Top 10 Movies 2017

I’ve watched a LOT of movies this year both in theaters and on various streaming services. Here is a list, in basically no order, of my top ten.

1. Get Out – I was really late to the game with this one. I had heard a lot of really great things but just wasn’t interested in seeing it in theaters. Eventually, when it came on HBO, I watched it. Damn. I wished I had seen it in theaters with an audience. Great scares and social commentary. It so lived up to the hype.

2. Baby Driver – this too I avoided in theaters. I thought I was going to hate it but it ended up being very good. So good in fact that I wrote a full review on it. (See previous post)

3. Mother! – this may have been the most unexpected movie of the year for me. I had only seen the poster for it, no trailers, perhaps the best way to go into a movie. I think because of that it was a blank slate. I have never seen anything that felt like being in a fever dream. Such a clear vision from Aronofsky and so many layers of meaning. A real art house piece, the truly comes together at the very end.

4. The Big Sick – I was waiting to see this in theaters with a date but that never happened. When I eventually did see it I was pleasantly surprised at how funny and how serious and good it was. I love Kumail and Emily for all the other work they do. You get to know them so much through podcasts and what not that you feel like they’re you’re friends. I felt so proud of them for not only writing and making a movie, but making a really good one.

5. Jim and Andy and The Great Beyond – this too was a surprising doc about the making of the 1999 bio-pic Man on the Moon. I was too young to know who Andy Kaufman was when the movie came out but seeing how the role swallowed Jim Carrey whole was really quite fascinating. Getting to see Carrey as this more subdue real person was incredible and I found that he and I share many similar existential thoughts.

6. Rolling Stone: Stories From the Edge – this two part HBO documentary is partially the story of the magazine itself, partially the story of the music that inspired it, partially a story of the politics that shaped it and partially an overall historical retrospective. It gave me a new found respect for the magazine and a desire to create.

7. The Defiant Ones – this four part HBO documentary is like a very long episode of VH1’s Behind The Music. I’m a sucker for a good documentary and when you’ve got one covering and being told by as many interesting and influential people in the music industry as this one has, mainly though, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Ivine, forget about it, I’m all in.

8. The Incredible Jessica James – Jessica Williams brilliantly dry comedic style is complimented by the loveably dorky Chris O’Dowd in this unsuspecting yet fairly realistic feeling romantic comedy.

9. Dunkirk – Dunkirk is a bit of an unsung hero amongst these films. I expected it to be longer. Most war movies are long and Chris Nolan movies are no exception, but this was under two hours. I’ll admit that I perhaps went in with too high of expectations. That said, it followed Nolan’s style of approaching a topic from an angle that puts the audience off kilter. I will say, knowing what it is now, I would like to see it again. Additionally, this, along with Mother! is the only other film that should potentially win the Academy Award sound design.

10. The Founder – an unexpected hit, I couldn’t help but be drawn in by the story, not of the creator of McDonald’s, but by the man who franchised it. His way of manipulating people, usually by force, rather than permission, to get what he wanted, though devious, was nothing other than admirable.

 

 

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Baby Driver

The other day, after putting it off for a long time, I finally watched the movie Baby Driver. Overall I really enjoyed it and feel it was one of the better movies I’ve seen all year. This movie had a bunch of strong points that I wanted to highlight.

Dialogue

The dialogue in this movie is like poetry. Every line feels intentional and well crafted. Of course I can’t think of an example off the top of my head, but there was sense of wit about a bunch of the lines. To be clear, a lot was over the top. It’s not that the dialogue felt realistic, almost the opposite.

It felt so over the top as if each character had had the perfect amount of time to think about what they were going to say and then said it. In some movies this might come off as annoying or fake but in this movie, stylistically, it fit.

Music

It was obvious and undeniable even from the trailer that music was going to play a huge role in this movie. Because the main character has ear buds in a good deal of the time, we get to experience his mood and feelings through the music he’s listening to. A decent amount of the music were songs with which I was unfamiliar. Regardless, it added for a great tone throughout the movie.

I wouldn’t doubt that when Edgar was writing this movie (see what I did there), he had a lot, if not all of these songs in mind and said to himself, “Now how do I craft a scene around this song?” If I’m correct in this assumption, it would mean that his writing style is very similar to mine.

Music is often times, if not always, the backbone of the several screenplays I’ve attempted to write. The inspiration for many an opening or closing sequence to a potential movie I would make comes from either the feeling I get from a song or from the lyrics itself. It seems to me Edgar has done a similar, if not the exact same thing.

Sidenote: the bit where Baby actually makes music from the recordings he has is totally dope and is another great use of music.

Choreography

Essentially, the first 20 minutes of this movie is a series of music videos. None more obvious than the sequence after the first car chase, a music video in it’s own right, when Baby is going to get coffee for the crew.

Everything down from the way he moves through the scene, unabashedly walk/dancing, but also the fact that there is blatant graffiti which he encounters along the way with key lyrics from the song -Harlem Shuffle- which is playing in his ear buds.

To top it off, if memory serves, this entire sequence from when he exits the building, walks down the street, crosses the street, goes into the coffee shop, orders the coffee, leaves the coffee shop, goes back across the street and re-enters the building he started in, is all one continuous shot. If I’m correct about this being a long continuous shot, it makes this already visually impressive sequence that much more impressive.

Sidenote: the sequence where Baby makes lunch for his foster father is another great use of choreography.

Editing

In addition to the aforementioned continuous shot for the Harlem Shuffle sequence, the editing throughout this movie is very intentional and obvious, but well done. Typically, editing is the invisible art of movie making. If you’re not paying attention to the cuts and transitions from scene to scene (or even the cuts within scenes for that matter) the editor has done their job correctly.

In this movie however, oftentimes cuts are made blatantly to disrupt a scene in order to slide the audience into the next one. Some of these cuts become a part of the overarching character of the movie itself.

The only other movie that immediately comes to mind with regard to this stylistic editing is Pan’s Labyrinth. Both movies (as well as many others, but for whatever reason, these ones in particular) use objects in the scene -cars, reflections, animate and inanimate objects- as focal points to move the audience into the next scene. It’s a really cool stylistic choice that fits with this movie.

Direction

Honestly, there is really only one very specific thing I wanted to highlight. The first time they are in the elevator on the way down to the parking garage; the way Kevin Spacey’s character gets out of the way for one of the robbers as he exits the elevator is done so intentionally that it stands out.

However, again, as is the case with most of the things I’ll mention in this “review,” it stands out in a good way. I have to imagine this comes down to the direction that was given to him and not just a choice that the actor made on his own.

Story

The story of this movie I felt, overall, was very good. The first two acts were very strong but it lost me a bit in the third act; we’ll get to that later. This I think is the movie that a lot of people thought they were going to see when they saw the movie Drive, rather than the brooding drama they actually got.

Interestingly, this is what initially turned me off about Drive. It looked like another crappy Fast and the Furious movie (I will say I like the first and the second ones) and I was not into it. However, after I was essentially forced to watch Drive and found out that it was a serious drama in which driving only plays a small role, I was on board and ended up really liking it.

I was nervous Baby Driver might be just another pop corn movie. Something thoughtless like the countless superhero movies we are being inundated with lately that only requires you to have a pulse in order to go see them.

However, though it certainly is more “poppy” than the Drives of the world, it manages to also maintain enough substance to hold my attention on a deeper level. It does a pretty good job of walking the line between “Pop Song” and “Ballad.” I would say it certainly holds it’s own with films like Gone in 60 Seconds and The Transporter, two other movies that, at least in my opinion, are some of the best “wheel man” movies of our time.

As I said at the beginning of this section, the biggest and only real “problem” I have with this movie is the third act. I get that there needs to be conflict in a movie in order to make it interesting, I just felt that the execution was not up to par with the rest of the movie.

The actual events that we see happen seemed a bit too “Hollywood action movie” for me. This was one of the things I was afraid of going into it. Things start to go really off the rails. We get a lot of explosions and more violence than we’d seen throughout the rest of the movie and even the characters, specifically Baby, start to act in ways that they hadn’t before in the hour and a half of the movie.

It took, what I felt was, too strong of a tonal shift. Baby goes from a cool, calm subtle character to one who totes a gun, shoots people and is almost manic. I realize that a lot is happening to him and the people he loves, but it seemed it could have been handled in a more delicate way.

Granted he’s just a kid, he’s not some James Bond character who’s trained to plan and strategize and infiltrate the enemies lair so to speak. But it just seemed out of character for him, and the movie for that matter, to suddenly go off the rails the way it does.

Notes for Edgar

Though this may be cliché (as are likely the rest of my suggestions), I thought it would have been cool if Kevin Spacey’s character made good on his threat and actually kidnapped Debrah. It would have made for a great final standoff between these two characters. I there standoff he would say something like:

“You don’t just get to walk away from this. I gave you everything and this is how you repay me!?”

It seemed odd to me that instead, Kevin Spacey’s character grows a conscience and actually helps them to escape by killing the cops.

I thought it would have been cool if at one point Deborah finds out what Baby is doing for a living and decides to break up with him. This would allow for him to come in at the end and save her, therefore redeeming himself and causing her to fall back in love with him.

I also thought it would have been interesting if Buddy and his wife were actually undercover cops that helped Baby to “infiltrate the enemies lair” in my re-written ending to this movie.

Honestly though, that was my only gripe with this movie. As I said at the beginning, overall I thought it was very good and highly reccomend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.

—Movies I’ve seen this year (in no order)

Alien Covenant, It Comes At Night, Spiderman Homecoming, Dunkirk*, Passengers, The Founder*,  My Neighbor Totoro, Nocturnal Animals, The Incredible Jessica James*, Nina Simone documentary (DNF), Wonder Woman, The Big Sick*, Mother!*, Steven Spielberg documentary, Blade Runner 2049, Beyond The Black Rainbow, Jigsaw (I got to use MoviePass), Jim and Andy and the Great Beyond*, Lady Bird (MoviePass), Man on the Moon*, Get Out*

—Rewatched

Tarzan, Helvetica, Truth in 24, Catch Me If You Can, Minimalism, Chicago, Moonrise Kingdom, Wolf of Wall Street, James Bond movies, Mighty Ducks, Men In Black, The Matrix Reloaded, Hercules, Her, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Hocus Pocus, Nightmare Before Christmas, Rogue One, The Terminal

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Bike Kill + Rager Things

Bike Kill

If Mad Max took place in Brooklyn and the crazy cars were replaced with bicycles, you’d have an accurate idea of what Bike Kill is.

At the end of the day on Friday, my co-worker and fellow cyclist Darrell told me about this bike event thing that was happening “somewhere in Brooklyn” on Saturday. All he said was there were going to be crazy bikes there that you could ride. This didn’t give me a very good sense of what I would encounter but I’m always down to try new things, so I told him to send me the details.

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Later that night, while at my friend’s show, a buddy of mine also told me about Bike Kill. He texted me the poster which had all of the relevant information on it, such as time and location. After getting all my shit together on Saturday morning and dropping my excess baggage (literally) off at my friends apartment (don’t worry, this is relevant, we’ll come back to it) I made my way to Bike Kill.

When I arrived at the location, I was a bit confused, I found myself at a literal dead end (I was near a cemetery). I looked around for a bit trying to figure out what I did wrong. However, moments later, three guys on crazy custom bicycles came riding past.

IMG_7606Bike Kill Overview

“Is this where that bike thing is?” I asked. “Yeah,” one of them yelled down from his high double frame bicycle, “follow us!” I followed them into this weird parking lot/maintenance facility. There I was greeted by a band of misfit bicycles, some skate park elements, crust punks, a DJ, photographers, and a merch/food booth.

I was overwhelmed and didn’t really know where to begin, who to talk to or what to do. I leaned my bike against the back wall of the building and just kind of walked around. I watched as the circus of cyclists all rode around, taking a few laps before dismounting and hopping on a different bike.

IMG_7601Big High Wheel

After taking it all in for a bit, a big guy with a denim vest and a big beard came up to me on the monster Penny Farthing he was riding. “You,” he said, pointing at me, “you look like you’ve been eying this thing for a while.” He opened his arms and presented the bike to me. “Thanks.” I said and mounted the self balancing hi wheel.

Because of the size and the weight of the front tire, it was a difficult bike to ride. However, I eventually got it around for one full lap before dismounting and making my way to the next creation.

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There were anywhere from 50 to 100+ different bikes to try out. There were no rules, no order, you just picked a bike, rode it for a bit then dismounted and picked another one. It didn’t matter whom it belonged to, if you wanted to ride, you rode. I wish I could go into detail on each bike I rode but honestly there were too many to remember and all were too intricate to describe.

At one point the cops showed up and one of the “event organizers” had to talk with them for a long while. Eventually we were told that the cops asked that we no longer drink beer. At one point one of the photographers Kevin aka @demoncatslookbook pulled me aside and had me pose with a bike for a photo.

Video footage from Bike Kill 2016. Unfortunately this years did not get to this level.

I think what I loved the most, besides the fact that the community of people, despite first appearances, were really friendly, was the fact that each bike provided a unique challenge. Some took a while to figure out their quirks or how to ride them. It was like learning to ride a bike from scratch. Because of that, one felt the same rewarding feeling of learning to ride a bike with each new bicycle they conquered.

I was there from ~12pm to ~3:30pm. As I left I saw that there were cops turning people away and putting up Police Tape to block off the spot. I couldn’t understand why they were doing this. Hundreds of costume clad bikers had shown up to enjoy this cool event on Halloweekend and now they had nothing to enjoy. I was glad I got there early and was able to participate uninterrupted. My two friends however weren’t so lucky.

Rager Things

Back in March I had come up with a poster design for a Halloween party concept I called “Rager Things.” Initially, before I knew I was going to move to NY, the plan was to host this at my apartment in Somerville. However, because I moved and I knew that it would be impossible to host a party at my studio, I passed the torch to my college friends Katie and Dilila.

RagerThingsPosterGlowPS_2

They took the idea and ran with it. Because they actually have pull amongst my/our circle of friends, it became the designated “Fitchburg State” Halloween party.

After leaving Bike Kill I rode back to Katie and Dilila’s apartment. Unfortunately the front door was locked. However, our friend Monica was visiting them and had a key. I called her and she told me she was out for coffee but she’d let me know when she was back to let me in.

IMG_7611Evan makes a great “J” from Blade Runner 2049

In the meantime I rode to the chicken store on the corner where they let me take in my bike (I’d left the lock in my bag and my bag in their hallway) where I grabbed a bite to eat. As luck would have it, I saw Monica walk by on her way back to Katy and Dilila’s place and after I flagged her down she joined me while I finished my food.

We then went back to their place where we chatted and waited for the rest of the squad to show up. They soon did and we all went out to the nearby bodega to grab some provisions. Cut to a montage of people trying to get the apartment ready for the party.

IMG_7609Me and “Chris Lawless”

I was doing nothing helpful so I decided to go to the dollar store to see if I could find some halloween makeup to do a skull face. On the way I randomly bumped into my co-workers friends whom I’d met and hung out with before. We chatted for a bit and I invited them to the party before continuing on to the dollar store. As luck would have it, the second place I went into had exactly what I was looking for.

After going back and doing my skull face make-up… poorly, I made a playlist for the party. The place looked amazing with gels on the lights for a “spooky” feel. There were projectors set up in both Katy and Dilila’s bedrooms. Katie had a Nintendo Switch set up and Dilila had The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline and Corpse Bride playing on loop in her room.

IMG_7622Jazz Band

People filtered in throughout the night and I was pleasantly surprised at how many of our Massachusetts friends (shout out to Dan Kendricken) and one particular friend from Rhode Island (shout out to Jon Del Sesto) showed up. It was a good squad and felt like old times. There was even a jazz band who played sets intermittently throughout the night.

It was really fun to see and catch up with people and though neither my work friends nor the ladies I ran into on my way to getting makeup showed up, it was a really good time.

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Photoville Excursion

After being out until 5am for my friends’ birthday, I slept in a bit and took the morning slow. Eventually, I got my shit together, got showered and dressed, hopped on my bike and rode through Prospect Park to Brooklyn Bread Cafe for a late breakfast.

IMG_7453Photoville underneath the Brooklyn Bridge

After fueling up, I rode through Carroll Gardens to Brooklyn Bridge Park, eventually making my way to Photoville. P-ville is a “free” (they want you to donate $5) photography exhibition that takes place right under the Brooklyn Bridge. Each photographer has their own shipping container dedicated as a mini art gallery highlighting their work.

Each of the containers had their own interior design themes depending on the work that was being exhibited. Most of the work seemed to be centered around social justice issues or certain world issues that they’d covered. However, there was also fine art and experimental photography. In total it probably took me two or more hours to see it all.

IMG_7455Legend Car Company – CPO classic cars

After that I started to make my way out of Brooklyn Bridge Park so I could start heading into Manhattan to continue my journey. However, along the way, while walking my bike down the sidewalk in DUMBO, I came across Legend Car Company.

LCC is a high end used car dealership/gallery selling marks like Porsche and Ferrari. The showroom was filled with stunning old 911s, a Ferrari 328, and even an NSX (the one I’d buy if I could). After ogling them through the glass -I didn’t want to lock my bike and go in- I made my way to the Manhattan Bridge.

Though I typically do not like this bridge to ride over, it’s less crowded than the Brooklyn, smoother than the BK and was gonna take me very close to my next destination in Manhattan. After getting on the street level, it took me a little while before I figured out where I needed to go, but eventually I course corrected and got to the spot.

The place in question was the Metrograph theatre. I had just read about it in Time Out (that’s also where I heard about Photoville), and knew that they were screening Alien, one of my favorite movies. I wasn’t planning on seeing it, nor did I end up doing so, however, I wanted to check it out because the theatre itself, upon doing a quick Google search, seemed pretty cool.

It is essentially a less commercial Alamo Drafthouse or a more chic Nighthawk Cinema. It seems like it would be a great place to take a date, if only I could get one. Despite it’s dingy Chinatown/Lower East Side location, it’s a pretty classy old speakeasy style establishment.

It almost feels like a boutique hotel. There is a restaurant/bar so you can easily do dinner and a movie. It seemingly does not play current movies, but rather classic film prints, hence Alien.

After checking it out for a bit, I made my way to Soho to the Apple Store. Being that the iPhone 8 just came out yesterday, I wanted to see what the fuss was about. The last time I was in NY for an iPhone drop, it was the summer after I graduated college. I was visiting my friend Katie, Steve Jobs had just passed away and the 4S had just come out. Weird. 

As expected, the 8 was essentially just an evolution of the 6 and 7, apart from the glass back and the added weight, which does make it feel higher quality. However, the overall design does not seem very dissimilar. Looking at the three of them in the store, I almost couldn’t tell them apart.

After screwing around in the store for a bit, I went back out, unlocked my bike and made my way home. This time I took the Williamsburg Bridge, easily my favorite one to bike over.

 

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Brooklyn/Manhattan Adventure

This weekend my sister came to visit me. The issue always ensues when someone comes to visit, “what do you want to do this weekend?” As luck would have it, I have been amassing a list of things to do on dates. However, since I haven’t had luck going on dates, I figured I could use these restaurants/sites as things to do with Kyra.

After having spent the previous night in Williamsburg, eating at Diviera Drive, checking out the grand opening of Muji and meeting up with my co-worker Alyssa to grab drinks at Surf Bar, we decided to go back the next day, Saturday (yesterday) to do a deeper dive.

Though I have been to that part of Brooklyn several times for various reasons, Kyra has only seen bits and pieces. We started on the outskirts at a place called Loosie’s Cafe. I’d read about Loosie’s in Hogwarts: A History… er… Brooklyn Magazine.

IMG_7408Loosie’s Cafe

Upon getting there, the place was exactly what I was expecting; chill hipster vibes with minimalist modern furniture and cool art painted right on the wall. The section we were in was out back and had a cool glass ceiling (not that kind) with fake (or real?) vines along the top which let the perfect amount of sunlight in.

The food we had was pricy, but great. The only negative was that service was really slow. I mean, not that we were in a rush, but every part of the process felt like it was taking forever. Once we were done eating, we made our way down Berry Street, under the Williamsburg Bridge, to Metropolitan Ave.

FullSizeRenderKyra and I by the water with the Manhattan skyline

From there, we made our way down to the water to get a good pic of us with the Manhattan skyline in the background. After chilling by the waterfront for a bit. we began our journey as we criss-crossed up and down each of the streets like aisles in a grocery store. There was no real game-plan except to stop into a shop if we thought it was interesting.

Eventually, after several zig-zags, we found ourselves at the crafts fair. I had been there a few weeks ago, but Kyra hadn’t, so we went in. The place is filled with cool merch, ranging from clothing to cookies to jewelry, with a little bit of everything in between.

We spent a short amount of time checking out the “artisanal” this and the “organic” that and the “cage free, cruelty free, vegan” who-gives-a-fuck. after that we eventually made our way over to Rough Trade; one of my favorite record/book stores in the city.

Rough trade is essentially a warehouse space with shipping containers that make up parts of the structure. There’s even table tennis and a music venue in the back. They’re also always playing some obscure band that I end up obsessing over for a while.

It feels like what would happen if Boston based Newbury Comics and California based Amoeba Music had a baby in Williamsburg. In any case, we only stayed for a short while before eventually getting to Brooklyn Industries.

Brooklyn Industries is a store I’d been into a while ago but hadn’t been to since. Upon entering, I forgot how cool it was/is. The store is filled with cool graphic tees, button up shirts, pants, jackets and hats all made (I’d assume) in Brooklyn.

Despite the fact that I already have a wardrobe full of stuff that I don’t wear, or at least not all of it, I wanted to buy the entire men’s section. There was this one jacket that I totally don’t need, but was perfect for me. Luckily, most of the stuff was kind of pricy, or at least for what I’m used to paying, so that kept me away from making any ‘rash purchases.

After stopping in one more store, we made our way back to the L where we rode it to 6th Ave, transferred to the (2) and took that to 72nd Street where we stopped in to Gray’s Papaya. Gray’s is a well known Manhattan hot dog spot and staple of the classic film, You’ve Got Mail (see this post for more).

IMG_7407The little park between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway

We crossed the street and stopped in so Kyra could get a hot dog and a papaya drink. We then crossed back to the mid-section of sidewalk that splits Amsterdam Ave and Broadway where we grabbed a seat on this quite little bar… thing. It was very nice and peaceful as the cool early fall air surrounded us.

After she was done, we headed North on Amsterdam to Cafe Lalo, another site from YGM. I purposely didn’t get food at Gray’s so that I could get food at Lalo. The cafe is this quaint and feels very Parisian. I wanted all of the desserts in the glass behind the counter. Instead I got a sandwich and we ate and talked and enjoyed the evening.

IMG_7410Cafe Lalo

After lazily making my way through this late lunch, early dinner, we headed out into the city. I had forgotten that we’d discussed checking out the 91st Street Garden (another site from YGM), so instead we headed East an eventually cut through Central Park, afterwards heading North on Lex to 86th Street where we got on the (5) and took it back to Brooklyn.

There was one more spot on our to-do list, Butter & Scotch. I had found out about B & S by accident while doing a bit of Google mapping. Being that it’s right off the Franklin Ave stop, it’s super close to where I live, thus making it a great final destination for a short commute home afterwards.

IMG_7413Butter & Scotch

As a -seemingly- queer/femm bar, it feels very out of place amongst the more “hood” vibes of the surrounding establishments. That said, this small [word] joint was really cool. On one of the walls they were projecting Disney’s 1997 classic Hercules (which Kyra and I later watched once back at my apartment).

On top of that they were playing some really great and eclectic tunes. Kyra had noticed that they woman -roughly our age- one stool over to my right had some really cool tattoos. I commented on them which lead to us conversing on and off throughout the night.

I found out that my new single-serving-friend (see Fight Club), Erica, is a hair stylist and is in town for Fashion Week. While we were chatting, Kyra sipped her cocktail, which looked delicious, and I had my beer. We shared a brownie Sunday which was divine.

Right before we left, I told Erica I was due for a haircut and that if she wanted to make some cash while in town (apparently you don’t get paid to work Fashion Week, go figure), that she could cut my hair. I gave her my number and headed on my way. If only I was that confident with straight girls. I doubt she’ll call but either way, it was nice to make a friend.

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It’s Always Sunny In Chiladelphia

This all came about last month when I grabbed a free copy of Time Out New York, while exiting the Borough Hall subway station, from the guy passing them out at the top of the stairs. I thumbed through it on my way to work and in doing so, came across an ad for the Museum of the American Revolution.

Looking at the address, I noticed that it was located in Philadelphia. This got me to wonder how far Philly was/is from New York. A quick Google search told me that it was only ~2 hours away. Realizing this, I started contemplating taking a day trip there.

It wasn’t until I was on my way home, thumbing through the magazine again, when I noticed that the two page article preceding the ad was titled 12 Hours in Philly; an hour by hour guide of how one could spend a day in the city off the beaten path. Being that I had never been there before, the bee was firmly placed in my bonnet.

Cut to yesterday, a few weeks after having read the article. Though I wasn’t as gung-ho as I had been -at this point if felt more like something I had to do in order to shut my brain up, than something I wanted to do- I decided to finally go for it. It was/is Labor Day Weekend so I had the next day (today) off and my co-workers BBQ had been canceled due to inclement weather. To my surprise it apparently is alway sunny in Philadelphia since there, unlike New York, it wasn’t raining.

That settled it, though I had missed the early bus, I could still make the 11:50. I took a quick shower, got dressed and hopped on the subway. I hadn’t booked a ticket but the guy at the bus said if there was room, I could squeeze onto the 11:20. It was 10:46 and I had no cash on me. I made my way to the nearest Bank of America ATM, grabbed $40, and by the time I got back, the bus was boarding.

$20 procured me a seat on the top level of the double decker Megabus (it would have been $15 if I’d bought online beforehand) and soon we were off to Philly. The thing that was different about this trip, as opposed to most other trips I take, is that I hadn’t done any hard pre-planning. I typically structure my day so that I know all the things I want to hit, where they are relative to one another and how to get to each of them.

I had looked through the article and gotten a few ideas of what to do and had done a very rough layout on Google maps, but that was it, it was all very fast and loose. On the one hand it made me feel uncomfortable but on the other, it felt nice not to be constrained by my own itinerary.

On the bus I did a bit more research and re-read the Time Out article, but as we pulled into the city, I was basically flying blind. I stepped off the bus and found myself in the heart of Liberty Square… wait, that’s Disney World… uh… Independence Square I think.

In any case, the first thing I saw was the Liberty Bell Museum, or rather, the line to get in. There was a sign that said no ticket required. This was good, I really didn’t want to pay just to look at an old broken bell. However, I had very little patience for lines. Especially when I just got off a bus, was in a new place and wanted to just go, go, go.

IMG_7362Independence Hall

I decided to skip the bell for now and head on to Independence Hall across the street. Looking at the hall from my side of the street, there was a row of chain links blocking the other sidewalk. I couldn’t see any other way to get into the area, so after crossing the street, I ducked under the chain links.

As I walked in, I started to hear yelling. I had no idea what it was so I ignored it and kept on walking. As I walked, the yelling got closer and was coming from behind, “Sir,” the person kept saying. Finally another tourist pointed behind me and said, “They’re yelling at you.” I stopped and turned around to find two disgruntled park rangers chasing me.

“Sir,” she yelled, “you can’t come in that way!” I just stared blankly at her, where else was I supposed to enter, I saw no signs and no entrance. “Sir, what does a chain mean to you!” She was furious. Again I just stared blankly. I really hate being yelled at and made to feel like I’m a child who’s just drawn on the wall.

“Uh, I don’t know.” I said, “Seems like a bad way to block an entrance.” This did not make her happy. “Sir, you need to leave.” I put my hands up, “Relax,” I said, and made my way towards the exit. If there’s one thing that really sets me off, it’s when people tell me to relax when I’m angry OR when I wasn’t angry but they think I am. I hope this had the desired effect on her as well.

I made my way to the exit and let myself out. So far Philly had left a pretty negative impression on me. Moving on, I took a lap around the block to just get away from the nonsense. As I did, I accidentally stumbled upon the National Constitution Center. It wasn’t really my plan to go to any of the museums as I really just wanted to explore the city. Plus I didn’t want to spend the money, so I kept on walking.

IMG_7363National Constitution Center

Eventually, I made my way to the other side of the block and entered the Philly subway system or SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) as it’s called. It was 1:45pm and I was hungry. The one takeaway I’d gotten from the Time Out article was a restaurant called Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop.

Since this was Philly, I had to have a Philly Cheesesteak. After fiddling with the ticket machine I eventually bought a one-day-pass for $9 or nine rides. I took the subway to the Girard station and walked the short distance to the restaurant.

IMG_7364Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop

The place feels like a diner with some modern vintage signage in the style of ESPO. Who knows, as a native of Philly, (I found that out in the article) it may have been done by him. My waitress Erin felt like a native Philadelphian; a towny and likely a lifer. She was very nice and brought me my order with a smile. I got a cheesesteak and a mint chocolate chip milkshake that was so big I had to take it to go.

After paying my bill I made my way back to the subway and took it to 15th street, the city center, as it was the closest stop that would get me to the next thing I wanted to see, Rittenhouse Square. When I got out of the station, I found myself in front of City Hall. The building was huge and gorgeous and looked like a castle.

IMG_7367City Hall

After getting a few pictures of it, I was going to just keep walking and make my way to the park. However, I’m really bad at smelling the proverbial roses so I decided to take a quick walk through the area. I’m glad I did because it felt like Cinderella’s Castle. You walk under this archway an into the central courtyard, which again, feels like a castle.

I then continued on my way towards Rittenhouse Square. Along the way, I noticed that a lot of the architecture reminded me of Boston. It makes sense as they are both very old and historical cities. The main difference is that where as Boston has its sections of big buildings, Philly feels like more of a big building city… if that makes any sense. Also, though Boston is blue collar, Philly felt very blue collar. I don’t know, maybe I’m biased.

IMG_7370Rittenhouse Square

Eventually I got to Rittenhouse Square. Though it was kind of small, the treelined park was very nice, quiet, clean and beautiful. I never really know what to do in parks and so I just kind of walked around for a bit. At one point I got a text from my new work friend Jordan, inviting me to the movies. Unfortunately I obviously had to decline.

Moving on, I made my way out to Schuylkill River Park. There, I walked along the Schuylkill River northbound towards the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As I approached, I heard music playing. Turns out the Made in America Festival was happening that weekend so basically all of the park was closed off to the public.

IMG_7379Philadelphia Museum of Art

Thus I was able to enter through the rear of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but not the front. Why does this matter? Well, on the other side of the museum are the famous stairs from Rocky and I wanted to so badly have my moment and run up them. Oh well.

I moved on and walked past the Rodin Museum to a bench outside the Barnes Foundation. There I sat, took a break and collected my thoughts. It was 4-ish and I knew I wanted to take a 7pm bus home so I’d get back to NY by 9-ish. I figured out the last few things I wanted to hit and made my way to them.

IMG_7380Free Library of Philadelphia

As I was sitting across from the library, I decided to stop in, only to see that it was closed. Probably for the best as, though I’m sure it would have been beautiful, it would have been more walking than I would have wanted to do. I then walked through Logan Square and caught a glimpse of The Franklin Institute before making my way to the subway.

I took the subway back to Independence Square to finally get a good look at the Liberty Bell. The line was much shorter now and moved fairly quickly. The biggest hold up was going through the metal detectors. Eventually I was through and I rushed past the exhibit to get a glimpse of the main attraction, the bell.

IMG_7393The Liberty Bell

The bell was swarmed with families taking selfies with their kids. Eventually it cleared out and I was able to get a good shot of it. I then went back and actually looked at some of the things in the exhibit before making my way out.

I decided to take another stab at Independence Hall. Not to “sneak in” -although that would have been funny- but just to get a better view of it and to see if and where there was an entrance.

After taking a lap around it I did find the impossibly hard to find entry point. I wasn’t sure if you had to pay to go in or not but there as a line and I didn’t want to wait. Plus, it had left such a bad taste in my brain that I decided to skip it. I walked back to the visitor center where I sat and rested for a bit before breezing through the gift shop.

There I saw a thing for the famous LOVE sculpture and made it my mission to try and find it before I left the city. I took the subway to the part of the city where it should have been but despite walking in circles, was unable to find it. I was running out of time if I wanted to make the 7pm bus back to the city so I got back on the train and took it to 30th Street station.

Cut to a montage of me walking through the Amtrak Station looking for signs for busses. Walking to the sidewalk where the signs pointed and looking to no avail. Then eventually doubling back into the station to ask customer service where I could find a bus back to New York.

Despite the fact that I had looked at the Megabus website earlier in the day to find that their last bus left Philly at 5:45pm, when I went to where she pointed me a block away, there was a 7:10 waiting. According to the receipt, I got my ticket at 7:07pm. I hopped on, went to the top deck and found a seat by myself towards the front.

As we pulled away from the curb, I saw two kids running up trying to flag down the driver. They were shit out of luck as he didn’t see them and we kept on going. As we made our way through the city, I reflected on my day.

Philly, as it turns out, is pretty small. I’d say I did a decent job covering it. The only thing I didn’t really hit besides the LOVE sculpture and the Rocky steps were the museums -which would need a dedicated trip to be honest- and if there’s anything to see from “It’s Always Sunny.” Despite my lack of planning, I’d say I did a pretty good job. That said, I don’t feel the need to ever go back.

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Bike Tour of New York

This past Monday there were two new members added to my team at work. After getting to know one of them -Jordan- pretty well, we decided to go on a bike ride that Saturday, ie. today. Being that Jordan is from Ohio, he was not super familiar with New York and so we decided to go on a tour.

IMG_3427Riding with no handlebars on the Hudson River Greenway

We met up in front of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn at 11am. After talking over a very rough game plan, we hopped on our bikes and began our ride. We made our way down Flatbush Ave, up Fulton Street and up Adams Street to get to the first thing Jordan wanted to do, the Brooklyn Bridge.

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, be it by foot or by bike (oddly I’ve never done it in a car), is always a nightmare. Unlike the Manhattan or the Williamsburg which separate the cyclists and the pedestrians on opposite sides of the bridge, the Brooklyn only has one path in the middle, forcing foot traffic and bike traffic to compete for space.

We stopped at the end of the first span to not only take a short break, but to take in the sights around us. To my pleasant surprise, though there were still a fair share of dummies, the traffic on the bridge was not as bad as it has been in past crossings.

After successfully making it into Manhattan, we took Centre Street to Grand. We headed East on Grand then turned North on Columbia Street and eventually East on Houston to get to the East River Bikeway. While on the bikeway we cut over to the East River Promenade where we stopped and took a break and chatted on a bench for a bit.

After the short break we got back on our bikes and took the bikeway all the way up to 34th Street where we hopped onto 1st Ave. We headed North up 1st Ave to the Queensborough Bridge, and, after going under it, headed West on 61st Street.

I was hungry, having skipped breakfast, so we stopped into Viand Coffee Shop on the corner of 61st and Madison. I had French toast and Canadian bacon and Jordan got soup, a salad and some coffee. After filling up over some good conversation, we hopped on the bikes again and made our way in to Central Park.

We did almost a full loop of Central Park, stopping once so Jordan could get info on joining this mens baseball team. While approaching Columbus Circle, Jordan asked if it was in fact Columbus Circle. I told him it was and asked if he wanted to check it out. He did and so we exited out the South West corner of Central Park.

After taking a few pictures we discussed our options. I suggested either Columbus Ave or Broadway to head back South. Jordan wanted to check out the Hudson River Greenway. Since I had done all of the aforementioned options and genuinely had no preference as to what we did, we decided to check out the Hudson River Greenway.

We biked along the path and stopped briefly to make note of a “Free Kayaking” sign so we, or he, or I could come back at some time to try it out. We kept riding and stopped briefly again to admire the Intrepid Museum. We unofficially discussed coming back at some point to check it out.

There, Jordan mentioned the IKEA river ferry which leaves from Pier 11 and is free on weekends. We mounted our steeds and continued South down the greenway. It’s crazy how quickly you can eat up 60 some odd blocks because before I knew it, we were at Battery Park. We stopped and sat on chairs under the shade of a tree where we chatted and I drank one of the cans of green tea I’d brought.

After a little break we headed onward to Pier 11. However, upon arriving there, we found out that the ferry was not running. We then made our way to Fulton Street in the Seaport district. There we came across Seaport Summer, an event I’ve been wanting to check out/take part in ever since stumbling across it on a previous bike ride.

Jordan asked if I wanted a beer on him and, though I hate feeling like I owe people money, I kind of couldn’t refuse. Though I typically like going on rides alone, it was nice to do this one with Jordan. After sitting and chatting and drinking for a bit, we headed onward, back into Brooklyn, to our final destination, Buffalo Exchange.

Once again we crossed the dreaded Brooklyn Bridge, but soon we were in Brooklyn and then Buffalo Exchange. Jordan was in search of a cheap denim jacket he could cut the sleeves off of to turn into a vest and make a Suicycles patch for so that he could be part of the bike gang; our fourth member.

After doing a bit of “man shopping,” ie. a quick overview of the few options available and no frivolous wandering, we headed out, empty handed. We then made one more stop, Jordan’s apartment. I locked my bike in his lobby and checked out his apartment for a short while before finally making my way back to my own apartment.

According to Jordan’s bike computer at the end of the day we covered ~30 miles. It was a lot of fun riding together. We seemed to have a similar idea of where we wanted to go/what we wanted to do and we rode at the same pace.

Neither of us complained about the length of the ride, we both clearly were at the same skill set- in terms of not being afraid to ride in traffic and what not. It was cool to take a few breaks and sit and take in the moment, rather than rush through it like I usually do.

To paraphrase Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, “[Jordan], I think this is the beginning of a beautiful [bromance].”

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Six Flags Great Adventure

I’ve been to Six Flags Great Adventure four times in my life. The first was when I was fairly young and I don’t remember it at all. The next two times were in 2005 when the ride Kingda Ka was made. The first 2005 trip ended in a bad experience because Kinda Ka was having technical difficulties. I then convinced my Dad later that summer to take me and my cousin back with, essentially the sole purpose of riding Kingda Ka.

We went all the way back, a six hour drive down to New Jersey, only to find that once again Kingda Ka was closed! However it eventually opened towards the end of the day and after 3 and half hours in line, we had finally conquered the (at the time) tallest and fastest coaster in the world.

IMG_7280Kingda Ka/Zumanjaro

Cut to 2017 and it’s been 12 years since I’ve been to this park. After moving to NY I searched how long of a ride it was from the city to the park. As it turned out, it was only an hour and a half away. And so, last Sunday I hopped on the NJ transit bus from Port Authority in Manhattan to Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson.

We arrived at SFGA at ~10:00am and waited in a fairly long line to go through security. Being that I had my backpack, I had to wait in a longer line which took forever because that had to search everyone’s bag. When they got to mine, the security guy found the opened green tea I had been hiding. He told me I needed to dump it out into a bucket.

“If it wasn’t opened,” he said, “you could have kept it.” I was so pissed because I had only had one sip of the drink. Not only did it mean I no longer had my green tea, it also meant that had spent X amount of money which I was now literally throwing away, but it also meant waste of a perfectly good bottle of green tea. I hate wasting things. This was strike one.

After going through security I then had to wait in another line to get my ticket scanned. This was super annoying but at ~10:45am I finally got into the park. The first thing I did was to run to Kingda Ka. When I got there however, I was stopped by the fact that you could not bring bags or any loose items into the line. Instead you had to place your items in lockers.

This is already annoying enough but at least at other parks you go to that make you do this you get to put items in for free. At this park, you get squeezed for every dollar they can get and it’s a dollar each time you have to place your items in the locker. The locker is only good for 2 hours. After that it’s an additional dollar per hour. This is simply “highway robbery” because they know they have you by the balls. This was strike two.

I begrudgingly paid the $1 and got in line. To my pleasant surprise, the wait time was only ~10 minutes, a far cry from that first 3 and a half hour wait in 2005. After riding Kingda Ka, I got back in line and rode it again, this time with a ~15 minute wait. I then made my way over to Zumanjaro.

Zumanjaro is a simple elevator drop ride. It was built onto the front structure of Kingda Ka in 2014. It is, apparently, the tallest (at 415 feet) and fastest (at 90mph) drop ride in the world! I typically hate these rides because I really don’t like heights, but yet I love roller coasters… go figure. However, because this one doesn’t launch you from the bottom, it actually wasn’t bad.

Also, because it is attached to Kingda Ka, it somehow makes it feel less heigh. I took the age old advice of “don’t look down” and it truly worked. Instead, I looked up to see how close to the top we were. Once at the top I looked out over Six Flags before dropping five seconds later. All in all not bad.

IMG_7258El Toro

After that I retrieved my backpack from the locker and went over to El Toro. El Toro was being built the year we went to SFGA twice. It opened a year later in 2006 and has been voted the number one wooden coaster in the world two years in a row. I paid another dollar to put my bag in another locker before getting in line for the ride.

El Toro did not disappoint. It was by far one of the smoothest, if not the smoothest wooden coaster I’ve ever been on. It also has the second biggest drop of any wooden coaster at 176 feet and one of the steepest drops at 76 degrees. It’s also the 4th fastest at 70mph. However, what I thought was really cool was the speed of the lift hill. At 13mph it gets you to the top in no time at all.

After riding “the bull” I went over to Medusa, er, I mean Bizzaro. Formerly know as Medusa, Bizzaro is was repainted and renamed for the 2008 season and theming objects were added. It really does nothing for the ride but I can now say I’ve ridden this floorless coaster with two different names. B&M rides never fail to deliver fun, smooth rides.

I then grabbed my bag from the second locker and got overpriced Mexican food for lunch. After eating lunch, I made my way over to the Green Lantern coaster. Placed in the spot where The Great American Scream Machine used to stand, Green Lantern was relocated from Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom and renamed; it was formerly called Chang.

I was really excited to ride it because I’d never been on it before and because it was only going to be the third stand up coaster I’ver ever been on. However, upon my arrival, it was closed. This was strike three. I was pretty bummed about all of these things and though they may seem minuscule, they cumulatively made for a fairly bad experience.

Disappointed, I then made my way to the other end of the park where I put in my third dollar for the day. There I rode The Dark Knight. This is, arguably the best themed ride in the park. I say that very loosely because it is barely themed. It has a pre-ride show and, because you are supposed to be riding on Gotham City Transit, the queue is subway themed and the cars look like subway trains.

This ride is nothing more than an indoor wild mouse coaster with some lighting and theming objects. It replaced the defunct Batman and Robin: The Chiller for the 2008 season. Sadly, I only ever got to ride Robin in 2005, the Batman side was closed.

After riding The Dark Knight I went over to perhaps my favorite ride in the park, Nitro. Nitro is another B&M coaster, this one however is a hypercoaster with a 215 foot drop. Nitro never fails to be thrilling and enjoyable. After Nitro I rode Batman The Ride, a compact inverted coaster. The ride it so short that the long line did not really justify the wait but oh well, another one to check off the list.

Cut to a montage of me looking at the map, strolling around aimlessly and eventually taking the Skyway gondola. The thing that really sucked about having to pay for locker each time, on top of the cost, was the inconvenience. It was so annoying to not be able to just place your stuff on the other side of the track and pick it up when you got off.

IMG_7248Six Flags Great Adventure as seen from the Skyway gondola

I get that it probably messes with load times but it is ultimately an easier system. It basically made me not want to ride as many rides because I didn’t want to deal with the hassle. For example, I didn’t ride Skull Mountain because I didn’t want to pay a dollar to ride it. Its a fun stupid little coaster but it’s not worth a dollar. Being that going on rides is the whole reason I went to the park, it kind of put a damper on the whole day.

When I got to the other side, I put my bag in a locker… again, before riding El Toro one last time. At an hour and a half, this was my longest wait of the day. The ride was having problems, than ran few trains empty to test them and eventually they had to take 15 to 20 minutes to swap one of the trans off. This meant running a one train operation.

The down side to this was that ranter than loading on train while the other was running, they could only load the train once it was back in the station. This essentially doubled the wait time for the ride. However, as before, it delivered and I was glad I got in two rides on it.

After that I basically had to play the waiting game. The bus back to New York wasn’t set to arrive until 9:30pm and it was only about 7:30pm. I was essentially done for the day, tired and a little depressed. Eventually, after going back and forth for a while I bit the bullet an paid the $12! for a chicken sandwich.

As I exited the park with my overpriced food to wait for the bus, I contemplated dumpster diving through the recycling bucket for my green tea. I bet, if they hadn’t emptied the bucket throughout the day, that it was still in there. That said, it was probably sticky and gross so I decided against it.

As I waited for the bus, I reflected on the day. I thought about the fact that overall, I had a fairly mediocre experience. It really bummed me out because it made me think that I’m getting too old or too jaded for theme parks, something I used to love. Maybe if I’d gone with a friend or bought a locker at the beginning of the day or not had to throw out my green tea or spend so much money it would have been a better experience, I don’t know.

The last thing that bummed me out was that fact that I missed the first bus -my own fault, I refused to wait in the line- and so I had to get on the second one, which stopped in NJ first before going to NY, making the trip that much longer. On top of that, the driver didn’t even collect my bus ticket. Why did I bother paying for a round trip ticket if I could have snuck on for free?

Overall the day was fine, but it may mark the end of an era for theme parks for me, #sad.

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Pool Hopping

The last time I was living in New York, I, for whatever reason, got the idea that I wanted to find a hotel pool to sneak into as a means of a) doing something fun and b) beating the heat without having to go to the beach.

Thus, a quick Google search lead me to a list of NY hotel pools and how to sneak into them. Fast forward to present day and the idea resurfaced in my brain. Knowing that it was a super low risk “crime” and that I had nothing better planned for this weekend, I decided to go for it.

IMG_7183Pool at the Millennium Hilton; spoiler alert… I got in!

I thought that the best place to start would be the top of the list. In addition to knowing exactly where the Millennium Hilton is, the article I found made it seem very easy to sneak into.

After getting off at Fulton Street Station, I walked the very short distance to the Hilton. I decided to enter through the side entrance as to draw less attention to myself. I had my headphones on and my sunglasses too. I walked straight to the elevator and pressed the call button. Moments later my ride was there.

I got in, thankfully alone, and pressed 4. According to the article, the pool was on the 4th floor. However, when I arrived, I was greeted with a hallway filled with business centers. I nervously paced back and forth down the corridor. Was there a different elevator shaft I needed to take?

The only other rooms I saw were labeled “Staff”. I had a feeling that any second a staff member was going to pop out and I’d be busted. I found a nearby bathroom and collected my thoughts.

No one knows you’re not a guest at the hotel. You have yet to give them a reason to suspect you aren’t a guest. Even if you get caught, the worst that will happen is they’ll kick you out.

Relaxed, I got in a different elevator. Again it was empty and as the door closed, I scanned the buttons to see if any were labeled. Then, out to the corner of my eye, I spotted a plaque with a list of amenities and what floor they were on; “Fitness Center” Floor 5.

The article had screwed up the floor number. I pressed 5 and was pleased when the door opened one floor later to smell chlorine. I was in the right place.I walked around the corner and down the hall to find a glass door leading to an empty reception desk, just as the article said. Beyond the desk was the pool, I was home free.

As I entered the pool room I saw two life guards sitting on the chairs at the shallow end of the pool. They were twenty-something year old dudes who were just talking and looking at their phones. They were also fully clothed so even if there was an emergency and they needed to do actual life guarding, they would have been pretty useless.

I casually walked over to an empty seat, took off my backpack, took off my headphones, took off my shoes, took off my shirt, slipped off my basketball shorts, under which was my bathing suit and walked down the stairs of the shallow end into the pool. I did it!

Being that it was around 11am the only other people in the pool were a young, roughly my age couple, and a grandmother with her granddaughter. The pool was heated, as I hoped it would be, and after maybe 20 minutes of swimming around, the young couple left. A short while after that, the grandmother and granddaughter got out too.

For a short while I had the whole place to myself. After that a mother and her teenage daughter came in. And after that two women maybe five years older than me came in. At around noon I decided to bail. The thrill of sneaking around was sort of gone and because I was by myself and the pool was… just a pool, I was getting bored.

Though I’d brought my own, I grabbed an unused hotel towel off the seat next to mine, grabbed my bag and went into the bathroom/changing room. I toweled off and changed back into my regular clothes. I then dropped my used towel in the hamper and made my way out.

As I was leaving, I pushed the glass door to exit. However, I didn’t remember having to push it open to enter. Had it been left ajar? I pulled on it to see if I could get back in but it had locked behind me. I glanced over to the wall and sure enough there was a key card reader.

Either I had gotten lucky and the door had not been shut fully OR it was wide open when I got there OR the hotel staff waits until later in the day to activate the key car reader.

Either way it was pretty lucky that the door wasn’t lock when I’d arrived or I’d have been boned. I probably could have waited for another guest to arrive or something, but still, it would have put a serious monkey wrench in the plan.

So, two things I learned, 1) the pool is on the 5th floor, not the 4th and 2) you may need to procure a key card, or find someone with a key card in order to gain access to the pool if the glass door is not left open/unlocked. Other than that it’s smooth swimming.

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Catching Up

Hey y’all, I writing to catch you up as to what I’ve been up to so far. As I mentioned in my previous post, a little over a month ago I moved back to New York. I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of things and hanging out with a lot of people and taking a lot of pictures, and yet, I’ve posted none of it.

I think because I’m now on a computer all day at work, the last thing I want to do when I get home is drain my eyes with more computer time. Not to say I haven’t been spending my fair share of free time on the computer, but, now that weather is consistently nice, I’ve been trying to take advantage of it.

What I have been doing, in lieu of writing digitally is to keep a physical, tangible journal. Ever since coming back from Japan, where I was writing what I did every day, it was a tough habit to break. I’m glad though because it lets me know what I did each day and, I feel keeps me productive.

Not everything I do every day or every weekend is interesting, but as I means of trying to trim the fat, I’m going to pull a few highlights from the last few weeks and make a digital copy of them here on HWS. I’m sure you’re waiting with baited breath. As usual, this is more for me than it is for you.

4/30/17 (Sun) test rode a bike at Van Moof

5/2/17 (Tue) dinner at Momofuku Noodles – pork buns and chocolate malted truffles

5/4/17 (Thurs) dinner at Black Flamingo

IMG_6973Discension art installation 5/6

5/5/17 (Fri) Alligator Lounge for karaoke

5/6/17 (Sat) New York Bike Expo + Discension art installation + housewarming party at co-workers apartment

5/10/17 (Wed) dinner with Jon Papp

IMG_6987Home Sweet Home 5/12

5/12/17 (Fri) New York Night Train at Home Sweet Home with co-worker

5/15/17 (Mon) dinner with Katie at Korean Place

5/17/17 (Wed) chilled with Guto, got drinks at Nostrand Pub, dollar pizza, went back to his apt, chilled on his roof

IMG_6997My studio as I moved in/organized my stuff 5/24

5/19/17 (Fri) Alien Covenant with Papp, chased the movie with drinks at Videology, went to Rebecca’s (bar) where we met up with Katie and Brandon, macked on some biddies

5/20/17 (Sat) IKEA adventure during the day, stoop life at night

5/21/17 (Sun) moved into apartment, went to Smorgasburg with co-workers

IMG_7019Hovercraft and other rich people toys at Hammacher Schlemmer 6/3

5/24/17 (Wed) movers came and I spent all day getting the apartment organized

5/27/17 (Sat) hair cut, biked through Prospect Park, chilled at Sam Cooper’s

5/28/17 (Sun) biked to Coney Island

IMG_7046Looking back on Manhattan from the Williamsburg Bridge 6/8

5/30/17 (Tue) got Brooklyn Library card

5/31/17 (Wed) chilled with Steve at my apt

6/2/17 (Fri) Mom came to visit, went to Eataly, found $5 on the sidewalk

IMG_8022Berry Park with co-workers on 6/9

6/3/17 (Sat) Brooklyn Bread Cafe, went to Ed Sullivan Theatre, Hammacher Schlemmer, CB2, Bellstaff, cut through Central Park, Zabars, walked to The MET (opera), dinner at Liz and Tim’s apartment

6/6/17 (Tue) got Manhattan Library card

6/8/17 (Thurs) biked to work, raced co-worker to Union Sq (her on foot + train, me on bike) from Queens and I won, watched movie for World Ocean day, got lost biking home and ended up at Katie/Dilila’s apt and chilled for a bit before heading home

IMG_7066Westfield World Trade Center mall on 6/10

6/9/17 (Fri) went to Berry Park (rooftop bar) with co-workers after work, went to the Alamo Drafthouse to see It Comes at Night

6/10/17 (Sat) biked across the Brooklyn Bridge to Fulton Center, went to the Westfield World Trade Center (mall), biked to the Fulton Market and saw Seaport Summer setup, checked out the 1 Hotel, 5-hour outing

From now on, anything that’s remotely interesting that I took pictures during but didn’t post to Instagram is going on here.

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