End of The Year

These last few months have been somewhat filled with activity. However, this last month of the year is going to packed with nonstop action. Below is an outline of what I have coming up this month/what’s happened so far. I will fill it in as things actually transpire.

Naturally the stuff I’ve written for future dates is just conjecture so far.

November 30

Karaoke / Shave

After work I met up with some co-workers at the Alligator Lounge, a staple of my life in Brooklyn. We went for what other than karaoke. Despite telling people to be there at 10:30pm, I myself arrived at 11pm. However, as is usually the case, I was still the first one there.

I put my song in right away and then watched a few people sing. After a while I started to make my way to the bar to see if anyone had come in. No sooner did I turn to leave was I greeted by my co-worker Yev. Moments later he was followed by our co-worker Michael. Just as we began to make our way to the bar, my name was called, perfect timing.

Rather than just stand up and sing, I chose to make it a full performance. I pulled over the small table that was on the stage and pulled up a seat next to the table. I then lowered the mic stand so I could sing into it from a seated position. I then took off my regular glasses, placed them on the table and put on the sunglasses I’d brought with me.

As the music began to play I mimicked playing piano on the table and then proceeded to sing all 6 minutes and 46 seconds of Elton John’s Someone Saved My Life Tonight.

IMG_9699Singing at karaoke at Alligator Lounge

At the end, when it repeats the title, I did a bit of call and response with the audience. First with them as a whole, then out to individuals and finally for the last two, splitting the audience between the left side and the right side. To my pleasant surprise it worked and they sang along beautifully.

What I love about karaoke (and I imagine is the appeal for most people) is the feeling, even if just for a moment, that you’re a rockstar and that the audience is hanging on your every word. To have that much control over an audience while also having their temporary affection is really wonderful thing.

On top of that, the feeling of vindication of picking a good song that the whole bar know and will be interested in singing along to is really a talent that I pride myself on. I rarely fail to bring the house down.

After singing and dancing until 1:30 or 2am, we called it a night. Michael was kind enough to give me a ride back to my apartment. Once home I took advantage of the fact that November was technically over and trimmed down my overgrown beard. It was nice to see my face again and not feel dirty or itchy.

That said, I don’t know if it was the shock of going from a lot of facial hair to suddenly very little, but I did sort of immediately regret it. I think I need to find a happy medium of scraggily facial hair and too little facial hair. Luckily, it’ll grow back.

December 1 (Sat)

Haircut / Food / Write / Brinson Chill Session

After going to bed at around 4am, I slept in till 9:30am. I then got showered, dressed, brushed my teeth and at 10:25, began to make my way to Greenpoint for my haircut appointment.

It usually takes me pretty long to get to my barbershop, but I knew it was going to take particularly long because, in usual (G) train fashion, it was only running to Nassau Ave, at which point I needed to transfer to a shuttle bus to Greenpoint Ave.

Once off the bus I backtracked to the nearby Bank of America to grab some cash. Then doubled back to head to Tomcats, grabbing a copy of this weeks Time Out magazine along the way. I got there a few minutes early for my haircut so I just sat and chilled.

After the cut I headed back towards Nassau Ave, this time on foot, along the way stopping for a late breakfast (or on time lunch) at Charlotte Pâtisserie. There I had their hummus sandwich which was very good and fairly priced. Afterwards I made my way back home where I chilled and wrote a bunch of this.

Went to Brinson’s apartment to hang out with co-workers. We watched some boxing and afterwards I went to my co-worker’s girlfriend’s apartment which was literally across the street.

–Week 1–

December 3 – 7

Work 

It’s crazy to think that this is my last week with the Inside Sales team. Despite the fact that the time with this team has been slightly longer than my time with the Boston team (1 yr 6 months vs 1 yr 5 months) it’s somehow felt shorter.

After work on Friday I went to Home Sweet Home for Shakin’ All Over, the soul music dance night put on by New York Night Train and spun by DJ Jonathan Toubin. I met up with my co-worker’s girlfriend -Skyler, her roommate Kristen and their friend Tory.

We had a really good time dancing. Kristen and Skyler ended up leaving at 1am but Tory and I hung back and danced until 2.

12/8 (Sat)

VOX LUX + Tom’s Bday

When I first saw the trailer for Vox Lux I instantly got Black Swan vibes. Not only because of Natalie Portman, but also because she is playing a character who is a performer. My gameplan was to go to this movie on a Hinge date. However, due to unforeseen complications, she decided we should reschedule.

That said, I had no intention of waiting to see this movie so I ended up going with my co-worker Carter.

That night was my co-work’s roommate’s birthday party. I’ve gotten to know Tom a bit over the year and a half that I’ve been here so I was happy to attend.

–Week 2–

December 9 – 14

Fly to California / Training / Fly back to NY

Sunday afternoon I took the train in to JFK to board a flight to SJC.

Monday through Friday I trained at Tesla HQ in Fremont.

I flew back Friday night and got into New York early Saturday morning.

12/15 (Sat)

Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse

I was able to get my squad to stall and not see the new animated Spider-Man movie until after I got back from California.

12/16 (Sun)

The Grinch (Jim Carrey)

screening with co-workers

–Week 3–

December 17 – 21

New Job in Brooklyn

This was my first week doing my actual new job. Luckily I had some metaphorical training wheels in the form of my new colleague [name]. He rode around with me and taught me how to structure my day.

12/22 (Sat)

Bus to Boston

Saturday morning I got up early to take the 7am bus to Boston.

Podcast with Chris Smith and Greg Clapp

–Week 4–

December 23 – 26

Boston / Xmas / Bus back to NY

Sunday was chill

Christmas Eve … Auntie Jeanne

Christmas … Grandpa

Wednesday afternoon I took the bus back to New York.

12/27 – 12/28

New Job in Brooklyn

Thursday and Friday I worked the new job

12/29 (Sat)

Pirates of Penzance

A bunch of my co-workers and I decided to go to our co-worker’s production of Pirates of Penzance. When we were buying the tickets, we were trying to get the seats all in a row and next to each other. I somehow got roped into buying my seat and two others.

Now the two other people paid me back right away, but they didn’t pay the extra $4 each for the service fee. It just pissed me off because I was too much of a wuss to speak up and ask for the extra money. This sort of thing happens to me all the time, but I do it to myself, I have no one else to blame. Not important to the story, I just had to get it out.

In any case, on Saturday night we all got dressed up and went out to Manhattan. We met up at … .

–Week 5–

December 31

New Year’s Eve

Thanks to my new job I had New Years day off. I spent the day … . In the evening I went to … (a NYE party? Karaoke? Idk yet)

–2019–

January 1

New Years Day

I spent New Years Day …

January 2 – 4

New Job in Brooklyn

Wednesday through Friday I finished out the first week of new year in my new role. Whew, what a way to close out the year.

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Bronx Adventure

Every time I take the bus into or out of the city, I always see parts that I want to explore. For the longest time I wanted to ride Bruckner Blvd because it goes right alongside the highway. However, the last time I went home, I passed a memorial statue in the middle of a grassy park that I knew I wanted to check out.

Pelham Bay Park

One of the train stations I always see while heading back is Hunts Point Ave which is on the (6) line. I thought it would be a good jumping off point as it is in a deep part of the Bronx that I’ve never been to before.

When researching my potential ride today, I found that it might make more sense to ride the (6) all the way to the end, to Pelham Bay Park. The reason being that that must be the park I saw from the bus the last time I went home.

So this morning, I left my apartment around 10:30am and took the (2) to Wall Street. From there I rode to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall and hopped on the (6). I rode it all the way from it’s start point in lower Manhattan to it’s end in the Northeast Bronx.

IMG_8593Bronx Victory Memorial in Pelham Bay Park, Bronx, NY

From the Pelham Bay Park station it was a quick and easy ride to the Bronx Victory Memorial. This was the aforementioned statue I’d seen from the bus. I then rode around Pelham Bay Park for a bit before stopping on a bench to Instagram my findings.

From there I mapped out my next stop on my adventure, City Island.

City Island

City Island was something I’d known about for about a year. I heard about it on an episode of the Bodega Boys podcast. They were rambling about some Bronx nonsense and somehow it came up.

Talk about the ride from Pelham Bay Park to City Island. How after crossing the bridge you started to go right, then doubled back and took the bike path to the rotary and rode down that street with no bike path. Eventually crossing the street to get to the bike path, passed the second rotary and eventually to the bridge to City Island.

The island is very small I rode from one end to the other in about 10 minutes. However, it’s very charming. It reminds me of Cape Cod, Salem, Nantucket, Rockport or any of the small coastal towns in Maine or New Hampshire.

I can imagine that in the summer the town is booming with cyclists, fisherman and tourists who go to the ubiquitous sea food restaurants. I definitely want to go back in the summer and be one of those aforementioned tourists.

IMG_8599City Island Nautical Museum

After exploring some of the side streets and happening upon the City Island Nautical Museum, I made my way back onto the main drag and rode all the way to Belden Point at the Southerly tip.

Bay Plaza Shopping Center

After taking in everything I’d done thus far, I rode back through the city center, across the bridge and down the bike path that I should have stayed on in the first place when I had started heading in that direction.

IMG_8600On the bike path in the woods

Rather than going left and heading back over the bridge to go back towards Pelham Bay Park station, I crossed the intersection and went right just as I had done the first time, only this time, rather than go right at the intersection, I went left and followed the bike path to the Bay Plaza Shopping Center.

I had no interest in actually going to the mall but it was another ‘thing I see from the bus’ and I wanted to say I’d been there in person. To know how it feels to exist there rather than just be a bystander.

While there I saw a Starbucks in the middle of the parking lot. It had a drive thru! I’d never seen a Starbucks with a drive thru before. I then took the opportunity to use the restroom at the Marshalls before continuing on my journey.

Mention the bit about wanting to go a little further up the highway to the depot where they keep all of the busses but that you didn’t want to keep going further north and then have even more to retrace. Plus the fact I didn’t know how much further it was or how easy it would be to get there.

Bruckner Blvd/Hunts Point Ave Station

I doubled back through the parking lot to the bike path, across the bridge, along the river, over the highway to the rotary to the intersection across the bridge to the bike path back to Pelham Bay Park.

I rode up the ramp and crossed the bridge over the highway back to Pelham Bay Park station. I then entered the station and took the stairs down to street level where I began my journey on Bruckner Blvd.

As previously mentioned, what I liked about Bruckner Blvd was that it runs parallel to the highway (Rt. 95 and 278 to be specific). However, because it is not the highway, it is very bike-able. There was one small section along the way that tripped me up but I think that was on account of the sidewalk being closed.

Fortunately the one on the other side was open so I rode up a few blocks and crossed back over at Castle Hill Ave. From there I rode all the way to the Hunts Point Ave subway station passing Concrete Plant Park along the way (I definitely wanna go back and check it out).

As I was approaching my legs were beginning to hurt. I should have just hopped on the train there and headed home but I was determined to bike into Manhattan before getting back on the train.

Train Home

From Hunts Point Ave station I continued to Southern Blvd which later reconnected with Bruckner. I rode to and took a right onto St. Ann’s Ave before taking a left on Msgr. Gerald J. Ryan Blvd. Immediately I recognized this from the Bronx adventure I’d been on in April.

I rode along the Blvd passed the Brooks Ave subway station. A few streets later I began to approach a roadblock. As I approached the Alexander Ave intersection something was suddenly not right. My front tire was rolling fine but the back tire was suddenly translating every bump in the road.

Instantly I knew what it was and when I dismounted my fears were confirmed, flat tire. I was really bummed. Now to be be fair, the roadblock I’d come upon was for the New York City Marathon so either way my plans for crossing the Madison Avenue Bridge into Manhattan were foiled. However, it just sucked to be faced with the fact that I now needed to endure the cost of replacing my rear tire.

What added insult to injury was that had I not kept going, I wouldn’t have gotten the flat. While ridding down Southern Blvd I had ridden over some broken glass. This happens all of the time and hardly ever ends with a flat tire. However this time the glass bit in and didn’t expose itself until a mile or so later.

Defeated, I made my way back to the Brooks Ave subway station where I rode the (6) to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall. From there I took the (4) to Fulton Street where I switched to the (2) and took that the last three stops home.

I reckon I probably rode about 20 miles or so. It’s too bad I caught that flat, it really deflated my day.

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During And After Work

Vans x NASA

It all started last Tuesday when I saw an Instagram post for an upcoming drop of a sneaker collaboration Vans was doing with NASA. The colab was based on the Vans “Old School” silhouette.  I showed the post to my co-worker Adam who I know to be a NASA nerd during lunch. He was immediately hyped on them.

I mentioned they were coming out on Friday (Nov 2). From there, word spread to the rest of the people at or around the lunch table. The next day more pictures came out showing a pair of orange sneakers (the first post only showed white ones) as well a few other styles that were set to drop.

Our other co-worker Yev caught wind of this and also started to get pretty pumped. The word continued to spread in our team and even my Manager was starting to get interested! As the week went on the hype continued to grow. On Thursday night, after we got out of work, Adam and I went to the Vans store in Williamsburg.

We wanted to try on a pair of non-limited edition “Old Schools” in order to know what size we needed before the drop the next day. Now my philosophy had been that I didn’t need the sneakers and that if it they were at the Vans store when I got there after work on Friday, it was meant to be. However, Adam was pretty adamant about getting the sneakers.

Cut to Friday morning and there is buzz in the office. I mentioned to my Manager, who at this point was also all in (as well as Yev), that we should go during our lunch break and see if we could all cop a pair. He was hesitant at first but then, as the rest of the team shuffled in, came to the decision that we could go at 2pm. (That was when he would be done with all his phone calls).

We checked the Vans website and saw that the orange low tops were available but the white ones were not! At 10am, Adam called the Vans store that we’d visited and they told him that they were not getting the white ones. The air was slowly being let out of the tire that was our plan.

However, a stroke of luck came when -and I don’t know how he thought/knew to do this- he called Journey’s who said that they had them. I was amazed that of all the stores that could carry them, Journey’s was the one who had ’em. We were back in business. Adam asked them to hold a pair of his size and to my surprise, they said they would.

When he hung up, Lev (my Manager) asked if he’d asked them to hold a pair for him as well. Adam told him he hadn’t but suggested he do so. We then went about our day and at around 1pm. Lev, Adam and Yev got my attention. “You wanna go get the shoes?”

“I thought we weren’t going ’till 2?” I said. “Yeah, well I can put off this call until tomorrow.” Lev said. I couldn’t believe it. Not only I was amazed at how hype he was of the three of us, but also that he was putting off a work call just for some limited edition sneakers. On top of that it was crazy to me that we were taking a work field trip in the middle of the day to get Vans.

We then made our way out to his car.

Side Story: When I started working for Lev he had a Ford Fusion or something. Shortly after I started with him he was driving a used BMW 3 series a friend had sold him. Last month, Tesla had some sort of deal for employees where they could take advantage of something that made the Model 3 financially attractive. I knew that Lev had been thinking about it but when last we’d spoken about it, he said that he couldn’t get his wife to agree.

We followed Lev down the street and around the corner where there was a Model X and Model 3 parked. He started walking over to the Model 3 and I thought, “Oh, we’re borrowing a test drive car so Lev doesn’t need to lose his parking spot.”

However, two details were funny as we got closer. The first was that the car had New Jersey plates on it rather than the California plates we put on our test drive cars. Secondly, there was a car seat in the back. This was no test drive vehicle, this was Lev’s car! I was blown away. I couldn’t believe he had kept it a secret from us. On top of that, apparent Yev already knew because he had gotten credit for the sale! MIND BLOWN.

We hopped in and made our way through Red Hook to the BQE to downtown Brooklyn. To our amazement we found a spot right near the Journey’s. We walked in and told the guy what we wanted, me a pair of the orange low tops, Yev a pair of the orange low tops and Lev a pair of the white low tops.

Meanwhile, Adam was already on his way to the counter to pick the pair he had set aside. The employee working with us said they were all out of the white ones. Our collective heart sank. I walked up to Adam to make sure the ones in his box were the white ones. Sure enough, they were. However, Lev was shit out of luck. Apparently someone had come in with a large blue Ikea bag and said that he wanted to buy every pair of the white ones.

We were all collectively bummed. It took all of the excitement we had been feeling and all of the joy of getting the sneaker out of getting the sneakers. I felt guilty buying my pair in front of Lev. He had taken us all on this field trip and he was the one leaving empty handed.

On the way back we even tried calling some of the other Journey’s locations but to no avail. It made for a bittersweet cop.

IMG_8564Yev, Adam and myself with our Vans x NASA sneakers #hypebeasts

The sneakers themself are pretty cool. However I was a little disappointed that there was no special package design. The box they came in, apart from the label, is the exact same type of box you’d get with a basic pair of “Old Schools”. On top of that, the orange was a little different than how they looked in the pictures online. I’d learned this lesson before when I bought my “Skywalkers.”

That said, they do have a few cool features that makes them stand out. In addition to the colorway, there are American flag patches velcroed to both heels. The right tongue has a pull tab that says “Shuttle” and left has one that says “Mission.”

On the right side of the right sneaker it has the NASA “worm” logo. Below that it says National Aeronautics Space Administration in Helvetica (typeface). Below that it says John F. Kennedy Space Center in Helvetica bold. All of this is also on the left side of the left sneaker.

On the inside of the white rubber sidewall it say “For the benefit of all” in all caps in the “worm” logo typeface. This is on both sneakers. The sole itself is sectioned off in four different colors; light brown, deep brown, orange and gum. The insoles have schematic drawings of the space module.

Morgan Library & Museum

It’s Alive! Frankenstein At 200

IMG_8569Large movie poster for Frankenstein

After work I had plans to visit the Morgan Library & Museum to see their exhibit on Frankenstein. I had initially stopped by on Sunday but when I realized admission was $20, I passed. I found out that the museum was free from 7pm to 9pm on Fridays and decided to go.

IMG_8571Makeup effects for one of the on screen versions of Frankenstein

The exhibit was celebrating the fact that Frankenstein is 200 years old! It was split into two wings. One that sort of gave the backstory and inspiration for Mary Shelly’s creation. The other which showed more of the evolution of story and the character. How it has been adapted on the stage and screen as well as in comic books and pop culture.

IMG_8584The Empire State Building in the fog and rain on the way back to the subway

The exhibit was pretty cool but wasn’t really that big. I ended up only spending about an hour and 20 minutes there so I’m glad I didn’t have to spend the $20 to get in.

–Extra

Today I met up with my co-worker Jonathan at Chelsea Market for the Wind Up watch fair. I had never been to the Chelsea Market before and it’s a pretty cool venue filled with shops and restaurants. I definitely want to go back and explore it in more detail.

The watch fair was set in one of the side halls and consisted of booths for various watchmakers from around the world. Jonathan had his eye on a few brands and styles. I was impressed with his watch knowledge. I on the other hand only cared about one brand, Autodromo.

IMG_8591Autodromo Group B Series 2

I’ve known about them for years but cannot muster up the courage to drop the necessary cash for one of their watches. The one pictured above harkens back to the Group B era of rally racing and is in my opinion the coolest designed watch they make.

The Series 2 steps up it’s game by having a metal strap rather than a nato strap. It is a beautiful and clean design. However, I know if I bought it I would thing about how that money could have paid for roundtrip airfare to Europe or part of my rent.

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Six Flags and Stuff

Once again I let an amount of time pass and didn’t write about any of the things I did in that time. So, let’s recap some October Highlights.

Dan/NYCC

The first weekend of October was New York Comic Con. My buddy Dan came down from MA to attend. That Saturday after bumming around Greenpoint and Manhattan I met up with Dan and Guto.

From there we went back to Guto’s apartment where were chilled, watched The Mummy and The Fifth Element, ate pizza and drank beer. A very good/chill way to spend a Saturday. On Sunday morning we got brunch and I had shake with Bailey’s and Kahlua. I never do that sort of thing but… brunch.

Stink Studios

On Thursday the 11th, Stink Studios, the tenants above us held a work party at the end of the day. Me and some of the rest of the Tesla crew went up and crashed it. In addition to being responsible for some of my favorite marketing campaigns, they also know how to throw one hell of a party. There was an open bar and catering. There was a DJ and cool lighting and fog effects. I mingled with a bunch of the people who work there and it was a lot of fun.

Standards Manual

The following Saturday I visited a store called Standards Manual. I forget even how I found out about it, probably Instagram, but it specializes in graphic design related things; books, posters, etc. I had been wanting to go for weeks and then finally, I had a free Saturday.

The place is pretty small and it would really only appeal to design nerds like me. That said, there was some cool stuff to look at and I ended up walking away with a matchbook, one of my favorite free things to collect.

Six Flags

I had been wanting to do an end of the summer trip to a theme park for the past several weekends. I finally hit up my buddy Jordan and agreed to go the following Saturday since he magically had the day off.

Ultimately I wanted to go to Dorney Park in Allentown, PA as I’d never been there before. However, being that is more difficult to get to via public transportation and has fewer big roller coasters (albeit, coasters I’ve never been on before) than Six Flags Great Adventure (which I have been to before), we decided to go to Six Flags.

Unfortunately, as the week moved on, Saturdays forecast showed rain. On top of that, Jordan realized he had overextended himself and promised he be at too many things at once. On top of that, his friend/the ride he had secured bailed.

Luckily I had hedged my bets and told my buddy Adam about the plan to hit the park. He and his girlfriend were only free to go on Sunday. Thus, I ended up going with the two of them and Adam’s roommate Tom. We ended up having a solid day:

Kingda Ka

Drop Ride

Green Lantern – I’d never ridden it before

El Toro

Medusa

Nitro

Skull Mountain

Batman The Ride

Superman Ultimate Flight

AudioMovies Episode 4

I have a wedding to go to on the 26th. My original gameplan was to leave NY on Wednesday. However, I knew I wanted to try and get things done on Saturday and Sunday so I decided to take Monday and Tuesday off and come home early.

I took a 7am bus that got me to Boston at 11:03am. I then walked from South Station to Back Bay where I dropped my bags off at the Tesla store. I then went to Johnny Cupcakes where I made an impulse buy, a neck tie (one might say an impulse tie). I then saw baby blue Lamborghini Huracan Peformente with LIIIT as the license plate.

I then made my way back to Tesla to grab my stuff and took the T to North Station. There I bought a Commuter Rail ticket and hopped on the 1:13pm to Waltham. I met up with my buddy Greg and went back to his apartment where we recorded Episode 4 of AudioMovies; Raiders of the Lost Ark.

After recording we went out for beers and food but not before stopping in the comic book shop across the street. Afterwards we went back to his place for a bit to watch some of Maniac on Netflix. He then drove me back to the commuter rail where I took the 7:18pm back to North Station and then hopped on the Orange line back to Oak Grove to surprise my parents.

Motorcycle/Phone

My cousin had texted me that he bought a new motorcycle the other day. I wanted to go for a ride on it and so on Sunday I hit him up and he came by and gave me a ride. It was great to use my helmet which has gotten little to no use since I bought it.

The ride went perfectly smooth and afterwards we walked around admiring the bike and taking pictures of it. I STUPIDLY put my phone in my left outside breast pocket. Then, like a FUCKING IDIOT, I bent down/leaned over to look at the engine and BAM, my phone fell out of my pocket screen side down.

I always say cases are for the careless. Well, I got careless and I paid the price. I went to Apple to get the screen replaced for $129! They said the screen wouldn’t calibrate when I came back to pick it up and so they gave me a new phone. Most people would be thrilled with a new phone but I wasn’t. I didn’t need a new phone, just a new screen.

I hate getting new things when old things are still working, it feels so wasteful. On top of that, my iCloud back up was not up to date so I lost some photos and Notes that had been updated. Overall just a huge bummer because this sort of thing does not happen to me. Oh well.

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AudioMovies

After talking about it for a long time, I finally made (am making) my second podcast. AudioMovies is a series where I sit down with a guest and together we describe the action and perform the dialogue from that weeks movie. The catch… it’s all done from memory.

This first episode is just an introduction and is probably redundant of what I am writing here. However, there are currently three full length episodes on my Soundcloud* page. Head on over to check out the rest or go to iTunes** to download the episodes and listen to them on the go.

I’m excited to bring more content in the coming months. If this thing goes as planned I have some fun surprises in store so stay tuned to my blog, Instagram and now podcast for all the latest.

*On my Soundcloud you can listen to all 13 episodes of FaceWords, my first podcast.

**At the time of me writing this I am still waiting for this podcast to be verified. However, once it is, you’ll be able to find it in the iOS Podcast App and iTunes store. 

 

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June | July | August | September

Once again, here is another ‘catching up’ post where I give brief screen shots of what I’ve been doing the past few months that I haven’t posted anything.

Domino Park – June 17

Ever since reading about it in Time Out Magazine I wanted to check out Domino Park in Williamsburg. Well finally, when I got back from my vacation, it was open.

IMG_0327Fake cranes and elevated walkway at Domino Park in Williamsburg

Domino Park is basically just a chill hang out spot by the East River near where the old Domino Sugar Factory was/is located. The place has really nice theming, grassy areas to lay out, a playground area for kids and a taqueria. It’s basically a perfect park.

Moonstruck – July 13

As I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, Moonstruck is one of my favorite movies. One day I was looking through Time Out Magazine and I saw that there was going to be a free screening outside the Oculus building in lower Manhattan.

IMG_0366Outdoor screening of Moonstruck next to the Oculus in FiDi

So, immediately after work I headed to the Financial District and though I was not able to get a seat in the ‘official seating area’, I was able to find a seat across the street. Eventually, as the sun went down, I moved to the curb back on the other side as to not be blinded by the setting sun.

This was the first time I had seen it with a big audience. It reminded me just how good the movie is. People of all ages and were laughing at just the right parts. I couldn’t help myself from grinning ear-to-ear the whole time.

Formula E – July 14

Last year when Formula E came to Red Hook I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. I certainly didn’t want to spend $80+ to check it out. This year however, one of my co-workers told me that I could score free tickets by going to one of the local business that had been given vouchers for free tickets.

IMG_0692The track and final race as seen from the rooftop across the street

It was super easy to do, you just went online and used the provided coupon code. Then you put in how many tickets you wanted (up to 4) and boom, you had PDF of tickets in your email. I used it to get myself and one of my friends into the event. It ended up being pretty fun, despite the heat.

Ironically, when it came time for the actual race, we found a spot on the rooftop across the street and watched from there, negating the need for tickets at all. However, being able to access the area with the food trucks and the sponsors was worth the “price” of admission.

Post Work Bike Ride to Coney Island – July 20

A month or so prior, one of my co-workers floated the idea of doing a post work bike ride to Coney Island. I thought it was a great idea as it’s a super easy ride and would be a great way to hang out/end the week.

IMG_20180720_200438Darryl, Carter, Xander and myself on the boardwalk at Coney Island

Eventually, after weeks of hounding the group, we finally got figured out a day that would work for everyone and went for it. It was the perfect way to forget about the week and just enjoy time with friends. We grabbed beers on the boardwalk, and, right before we left, got to see fireworks over the beach.

Ice Cream Pop Up Shop/Cooper Hewitt Museum – July 28

While scrolling through my Instagram feed I saw that one of my friends had posted a picture from The Pint pop-up shop.

IMG_0714The Pint pop-up ice cream and merchandise shop

Basically, this was a collaboration with The Museum of Ice Cream and Target. The pop-up consisted of very Instagrammable theming as well as free samples of ice cream, pints of various flavors for sale and colorful merchandise.

I had also heard about something interesting from a friend that was later confirmed in Time Out Magazine. This was that if you have a library card, you can use it to get a free ticket to a certain museum in the city.

IMG_0734Solari flip clock at the Cooper Hewitt Museum

The catch is that you’re only allow to do this once a year and that not every participating museum is available to visit at any given time. That said, I used mine to visit the Cooper Hewitt Museum. This museum is perfect for me as it is based around design. There was this one room filled with different pieces of industrial design that were impactful throughout history.

The Intrepid Museum – August 4

The Intrepid Museum is a place I had been wanting to visit ever since I lived in NY briefly in 2015. However, because entry is not free, I wanted to make the most of it and go with a friend.

IMG_0756British Airways Concorde G-BOAD at The Intrepid Museum

One of my friends expressed interest in going but was repeatedly too busy to join. Eventually I couldn’t wait anymore and decided to go on my own. I was able to save some money on admission as I have my NYC ID card.

The museum itself is just fine, most of it is housed on and in the Intrepid aircraft carrier. However, I basically got enjoyment out of three things, the A-12 reconnaissance plane (which from the ground I’d mistaken for an SR-71), the space shuttle Enterprise which is housed in a hanger on the flight deck and the Concorde.

The Enterprise was cool because I had never seen a space shuttle up close before. It was much larger than I expected it to be. The showstopper for me however was Concorde. I have been obsessed with Concorde for a long time and so to see one up close was a dream come true. I could have paid more money to do a tour of it but even just walking around it was good enough for me.

Late Night With Seth Meyers – August 16

The backstory to this is that one of my customer’s whom I’d helped to take delivery of his car is the bandleader for Late Night With Seth Meyers. When he took delivery, he told me that I was welcome to come to a taping and to just send him an email.

IMG_0774Jordan, Seth and myself in the green room

A few weeks later I took him up on his offer. I ended up taking my friend Jordan because I knew he’d actually appreciate it. We met up in Brooklyn and took the train into Manhattan. We then walked to 30 Rockefeller Center (NBC Studios) and went to the guest service center where we got our guest passes.

We then took the elevator to the 8th floor where we got checked in and waited in the green room. We sat quietly for a bit before getting more adventurous, taking some of the candy and veggies that were laid out. Jordan even opened one of the bottles of wine and had some of that.

Later Eli, my customer, came out to greet us and gave us a tour of the 8th floor. The first place he took us was the studio where they shoot SNL! I was blown away by how compact it was. It does not look that small on TV. Eli took a picture of Jordan and I in front of the stage and even pointed out Lorn Michaels office.

Back in the green room, Jordan had gone to the bathroom but Eli had brought out Fred Armisen. I shook his hand and chatted with him for a bit before they had to go get ready for the show. We were then taken to our tapped off/reserved seats and were entertained by the hype man who got us ready for the show.

Next the 8G Band came out and got us amped with a cover of Should I Stay Or Should I Go by The Clash. After that, the show started. The guests that night were Jessica Biel, Akwafina and Matt Groening. There was a technical problem between the first and second guest so Seth came into the crowd and took audience questions.

After the show we were taken back to the green room where I saw Matt Groening and Seth Meyers. As Seth walked by, I tapped his arm and said good show. Then Eli came in and introduced us. I talked with Seth about his episode of The Getaway and how I went to some of the place he’d recommended in the episode.

Before we left, I walked over to Matt Groening who was giving out illustrations of his various characters. I didn’t want to “make the monkey dace for me” but just shook his hand and told him what a big fan of Futurama I am.

Governor’s Island/Longest Slide In New York – August 18

GI is one of my favorite places in NY so I biked there just to hang out for a bit. It’s such a nice/chill place to ride around.

IMG_0788The longest slide in New York… apparently

While there, I rode what is apparently the longest slide in New York. I had heard that it was there from a friend and, despite going to GI a few times before, had never known it was there. When I eventually found it, I felt like a kid again. I must have ridden it at least ten times.

Alyssa + Caitlin – August 19

That night I was supposed to meet up with my friend Alyssa to grab dinner but accidentally fell asleep (I was so tired from biking). Instead we met up for lunch the next day, ended up walking to The Pint pop-up shop, walked The High Line and met up with our friend Caitlin at Fat Cats to play some pool.

House of Yes – August 24

Ever since hearing about House of Yes I had wanted to visit it. HOY is a club in Brooklyn that is a hipster/modern day equivalent to Studio 54. They host theme nights and people get dressed up for these parties.

IMG_0802Burlesque dancer hanging from a metal crescent moon at House of Yes

In order to get into the club without having to pay to get in, I had to get my free entry ticket a month in advance. The theme for the night I went to was Casino Royal. Because I live far-ish away and there is no direct transit, I just barely made the 11pm entry time.

My ticket was checked by a drag queen and when I got inside, I was greeted by a bizarre mix of styles. The warehouse/club was pretty big and there is a lot going on. I didn’t stay super late because I was there by myself; it ended up being pretty ok.

Riis Beach Bike Ride – August 26

It was Sunday and I was out on a personal bike ride/errands run. I hit up my buddy Darryl because he’d mentioned going on a ride to Riis Beach. I didn’t have sunscreen, a bathing suit or a towel but foolishly decided to go.

We met up at Bergen and Eastern Parkway. I ended up waiting so long that I could have biked to my apartment, gotten some stuff and biked back in time to meet them. On the ride there I felt like such a noob, I couldn’t keep up. On top of that I wasn’t mentally prepared to ride that far.

I was super tired when we arrived and pounded a Gatorade. I then sat on the beach for a bit. Later I made my way into the water. On my way out I got caught in a big wave which knocked off my sunglasses.

I was so upset because I pride myself on being someone who doesn’t loose things. On top of that I had had those for 4 years and now they were gone. It felt like I had to reset the “days without an accident” clock, which I hate doing. It’s not that they were even expensive, but I really loved them. It also bothered me that I accidentally polluted the ocean.

To add insult to injury, because of my poor sunblock application, I got a terrible burn on my back and legs. I hate the sand and I hate the beach. The only silver lining for a nerd like me was that I got to see a Qantas 747 on it’s ferry flight from JFK to LAX.

Field Notes Adventure/Crazy Rich Asians – September 2

I ended up not planning any sort of trip on Labor Day Weekend this year unlike last year when I took a day-cation to Philadelphia. However, I had been itching the latest release of Field Notes as they came with paper-craft that I thought would make a fun rainy day activity.

I had made a list of stockists in Manhattan and planned a field trip only to find them at the second store I visited. After bumming around for a bit I went back to my apartment and later that night went to a screening of Crazy Rich Asians.

I had been wanting to see it ever since reading about it months ago in the Jimmy O. Yang book How to American. Unfortunately I had to actually pay for it as it was not listed as a movie I could see with MoviePass. I had seen The Happytime Murders the day previous using MP so I didn’t feel too bad actually paying for this one.

I really enjoyed the movie overall, however, there were three incessant cell phone puller outers that made for a bad moving going experience. It was so bad that at one point I yelled from the back, “Guy up front, put your fucking phone away!” I have never done anything like that before but I could not control myself.

AudioMovies Podcast – September 3

After weeks of trying I was finally able to lock down my buddy John to record Episode 3 of my AudioMovies podcast. AM is my idea for doing an audio book for a movie. Me and my guest describe the action and the dialogue that is happening in a movie. The catch is that we do it all from memory.

AudioMovies_Podcast_Art_Final2-01Artwork for the AudioMovies podcast

My ultimate goal is for it to get popular enough for me to have a monthly show at Videology and turn this apartment podcast into a live show. “Coming at you live from Videology in Brooklyn, New York…”

Perrotin Gallery – September 8

A month or two ago I had seen something cool pop up on my Instagram. There was an art installation in progress at the Perrotin Gallery in the lower east side. The exhibit was to be called “3018” and feature the artwork of Daniel Arsham.

Version 2Welcome To The Future by Daniel Arsham at the “3018” exhibit at the Perrotin Gallery

I had seen his work online before and loved his style and concepts. The idea of taking everyday/modern items and turning them into artifacts or fossils. The feature piece in th gallery was a Delorean DMC-12 that was made to look like it had turned to concrete and had begun to crystalize.

The work was really fascinating and I plan on going back to check it out again when it will hopefully be less crowded. There were plenty of hype-beasts there getting there posed Instagram photos. It was funny to see how they all dressed up for each other.

One cool thing was that the artist, Daniel Arsham, was actually there just walking around, talking to people and taking pictures. It wasn’t until I was leaving that I actually thought of a question to ask him. It was going to be about his process and if he recreated objects or uses found objects to make his art. I also wanted to ask how he gets things to look fossilized. Oh well, it was cool just to see everything in person.

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Mermaid Parade

Yesterday was my first real weekend day since getting back from my trip. I had been piling up with things I was not going to be able to do during the week as well as things that were specifically planned for the weekend. This led to a very long but very fulfilling day.

Computer

The day started out, as many of my days do, by going on my computer. I took the time to go through and edit some of the photos from my trip. Rather than use Photoshop, I actually made the adjustments in the Photos App on my Mac. It’s a fairly powerful tool and is good enough for the type of editing I needed to do; exposure, contrast, saturation, etc. This was a great way to start my morning which felt productive.

Mermaid Parade

After getting showered and dressed and texting my friend Alyssa, it was off to Coney Island for the Mermaid Parade. Initially my plan was to swing by Alamo and watch one of the three movies on my watch list: Solo (which I saw in London but want to see again), Oceans 8 or Incredibles 2.

However, when I looked at the showtimes and when I got a text that said the parade started at 1pm (initially my plan was to leave my apartment at 1pm), my time table got pushed up. I got done with my morning routine in time to leave my apartment by 12pm.

I was going to bike to Coney Island from my apartment (7.5 miles) and I knew that would take 45 minutes to an hour to do. As I got to Ocean Parkway, the straight shot with a bike path which leads all the way to the beach, I saw a flock of rollerbladers followed by a cyclists dressed as a mermaid.

I soon caught up with them, started chatting with the cyclist -Page- and ended up riding with them all the way to the Cyclone. I hung out at the Cyclone for a bit before moving to an area further down Surf Ave with a clear view of the Wonder Wheel. Eventually Alyssa showed up (~1:30pm) and together we watched a bit of the parade.

We were both hungry however and wanted to get out of the direct sunlight so I waited in the shade around the corner with my bike (I hadn’t brought my lock) and she went into Carls Jr. to get us some chicken sandwiches and drinks.

We ate them sitting on the sidewalk in the shade and then walked back towards the Cyclone and waited in line to get onto the boardwalk. We then walked the very crowded boardwalk, me being the asshole with the bike, all the way down to the end of the parade.

We then made our way back out to the street and walked back (using the street behind Surf Ave, which runs parallel) to the subway. There we hugged and parted ways.

24 Hours of Le Mans

It was about 3:45pm and I knew my co-worker Xander was planning on watching the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I was interested in checking it out and texted him to see if he wouldn’t mind if I crashed his watching party for a bit.

I then proceeded the ride back up Ocean Parkway towards Prospect Park. I decided that if I didn’t hear back from him by the time I reached the park, that I would just go home. Sure enough however, when I checked my phone at a red light near the park, there was a response from Xander saying to come over.

I rode the rest of the way there and got to his apartment by 4:45pm (9 miles). I sat, had a beer and chatted with Xander while watching a bit of the race. I was a great way to just relax after biking and being out in the heat. Meanwhile in the background, another plan was being hatched.

I had seen in Time Out Magazine that the Metrograph was going to be playing a 35mm film print of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I had reached out to two of my friends about it and, amazingly, they not only wanted to go, but followed through with getting it organized.

Metrograph: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

At 6:30pm I left Xander’s apartment and biked back to mine to ditch my hat, denim vest and bike, and checked my computer to see when the next train was leaving. It was 7pm and the next train was to leave at 7:08pm. After a quick drink, I left my apartment for the subway.

I got to the station on time and despite a slow train, made my connection to the (6) at Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall. I got to Canal Street at 7:56pm. The movie was set to start at 8:15pm so I sprinted the several blocks across town to the theatre.

When I got to the lobby, I texted tweedle dee and tweedle dumb only to find that I had beaten them there, my sprint had been for naught. On top of that, they insisted on buying drinks and chugging them before entering the theatre. Despite entering a couple of minutes late, we got there just in time to not miss the beginning of the movie.

The Last Crusade is my favorite of the Indy J films. It doesn’t hurt that it has Sean Connery and came out the year I was born. It was great to see it in theatres (I’d never seen it in the theatre before) as I had been having a craving for it for a while. After the movie was over (~10:20), we took the train up to Astor Place and ended up on St. Marks where we had a late dinner and drinks in a little Asian restaurant.

After dinner we parted ways, Guto and I needed the same train and John needed a different one. However, Guto and I found out that the trains we not stopping at Astor Place on the downtown track. So we walked up to Union Square where I got on the (5) -which came first- and he got on the next (4) train.

Apartment

I got back to my apartment at ~1:30am where I proceeded to find a live stream of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and watched it for 20 minutes or so before going to bed.

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Amsterdam to New York

Saturday – June 9, 2018

I woke without an alarm at 7:30am and though I was planning on leaving at around 9:30am, since I was ready earlier, I left. Before I walked out the door, the host of the Air BnB came down, asked if I’d had a good stay, and said goodbye to me.

Air BnB to Schiphol Airport via tram and train (~30 minutes)

I took the 5 tram (light rail) from Kronenburg Station to Station Zuid where I transferred to the commuter rain station. I tried to use my metro card to tap into the other station but it wouldn’t let me. I then asked at the information desk why it wouldn’t work and was directed to the ticket booth. There I purchased a second single use ticket for the nonstop 6 minute commute from Station Zuid to Schiphol Airport.

Schiphol Airport

The commuter rail train takes you right to the terminal. Apart from the Underground at LHR, I’ve never seen a metro connection that is more direct. Because I was fairly early for my flight, it was 9am and my flight was set to depart at 12:25pm, I decided to use the time to explore the terminal.

I grabbed a light breakfast before taking a few laps back and forth in the area outside of the security checkpoint. There were several shops and restaurants to check out. I was caught off guard by a clothing store called “America Today”.

However, what really interested me was a model airplane shop that had a KLM jet engine on one side, fuselage on the other and landing gear out front. There were models of aircraft from numerous airlines and several different sizes. Not only the scale of the model but anything from a B737 up to an A380. If this was the sort of thing I collected, I’d have spent the rest of my Euro there.

IMG_0258Planes @ Plaza model airplane shop

Eventually I moved on, self checked in at a kiosk and took the moving sidewalk up to the departure level. There I went through security. Once again Amsterdam proved to me that they just have their shit together.

Everything about how the security line was set up was vastly more efficient than any I’d dealt with before. What impressed me the most was the self replacing plastic trays that appeared as if from nowhere when you took one for your various bits of luggage.

After that was a quick automated customs checkpoint before moving on to more food and duty free shopping. Here I purchased some Dutch cheese as a snack for the flight. (As I learned from my first Norwegian flight, there would be no food or drink).

IMG_0266Where I bought some cheese before my flight

I then made my way to my gate to see where it was and if there were other food offerings there before making my way back to this main area to buy to sandwiches and two drinks; lunch and dinner on the plane.

I got back to my gate just as boarding began. It took about an hour and as it turned out, was not a gate at all, but rather a bus that drove us to our plane. The tail of every Norwegian Airlines airplane is adorned with a figure from history (or whatever) that has pushed boundaries. Our had, as luck would have it, Freddie Mercury! I was pumped as I’d seen a Norwegian 787 with Freddie on the tail as we were leaving JFK so I was hoping we’d get him and we did.

AMS to JFK via Norwegian Airlines B787-9 (~7 hours)

We pushed back from the gate, er, stairs a little after 12:30pm. As we were taxiing to the runway I watched an episode of Family Guy, as I had before, and had a slice of cheese. Once we were in the air and had leveled off I had my first sandwich and drink. I then started my first movie, Blade Runner 2049.

I’d seen Blade Runner in theaters and though I didn’t love it, I did want to give it a second chance. Additionally, being that the run time is nearly 3 hours, it would be a good way to eat up almost half of the flight.

IMG_0271 2Norwegian Boeing 787-9 as seen from the bus that took us to the plane

As was the case with The Shape of Water when I watched it on the flight from JFK to CDG, the movie was censored which was really lame. However, perhaps because I knew what to expect from the plot this time, I liked it a little more.

There was about 4 hours left in the flight and I used approximately 2 of them to watch Singin’ In the Rain. I’d seen it when I was a kid but this was the first time I really watched it and paid it my full attention. I didn’t realize all of the songs/references that are from the movie. It was simple but cute.

Half way through the movie I helped the couple next to me (I had the window seat again, score!) who spoke little english to fill out their landing card. After the movie was over there was about 2 hours left in the flight. I used the time to eat sandwich number 2 and drink drink number 2. I also filled out my landing card and watched some Big Bang Theory.

I then looked at the map for a bit, the last hour seemed the longest. I used the last ~50 minutes to listen to Abbey Road; I’d had a craving to listen to it ever since visiting the studio. We soon landed where we sat on the tarmac for about 30 minutes before finally pulling up to our gate.

JFK to Apartment via AirTrain and subway (~2 hours)

I got through customs as quickly as possible, got out to the curb and headed straight for the AirTrian only to find that it was not running. Instead there was a free shuttle bus to Howard Beach station. It was around 3pm and shortly after a quick call to my Mom to let her know I’d landed, a bus arrived.

There was an (A) train pulling in as we got to the station. I took the (A) from Howard Beach to Jay Street Metro Tech where I got out and switched to the (5) at Borough Hall. I got back to my apartment at ~5pm, just as I expected I would. I was finally home.

Top Five

This is based on the order in which these things happened, not on any sort of ranking system.

1. Monaco Grand Prix – as I said in the post, I have been wanting to go to this race for years and it did not disappoint.

2. Hamilton – a show I’ve been interested in seeing that lived up to the hype.

3. Alton Towers – a theme park I’ve wanted to go to for nearly 20 years and turned out to be a lot of fun.

4. Le Caveau de la Huchette – a fun night of jazz and dancing in Paris.

5. Moulin Rouge – one of the most memorable birthdays I’ve ever had; the show was incredible.

Below is a visual itinerary of the different modes of transportation I took to get to each major location in my trip.

MyTrip

Lastly, I just wanted to give a shout out to MapWay app (not a sponsor). I used their maps of the London Underground and the Paris Metro in both cities respectively and the worked wonderfully. Whats great is that they work even if you don’t have internet so it make getting around very easy.

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Europe – Day 15: Amsterdam – Day 3

Friday – June 8, 2018

Today is the last day of my trip and though it’s been great, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t ready to go home. I learned many little lessons on this trip, one of which is that if you’re going to do a two week vacation, do it with a friend. I think that’s what made Japan so tolerable, I had other people to talk to and bounce ideas off of.

Rijksmuseum

In any case, because the day was supposed to be crappy weather wise, I decided to try and do mostly indoor things, hence my saving the Rijksmuseum for today. After having another bagel sandwich at Bagels and Wraps, I made my way to the museum.

IMG_0211Porcelain (non-working) violin

I bought my ticket at around 10 or 10:30am. Though most of the artwork is not necessarily the style that I love, the museum itself is beautiful. It is well laid out and well curated. Additionally, unlike most museums, the walls were shades of grey, rather than white. This somehow helped make the artwork look even better, the presentation was nicer.

I will say that when I got to the top floor with the more modern artwork (1900 to 2000), I really hit my stride. I ended up staying until around 2 or 2:30pm after which I strolled around Museumplein before heading to my next stop.

Heineken Experience

Next I went to the Heineken Experience, located at the former site of the Heineken brewery. (It ceased operation in 1988). The brewery is more of a museum now with different historical artifacts from the company’s history and interactive little exhibits.

There are people in different sections of the building who give little talks about their particular section and answer any questions. There are also a few short films you can watch along the way. Eventually, you make it to the “bottling ride” where you watch a little movie that makes it seem like you’re beer being bottled.

IMG_0228The original Heineken Brewery

After that is a tasting room followed by these weird little interactive sections and eventually the bar where you can get up to two beers. You can even compete with three other people to see who can pour a perfect Heineken.

I ended up staying until ~5pm before walking through the city. I happened up on a flea market, different from the one I’d found the other day, and strolled through it. I stumbled into a cheese store and had a few samples before continuing on my way.

IMG_0252More canal stuff

As luck would have it, I eventually made my way to the restaurant I wanted to eat at. I knew roughly where it was having visited it the other day, but I didn’t realize I knew Amsterdam so well already that I could so easily find it again.

It was a bit too early to eat, plus they weren’t open yet, so I walked to Centraal Station to once again use their restroom. I then doubled back and by the time I got to the restaurant, it was 6:20pm.

Gebr. Hartering

This was one of the places from the show The Getaway. The restaurant is pretty fancy however, and they either do expensive a la carte or expensive pre fix meals. I went for the latter which was a bad idea because a) it was pretty expensive and b) half the time I didn’t know what I was eating or how I should be eating it.

IMG_0141Gebr. Hartering restaurant

It made for an embarrassing and uncomfortable experience. I knew I wanted the charcuterie, why didn’t I just go for that and then have a real meal elsewhere!? That said, the last two courses were excellent and the dessert was good too.

I just know that moving forward I need to stay in my own lane and continue to be a middle class bum. Oh well, it was an experience and a way, good or bad, to send off my trip.

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Europe – Day 14: Amsterdam – Day 2

Thursday – June 7, 2018

Because I knew that I didn’t have a ton on my “To Do” list today, I decided to take my time getting ready for the day.

Bagels and Wraps

I got into town at around 10am, got off the bus at Leidseplein and immediately headed for Bagels and Wraps, a small breakfast spot I’d seen yesterday. I had the “New York” bagel sandwich and ate by the window while watching the army of city workers go through their various roles to keep the city clean; it was fascinating.

Blue Boat Tour

At around 10:45am I finished up and headed the short distance to the Blue Boat Company. Blue Boat is one of several companies that runs canal tours. Being that I’d seen it yesterday and knew it was close by, I decided to try it out.

IMG_0114

I bought a ticket for the 11am tour and got right in and boarded the boat. It was pretty empty so I sat in the shade (on the boat) and waited for the tour to start. We were given ear buds and a sheet to show which channel was for which language for the audio guided portion.

I could have been boring and chosen English but when I saw the option for Freshwater Pirate, I knew which one I wanted. Before the tour started I ran back into the ticket office and bought a drink.

As it turned out, the Freshwater Pirate audio guide was basically fo kids. I’m sure it gave all of the same information as the other tours, but added some childish color to the whole thing and was hosted by a water vole and a cat.

IMG_0179Dancing houses

There were some interesting facts that our captain told us while on board. One being that there is a service, a special boat that goes through the canal to scoop out bicycles that have fallen in the Amster. Also, apparently cars accidentally fall into the canal all of the time.

Additionally, I think he said that the water is only 3 meters deep and that despite it’s look, if you scooped some out into a cup, it would be clear and drinkable. Apparently, unlike Venice, Amsterdam cleans the canal every few months to make sure it never gets too dirty. I’m sure there were more cool facts but I can’t remember them now. The tour ended at ~12:15 and after it was done, I moved on to my third stop.

Add the bit about the 800k Euro House boat and the fact that the canal tour boats are all electric 

Mac Bike

Someone like me can’t come to Amsterdam and not ride a bicycle. I went to the ubiquitous Mac Bike, a rental shop nearby, and rented bicycle for the day.

I set off at 12:30 and dove right in to the organized chaos that is Amsterdam bicycle traffic. This city does it right in terms of having dedicated bike paths on most major streets that are actually part of the sidewalk. There is a separate set of traffic lights for cyclists and most people follow it pretty strictly.

There is a liberal use of right-of-way, which is given and taken on sort of a case-by-case basis. However, if, like me, you kind of just follow the crowd and don’t panic, you’ll be ok. The only part of all this I disagreed with was the fact that motorized scooters are also allowed to use these paths. This seemed dangerous as they are much faster than bikes but I never got hit so I guess it works fine.

I started off by riding past the old Heineken brewery, then doubled back and rode to flea market that had been pointed out during the canal tour. I then got on a path that ended up taking me all the way out to Westerpark.

IMG_0191More canal goodness

I then consulted the map I’d been given and figured out how to make my way back to the city. I ended up on this cool shopping street and eventually made my way to and through Voldelpark. After stopping on a bench for a minute, I made my way to Sarphatipark where I sat and chilled again before heading to Cafe Piper.

This was one of the other bars suggested by Seth Meyers in the Amsterdam episode of The Getaway. However, when the bartender told me that they did not serve food, I decided to eat at the place next door. I had a burger and a beer and just chilled. I chatted a bit with the older women next to me who were from Savanah, GA.

Reenergized, I rode to Museumplein where I contemplated going into the Moco Museum. It was ~5pm and the place was set to close at 6pm. Despite the fact that it looked small enough to tackle in an hour or less, I moved on.

IMG_0192Museumplein with I AMSTERDAM and the Rijksmuseum

I ended up biking all the way to Oosterpark before turning back to drop off the bike. I returned it at ~6pm. Then I popped into a shop to by two drinks. I was super hot and tired from all the riding.

I then hopped on a bus back to my Air BnB where I took a shower and a (bad idea) nap. I then got up and wrote this before going to bed.

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