Yet More News on my Saturday Night Excitement

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From the New York Post’s 1/20/04 edition:

January 20, 2004 — A 27-year-old man who was shot in a wild Chinatown gun battle that left one man dead told cops yesterday he was an innocent bystander who got caught in the crossfire. Chauan-Min Zhang, who took a bullet in the back, was recuperating at Bellevue Hospital.

Investigators are trying to determine a motive for the three-way shootout. Chauan-Min told cops that he was inside the Super Taste House Restaurant on Division Street Saturday night when two gunmen – one with an AK-47 assault rifle, the other with a .45-caliber revolver – ambushed another man outside the eatery.

The gunmen’s intended victim, while under a hail of bullets, fired back with his .38-caliber revolver, police said. The victim, who remains unidentified, died a short time later.

Larry Celona

Every time I read another article I learn that more guns and more bullets were fired – I think I’m going to stop reading the news on this one…


Rabbi offers prayer for Web porn surfers

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From the Offbeat News section of the Technology area of CNN.com:

JERUSALEM, Israel (Reuters) –An Israeli rabbi has composed a prayer to help devout Jews overcome guilt after visiting porn sites while browsing the Internet.

“Please God, help me cleanse the computer of viruses and evil photographs that disturb and ruin my work …, so that I shall be able to cleanse myself,” reads the benediction by Shlomo Eliahu, chief rabbi in the northern town of Safed.

Eliahu, quoted by Israel’s largest daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, said he had responded to a deluge of queries from Orthodox Jews worried that the lure of Internet sex sites was putting family relationships at risk.

The rabbi recommends that Jews recite the prayer when they log on to the Internet or even program it to flash up on their computer screens so they are spiritually covered whether they enter a porn site intentionally or by mistake.


“Really” Funny Commercials

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If you haven’t gotten this link yet from a friend then:

a) your friends don’t like you

b) you are missing out big time.

The page contains links to copies of every Real Men of Genius and Real American Heroes Bud Lite commercial that has aired on TV and radio. You try NOT to laugh but you can’t, they are just too damn funny! If you are having a bad day, just listen to “Mr. Deli Meat Slicer” – – – who cuts the cheese? HE DOES!


Karl Rove Shits Brick

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I don’t have much time to blog right now but I must say…

Go Kerry! It’s your birthday! You gonna party like it’s your birthday!

I like Kerry, Clark, and Edwards, and I couldn’t ask for a better outcome out of Iowa. I’ve seen Kerry speak (college in Boston) and he is always thorough and intelligent in his answers; he has strong policy beliefs in line with my own, and articulates them in a thorough and not-just-promises way – this is a problem because he cannot speak in sound bytes, and it has always handicapped him. Maybe he won because he lost his voice on Sunday and so couldn’t really speak towards the end (he did).

I’d love to be home right now to see how the “liberal” media is covering this. News items like “How can such a loser as Kerry win Iowa? Democrats must really be screwed” on MSNBC and “A fair and balanced view on why we shouldn’t even bother to have the Democratic primaries” on Fox News. In Europe the coverage of the US primaries it’s so even-handed and thorough it’s almost sickening, because I wonder why can’t we be that way?

I think the way it may pan out is that Dean energizes the “war-Bush-lier-hate-Bush-kill-Bush” crowd enough to get out and vote for someone who in the end isn’t him. If he can get in the administration’s face loud enough and hard enough and then get out of the way for someone who wouldn’t be as easy as target for Karl Rove as himself, that would be perfect. Almost like a decoy. Let’s just hope that if he continues to show weakly once it comes to the voting booth that Dean has the good sense to pony up his money and support for Kerry, Edwards, or Clark, whomever the case is.


More “Duck-Duck” News

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Here is more news about what when down in Chinatown this past Saturday night. This one is from the New York Daily News:

Chinatown barrage stumps cops

Officer with the NYPD’s crime scene unit stands amid 45 shell casings marked at the scene of a fatal shooting on Division St. in Chinatown Saturday.

Police are eying bus company rivalry or gambling as the possible motives in the wild Chinatown machine-gun shootout that killed one man and wounded a second, sources said yesterday.

More than 40 shots ripped through Division St. near Market St. late Saturday after a dispute in a restaurant spilled outside.

An unidentified man in his 30s died after being shot in the chest and body about 10:45 p.m.

A 27-year-old man, who was not identified by police, survived multiple gunshots and is in critical but stable condition at Bellevue Hospital.

His girlfriend, a ticket agent for a Chinatown bus company, drove the wrong way down Elizabeth St. to get him to the Fifth Precinct, sources said. She carried the bleeding man into the station house.

Her car, which she left in the street, blocked the route of an ambulance trying to reach the second victim, who died an hour later at NYU Downtown Hospital, sources said.

Police said they are investigating the war between competing Chinatown coach companies and gambling as possible motives.

“We have no witnesses, no videotape and no cooperation. Nobody’s talking,” said a law enforcement source. “We really don’t know what happened yet, but a lot of bullets were flying.”

Cops said they recovered a .38-caliber handgun and 45 shell casings, 34 of them from a machine gun, five from a .38-caliber gun and six from a .45-caliber gun.

Anyone with information is asked to call (800) 577-TIPS or the Fifth Precinct at (212) 334-0742

I love the part how the girlfriend drives down the street the wrong way to get her bleeding gangster boyfriend to the hospital which saves his life while blocking the ambulance that was going to the other guy the boyfriend was with. I’m wondering about whether or not the boyfriend was actually trying to kill the other guy. If so, then that girlfriend hit the daily double because she basically finished off the other guy by blocking ambulance access to him. There is no mention of whether or not the girlfriend is being charged with any crime so I’m guessing that they he was a fellow and not rival gang member, or maybe an innocent bystander. Another reason I’m guessing that he wasn’t the target of the boyfriend is based on the what the New York Times had to say:

Man Is Killed in a Shooting in Chinatown
Published: January 19, 2004

One man was shot dead and another wounded on a Chinatown street on Saturday night, the police said yesterday.

The two victims were standing on the sidewalk near 49 Division Street about 10:45 p.m. when one or more people opened fire at them. A 30-year-old man was shot in the chest and taken to New York University Downtown Hospital, where he was pronounced dead an hour later, the police said. They did not release his name.

The other victim, 27, was shot twice – once in the left shoulder and once in the stomach. He showed up at the Fifth Precinct station house, two blocks from the shooting scene, a few minutes later, the police said. That victim, who was also not named by the police, was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center, where he was in critical but stable condition, the police said.

Officers recovered a .38-caliber revolver and 45 casings at the scene of the shooting, which rattled the otherwise calm street, which is lined with dim sum restaurants and electronics shops. Shopkeepers said they worried that the shooting would drive away business.

Just steps from where the shooting occurred, a bullet had blown a hole the size of a grapefruit into the front window of the Golden Bowl Restaurant. A makeshift sign on pink paper covered the hole and announced, in Chinese, that the restaurant was hiring.

The restaurant had closed at 9 p.m. Saturday, but the window remained exposed because the shop’s iron security gate was broken and could not be pulled down over it, employees said. They said they found the hole when they came to work yesterday morning, as well as a stray bullet on the floor, which the police took.

“We didn’t know what happened until we saw the newspapers,” said Paula Zou, 30, a waitress who spoke through a Chinese translator. “We thought it was a thief.”

Throughout the day, people talked about the shooting, which Chinatown’s three main newspapers, The Ming Pao Daily News, The World Journal and The Sing Tao Daily, reported on their front pages.

“It was a big thing for Chinatown,” said Roxanne Lo, a reporter for The Ming Pao Daily News. “People in Chinatown have concerns that gangs are coming back.”

A police spokesman said it was too early to tell whether the shooting was gang related.

This version is somewhat closer to what I remember, though again, things happened very quickly and I was more concerned about getting to safety rather than noticing the finer points of the excitement.


Our "duck" in Chinatown

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Jessie, her parents, two friends of the family (Wanda and Norm) and I went out to dinner in Chinatown last night. The idea was to check out some restaurants to see which would qualify as the place for our pre-wedding dinner. Jessie and I want to do something uniquely New York for the dinner and a Chinese dinner in Chinatown seems/seemed like a great idea. We are getting married on August 8th and the #8, signifying wealth, is a very lucky number to the Chinese so we thought it be a perfect match to dine on Chinese cuisine the night before our wedding. Around 11 PM, after a lovely meal at the Peking Duck House on Mott St., on our way back to the garage where we parked the car, the following happened (from the NY Post):

January 18, 2004 — One man was killed and another injured when a Chinatown street was riddled with bullets in a mystery gun attack late last night. The shots fired on Division Street left dozens of bullet holes in walls and cars, and were so rapid that witnesses suspected they came from an AK-47.

Police investigating the shooting marked at least 41 bullet casings left on the normally quiet street lined with Chinese restaurants and small companies. Cops also found an empty .35- caliber revolver next to one of the victims who was lying on the street in front of elementary school PS 124, according to a source.

Both men were in their 20s and were shot four times. The injured man was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, cops said.

Cops believe the shooting may have been triggered by a dispute between rival gang members, who initially clashed in the Super Taste House Chinese restaurant at 49 Division St. and took their grievance outside, sources said.

Witnesses said they were shocked by the barrage of shots, which lasted about ten seconds and could be heard inside NYPD headquarters at One Police Plaza.

“It sounded like when you get a hammer and bang it on a metal sheet. It was a lot of shots, really fast, its sounded like a Kalashnikov,” said one man who was visiting his girlfriend on Division St. when he heard the gunfire at 11 p.m.

The man, Roma, 22, of Queens, who withheld his last name, said he was going to tell his girlfriend to move off the street.

“I’m gong to tell her to move, right now,” he said. “Never in my life have I seen this.”

No one had been arrested for the shooting last night.

When the gunfire erupted, we were about 30 – 50 yards away from the garage. It took me about 1 – 2 seconds to yell “gunshots!” and I wound up grabbing Jessie and her mother and pushed them in back of a charter bus that was parked on the street to avoid stray bullets. We ducked in back of this bus as Norm stood further up the block, closer to the action, watching the excitement yelling “It’s only firecrackers – calm down!” Her father at first stood as well and finally half-heartedly ducked down behind a knee high brick wall – he was unsure whether the sounds were gunshots or firecrackers but decided better safe than sorry.

When the shooting/firecrackers ended, Wanda (who was born in China and is fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese) began talking to one of the bus drivers and told us “He’s on a walkie-talkie with other people, those were gunshots…those were gunshots!” About 30-45 seconds after that 4 squad cars arrived and 2 ambulances showed up.

Once the police arrived, we began to walk down the block to the garage, very eager to get the car and go home, animatedly arguing about what just happened. Jessie’s hands were visibly shaking. About 10 paces from the garage entrance laid a body on the ground, his head pointing towards the building, his feet in the street, face down like he was doing the superman float in a pool. I told Jessie to look away and keep walking as I watched a cop shake the body. While I saw no blood there was no movement – I assume this is the man that died in the article above. It was then that I knew without a doubt that I was right. It was then that I started to feel shaken.

Once in the car, we animatedly started to discuss what happened – the women yelling at the men (me excluded) about how they reacted – and then it really hit me really how close we came to utter disaster. As we drove out of the garage, crime scene tape was already up to our immediate right and we noticed various car windows had been shot out. We drove off toward our apartment, each jabbering away with his/her version of the story and no one could agree on exactly what happened. Wanda saw a man in a red sweater running away holding his back. Jessie saw a man in a grey sweater with a red adidas logo running away holding his back (it turns out this was most probably the man who is now in the hospital suffering from a gunshot wound to the back). What we did agree on was that we were extremely lucky.

Without embellishment, if we arrived 1 – 2 minutes earlier at the garage I may not be here writing this entry. We would have either been in the middle of the gun battle or driven out of the garage right next to it. Then again, 3 – 4 minutes earlier we would have been in the garage, waiting for the valet to get the car perfectly safe.

Story post-script: Peking Duck House is a perfect place for our pre-wedding dinner. The food is great, the private room is the right size and the price is right. Whether or not we still want to have it in Chinatown is a different story though. Neighborhoods can change very quickly from good to bad – we ate in the good part and parked in the bad part, time will tell whether or not the good outweighs the bad.


Bread Tribeca: Dishes to eat according to NY Times

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I always forget what reviewers recommend to eat when I arrive at a restaurant that I recently read about. It is a feeling that is utterly paralyzing: I know I should eat some dishes and I know I should not eat others. Which are which? That question is usually one which I do not have an answer for. Here is my first stab at never having this problem again:

RECOMMENDED DISHES: Antipasto di mare; fritto misto; fried sardines; grilled vegetables; pansotti with walnut sauce; taglierini with pesto; tagliatelli with lamb; roasted Cornish hen; steamed mussels; zuppa de pesce; pizza margherita; branzino; shrimp with vegetables; sardines and pepperoncini on baguette; fritelle; strawberry soup; cookie plate.