NY St. Patrick’s Day

Despite numerous efforts to get my work squad together to do something for St. Patrick’s Day this year, I was left without plans. However, my day was salvaged when about a week before the 17th, one of my friends from college reached out to tell me she’d be in town and wanted to know if I wanted to hang out with her. This led to the following adventure.

On Friday the 16th (the night before SPD) I got a text from her that she was in the city. We made plans to meet at Atlantic Ave the next day and take things from there.

Cut to 10am on the 17th. I’d timed my train perfectly and arrived at Atlantic Ave/Barclay’s Center at 10:01am. I got out and happily I found Heather waiting for me on the platform. We hopped back onto the train I’d just gotten off of and took the (5) to 14th St/Union Square.

I had seen that day or the day before that there was a new Banksy piece on the corner of 14th and 6th. Additionally, I had remembered passing a bagel place on the corner of 14th and 7th at one point, so, I figured we could kill two birds with one stone.

BanksyRatBanksy piece on the corner of 14th and 6th

We got the to corner of 14th and 6th and sure enough there was the untouched, unmistakable Banksy piece on the clock. Heather and I stopped so I could grab a few pics before continuing west on 14th Street. After crossing 7th and getting to where I though the bagel place to be, I was stumped to find that, unless we had not gone far enough, there was no bagel place to be found.

Instead we popped into a donut shop where she bought two donuts for her husband whom we were meeting later in the day. We then circled back to a different bagel place we’d passed along the way and grabbed some bagel sandwiches. We sat by the glass front of the store, ate our bagels and caught up on the goings ons in each other’s lives.

Being that she had no real game-plan until later in the day, we decided to go to the Met Breuer, a place I only realized existed just last week. While walking back to Union Square she told me more about her plans to meet up with Rey (her husband) and two of the friends they’d made while working on a cruise ship together.

Their friends are from the UK and one of them had never been to New York before so they wanted to explore and do some sight seeing. The plan was to meet up with them in the late afternoon or evening and go out for drinks. While discussing the plan, Heather invited me to join them.

Though I thought I might feel like a 5th wheel, being that I didn’t have any other plans, I decided to join them. At Union Square, we took the (6) to 77th street and made our way over to the Met Breuer. After getting tickets and checking our coats, we took the elevator to the top floor.

IMG_8180The Met Breuer

We quickly realized that the art there was… not for us. It wasn’t bad per se but it wasn’t really my (our?) taste. We decided to go down to the 4th floor but when we hit the 4 on the elevator, nothing happened. I then noticed that both floors 3 and 4 were being worked on for installations/exhibits and thus were not open to the public.

We then hit 2 and made our way down. There we were met with more artwork that simply was not to our liking. Defeated I apologized to Heather and we made our way back to the ground floor. I was glad I didn’t have t pay, due to having a membership, and that she’d only paid $5.

We ended up in the gift shop where we got more enjoyment out of the books we looked at than all of the artwork we’d seen. Heather found a good one featuring artworks of people peeing.

After getting our coats, we made our way south from 75th to 42nd; first taking Madison Ave and then cutting over to the less busy Park Ave. We ended up at Grand Central and got there just in time to literally bump into Rey. We then hopped onto the (4) train downtown to Fulton Street. There we walked to the 9/11 Memorial as Rey and Heather wanted to see it.

Moving on we stopped into a CVS so Heather could get a Red Bull before we continued on to the South Street Seaport. We sat by the water and watched the water taxis as Rey ate, and shared with me, his donut. After a short sit we headed over to west Houston to check out the bar that had been recommended to us by Heather’s brother. However, because it was St. Patrick’s Day the place had a huge line to get in.

IMG_8184Financial District from Pier 17

We hopped on the nearby (1) train and took it to 23rd street where we planned to meet with Heather and Rey’s cruise ship friends. While on the train we saw an add for a restaurant called Dallas BBQ. Heather said she wanted to go there for lunch but I pointed out that we were not going to go to Queens.

We then exited at 23rd street and walked out to 8th Ave where, to our complete surprise there was a Dallas BBQ restaurant. It was a sign, we had to go. Despite the fact that it was a crappy family style restaurant chain as ubiquitous as a Chilli’s, a Friday’s or an Applebees, we ate there. Towards the end of our meal we met up with Chris and Emma, Rey and Heather’s cruise friends from the UK.

After paying for our food, we headed uptown to a 99 cent pizza place because the Brits a) wanted to try it and b) were low on cash. We then strolled up 6th Ave, where I got to chat with Chris, and ended up doing exactly what I’d not wanted to do, end up in the area near Times Square on St. Patrick’s Day. We searched frantically for a bar that was low key, off the beaten path and not filled with drunk tourists.

Eventually after strolling into and then right out of such bar, Heather -using her phone-found a spot nearby that seemed to fit our needs. The Bourbon Street Bar and Grille, though still kind of tacky, was not super packed or too upscale/pricey. We were able to grab a booth where we posted up and drank from 7:30 to 11:30.

Mixed in were good conversations, dancing/mingling with some of the other tables which had also gotten up to dance and a nosebleed which I incurred after getting accidentally getting elbowed in the nose by the woman with whom I was dancing.

Though I had plenty of steam left, I was super bored from sitting in the same place for 4 hours and so at 11:30 I called it and made my way back home via the (Q) and the (5). I felt bad because I wanted to hang out more and show the Brits more bars but I was simply not in the mood. I ended up getting home by 1:30.

–Bonus Content

Today I went on a short adventure. The first stop was Bowery and Houston to see another Banksy piece I’d found out about via Hypebeast via Instagram.

IMG_8192Free Zehra Dogan

While on the way back to the (6) I found this piece I’d heard about be had never found… until now.

IMG_8197Offset Mickey Mouse by Jerkface

After that Made my way north to admire the new super expensive but super dope looing apartments (condos?) at 520 W 28th St. This too I’d found out about via Hypebeast via Instagram.

IMG_8198520 W 28th Street

I then went to see the entrance to a new speakeasy I want to check out at some point. I was then going to go to the MoMA but a) my feet were killing me and b) I wanted to get back to Brooklyn in time to go to the Brooklyn Library before it closed at 5pm. I also wanted to stop by the Bose store to get an accessory but I did want make the effort, so I bailed.

Back in Brooklyn I went to the library where I picked up a book called House of Leaves. I’d heard about it 4 years earlier and have been intrigued to check it out, but also  scared to read it.


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Three In One

1. Saturday

I woke up weirdly early, around 7am or 7:30am. I made some guacamole. Once it was made, which took quite some time due to lack of technique, I made some sandwiches for lunch for work.

After finishing that I reorganized my apartment, cleaning things up and getting my closet in order. Once done with that, I got showered and dressed before heading into Manhattan.

My first stop was Hugo Boss as I was in search of a jacket that I knew they no longer made but perhaps would still have on a clearance rack. I knew it was a pipe dream and sure enough, it was not to be found.

IMG_8145I kept seeing this building from a far so I finally found it and paid it a visit.

I next walked to a bar I’d been told of -Tokyo Record Bar- not to go in but to merely see where it was/is.

Next I made my way to the subway to continue uptown. Along the way I passed a Casper mattress store. I had been wanting to find one for a while but, because it wasn’t on my itinerary, I passed it by.

This was a fail because I am not good at “stopping to smell the roses” but instead only focus on what I’m set out to do. This is a skill I’d like to improve upon this year; don’t be so stringent and focus on the next thing, enjoy the present, be in the moment. (At the same time, what was I gonna get out of the Casper store? Sure I could have finally tried one of their mattresses but it’s not like I’m going to buy one. Plus, I can always go back and “retcon” my mistake).

IMG_8146Abandoned lot – Harlem

Exiting at Bryant Park, I passed a stand filled with touristy brochures of things to do in the city. One of these was a brochure for the David Bowie Is exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. Though I already have tickets to the exhibit for later this month, I thought it might be cool to get a brochure. However, again, because it wasn’t something I was expecting to do and because I didn’t wan to carry a brochure or look like a tourist*, I kept on moving.

My next stop was Urban Outfitters as I was in search of a note pad with a magnetic back that says Fuck This Shit which I’d seen the night before on an episode of Girls on HBO (I’m rewatching the series). I didn’t know this notebook to be there but I thought, if I’d find it anywhere, I’d find it there. I was wrong.

Moving on, I made my way to Tommy Hilfiger, another store I never go to (the other being Hugo Boss) in search of a certain jacket that they also did not have.


From there I took the 5 uptown to 101st St where I made my way west and across the bridge to Randell’s Island. I spent a solid chunk of time meandering around there, a place I’d been only once before on my bike in significantly warmer weather. After getting cold and hungry I decided to start heading back to Brooklyn

I took to 5 to the L to the G to Classon Ave. I’d seen an ad on the subway for pizza AND had been wanting to visit one of the many restaurants from my “places to take dates” list. However, since I have yet to procure one of those AND in keeping with the Girls theme, I went to Speedy Romeo.

SR is noted as being one of the best pizza places in the city. The pizza, was quite good. Neapolitan style, this 12-inch personal pie was not cheap. Combine that with one beer, a piece of chocolate cake and I was out of there for just under $50. Not what I was hoping to spend. Luckily, I don’t go out much and if I do, I do as much free stuff as I can.

IMG_8150Sneaker Joint

Once home, I got ready for bed and decided to re-watch La La Land. I was one of the few people for which La La did not Land. I don’t know if it’s because it had been too hyped for me or because I watched it on an airplane but it simply did nothing for me.

I was hoping a second screening would change my mind, alas, it did not. I still did not care about the characters, didn’t find the songs very interesting, and though visually the movie looks quite nice, as a piece of entertainment, for me, it falls flat.

Side note: I was also possessed to rewatch either that or Moonlight (which I still haven’t seen) because earlier in the day I had listened to an episode of the Filmstruck podcast which discussed “envelopegate” from the 89th Academy Awards.

*I feel a bit like a working tourist. Like someone who is in this city working just so he can stay longer and explore it in greater detail and with more time that any tourist could afford to spend on a vacation. The problem or struggle I find is that the longer you live in a place, the less appreciative you are of it’s treasures. It becomes the thing you see everyday. You don’t enjoy the frailty of it’s temporary-ness. The flip side is that when I find myself in wonder, looking up at a building or still occasionally being excited when I see The Empire State building and think, man, this is my new backyard and yet people come from all over the world just to see this, just to be here, I get mad at myself for acting like a tourist. I want to blend in and feel like a true New Yorker. This however is a thing I’ll never be. Whether I live here for just another year, five years, ten years or the rest of my life, I’m not from here, I wasn’t born here, so it will never really be my home. But I think that’s ok because I never want to lose my Boston roots. I have such a strange love/hate relationship with this city in that when I first came here in 1998, I hated it. Hated how loud and dirty it was/is and how bad it smelled. It wasn’t the New York I knew from the movies and it was one of the first times that I saw the world for what it really is. Who would have thought that 20 years later, I’d be living here. It’s crazy because New York is often referred to as the “Greatest City On Earth” and yet it is dingy and it is smelly it is falling apart. But maybe, rather than being this shiny ultramodern metropolis, that edgy trashy side is part of the whole appeal.

2. Sunday

I woke up “late” thanks to daylight saving’s time and did laundry from 9:30am till 11:30am (including folding and putting away my clothes). After that I read a corresponding article from The Hollywood Reporter which took a more in depth, nearly minute-by-minute look at “envelopegate.” It was/is a fascinating read.

The article is quite long and I’m a slow reader so I read it from about 12pm to about 1pm. Partially while the laundry was washing and or drying I worked on a graphic for how I envision a year. There’s a long backstory but basically, this is how I think of the months as they are laid out in my minds eye.

Year“A ‘Perfect’ Year”

The color of the months either correlates with the temperature I associate with that month or was just randomly assigned by my brain. The length of the month is somewhat arbitrary (certainly not based on how long the actual month is) though I recently came to the realization that it is likely based on how I thought of a school year.

The numbers below the month are what I feel the temperature for that month should be on average and the hill from the beginning of December into mid-March is when I think there should be snowfall and how much there should be.

This visualization is also reminiscent of my thoughts of a year as a child. Before I knew what global warming was and when it felt like seasons had a fairly definite beginning and end, rather than deciding on a daily basis what temperature it should be, regardless of the time of year.

After finishing this, I left -at 2pm- for The Met. I knew I wouldn’t be able to see much as it closes at 5:30pm on Sunday but I really just wanted to see two things, the America Wing and my favorite series of paintings, “America Today” by Thomas Hart Benton.

IMG_8154City Activities With Subway**

My favorite section of the series is “City Activities With Subway.” It romanticizes the 1920s and 30s in a way that I can’t help but love. I want to step into the moments portrayed in the painting and live amongst the people, sights and sounds taking place there.

After enjoying a stroll through the America Wing, I made my way back to Brooklyn. I really need to take more advantage of this year long membership to The Met before it runs out. I need to realize that because it’s free, I don’t need to spend an entire day there trying to soak everything up but rather that I can choose one or two things to focus on, as I did and really enjoy and appreciate them.

IMG_8156A cool ornate door I passed on 77th

Back at Atlantic Ave, I went to Best Buy where I picked up batteries for the light fixture a temp at work had gifted to me and the rest of my team; we all got one. After I got home I put the batteries in “night light”, made dinner, planned some stuff on the computer and outlined this post.

**I typically don’t like to take or post photo’s of artwork. It seems disrespectful to the artist to minimize their time and effort into a single second, a momentary photograph. Also, if you post it somewhere, it feels like you’re getting credit for their work. There’s also the factor of, “Look at me, I’ve been to that thing, aren’t you jealous?”


3. Being A Hypebeast

I’ve been meaning to write this one for a few weeks now but I’m only just getting around to it. On February 26th, McDonald’s released a special limited edition sauce called Szechuan sauce. There’s a whole back story which you can hear about on a podcast they produced called, “The Sauce.” (The pcast by the way is a fascinating listen).

In short this sauce was re-popularized by a TV show, Rick and Morty, and brought back in very limited supplies this past October. The lack of sauce literally cause riots so now they were re-re-releasing it in much larger, albeit still relatively limited quantities. When I heard about this, I decided to jump on the bandwagon.

Being a latecomer to R&M, I was not aware of the hype surrounding the first drop. This time however, I formed a plan. Getting off the train one stop earlier than I usually do on my  way to work on the 26th, I knew I’d encounter two McDonalds and double my chances of getting some.

The woman behind the counter at the first one said they didn’t have it. I think she just didn’t know what I was talking about and was too lazy to look. The second counter had a more youthful staff and the guy I spoke with knew exactly what I was talking about, even if he (seemingly) didn’t realize the significance. I thought perhaps the Mickey-D’s would be mobbed by nerds but it seemed to be not a big deal at all.

I ordered a hash brown and asked for two containers of the sauce. Then, before I left the counter, I asked for one more. (One to taste, and two for back-ups, one to possibly try and sell). As I left the McDonald’s I was elated. I even accidentally didn’t hold the door for an older woman trying to get into the restaurant as I exited, I temporarily forgot how to be human.

IMG_8085The Sauce

Once at work, I took out a container, hastily took a picture of it and immediately posted it to Instagram. The second the post was up, all of the elation rushed out of my body. Why had I done this? What did it matter? Was the whole point of my excitement just to humble brag that I had something limited that not everyone had? Do I really only find validation in the temporary adoration of others?

This leads back to the re-occurring theme of this post, living in the moment rather than living for the moment.


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Spark Notes

As usual, I’ve done the thing where I haven’t posted on my Insta or this blog for about a month and a half and thus I feel like I haven’t been doing anything worthy of note. So, in an attempt to prove myself wrong I’m going to write another more-for-me-than-for-you blog post recapping any highlights from my 2018 thus far.

Week 1

Dec 31/Jan1 – went to Alligator Lounge for New Years Eve. Jan 1 (day) – adventure to Staten Island to go to Box Lunch (store). Jan 2 – went to a Bruins/Islanders game with my co-worker Alyssa at the Barclay’s Center. Jan 5 – hung out with my co-workers in the on Roosevelt Island to watch The Matrix. Jan 6 – went to The Shape of Water with friends.  Jan 7 – participated in the no pants subway ride.

Week 2

Jan 14 – went to The Strand bookstore amongst other places on a Manhattan outing.

Week 3

Jan 19 – went out to dinner with Katie and Dilila in Greenpoint and then went for drinks in Bushwick. Jan 20 – bike ride across Brooklyn bridge, through Manhattan and over for lunch all with my buddy Jordan before heading back to Brooklyn. Jan 21 – worked at the Meatpacking showroom for the Model 3 launch weekend.

Week 4

Jan 27/28 – went to Boston, hung out with friends in the city during the day, went to dinner with fam in the evening, went out for drinks in the city with a former co-worker at night + grabbed my snowboard gear.

Week 5

Feb 3 – went snowboarding with co-workers to Mountain Creek in New Jersey. Feb 4 – went to my co-workers apartment to watch the Superbowl.

Week 6

Feb 8 – got a thing in the mail that I’m excited about; you’ll hear about this when you’re older. Feb 10 – went on an adventure; Brooklyn Library, the bank, [redacted] and [redacted] before heading home. In the evening I went to my co-worker’s birthday party a the Alligator Lounge then went to Union Pool; stayed out till 4am. Feb 11 – went Nagels Bagels and had a dooope breakfast sammy on a rainbow bagel, then went to the MoMA PS1 in Queens and looked at some terrible art.

In closing, as I always say, I gotta do a better job at keeping track of what I’m doing. Even if it’s little and seems trivial, it keeps me sane.

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2017 Top Five

When I look back on the year that was 2017, I think that all in all, it was very good to me. I did a lot of cool things, went to a bunch of cool shows, and met a lot of cool people. Here is a list of my top five accomplishments from this year.

Side Note: here’s a link to Catching Up, a post I created in June to show how much I’d done by that time alone!

1) Japan – I finally went on vacation to Japan, a place I’ve wanted to visit for a very long time. While there I was able to check off a lot of things from my to do list. I got to: fly on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, see a whale shark, visit Liberty Walk, visit Nagashima Spa Land and ride Steel Dragon 2000 (a coaster I’ve wanted to ride for 17 years!), ride the Shinkansen (bullet train), see Mt Fuji, visit RWB (Porsche), go to Tokyo Disney Sea, ride go karts on the streets of Tokyo, and see The’s in concert.

2) Got a “promotion” – I put promotion in quotes because though I did get a raise with my new job, in terms of level of importance, I am not much, if any, higher from the bottom than I was before. That said, it is a new position and it makes me feel like I have the potential to go places within the company. Additionally, I like it’s better than the role I was in before, so that’s a plus.

3) Moved to Brooklyn – this is the third year in a row that moving has been listed amongst my accomplishments. Unlike the last time I moved to NY, where it was more haphazard, this time the move was due to my new job which required a relocation to the East Coast headquarters. The nice thing is, because I’d lived here before, I was comfortable finding a place to live, getting around, and exploring the city.

4) Met a bunch of people – I got to meet several of my hero’s or people I admire/look up to. While at Liberty Walk I met Kato San (the man who started it) and at RWB I met Nakai San (the man who started it). This was a pipe dream that I did not expect to come true. I also got to meet Josh and Eli from Smoking Popes and I got to meet Matt Gourley and Paul F. Tompkins at the Superego show. I also got to meet my new co-workers who have become very good friends.

5) Explored New York (and beyond) – since moving here, I’ve been to a bunch of shows including: Dave Chappelle, Just Between Us LIVE, Smoking Popes, Eleanor Friedberger, Superego, Angel Olsen, LCD Soundsystem and a few underground shows sprinkled in between.

I did a bunch of cool things like going to Bike Expo New York, did a lot of karaoke at The Alligator Lounge, went dancing at Home Sweet Home, went to Smorgasburg, went to the Mermaid Parade, went pool hopping at the FiDi Hilton, went to Coney Island and rode the Thunderbolt and the Cyclone, went to Six Flags Great Adventure, went on a 30+ mile bike ride with my buddy Jordan, took a day-cation to Philadelphia, played movie trivia at Videology, found “MIB headquarters,” went to Bike Kill, went to Fat Cats to play pool with my co-workers, went to Jingle Hells pop up bar, not to mention all the other bars, clubs and restaurants I either went to or have scoped out for future visits, went to several house parties and probably a few other things I’m forgetting.

I visited a bunch of museums including The Met, The MoMA, The Museum of Natural History, The Museum of the City of New York, The Queens Museum, The Brooklyn Museum and The Cloisters. I also checked out public art such as Descension by Anish Kapor and Photoville. Additionally, I went to the Louis Vuitton exhibit Volez Voguez Voyagez.

I’ve gone to and or ingested (in one way or another) a bunch of movies this year, namely: Alien Covenant, It Comes At Night, Spiderman Homecoming, Dunkirk, Passengers, The Founder,  My Neighbor Totoro, Nocturnal Animals, The Incredible Jessica James, Wonder Woman, The Big Sick, Mother!, Blade Runner 2049, Baby Driver, Jim and Andy and the Great Beyond, Lady Bird, Man on the Moon, Get Out, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Voyeur.

Lastly, I attended the 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I finally attended this parade with my sister, something that has been on my bucket list for a long time because the watching on TV of which has been a part of my family’s Thanksgiving tradition for as long as I can remember. My sister and I would wake up on Thanksgiving morning, in a similar way as we would for Christmas, run downstairs and put on the TV to watch the parade. We always said that one year we’d see it live and now we can finally say we did.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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*


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.


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.


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.


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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