Four Days in São Paulo (A Travel Guide)

“While it may not have the beaches of Rio de Janeiro or the musical and rhythmic vibes of Salvador, Sao Paulo is well worth at least a couple of days of your time when you visit Brazil.”

The largest city in Brazil by population and by size has a tendency to be overlooked by tourists around the world. While it may not have the beaches of Rio de Janeiro or the musical and rhythmic vibes of Salvador, Sao Paulo is well worth at least a couple of days of your time when you visit Brazil. Not only does it have a storied history of immigration from other parts of the world such as Italy and Japan in the 18th and 19th centuries, which does continue to this day, There are also a number of museums and cultural exhibits to check out to learn more about the city’s history and its locals.

However, if you only have four days in Sao Paulo, longer than a layover but shorter than an actual vacation, it is a great place to get away if you want to experience a big and cosmopolitan city on a reasonable budget. It is easy to get around the metropolis due to its affordable metro system ($1) or its bus system, which covers every major neighborhood. As I mentioned, Sao Paulo is probably the most diverse food city in Brazil with cuisines from all over the world being represented. While I am originally from New York, I would rank the Pizza in Sao Paulo up there with my home state and even up there with the pizza I had in Italy. If you have a long weekend, Sao Paulo is the place to go for both cuisine and culture.

Day #1

If you’re flying there from North or Central America to Sao Paulo / Guarulhos International Airport, you’ll likely have the whole morning and afternoon to head to your hotel in the city, drop your bags off, and check-in to your room if possible. You’ll likely be quite hungry but not so jetlagged that you can’t enjoy your first day in Sao Paulo. For a good bite to eat and to check out some of the exotic fruit offerings that Brazil has to offer, let’s start by checking out the Municipal Market (Mercado Municipal) in the center of the city.

The Mercado Municipal is particularly known for its huge mortadella and cheese sandwiches, which can be as big as someone’s face. Along with the ‘bolinho de bacalhau’ (salt cod croquettes), you’ll be in heaven after the long flight. Wash it all down with a nice cold beer in a small glass (chopp) or a nice freshly made juice and you will be feeling ready to go for the rest of your first day. Personally, I recommend going to the Bar do Mane, which is on the bottom floor of the huge market. It might take you some time to find it, but it has the best sandwiches, according to the local gossip and the service was quite quick.

Depending on where you’re staying, it shouldn’t be too long of an Uber or taxi ride over to the famous Museum of Football (Museo do Futebol), open from Tuesdays to Sundays with visiting hours open until 6 PM each day. Tickets are about $4 USD and it is perhaps the coolest museum in the city. Located in the upscale Pacaembu neighborhood inside of the Estadio Municipal Paulo Machado de Carvalho, this unique museum will tell you all you need to know about the history of the beautiful game in Brazil. From the origins of football in Brazil to historical spotlights on Brazilian legends like Pele and Ronaldinho to displaying signed jerseys of Marta, Brazil’s best female football player, the museum is a wealth of football knowledge and information. You will also learn some Portuguese sayings for football rules and regulations as if that wasn’t enough.

The museum is easy to walk through and you only need about two to three hours there to cap off a great afternoon. Most of the museum exhibit is in English, but you may need to rely on your audio guide to hear in English or another language to describe what you are seeing. Capping off a great tour is being able to check out the views from the stands of the actual football stadium that the museum is based in. On a clear day, you can see some of the Sao Paulo skyline and also see some preparations being made if there is a match going on later that night since the stadium is still being used for club-level games now and then.

Now, your mouth may have been watering from my writing about the Pizza in Sao Paulo, so I am going to give you some good advice on where to go for some of the best pizza in the city. It’s not too far away from the football museum so you can head straight there or maybe relax in your hotel in Pinheiros, Jardins, or Villa Olimpia for an hour or so to take a nap, shower, and get ready for the evening.

Now, there are a number of different locations, but Braz Pizzaria is not a typical chain at all. I recommend the location in Higienopolis since it is within walking distance from Pacaembu where the museum is or close to the metro if you don’t need to go back to your hotel first. With a nice ambience, friendly service, and the feeling that you only get when you’re in legitimate pizza joint, Braz is a great place for good portions and delicious pizza.

Beyond just Pizza, I recommend the pepperoni bread to start off with, a bottle of wine (even if you’re dining alone), and the Caprese pizza is a good choice for the main dish. The pizzas are served in a small or large size and if you’re used to eating with your hands in your country, in Brazil, that’s rather a bit of a taboo! Pizza slices are served to the customer by the server and you are encouraged politely to use a fork and a knife to cut and eat the pizza. As a New Yorker who takes pride in my folding and hand-using skills for pizza slices, this was a bit of a shock but as they say ad-libbing, “When in Sao Paulo, do as the Paulistanos do!”

Your 1st day in Sao Paulo was a massive success and maybe you want to head out for the night. I would recommend saving up your energy for tomorrow instead. Pay your pizza bill, head back to the hotel, and rest up. Your next few days will be both busy yet enjoyable and don’t worry, you will have a caipirinha soon, I promise you.

Day #2

You wake up after resting well and having had a full night’s sleep. You’re ready to enjoy your 2nd day in Sao Paulo. Let’s get a good breakfast first at my favorite bakery in Sao Paulo: The Padaria Boulevard (Bakery Boulevard), which is close to the Higienopolis metro station and has a great selection of cakes, pastries, eggs, sausage as well as a great assortment of juices to choose from including acai, my personal favorite of them all. I highly recommend getting a nice sandwich or a hamburger too if it’s later on in the morning or early afternoon.

If you want to instead stay close to Avenida Paulista (Paulista Avenue), which is closer to downtown, a great backup choice for breakfast is the Padaria Bella Paulista, which is a lot bigger place, has a huge selection, and has an unlimited breakfast / brunch option for about 45-50 Brazilian Reais. Also, it’s close to the metro and is great if you have a big group of friends or family with you on your trip. If you’re traveling solo, I think Padaria Boulevard is a good option to choose instead.

Now that you have a full belly, walk it off by going onto the famous Avenida Paulista to walk off some of those calories. This famous avenue is known around the world and is the financial center of Brazil. Most comparable to Times Square in New York City or Istikal Caddesi in Istanbul, Avenida Paulista has numerous shops, restaurants, and museums to tide you over for a few hours. I recommend stopping by a juice bar if you get thirsty, but the 2.5 kilometer walk from end to end is a great way to get accustomed to the hustle and bustle of the Paulista capital.

Some of the best views of Sao Paulo are from the Mirante (Lookout point) at the top of the SESC Paulista building not too far from the Brigadeiro metro station. Going earlier in the afternoon means it’s going to be less crowded at the lookout point but the view of the entire megalopolis at sunset is breathtaking and well worth a try. If you can swing it, you can also have a coffee and a snack there after you’re done taking pictures and checking out the amazing view.

Continuing on with this day’s theme of Paulistano must-sees, there are some great museums on the avenue such as Japan House:A cool cultural center with different exhibits on Japanese architecture, culture, and history; this attraction is a great way to spend some time. You can also browse the bookstore with books on Japanese cooking and culture. I would not forget to drink some Matcha tea at the café and have some Matcha cake too which is delicious. Just a few blocks down the avenue is the Sao Paulo Museum of Art or MASP, which has a renowned collection of portraits, paintings, and impressionist art from around the world.

While this museum is not in the same league as the French Louvre or the British Museum, the collection is formidable, the ambience is quite nice, and you can definitely spend at least two hours here enjoying the art. Another hidden gem of a museum which you can substitute for MASP is the Pinacoteca museum, very close to the heart of the city, and near to Luz metro station. If you are looking to learn more about Brazilian art and culture, the Pinacoteca has the best collection for it in the whole city. You can also spend a few hours there without any issue.

With the sun starting to go down, it’s time to unwind a bit while still enjoying the early evening. It’s time for you, dear traveler, to have a nice caipirinha and enjoy some of Sao Paulo’s famous street murals. The Beco do Batman (Batman’s Alley) is a really cool area in the neighborhood of Vila Madalena where local street artists create amazing building-sized urban art murals reflecting on current events, politics, sports and even comic books. Strolling down these streets with a caipirinha in hand or even at an outdoors bar with deck chairs is a nice way to wind down your day after a lot of sightseeing.

Before you head back to your accommodation, it’s dinner time. Let’s keep it light after a big breakfast but I am going to suggest the Z Delicatessen just a few blocks away from the street murals. Owing its existence to both eclectic hipster tastes in Jewish food and the city’s immigration history with the Jewish community in Sao Paulo being among the largest in all of Brazil and South America, this deli’s pastrami fries are exquisite, and the deli sandwiches are well worth the menu price. I would recommend taking an Uber or a taxi back to end the night because you’ve earned after walking a number of kilometers throughout your 2nd day.

Day #3

Hopefully, you were able to get a good night’s rest after a long Day 2 in Sampa. I am going to take it easy on you in Day 3 and you’re also going to eat well. Let’s start the day off by heading to the Japanese district of Liberdade, my favorite neighborhood in all of Sao Paulo. There is an excellent outdoor food market as well as crafts fair going on each Saturday so if you can make it here on Day 3 and it’s a Saturday, please go to Liberdade. You can enjoy different foods like Yakisoba (stir fry noodles), Nikuman (steamed pork buns), or some fried pastels from one of the many food stands.

This neighborhood buzzes on the weekend and it’s a lot of fun to walk around, perhaps buy a souvenir, or even snap a few photos. The vendors are friendly and not too pushy. You’ll enjoy going to some of the Japanese or Asian grocery stores as well to check out some of the imported products and food stuffs for sale. Liberdade has its own metro stop on the blue line and is not too far from the center of the city.

Having gotten your breakfast on the go and maybe having bought a gift for your loved one, it’s time to spend a few hours at the biggest park in Sao Paulo: Parque Ibirapuera. With stunning sightlines, nice picnic areas, and quite a few museums, Ibirapuera is an oasis of calm in a hectic city. While not very accessible by metro, a quick uber or taxi ride from Liberdade makes it a pretty reasonable trip pricewise.

I would walk around, snap some photos, maybe check out the Museum Afro Brazil or the Planetario do Ibirapuera. You can’t go wrong with buying a coconut water from a nice vendor and getting some exercise in by walking through the huge park. If you have a soccer ball with you, kick it around. I also recommend bringing a towel or a blanket if you have one and catching some sun as well while you think about your next stop. Personally, I like to go at an easy pace when I travel for four days so it’s good to have a day in the park where you’re not rushing around. A park is also a great place to maybe meet some locals, join a soccer game, or even do some reading.

Now, you’ve definitely worked up an appetite for dinner and it’s Saturday night, do you know how lucky you are? I hope you are ready because it’s time for Feijoada. The Brazilian national food dish is mouth-watering, scrumptious, and so delightful. I miss it a lot now that I am away from Brazil. It is prepared around the Portuguese-speaking world, but the Brazilians go all out in preparing it. Primarily, it is a stew of black beans with beef and pork, but you are also adding rice, fried kale (couve), along with some sweet plantains (bananas).

To cleanse your palate, the restaurant will also offer you some orange slices to help with the digestion. It is an amazing dish and I personally like the Star City Restaurant in Santa Cecilia, which has been serving feijoada and other dishes from the region of Minas Gerais since 1953. There are dozens of options to choose from for having Feijoada on a weekend in Sao Paulo, so it depends on how far or close you want to go. I do recommend having it before you leave Sao Paulo or even Brazil in general. I can definitely say you have not experienced Brazil until you have eaten feijoada once or even twice if you’re a big eater like I am.

Before we close out Day 3, I want to mention a wild card option before you head back to the hotel. If you’re visiting in-season, please do consider checking out a Brazilian football match as Sao Paulo is host to three teams competing in the national league. Whether it is Corinthians, Sao Paulo FC, or Palmeiras, you cannot go wrong with buying a ticket for yourself to check out an amazing atmosphere and seeing some amazing football players show off their skills. If you have had too much Feijoada though, it may be best to watch a game that night at a local bar where you can have another caipirinha or a cold bottle of beer. Saude! (Cheers!)

Day 4

Your trip to Sao Paulo is coming to an end today but you can still make the most of your 12 hours in the city before your flight leaves in the mid-afternoon or in the evening. I highly recommend checking out one of the best coffee shops in the city: Coffee Lab, which sources its coffee from all over Brazil and whose pastries and desserts are also phenomenal. Whether you are a fan of drip coffee or of a nice cold Frappuccino, Coffee Lab has some of the best coffee and you can even take some home with you as they do sell their coffee beans in bags where you can see both the highlighted aroma of the coffee itself, and where in Brazil the coffee beans came from.

If you are still craving a last-minute museum, I would recommend the Museum of Japanese Immigration, which is also in Liberdade and only takes about two hours to get through and is highly educational. Continuing with museum options about immigration, though I never made it there, I have heard good things about the Museum of Immigration of the State of Sao Paulo to get a full overview of the history of immigration in the city and the state. Millions of immigrants have made Sao Paulo their home and the museum does a good job of highlighting all of the different groups who came over and for what reasons.

Now, before you head off to Guarulhos, if you’re still hungry and prefer a full meal than the airport food court or the airplane food later on, I seriously recommend taking a taxi for a late afternoon visit to the churrascaria. Unlimited meats, an open salad and pasta bar, and dessert offerings, what’s there not to like? Similar to feijoada places in Brazil, churrascarias can be found all over Sao Paulo but I am definitely going to recommend Angelica Grill in Higienopolis, which is open not just at night but in afternoon too, which is perfect before you head on your flight. Don’t be afraid of the chicken hearts, go for the picanha piece of beef, and remember to not overdo it at the salad bar and it will be a great send off for an amazing four days in Sao Paulo!

Remember to follow these recommendations as you see fit but a lot of these places are ones that I grew fond of during my time in Sao Paulo. I hope that your visit brings you much enjoyment and joy as a tourist and a traveler. Boa sorte! (Good luck!) and Aproveite! (Enjoy!)

Fort McHenry National Monument

Camera: iPhone 12

Location: Fort McHenry National Monument; Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Boat Ride to Isla Taboga

Camera: iPhone 12

Location: Taboga Island, Panama

Parque Nacional Soberanía

Camera: iPhone 12

Location: Soberania National Park; Las Cumbres, Panama

The Panama Canal

Camera: iPhone 12

Location: The Panama Canal – Historic Locks and Visitor Center; Panama City, Panama

‘A Serious Man’ – Film Review and Analysis

“Above all else, it is a story of a ‘serious’ man who wants to be taken seriously and seems unable to be granted that not only from his teenage children but also from his estranged wife and it seems from religious leaders in his suburban Jewish community.”

Man can be tested again and again but how exactly he deals with life’s challenges and his overall resolve and mettle will be seen as the measure of his true character. If I had to sum up the excellent movie, ‘A Serious Man’, it is a dark comedy but also a human drama regarding fate, fortune, and whether the role of a higher being can ultimately affect our destiny. Above all else, it is a story of a ‘serious’ man who wants to be taken seriously and seems unable to be granted that not only from his teenage children but also from his estranged wife and it seems from religious leaders in his suburban Jewish community.

‘A Serious Man’ (2009) is an excellent modern-day film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, who I would imagine have had a similar childhood to the lead character of Larry Gopnik (played by Michael Stuhlbarg), which is the inspiration for this adapted screenplay, which is brilliantly written and relatable even if you’re not of the Jewish faith. The Coen Brothers both were raised and grew up as Jews in 1960s – 1970s Minnesota near the Twin Cities. It is likely they had to deal with being religious minorities in a mostly goyim (non-Jewish state) as well as with the growing counterculture and changing attitudes towards parental authority, sex, style, personal responsibility, and other societal upheavals including regarding race, gender, and politics.

While the Coen Brothers have had successful movies before and have won Academy Awards for movies such as ‘No Country for Old Men’, this film, ‘A Serious Man’ is quite unique given that it combines both comedic and dramatic elements, usually in the same scene. Overall, it triumphs as a film in doing that and is also laugh-out-loud funny and additionally heart-wrenchingly sad and melancholic. This film was universally praised and as I re-watched the film again after many years, it stands as one of the best films of the 2000s. Not only is the screenplay and writing engaging and insightful but also the acting is top notch thanks to the hard work of Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Fred Melamed, among others in the film.

When you consider the main themes of ‘A Serious Man’, you think of several of them that deal with human nature such as upholding your morality under stress, taking care of those closest to you, dealing with adversity and unforeseen hurdles, and how to deal with questions of faith when you feel that you have been abandoned. As I mentioned earlier on, Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) wants to be taken seriously given the way he has lived his life and he has strived to do so with his academic and professional accomplishments. Sadly though, he is not only not able to get as much success with his professional pursuits, but he also struggles to hold his personal life together.

Despite how ‘serious’ of a man Larry thinks he is, those in his life can’t help but not take him seriously or choose not to. Instead of reassessing his actions and trying to make some behavioral changes or work on any personal defects he may has in addressing his challenges, Larry instead challenges his faith in God and wonders if the Rabbis of his synagogue will have the answers to the questions God has challenged Larry with.

As the film starts out, Larry appears to be relatively successful as a Physics professor waiting to be tenured. He teaches his classes, does research (albeit has not published anything), and enjoys the work he does. Larry is married with two teenage children and a modest house in the suburbs. Him and his family want for nothing, and it looks like he has everything you could want out of life on the surface.

As appearances can be deceiving, the film breaks down how one man’s life can be turned upside down and inferring what events beyond Larry’s control could have tipped his fortune to be negative, as in a curse, years or centuries ago. It is a series of events that tend to turn Larry’s life upside down even when he has not done anything wrong. A Korean student in his Physics class tries to bribe Larry to get a better grade and leaves before Larry can return the money and punish him for the illegal act.

Larry also comes home to his wife, Judith, who asks him for a divorce and for a ‘gett’ or permission to do so she can remarry within the faith to Sy Abelman (Fred Melamed) who everyone takes seriously as a ‘Serious Man’ except for Larry. Larry is envious of Sy to some degree and feels like he has everything given to him whereas Larry has had to work hard for his success. Suddenly, ‘the domino effect’ of one negative event after another happens including Larry losing his home, access to his bank accounts, his marriage, and even his relationship to his teenage children become estranged.

This string of unfortunate events has Larry looking to cast judgment on God and questioning his faith in Judaism. Larry goes to three different rabbis whose advice and counsel does not help him any further. He cannot relate to what they tell them especially as the eldest, he considers to be too unavailable or unwilling and the youngest rabbi being too inexperienced or immature, who end up wasting his time. The 2nd and wisest rabbi give him the advice through an allegory, that while fictional, has a good message to it ends up helping Larry the most that God can only provide the questions, but you must find your own answers. The best way the 2nd rabbi implies to Larry is that he must “help himself by helping others.”

Essentially, Larry Gopnik must look beyond his own pain and selfish wants and look to control what he can and do what he can to get his life back on track. Larry can also do ‘mitzvahs’ especially regarding his own family. Larry’s younger brother, Arthur, is homeless and not mentally sound so Larry tries to get him on his feet but struggles to find the money or the resources to help his brother with his many troubles. He still attempts to maintain better relations with his kids, his soon to be ex-wife, and with his work colleagues. Without spoiling the rest of the movie, Larry understands that he must look to help others rather than looking to God to intervene. While ‘The Boss’ is present to give questions, the answers must come from within.

How Larry stands up to challenges and adversity is like the Torah’s stories about men like Job and Jonah who had their lives thrown into upheaval but were able to get over the anguish by holding true to their faith in God but looking inwards in their own strength, knowledge, and belief in morality and good will to make it through on the other side better than before. Life throws challenges at us every day and how we react to them and try to get through it with our God-given wisdom, kindness, compassion, patience, and reasoning will decide how far we can proceed in life to get back to being successful. Fortune is not everlasting, and faith will not provide good fortune. What can provide good fortune is to do your best, help yourself and others around you, and look to your own inner beliefs and values to guide you through the tough times.

‘A Serious Man’ is about a man who considers himself to be serious but has to struggle for others to call him ‘serious.’ In an effort to be taken seriously, Larry does end up struggling to fulfill the other important parts of his life that require his attention. He can forget to be loving and caring to his wife, attentive and helpful to his children, and more involved within the Jewish community including at his son’s Hebrew school. Larry is not a bad man but the cracks in his life cause some bad events to happen including events for which there is no logical explanation. Larry does his best to be a good man and although he is flawed, bad things happen out of nowhere to him.

The test throughout this excellent film is how do you claw back from adversity and try to give yourself the best shot at having good things happen in your life. Even if your family may appear to be cursed or have a string of bad fortune dating back to the shtetls of Eastern Europe, how do you turn it around so your son or your daughter don’t deal with the same tragedies and setbacks? There are no easy answers in ‘A Serious Man’ but the Coen Brothers make it clear that it is not wise to look to God to solve the problems for you or provide the answers.

The central message of this film is not just for Jews but for all people. God may have provided life’s questions for you to answer but it’s up to you alone to answer them throughout your life. While you may lose faith in hose providing counsel or advice or in the religion itself, the film makes clear that you have to believe in yourself, to help yourself pull through the pain and sorrow, and to help other people, especially the family and friends closest to you, who are going through tough times as well, whose aid and assistance you can provide may be able to help you get to the right direction in life again and to lead you to a better place than you were before.

Loew Vineyards

Camera: iPhone 12

Location: Mount Airy, Maryland, United States

Anatomy of A Scene – “I came in at the end…The best is over.”

“A lot of the best scenes in the show revolve around this conflicted mobster, Tony Soprano (played brilliantly by James Gandolfini), who suffers from both innate anxiety and depression, along with his dysfunctional families who intend to drag him down if he can’t help doing it himself.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cQOej9nuho

‘The Sopranos’ is one of the most highly acclaimed television shows of all-time and is not just a show about a man caught between his real family and his mafia family but also about a certain period in American life. A lot of the best scenes in the show revolve around this conflicted mobster, Tony Soprano (played brilliantly by James Gandolfini), who suffers from both innate anxiety and depression, along with his dysfunctional families who intend to drag him down if he can’t help doing it himself.

There is a particular scene early in the 1st season where we are first getting to know the character of Tony Soprano and what makes him tick. The first scene in his therapist’s office, which would be a recurring motif throughout the show, has Tony trying to pin down the roots of his depression, which is what brought him to Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) in the first place. Tony has no idea what is causing him the blues, pontificating openly that it could be “stress, maybe?” especially as he has recently started to have panic attacks occur out of nowhere.

Dr. Melfi asks him about what could be causing the stress he is feeling? Tony isn’t sure but believes that “it’s good to be at something at the ground floor.” Now, the audience can assume what he is referring to is the La Cosa Nostra or Italian-American mafia, which is on the decline as the show first aired in 1999 and could be on its way out. However, since Dr. Melfi isn’t aware yet who Tony Soprano is and what his life in the mafia like, she assumes he means about life in suburban America in the 1990s, which had a lot of amenities including bigger houses and bigger cars with a more privacy, but for which has left many Americans feel unfulfilled.

“I came in at the end…the best is over.” While Tony may be referring to the historical arc of the Italian mafia and how it’s in irrevocable decline, the show paints it to Melfi and the audience as something deeper yet not as pronounced. Melfi replies, “Many Americans, I think, feel that way”, implying that while the country has gotten materially wealthier and more prosperous to a degree, our family and perhaps spiritual life has been on the decline for quite some time and perhaps has led to a moral decline.

While Tony was inferred to be talking about the mafia and how he is now boss of his Soprano crime family unlike his father who never ‘reached the heights like him’ or wasn’t as successful materially in terms of his life in the suburbs, Tony still feels unfulfilled by his success.

While his father wasn’t as successful in the mafia life, he still passed it down to his son, but in those days, Tony feels as many Americans would relate to that there was more pride and togetherness in their communities among families of different backgrounds. In the atomized suburbs, it’s harder to connect with those in your family or to form as tight of cultural or religious or social bonds with people of your background.

“But in a lot of ways, he had it better. He (Tony’s father) had it better. He had his people. They had their standards. Their pride. Now, today, what do we got?” The scene also demonstrates that this was filmed in 1999, just at the turn to the 21st century, before 9/11 happened, the 2008 financial crisis, the election of Donald Trump as President, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Even on the cusp of 2000, the show demonstrates that not all was rosy in America and there was a sense of dissatisfaction back then with where the country was headed and that the ’best days may be behind us’ in more ways than one.

While the focus is on the decline of mob life in this scene and in the show, which does so consistently over six brilliant seasons, it also highlights a parallel loss of faith and trust in American institutions as well as the rise of greed, malaise, and apathy in our cultural attitudes, and a sense that maybe American decline is our future. While the scene is not overtly political, you have Tony reading the Newark Star-Ledger, a New Jersey daily paper, indicating that “President Clinton warns of Medicare going bust in Year 2000.”

The front-page newspaper headline tells you that even back then in 1999, there were worries about our institutions eroding, the promises meant to be kept at danger of being broken after many decades of effort, and the average middle-aged suburbanite feeling unsatisfied about the prospect of a dimmer future, especially for his or her children. While Tony’s parents were better off because of their closer family and community ties in the big city or the exurbs nearby, he was not able to say the same about his suburban life. Even at a time where his generation were able to still have had a better life materially and perhaps financially than their parents, would their children be worse off in both ways if the decline is to pass, both financially and spiritually?

Twenty-two years later since this scene first aired on HBO, it is interesting to look back at Tony’s anxieties as being prophetic rather than misplaced. Younger Americans of my generation and the generation behind me look at it reasonably and think that Tony Soprano, despite his crimes and misdeeds and his Mafia boss life, may have had one thing right: “I came in at the end, the best is over…” Now, the question remains, how do we deal with it as a country and as a people?

Nighttime Game at Camden Yards

Camera: iPhone 12

Location: Orioles Park at Camden Yards; Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Marble Canyon

Camera: iPhone 12

Location: Marble Canyon, Arizona, United States

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