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When Tara Met Blog
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Why is NYC called the Big Apple? And what is the steam all about?


So when my friend was visiting the city she purchased a typical tourist gift--a pencil with an apple eraser on top. She then turns to me and says "Why is New York City called the Big Apple anyway?" I was dumbfounded, here I was born in New York and am now living here again, yet I had no idea why it's referred to as the Big Apple. Now the city that never sleeps is self explanatory but Big Apple?

I did some research and rumor has it that the "Big Apple" is so named because in the 1920s and '30s jazz musicians used the term as a way of saying, 'There are many apples on the success tree, but when you pick New York City, you pick the Big Apple.'"

"Also during the depression, many former financiers would travel from their suburban cottages in full suits in order to sell apples on the streets of New York. The rumor goes that several well-to-do families had to make ends-meet by selling apples and the charade became know to many as the "Big Apple" scam of New York. Since apples have always been a big part of the New York economy the name simply stuck and was eventually promoted by local government." For more possible reasons go to: http://www.ny.com/histfacts/apple.html

The Steam
Another New York mystery that I had never questioned was the steam that rises up from the ground. It was when another friend stopped by from London that he brought the oddity to my attention. I guess like the "Big Apple" it was just something I had always accepted. To save face though I think I told him it was because of the heat caused by the underground pipes and oh the subways of course. lol! Well, I wasn't too far off.

The City of New York is one of the largest consumers of steam. The so-called steam wafting up from the streets is often vapor produced when underground water hits hot equipment and escapes from beneath the streets. It can also be condensed steam leaking from the Con Ed system. Some 30 billion pounds of steam every year flow beneath the streets of Manhattan from the Battery to 96th Street. While it is unknown to most New Yorkers, Con Edison's subterranean steam system is the biggest steam district in the world, and boasting an annual steam production more than double that of Paris, Europe's largest system.
For more information click here!

The steam undergournd however causes pressure and needs to be released at times, thus those big orange cones that spew steam out into the air and looks like smoke.

The following is from National Geographic's New York Underground:
"Visitors to New York often notice the plumes of steam coming from manhole covers even on hot summer days. In 1882, to reduce soot from individual coal-burning heating units, a central steam-heating system was installed. As with natural gas, Con Ed meters monitor the steam used, and building owners pay a fee."

Posted by Tara at 8:15 AM PST
Updated: Thursday, December 2, 2004 1:01 PM PST
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Txt Messaging, the New Love Letter?


My grandmother has a box of love letters from her husband, while I have saved txt messages on my cell phone and none of them even remotely declare love.

I can't think of the last time I received a love note that was not connected with a birthday card. Instead I have a bunch of spontaneous, funny and sometimes romantic texts saved in my inbox of my phone.

"Sweet dreams doll" "Can't wait for tomorrow...miss you" " "A am drunk"

I get all excited when my cell blinks at work and I see that I have a text message, because although having a private conversation in my wall-less cubicle would be inappropriate, I still can secretly text. It's like passing notes in class, which by the way I did often. I had a system that would allow me to pass notes undetected right under my teacher's nose. I would open my pen and twirl the little note around the spring, close the pen and ask my friend if they needed to borrow a writing implement.

Anyway, recently I started sentimentally transcribing some of them down in fear I'll lose the sweet words forever when new technology emerges and I'm forced to upgrade to a new phone. Or rather in my unfortunate case this summer, when I fell off a boat and into the water with my cell phone in my pocket losing my entire phone records to sheer clumsiness.

So although an actual love note could get mixed up with the trash or ripped up in breakup haste, at least there is a better chance of stumbling upon these notes in later years, giving you the chance to reminisce, while love txt's although exciting and instantaneous are much easier to lose or be deleted in equal twenty-first century haste.

Posted by Tara at 12:09 PM PST
Updated: Tuesday, March 1, 2005 7:49 PM PST
Tuesday, November 2, 2004
The Kerry K's and the Bush Broncos, Let's go ...?

It's funny to think that the presidential candidates have become the equivalent of sports teams. For example, today I'm supporting my "team" by sporting a Kerry Edwards pin on my hip. As I walked to the subway, I passed an elderly man raising a Kerry sign over his head and giving out flyers urging people to go out and vote today. When he went to hand me one, I pointed to my hip, which caused a huge smile from the guy. To think the campaign has caused the ability to fraternize with strangers here in NYC.
Then as I got on the subway to work, a scary looking woman, at least I think it was a woman, wearing a t-shirt with an X over Bush's head gave me a head nod. I haven't felt such comraderie since I took the 4 train to Yankee stadium during the playoffs and as we got closer and closer to 161st Street the train gradually filled with fans in Yankee uniforms. I think lately wearing election paraphernalia or a sports cap are the same thing. They both unite and alienate and show who you are rooting for. Who's your daddy? Unfortunately if Kerry was a sports team, being from Mass he would be the Red Sox...I shutter to think!

Also like sports signs, I feel awkward wearing my "team" in certain areas, just like it takes a lot of guts to wear a Yankee hat in Boston and vice versa. It's also a sensitive topic to discuss who you are voting for, because tensions are high. I remember when you didn't wear your candidate on your sleeve, but that seems to have changed in this election. I'm actually removing my pin now, because although I'm proud to wear it, I don't want to be rude to anyone with different views. It's one thing when I'm walking on the street among strangers and another when I'm at work.

Posted by Tara at 6:49 AM PST
Updated: Tuesday, March 1, 2005 7:50 PM PST
Sunday, October 31, 2004
What time is it? Time to get a new watch (drum roll please)
Mood:  silly
I just realized that I never wear a watch anymore, and I blame my cell phone for that. Usually whenever I need to know what time it is, I fish in my bag or pocket for my mobile. It's digital and I am always carrying it around anyway. So why bother with a watch? I used to use both but then my battery in my watch died and I found I could go on just fine without one. Plus now I no longer have to worry about removing it before jumping in the shower, which I would always forget to do.

I admit I did have pangs of wrist-watch-loss earlier this week when I was on the subway platform worrying that I was running late. I dreaded the thought of searching for my cell at the bottom of my jam-packed purse. Being lazy, I asked the woman next to me if she had the time and what did she do? She pulled her phone out of her coat pocket and read me the time. I laughed and explained to her that I no longer wear a watch anymore either and that I just use my cell phone to tell time. We both briefly marveled over the fact until the downtown 2 train arrived.

Posted by Tara at 9:01 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, December 20, 2004 7:45 AM PST
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
People with car alarms in the city should be shot!
You just snuggled under the covers and are looking forward to some sleep when--BEEP BEEP BLAH BLAH, ERR ERR WOO WOO--a car alarm goes off. Although curses are said, we still for some reason accept that this is a way of life in the city and silently hope that whoever owns the car is nearby and will turn the noise pollution off.

I never think, oh no someone's car is being stolen. No, I don't even look out the window, I just think of my own annoyance due to the intrusion. So do car alarms even work? In a city where people don't even make eye contact, do we really expect someone to run out and save a strangers vehicle just because they hear a car alarm blaring in the distance? I think not, especially not in the city.

Plus I've seen alarms go off for stupid reasons, like when people walk too close to a Bentley and not because they were trying to steal it or even touch it. I've also seen people mistakenly hit car doors with their huge purses, causing bells to ring for no real purpose. My Honda came with an alarm system but we turned it off. My family bought the car in `91 and it has not been stolen.


Posted by Tara at 9:17 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, November 23, 2004 8:23 AM PST

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