foodie girlfriend. 

Most TVs: Outfitted with 30 sixty inch TVs hi-def and two 6 1/2-by-11 foot screen monsters, we wouldn’t be surprised if Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar & Grill stocked TVs by the toilets.

When You Can’t Make a Decision: Battery Park Bar & Lounge is an elegant lounge, a sports bar with 16 high-def flat-screen TVs, and a restaurant with a wooden patio. When you want to get our of the house, lick your barbecue sauce-covered fingers, and still maintain your dignity – go here. 

Turkey Time

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As veterans of many a historical reenactments during our childhood, we couldn’t help but giggle at this New York Times round-up of the best “first Thanksgiving” celebrations around the country. After all, is it really a holiday if no one’s informing you that you’re telling that story badly?

That is, after all, the narrative at most sites of living history, where they’re more than happy to tell you that pilgrims didn’t wear black outfits or buckled shoes, didn’t eat turkey, and didn’t use forks, so be prepared to get your hands dirty. Though there are celebrations around the country (we bet you’re going to one tomorrow!) these special dinners will run all week at their respective locations.

If you’re thinking of going, most of the sites mentioned are in Massachusetts, which gives us the opportunity to recommend one of our favorite Beantown hotels—the perfect home base for an expedition like this. The Liberty Hotel, housed in a former prison, is a jewel of a boutique property in Boston’s Beacon Hill Neighborhood, the perfect link between old and new. After all, what better way to give thanks for our freedom as Americans than to gleefully celebrate historical inaccuracies and then bed down in luxury where notorious criminals used to sleep? We truly (truly!) can’t think of one.

Boston Opening: Descent at the W Hotel

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Boston, ultimately a rock & roll town, makes lurches towards more glamorous, New York conceptions of nightlife, but tends to never go too boldly into it. But the W Boston carries the brand’s DNA, and could thusly be trusted to carry it off with panache. And so while everyone seems to be reaching higher and higher into the sky, the W is plunging party people down into the Earth with its new and unambiguously named 3000-square-foot bar Descent.

Bright sensual reds contrast raw concrete walls and black epoxy flooring, and a 40-foot bar serves up sexy concoctions by cocktail goddess Charlotte Voisey. Best of all, unlike most hotel nightspots, shaking your money maker is enthusiastically encouraged here. So shake away, down below.

Cointreau and BlackBook’s Spooky Chic Halloween

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It’s not easy being spooky or chic, but luckily, we’re here to help. Introducing Cointreau’s Spooky Chic Halloween, a nationwide celebration throughout Halloween week. Check out some of the photos in Boston (Flann O’Brien’s), Chicago (NV Penthouse Lounge, Crimson), Dallas (Manhattan Lounge, Candle Room, Jorge’s Tex Mex, Vice), LA (Next Door Lounge), New York (Hudson Terrace, Katra, Taj, Yerba Buena), Miami (Blue Martini, Blue Martini Boca, El Vato, Solita Restaurant, Town Kitchen & Bar), San Francisco (Marinitas), and Washington DC (Lounge 201, Blackbyrd, District Underground).

Friday Take-Off: Halloween Edition

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● Boston: Head to Salem, just 35 miles from the city and center of all things spooky for centuries. The weekend is packed with events, from the Friday night Halloween Ball, to Saturday’s Vampire Masquerade, to Sunday’s Dinner with the Dead, a silent dinner and séance. ● New Orleans: The Voodoo Experience brings Snoop Dogg, Soundgarten, Girl Talk, and 30-something other bands to City Park in New Orleans all weekend long, along with art installations, great food, and of course, crazy costumes.

● Tampa: Ybor City’s street party explodes from 3pm to 3am on Saturday, with a costume contest, concerts, parade, and more. Called Guavaween after the city’s nickname (“the Big Guava”) expect more than 50,000 revelers over the course of the night. ● Houston: The Vampire’s Ball is a giant electronic music dance party with rooms full of revelers in costume and ready to dance. More than 15 DJs will play over the course of Friday night throughout three rooms and a VIP section. ● Los Angeles: The Costume Carnaval is a beloved tradition in the city, which organizers claim as the largest in the world. More than half a million people will come to party on Santa Monica Boulevard on Monday, and competition at the Halloween Costume Context is fierce — in more ways than one.

Six Ways to Make a Bloody Mary

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Flavorful, spicy, and rich in restorative vitamins (that’s our story and we’re sticking to it) the Bloody Mary is the quintessential boozy-brunch, morning-after drink. But we’re not talking about the tomato juice you get free with your eggs at your favorite local spot — a cocktail classic like this one deserves to elevated above the mundanity of a sad, lonely celery stick. These are a few of our favorite variations.

Dirty Little Tomato. Nic’s Beverly Hills combines a Dirty Martini and a Bloody Mary to create the Dirty Little Tomato. Muddle three slices of fresh tomato with 2 oz. of red pepper-infused Karlsson’s Gold vodka and 0.5 oz. of olive juice; shake with ice, strain and serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Spicy Mary. Big Bar in Los Angeles creates enough spicy Bloody Mary mix to serve an army every weekend — try this scaled-down version (for 6 drinks) at your next brunch. Combine 32 oz. of tomato juice, 0.75 oz. soy sauce, 1 oz. Tabasco, 4 bar spoons of fresh-cracked black pepper, 2 bar spoons each of celery bitters, Lawry’s seasoning and fresh horseradish, and 3 oz. of Worcestershire sauce. Add 9 oz. of vodka and 3 oz. of lemon juice in a pitcher and stir. Serve in a Collins glass over ice, garnished with an olive. Green Tomato Bloody. The mixologists at Independent in Somerville, MA, transform fresh farmer’s market finds into a new take on the classic. Combine 4 oz. of fresh green puree with 1.5 oz. of vokda and some traditional Bloody Mary spices to taste for a variation on the classic that is sure to stand out in a crowd.

The Red Snapper. That was the original name given to the drink at the St. Regis’ King Cole Bar in New York City that eventually became the Bloody Mary. The bar’s longest-serving bartender, Louis Rodopoulos (who’s been manning the bar since 1955), gave up his secret recipe earlier this summer. Mix two dashes of salt and two dashes of pepper — cayenne pepper and black pepper — with a couple dashes of Lea & Perrins sauce and the juice of a lime. Shake it to combine, then pour it into a glass with 2.5oz tomato juice and 2 oz. of vodka. Mix it all it all together, pour into a highball glass, and garnish with a celery stick.

The Bloody Bull. In Dale DeGroff’s cocktail classic The Essential Cocktail, he conjures up this steakhouse favorite with nothing more exotic than a can of Campbell’s. Combine 2 oz. vodka, 2 oz. Campbell’s Beef Broth, 2 oz. Sacramento tomato juice, and a dash of fresh squeezed orange juice with 4 dashes of Tabasco and a dash of pepper in a mixing glass and roll back and forth to mix. Strain over ice into a glass, garnish with an orange peel.

Back Yard Barbeque Michelada. If you’ve had enough tomato juice for the time being, this brunch alternative is finding a loyal following these days, far beyond the bounds of Mexican restaurants. Try this whiskey-infused version and start your own tradition. Add 1.5 oz. Black Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky, .5 oz. White Grapefruit Juice, .5 oz. simple syrup, .25 oz. Claussen Dill Pickle Brine, and 1/4 Tsp. brown mustard to a mixing glass. Fine strain (to remove mustard seeds) into a chilled black pepper rimmed pilsner glass filled with ice, and pour in 6 oz. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or your beer of choice. Garnish with a dill pickle spear.

[Image via Wiktory/Shutterstock]