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Jul 31, 2023·edited Jul 31, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

Anne, I was first completely fascinated with why on earth anyone, even you, would be interested in spending ANY time on Avenue U. I ran away from these neighborhoods in 1994 and swore never to return, for every reason you seemed to actually enjoy. The only cool thing to have ever landed on Avenue U was Groove Records waaaaaaay back in the day. It was one of NYC's very first shops/labels dedicated to techno, run by a bunch of now-legendary Brooklyn DJs. I don't know how South Brooklyn managed to produce anything that cool, but yea it had an insane techno scene in the early 90s.

But, that fascination quickly gave way to my fascination with the name "CMOLOVAR". It made absolutely no sense, yet just couldn't be that non-sensical, so I had to Google the storefront. Of course you were the only actual English speaker! They named that joint in a combination of Cyrillic and Roman letters that anyone other than for whom the place is intended would find unpronounceable. It is meant to read "Stolovaya" and translates into something like "Eatery".

PS: USSR didn't have Sweet’N Lo, so your Soviet vibe was a bit off-base. And to your question of: "Is this really like the food they would have eaten in the Soviet Union?" — NO! NO! NO! No one sane in the Soviet Union ate at restaurants unless it was some posh celebration-type joint where you paid them off well to put real food on the table. Restaurant food was considered inedible for most people used to home-cooking. I remember maybe 2 or 3 times eating out as a kid when we were traveling and had no choice.

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Maria you are the best! I have been wondering what was up with the restaurant name and for reasons that are now clear, wasn't able to figure it out with a Google search. So basically the full name is "Authentic Soviet Cuisine Restaurant"?

Also very interesting to learn that restaurants weren't really a big thing in the Soviet Union.

All of this, of course, just makes the Avenue U place more fascinating to me. I'm going back for sure. :)

Groove Records must be long gone. Hard to imagine something like that on Ave. U now, but it sounds like it was a strange fit in the early 90s too!

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There is a long-surviving cult record store in the Twin Cities which has never left. It is in an Avenue U type of neighborhood. It is named The Electric Fetus.

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Jul 31, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

Try Kings Highway next 😂

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Jul 31, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

It was, but unsurprisingly, Brooklyn made for a pretty great place for illegal parties back then, so it kinda makes sense. Except that most of this city was a pretty good place for illegal parties back then. They did move to Manhattan eventually. And "Electric Fetus".. LOL what a name!

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Their website and the feel of the store fits comfortably into the 1990s https://electricfetus.com/

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Oppenheimer was a family movie for me. Both my mother and my father worked for the Manhattan Project, and my home life was filled with visits from and to Manhattan Project sites and people. George Kistiakowsky appeared in the film, and the night Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated, Kistiakowski was at our house for dinner. My heart was in my mouth for the entire three hours, but my husband and I are opera nerds. Three hours is NOTHING. We love Wagner, and Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg is 5 1/2 hours, which FLIES by.

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Zoiks I can see, given your history, why Oppenheimer would be a completely different experience for you Therry.

And yes, opera watching would be good training for Oppenheimer. To be fair, I have trouble watching three hours of anything. Although I did get through Einstein on the Beach at BAM which was both very long AND an opera and it was some of the most fun 3-4 hours I can remember.

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Jul 31, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

EOTB is the most unoperaiest of operas and it was the best night of your/our lives! You forgot to mention that Philip Glass was sitting in our row, cool as can be. Alternate name for the opera: Philip Glass in Our Row.

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LOL who needs to name-row-drop when LISA is in town? That WAS a great night. Thank you for getting me to go LISA!

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Jul 31, 2023·edited Jul 31, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

This confirms that a person needs to have an old-money name like "Therry Neilson-Steinhardt" in order to get an invite to the best parties and/or the Manhattan Project; "Are those the Neilson-Steinhardt's who financed Lindbergh's TransAtlantic flight?" "No Jeeves! These are the Avenue U, Neilson-Steinhardt's, who own "Debutante U."

Joe Lunchbox loves Wagner paint sprayers and he won tickets to go see Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg, but he can't attend because it's on the same day that Joey Chestnut is going to attempt to eat 40 hot dogs in 30 minutes at Coney Island.

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OMG I am so interested in your story TMS. The Manhattan Project and the physics work in the prior 30 years is a remarkable story. Having been to many of the sites for work and interest is just remarkable. I would love to talk or interview you someday. Have you read "The Girls of Atomic City". It was universally enjoyed in my book club. It is all about Oak Ridge Tennessee with a great profile of Leslie Groves.

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Jul 31, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

The Russian signs on the wall, roughly:

- Bringing in and drinking alcoholic spirits is strictly prohibited

- A cafe is a treasure. No littering. Take bread in moderation.

- Do not dig into the salt with eggs or fingers. (It's better in Russian, eggs and fingers rhyme. )

- BREAD -- OUR WEALTH

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Oh wow Inky, thank you for translating! I should have guessed they were admonitions of one sort or another (except the last). I could use signs like these in my apartment!

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We did Mission: Barbenheimer. Three movies, three days, three reviews.

Mission Impossible - Think less, enjoy it more. Also, Tom Cruise really does those stunts. Come for the popcorn, stay for the popcorn.

Barbie - Loved it, laughed, thought a little. But way too much Ken.

Oppenheimer - I wasn’t expecting to enjoy a film about a scientist’s attempt to renew his security clearance, but I did. Not sure why you need 70mm IMAX when it’s mostly people talking though. Also, this would’ve been way more interesting if it had been written by Aaron Sorkin.

Big picture: (most) people like going to the movies. Hollywood has been trying to dissuade them from doing so for more than a decade, but there’s a lesson in this recent bout of movie mania. Will Hollywood moguls learn that lesson? Probably not.

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Yes, Oppenheimer really WAS about the security clearance thing and even more so about the cabinet confirmation thing. Such a curious POV to adopt for the movie.

You know I never saw a single episode of Game of Thrones or more recently Succession and it's felt surprisingly good, for once, to be in on the pop culture discussion. I have a new thing I can chat about with my neighbors in my apartment building elevator. I think we need more things like this that we can all share experience together that aren't say, the pandemic. So maybe the moguls will keep it up but I doubt it as I don't think anyone could have planned it.

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Anne! Perhaps an NYC idea. One of the key elements of the Manhattan Project which I have learned about in my history book club is the KEY ROLE of a non-descript warehouse in Staten Island. There is an ever so brief reference to it in the movie. This should be enough to cause you to feverishly Google search for 3 minutes. Iif you don't want to meander, look up Edward Sengier -- a famous person few people have heard of

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Oh wow Mr. Dolan. Found this on Reddit: "TIL a Belgian businessman was instrumental to the Manhattan Project's success. Realizing uranium's importance, he shipped 1,200 tons of it to Staten Island. When Lieutenant Colonel Nichols contacted him, he simply responded: "You can have the ore now. It is in New York. I was waiting for your visit."

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I have a Sengier post in the can for the future. We read a great book about the Belgian Congo where the uranium was mined. I almost wrote about him when I wrote about Norman Borlaug instead in the post https://markdolan.substack.com/p/the-norman-conquest. There is a brief moment in the movie "Oppenheimer" when a smuggled Jewish scientist mentions the Germans are using heavy water to separate and enrich the Uranium. Those in the know celebrate and the movie quickly moves on. That is mostly because we are focused on using graphite instead of heavy water. There are a multitude of remarkable and insightful decisions made by a group of Jewish scientists which the WHOLE WORLD rejects (including us -- just a little less than everywhere else). The movie is at its difficult core about an inordinate hatred of Jews throughout the world. While we have always been far from perfect here in America, this is really the only melting pot the world has ever fostered. It is our secret sauce. The Manhattan Project at some level is a story of a very small handful of people making a complex choice with no right answer. It likely tips the balance when this world was at its most dangerous.

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The moderator is used in the reaction itself, rather than in the enrichment, no?

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Yes, you are correct. The moderator is used in the creation of the fuel. Depending upon what you "use" governs how hot the process will run. The biggest hazardous waste site in the US is in central Washington state. That is where the Manhattan Project produced the Plutonium that was portrayed in the movie as the small jar of marbles. At Hanford, they were graphite moderating nuclear fission in a plant.

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Loved this Michael. We are procrastinators in comparison to you! We've seen Barbie & Oppenheimer. Hope MI will be great tomorrow. I think Cruise is simply an old soul who is carrying the tradition of the movies as an event on his back. It's marvelous. My take on the other two movies is they are both about the human tendency to stick to their old ways. The striking shadow of anti-Semitism in Oppenheimer never goes away. Barbie is the first of what I hope will be many movies that try to kick in the door of patriarchy. I know you love reading. The book "The Girls of Atomic City" provides a rich profile of Leslie Groves. I am currently looking for a book about the briefly mentioned reference in the movie about Staten Island and its key role in the Manhattan Project. The prime mover just recently died.

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Ken is best left to simply “beaching.”

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What really impresses me, Anne, is the way you get people to open up and talk to you. You have the knack.

Except for Papa Sal of "Expresso U Café" and his three Sopranos.

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I'll have to go back. I KNOW it would have been a great interview! He was all ready to chat until I asked if I could record and then he had second thoughts...

Thanks for checking out the photo page!

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Neighborhood deep dives are my favorite!! Keep them coming, please! :)

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Thank you Rebecca! They are probably among my favorites too, mainly because the reporting is so much fun!

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The Cafe never disappoints. Your disdain for one of the two movies shows in the misspelling in the byline :)

What an eclectic pair of movies! One is the rut of a formula that Hollywood believes makes money (Oppenheimer) while the other is a daring take on a new way of seeing the world (Barbie). I loved both of them. Barbie, like the end of the Civil War, the Civil Rights Act 100 years later will shake us to our roots, make sense universally and then the old guard will set out for the next 50 years to undermine it ever recurring or taking hold. I liked Oppenheimer because it inspired my post of this week. It is a decent vehicle to explain how it so simply explains the world and perhaps angry old men might let go of old beliefs.

Your trip on Avenue U was a blast. It is why, when I return to the Buffalo area, I always want to get a taste of Broadway on the East Side. It is the cauldron of reinvention.

My favorite absurdity "Quality Meats Perfection" -- I love the extra word in the store name to convince the skeptical. I fear their store suffers from the same challenge as the Naked Cowboy (NC) consuming turkey out of a bag in his SUV with muscle milk. Someone needs to be wiping down the meat residue on those pleather chairs and NCs steering wheel.

The Soviet-inspired restaurant needed dour-faced people waiting in line holding a meat ticket.

What you missed??? I would guess there is a business on Avenue U that is selling and repairing fax machines.

Going to see Mission Impossible tomorrow to complete the trifecta (Tuesday cheap day for movies). My post this week was partly inspired by seeing "Oppenheimer". Despite your bad karma, I think it is the very best thing I have ever written (not about Oppenheimer really). Movies nearing 3 hours can be pretentious.

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THANK YOU for pointing out the misspelling! And I'm looking forward to reading your Oppenheimer post that is not about Oppenheimer that is the best thing you have ever written!

A fax machine biz on Ave. U would really complete the picture, wouldn't it. Maybe I missed it!!!

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My post today is titled "Iron Deficiency". I would go to the wall and say this is far and away my favorite post I have ever written. It will go a long way in helping me know if others agree. It is not controversial, it is just fun. I hope you like it.

I wonder how many people when they opt to buy a printer these days pay extra for the fax function. Old crap rarely goes away. I think it was only a few years ago that the telegram stopped being a thing.

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im definitely gonna read your piece now not having seen any of these but real all about them i have my own definite opinions already.....as for Oppie (i aint gonna touch the spelling now, no way!) what i like is that it continues to keep the shadow of this dreadful witch-hunt mentality alive as a warning of our past history and not just the paranoid 50's, but all the way back, a thru-line from the first rebellious pilgrims whom Hawthorne wrote about withdrawing into their commune with natives to the persecution of the Wobblies in early 1900's or even the assassination of Fred Hampton. No doubt it is ham-handed cinema but as necessary as "the Post" or "Lincoln" or hmmmmm "She Said".

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Appleton -- Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I look for inspiration mostly in stuff that interests me. I write about all sorts of weird stuff. I agree about your take and the witch-hunt. Your Pilgrim reference is just right. We are in the season in my history bookclub seeking new stuff to read for next year. It is always weird to me that humans often fight growing the circle but instead push people out of the circle.

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Jul 31, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

Also, as fan of the Richard Feynman book "Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman," I was super offended that he was represented in the movie simply as "guy playing the bongos" in every scene he appeared.

"Well, we aren't going to give him any lines. How will we let the audience know he's there?" I guess it worked though.

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May we all be remembered for our bongo playing.

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Jul 31, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

OMG, I remember this like yesterday: I was in the 4th grade and the nuns were pushing us to take up musical instruments; Strouss Music Center was the premier joint for instruments and lessons. Right in the display case as you walked by was a bunch of musical instruments, but the COOLEST one was a set of bongo drums!! I drooled over them, but alas, I was forced to play a very uncool used clarinet. I blame that for my bad luck with girls for the next 7 years.

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Oh no you and me both JRB! My grandfather had a clarinet, hence I played the clarinet and so did my sister. It's hard to have a good time with a clarinet.

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I think you have this wrong JRB. My boys went to school in a system that generated myriad bands and choirs and the best marching band in the State year after year. They march regularly in the Macy's and Tournament of Roses Parades. When we went to the band concerts the flutes and clarinets were always female-dominated choices. If a 4th grader is on the make already, the clarinet and flute are great choices. For the record, our youngest (who became an economist and now a commodity trader) was always seeking an angle. He chose the baritone because (1) it didn't have to be purchased or rented (2) all he had to carry on the bus was his mouthpiece (3) he had witnessed kids struggling to carry their instrument cases on the bus and thought that was a drag.

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Good point Mr. Dolan!

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It is clear yet again why I like Ms.. Kadet & Mr. Bean -- neither is a loud horn :)

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That's hilarious!!

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Yes it was a "drag!!" PMP!

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Jul 31, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

I didn't and won't see Oppenheimer. But Barbie was a florid pink dream with a message that more people need to hear. Unfortunately, the people who need to hear it probably won't be seeing the movie. That said, I hope the message reaches little girls and women and teaches them to stop putting up with all the shit society expects of them.

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Jul 31, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

"Do you have any gadgets?" I asked. That's when he lost it. "I don't know what gadgets you're talking about! I don't know why what they call it! I can't answer something I don't know!"

Just an hilarious exchange!! Customers say that the atmosphere at the shop changed when Vivian left; she LOVED talking about gadgets!! Maybe the proprietor thought you were asking about “marital aids” type gadgets??

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Ahhhhhhh! Could be! Haha!

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And to bring it back to your FAVORITE MOVIE ANNE there is a moment in Oppenheimer when someone says bomb and they are QUICKLY corrected to say gadget. At the labs in Oak Ridge & Hanford the word bomb was not allowed!

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Are you making this up? I'd be so happy if it were true. How did I miss?

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No Anne, it is true. It was one of my favorite little moments in the movie. I think that Nolan in the movie intentionally moved past small but amazingly significant moments (like the warehouse in Staten Island). Nolan chose to make small and subtle references in the movie to the greater story. I guess I was just one of the nerds who got the joke. "The Girls of Atomic City" was an exceptional book. Once the commitment to building Oak Ridge TN began, a secret city of eventually 75000 was constructed. It was largely kept secret during the war. The large jar of marbles in the movie referred to that facility and their manufacture of weapons-grade Uranium.That was the sole purpose of Oak Ridge. The scale and level of secrecy maintained was inconceivable. That book provides a good profile of Leslie Groves, the military leader of the program at all the facilities including Los Alamos. During my work career I made some trips to Hanford, WA (center of state). It is now just referred to as the most challenging waste site in the United States. That was the place where the small jar of marbles (the plutonium was produced) for the Nagasaki gadget. As a NYC lover, you will enjoy. By the end of the war, Oak Ridge TN was consuming more electricity than the full city of New York. It was an impossible scale effort.

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Loved the avenue U review. I last visited for a bowl of borscht on the day after Russia invaded Ukraine. Time for my next visit. I remember the fruit shops as cornucopias of summer goodness

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I went to Russia a few years ago and looked forward to having some Russian borsch. Unfortunately for me, authentic Russian borscht is a sour soup, made with meat stock, vegetables and seasonings and served warm. The borscht I was expecting was cold, red beet borscht served with a dollop of sour cream and a boiled potato.

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Yes the cold red beet thing is what I would consider borsch! I'll have to see if the soup served at the place on Avenue U is the real deal.

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Jul 31, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

They are both authentic. And both borscht. You just have to ask if it’s the hot version or the cold one. The default if not specific will usually be hot.

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Thanks Len! Yes, the produce shops on Ave. U are amazing and such great deals!

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Aug 1, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

Great article (as always). Can someone tell me what the object is on the bottom left of the very top photo? A red globe thingy with satellites on it. I'm intrigued.

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Dang! Good question Will! I'm going back to the original photo and zooming in now...

Ok, here is what I can tell you. There is a little price sticker on it that says $3.99. This is clearly from a previous sale, not the Goodwill price sticker. The little blue decals are various kinds of satellites and they seem to be labeled by their names in a tiny white font although I can't quite make the names out. Zooming in on other aspects I am guessing the orb swivels on its base and that you can also untwist it in the center so that it opens into two pieces. Is there anything inside? It's hard to tell if the curvy shapes are on the surface or something lurking within.

If I happen by the Goodwill anytime soon I will stop in to see if it's still there, Will and figure out what it is!

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Aug 1, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

Thanks. Maybe it's a globe of Mars and salad spinner?

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Even if it isn't, it SHOULD be!

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Because I LOVE the range of human behavior, I hope that someday soon in Cafe Anne you will provide another photo of your coffee table and the globe will be on it.

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Thanks for asking Will. I am sure this would have driven me crazy if you did not ask. I hope it turns out to be a salad spinner.

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Jul 31, 2023·edited Jul 31, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

Pass 2 -- Sometimes Cafe Anne is a sensory overload -- this was packed with goodness.

(1) WTH is that red globe in the Goodwill store

(2) Filipino dude with the bong in a display case is your best picture yet

(3) The Compact Disc Shoppe -- still with the old neon advertising cassettes -- nice

(4) Sparkle on U -- still requires masks -- the Avenue where time stood still

(5) What NEVER CHANGES -- Anne knows where the good donuts are (Shaikhs)

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Mr. Dolan!

1) You are now the second person to ask about that red globe. I can't believe how sharp-eyed you people are. Please see my reply to Will Cruttenden, which should be lurking within comments from this one.

2) Thank you! I like that photo too. I took several shots before I suggested he take a puff and got the one I used.

3) You would love Compact Disc Shoppe. So many handmade signs. So much magic marker!

4) There are still a LOT of shops in Brooklyn with mask required signs. But it's only because they forgot to take the sign down. I am not making this up!

5) That's right. But I have to admit, it was Aharon who introduced me to those donuts (and to Ave. U in in general!)

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Aug 1, 2023·edited Aug 1, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

Someday we need a proof of life shot of you and Aharon together holding a newspaper (or a donut). He has become a mythic figure.

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Jul 31, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

"I don't understand it, if that's what you mean," he said. "I don't understand what the fascination is with these kids, with vinyl. I think they like watching things go round and round. Keeps them busy!"

I grew up with vinyl; it's cool in a nostalgic way, but it was a PIA in real time. Scratches, skips, and if you had enough money for a turntable and not just a record-player, adjusting the damn thing constantly. The ONLY good thing was that you got to say, "I'll just put something on the turntable," to set the mood if you were fortunate enough to fool a young lady into coming up to your dorm room; kind of made it seem like you were Hugh Hefner (a laughable image now).

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Mr. Goldstein at the CD shop said none of the kids actually have a record player, they just like to have the object in their possession.

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Jul 31, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

Wow! That's enlightening!

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Aug 1, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

I miss the needle scratches, RIIIIPP, also and those very subtle clicks in between songs, and at the end of the record...

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Anne, if you loved Einstein on the Beach, you have got to see Lady Macbeth of Mtensk! Shostakovich, and you would eat it with a spoon! Check out one of the Met Live in HD shows in Lincoln Center , and we'll have you sitting in the Family 'Circle in no time!

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Jul 31, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

https://www.google.com/search?q=Authentic+Soviet+Cuisine+Restaurant+avennue+u&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS938US938&oq=Authentic+Soviet+Cuisine+Restaurant+avennue+u&gs_lcrp=EgZjaHJvbWUyBggAEEUYOTIJCAEQIRgKGKABMgkIAhAhGAoYoAEyCQgDECEYChirAjIJCAQQIRgKGKsC0gEIMzAyN2owajeoAgCwAgA&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#rlimm=4284375755257114608

You'll see, hilariously enough, two entries there. Stolovaya is the actual name of the place, and yea it's pretty tongue-in-cheek. The Google menu pic (the one advertising "Russian Style Ravioli") says at the top: The Ministry of Public Nutrition of the Brooklyn region of the city of New York welcomes you at our Eatery LOL.

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Oh I love this! And that is for SURE not the menu they gave me.

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