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About Us

Cyber News & Reviews is a monthly column from Software Exchange LLC by Howard Berenbon (LLC Member/Manager), developed to offer information on some of the best computer products available covering business, education and entertainment software and hardware. Articles are archived beginning with December 1995.

New York City 2011 - The Book of Mormon, Cate Blanchett, and those Handicap Unfriendly Curb Cuts

Our yearly trip to New York City (11 hour drive from Detroit) was another successful visit with lots of new sights plus some unexpected pleasures:  we got into The Book of Mormon though it was sold out through June, and had a great dinner after at Junior’s.  We also met the actor Cate Blanchett (unknowingly) who was alone sitting next to my wife, Leah, in orchestra row R. I was in the next row with my daughter Sarah (my daughter Becky won a box seat in the lottery drawing prior to the show, and was very excited). We talked to Cate a bit before the show, and she was very friendly.

becky at book of mormon
Becky won a box seat at The Book of Mormon that night-April 5th

I have to say that Cate was beautiful and charming, and had this very cute laugh.  Leah talked with her a bit during intermission. She said she was an actor and owned a production company in Australia, but Leah never asked her name.  Cate was studying a script before the show began, and we were curious, but we didn’t ask (okay, I tried reading it upside down, but the light was dim, and I can't read upside down).  It wasn’t really our business; and we were all excited to see The Book of Mormon, though seeing a celebrity or two is fun,  and we’ve seen a few.  Back in the hotel room we discovered who she was (using Becky’s Apple iPod touch), and I decided she must have been going over her lines for the upcoming Hobbit movie (The Lord of the Rings was one of my favorite movies. Can't wait for The Hobbit). By the way, Hobbits appeared on stage that night.

The show was outstanding, though crude and obscene (as expected from Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park), but also hilarious and heartwarming with some catchy tunes reminiscent of Avenue Q  (expected from Robert Lopez) without puppets (well maybe a few—I recall there was the South Park Devil).

book of mormon
After the show at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre

We really had our hearts set on seeing The Book of Mormon. Determined to get 4 seats, I set out early, about 2 pm, to wait in the cancellation line at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre (49th Street Near 8th Ave) with the hope that 4 seats would become available, but I wasn’t too optimistic considering it was a sold out hit.  Since Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, had raved about it, I knew it was going to be difficult.  I was first in line, and they said at the box office I had a very good chance to get in that night.   At 5 pm after the lottery drawing, I was so excited to find they had 3 three tickets for us, and Becky had won that box seat, so we were all in. We almost had a minor incident, though, because when Becky's name was called, she let go of the wheelchair and Leah headed down an incline toward the person drawing the tickets. Luckly, I noticed and grabbed it before it hit anyone. It would have been embarrassing.

Handicap Unfriendly Curb Cuts - Handicapped Accessible Problems in New York City

Now to the curb cut problem in New York City, and it's serious.  In the summer of 2007 we rented a wheelchair to push my wife around the city because her multiple sclerosis had affected her ability to walk distances.  At that time, were surprised to find problems pushing the wheelchair up from the street to the curbs because most of the curb cuts weren’t level with the street having gaps of an inch or more, and some were missing.  At least two times she almost fell out of the wheelchair because were were stopped by the gaps. My daughter Becky wrote Mayor Bloomberg and he promptly replied saying he was aware of the problem and was working on it (click to see the letter).  This year, we did see some improvements, but we were disappointed to find most of the curb cuts were still misaligned.  Some were so bad we had to lift the front of the wheelchair to get up on the curb.  This is a very serious problem that New York City has to fix. If you're handicapped, you should be able to get around, and it should be number one priority to fix the curbs. We love New York City, but the streets are not very handicap accessible and they really need a major overhaul.  It made walking a lot more difficult, especially on Broadway in the Theater district where it’s very crowded. Howard Berenbon

howard

Howard Berenbon is a stay-at-home dad, caring for his two daughters, Sarah and Becky.  He's also an electrical engineer, freelance writer and author of several books on BASIC computer programs published by Howard W. Sams. His articles have appeared in many of the popular parenting publications and computer magazines.

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Sarah at 3, (now  23 years old).

New York City, February 17, 2004

taxi

new york city times square

rent

July 31, 2007. It was amazing seeing Rent, a very moving and uplifting show, with the two original cast members, Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp.

New York City 2009

Breakfast at Barney Greengrass (The Sturgeon King) in Midtown Manhattan, August 2009

barney greengrass new york

Back to Barney Greengrass on April 5, 2011 - more great smoked fish!

book of moron after show

Outside the Eugene O'Neill Theatre after The Book of Mormon

curry soup

The incredible curry soup at Mee Noodle Shop, 53rd St at 9th Ave.

chelsea market

At Chelsea Market

wicked

At the Gershwin Theatre for Wicked

union square

At Union Square

Duane Jackson

Wednesday morning I met Duane Jackson selling purses and scarfs in Times Square. He's a real American hero who helped discover a bomb on May 1, 2010, averting a catastrophe. He alerted the New York City police to a parked SUV, with engine running and no one inside, near the Marriett on 45th Street close to Broadway. Here's a short video I recorded. Click for the Video on YouTube.

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