Tag Archives: Brooklyn

Catching Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_6973Discension art installation 5/6

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

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

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

IMG_6987Home Sweet Home 5/12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_7046Looking back on Manhattan from the Williamsburg Bridge 6/8

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

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

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

IMG_8022Berry Park with co-workers on 6/9

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

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

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

IMG_7066Westfield World Trade Center mall on 6/10

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

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

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

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The End Of An Era

We did it. Last night Dan, Pete, Kyra and myself went to the 10:10pm showing of Spectre. We finally completed the slowest marathon never run.

Part of me is happy to be done with it. At the same time, it is a little sad. It does sort of feel like the end of an era. It’s also sad because of the fact that we all had so much free time to dedicate to this. It’s weird because it directly shows the passage of time and how fast it goes by. In other words, because it was a weekly thing, I can mentally chronologize what I was doing each week for the past ~23 weeks.

Spectre_OpeningNightMe, Kyra, Dan and Pete at the Jordan’s Furniture IMAX in Reading.

It all started in a Brooklyn pub back in June. I was out drinking with my friends Guto, Harry, Zach and Katie whose couch I was crashing on. That weekend their friend Dan (whom I’d met a few times but wasn’t really tight with) had come down to New York, and was out drinking with us. Somehow, I got to talking with him about how, ever since I started listening to the James Bonding podcast, I wanted to go back and re-watch all of the Bond films.

I had watched all of them as a kid and they were a really big part of my life. However, my love affair with Bond tapered off with the inception of the Craig films.

I had gone to Guto’s apartment a few weeks earlier to watch Skyfall (the only Bond film they owned) as a means of satisfying my craving for Bond, and tiding me over until I could go home and watch them all. I asked Dan if when I got back to MA, he would be interested in doing a Bond marathon (watching one movie a day) with me. He said he was down, but I figured it would never happen. So many drunken plans like this are made at bars, but the people involved never follow through.

On my way to work a few days later, while listening to This Is Only A Test –the official podcast of Tested dot com- Norm mentioned the fact that as of that date, you could watch one Bond movie each week for the next 23 weeks and be finished with all of the previous Bond movies in time for the release of Spectre. I immediately texted Dan, my sister Kyra and my friend Pete (whom I had clued in to the original plan) and asked them if they would be down to start an epic adventure over the next ~4 and a half months to watch the Bond films. All of them were in. On June 19th, the day after I got home from living in New York, we began our “holy mission” with Dr. No.

There, we established the template for the weeks that would follow. The guest would bring a 6-pack of beer, we would watch the movie and then follow it by playing GoldenEye (or Mario Kart, or Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, or The World is Not Enough) for the N64 on mute while listening to the corresponding James Bonding episode.

The two constants of this plan were me and Dan. We alternated each week between watching the movies at my house and his apartment. Throughout the weeks there was a smattering of guests. Pete was a fairly consistent guest watcher. Kyra would come fairly often as well, but when she couldn’t join us, she kept the marathon going at her own apartment; keeping up with the films each week and listening to the podcasts. I was glad to have my friend John Papp, a huge Bond fan, join us for both Goldfinger and Thunderball. Additionally, our friend Katherine joined us for Diamonds Are Forever and Kyra’s work friend Alex joined us for The Living Daylights.

I am proud that for once, something I engineered, something I planned out, something I masterminded finally came to fruition. There are so many times I’ve tried to plan things that no one either ever responds to, or shows up for. That was not the case for this plan. Not only were people great at responding to my text messages and emails, but people were great at being flexible with their schedule in order to attend as many of these screenings as they could. Additionally, I’m glad that through the James Bond films, I was able to become good [better?] friends with Dan and John.

I just want to thank Matt Gourley and Matt Mira (Katie Levine and all of their guests) for making the James Bonding podcast. Without you guys, none of this would have been possible. I also have to thank the Nerdist podcast for making me aware of James Bonding and the Nerdist Network for producing and hosting the podcast. I have to give a shout out to the Tested podcast, specifically Norman Chan, for giving me the idea to watch one Bond movie per week for 23 weeks.

It goes without saying that I have to thank Ian Fleming for creating the character of James Bond. In addition I need to thank Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, Harry Saltzman, Michael G. Wilson and everyone who has been involved in making films about the character we’ve all come to know and love.

Last but not least, I want to thank my friends, Dan, Pete, John, Katherine, Alex and my sister Kyra for joining me on this journey. It was long and arduous but we did it. We started out with 23 James Bond films; a new one on the slowly approaching horizon. We whittled them down week by week, until there were none.

Mission Complete!

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Shopping Adventure

Over the week I had been accumulating a list of places I wanted to check out. So yesterday I went on a bike ride that would take me to all of the spots I wanted to go.

Alfa2000Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV

The first place on my list was a vintage store I had been in a few months ago called Eclectic Collectibles and Antiques. There are always classic cars parked out in front of the store but while on my bike ride with Tim last Sunday I noticed a new addition. The car in question was an Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV.

I walked into the store with a list of questions; does it run, what year is it, how much is it going for? The second I finished saying ‘Alfa Romeo’ the clerk said, “It’s not for sale.” Apparently I was the 20th person to have asked him about it that day. Apparently they are a prop shop and so they would rent this car to say a movie production or something, but he’s not about to sell it. With the wind out of my sails, I made my way to my next destination.

RoughTradeRough Trade

Next on my list was a record store in Williamsburg called Rough Trade. Based in, essentially a warehouse, RT is a record store that also sells books. It is the closest thing I’ve found to an Amoeba Music or a Newbury Comics. The reason I was there was because they were one of the retail locations mentioned on the Gestalten website and so I wanted to try and find the travel guide mentioned in the previous post.

Though I didn’t find the travel guides, I did find that the entire back wall was dedicated to Gestalten books. Two that jumped out at me were Urban Theater and Container Atlas. Urban Theater featured really cool street art/performance art. Container Atlas was topical because I had recently been talking with my fellow instructor about how cool it would be to convert a shipping container (or containers) into living quarters.

I looked through the books and then just wandered through the store. It has a really cool set up. Coincidentally, sections of the upper level are made out of shipping containers. The place has a rad industrial vibe to it. Apparently in the back there is a music venue. There was an area for table tennis and downstairs there was a little coffee shop and couches to read and relax. It was a really rad spot.

One of the first things that was very on-the-nose and to be expected of a “hip” place such as this was that they were playing really weird music. It felt like a rave infused with DJ elements and disco. However eventually it got to a song that I quasi-recognized. It had elements of Superstition by Stevie Wonder. Sure enough it eventually got to the vocals and it was in fact some weird remix of Superstition. I went down to the counter to ask who it was and the woman told me it was Todd Terje. I don’t know if his stuff was what had been playing when I got into the store but either way, the remix was dope.

Sidenote: upon listening to more of his stuff on Spotify, I really like it.

t15s108010_nvy_1Polka dot shirt from The Hundreds

Moving on, I made my way out of Brooklyn and across the Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan. I was bound for The Hundreds, a spot with which I am very familiar. This time however, I had a specific item in mind. They had just come out with a collection of polka dot button ups and I wanted to try one on and potentially buy it.

Upon entering the store I saw that they only had one, the black on black and it was a medium. I tried it on anyway, and, as expected, it was too big. The guy said there’d be more in a week or two, but a) I don’t really need it, b) it’s kind of expensive, and c) I feel like even the small will be too big. I would need an extra small and they don’t make them in that size.

nyc_shop-514c491184d78Monocle shop

Next I made my way west to hit up Monocle, a tiny boutique shop in Greenwich Village. One can literally walk in, spin around and see the entire store. I was in search of the travel guides I had not been able to find at Rough Trade and the magazine which I actually had found.

I found the books I was looking for and started thumbing through them. I was expecting something coffee table sized but instead found them to be quite small. I guess I should have expected them to be small as they are travel guides and one does not want to carry something large with them on vacation, but still, I was a bit disappointed. As is the case with many things I go out to buy, once I had it in front of me, I no longer want to spend the money and thus came away from my shopping adventure empty handed.

SkylineFromRoofSunset view of the Manhattan skyline from the roof of Guto’s apartment

I checked my phone and found that it was 4pm. As luck would have it, the day before I had been invited to a BBQ at my friend Guto’s place. He said to be there between 4pm and 5pm, so I began making my way back to Brooklyn. I ended up taking a route I don’t usually go but thanks to my impeccable sense of direction, ended up on a street that I knew would eventually intersect with the one I needed.

I arrived at his apartment and started to call Guto so he would come down and let me in. As I did, I noticed someone familiar making their way down the street. At first I wasn’t sure it was who I thought it was, but as he got closer I knew. Sure enough it was our mutual friend Jon Papp. It was so strange that without even planning it, Papp and I showed up at basically the same time. Eventually Guto let us in. I brought my bike inside and we all made our way onto the roof where others were there to greet us.

Guto cooked burgers and hot dogs and bacon periodically throughout the night. Later they even brought out a fire pit which was nice. There was a lot of fun conversation and I ended up staying until around 11:30pm. It was great to see everyone and it turned out to be a really fun night.

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Catching Up

So I feel like I have sort of been doing a bunch of stuff and I haven’t written about any of it. The other side of it is that I don’t really even have the interest to write about all of it, or at least not in detail. So, I guess I’m just gonna post pics and maybe give brief descriptions.

DJ-ing at The Delancey – April 14

DJing

Here is a pic my friend Elle took the other night that I DJ-ed. It ended up being pretty lame. Of the 30 people I invited, only three showed up. It really shows you who your friends are. Now some people were like, “Yeah, but did you have fun?” and I sort of did, but what’s the point of DJ-ing if no one is there to dance. It sort of defeats the purpose; I might as well be listening to a playlist I made and dance by myself.

The best however was when the carry over’s from the previous band got to dancing to my music. It was vindicating to see that they liked the choices I was making. That is the gratifying part of DJ-ing or performing in any sort of venue, seeing people react to what you are doing, otherwise, why else do it? (Apart from, because you love it).

Adidas Superstar x Pharrell Williams – April 20

AdidasSuperstar

I went out to see if either of the Adidas Stores had the Pharrell Williams colors pack. To my pleasant surprise, they did, however, they didn’t have the color I wanted -red- in the size I wear. It was probably for the best as I shouldn’t be making frivolous charges and regardless it was still cool to see them in person.

Velodrome – April 21

QueensVelodrome

After finally going home to get my bike I was able to do what I’d wanted to do for a long time. I took the train to Queens and biked to the velodrome. I had always wanted to ride on one and now I was finally getting my chance. To be honest it was sort of a let down. Because it was outdoors it was not a wooden track and because it was paved, there were a bunch of cracks. Additionally, because it was outdoors, you still had to fight the wind. However, I was impressed at the banking. It doesn’t look it but it was steeper than I thought, which was great.

Redbird – April 23

RedbirdTrain

While I was home getting my bike, I fulfilled a craving I had been having to watch the first Toby McGuire Spider-Man. While watching it, I noticed an elevated subway train running in the background and the train was red. (I had noticed red subway trains in Die Hard With a Vengeance too). After a bit of research I found that Redbird trains used to run on some the subway line until 2003 when they were discontinued.

I also found that there was one on display out front of Queens Boro Hall. So, I took an excursion to check it out. It was cool to see one in person and there is even like this little gift shop thing inside. However, it is only open 10am – 2pm and I had gotten there at like 2:30pm or 3pm.

Bike Expo – May 1

KryptoniteLock

The free Bike Expo New York took place this past Friday and Saturday at Basketball City. It was a pretty basic expo, nothing too special to write about in terms of the exhibitors that were there. However, there was one thing cool that happened. During the Kryptonite presentation they asked for volunteers to see who could lock a bike faster. The winner would take home a new Fahgettaboudit lock. I had been wanting one but didn’t want to spend the $90 some odd dollars to get one. I was determined to win, and to my pleasant surprise, I did! Thank you Kryptonite for the free lock.

Also, that night I met up with friends and we went out to Shakin’ All Over, the dance night at Home Sweet Home. I’d been there once before by myself but it was cool to go with friends. Before they showed up I danced with this one girl who kept taking the lead and swinging me around. I couldn’t tell if she was purposely trying to be off-putting so that I would leave her alone, or if she just does that. However, I eventually backed off because I was very confused by the whole situation.

After dancing with my friends for a bit we made our way to a 99 cent pizza joint. After a couple of slices we went to another bar where we just chilled until they closed before walking to our trains and going our separate ways. I didn’t get back until 5:30am and the sun was just about to come up. Pretty solid day.

Guggenheim Museum – May 2

GuggenheimMuseum

I went to the Guggenheim Museum for the first time the other day. I had been wanting to go for a while but was always too cheap to pay to get in. Then however, I found out that on Saturday nights (and I think Friday too) they host “pay what you want” after 5:45pm.

I got to the Gugg at 4:30pm and I was at the end of the block. Apparently however, the line went all the way down the block and around the back. When we were let in I ended up only paying $1 which was great. The featured exhibit was On Kawara – Silence. He was either a genius or a crazy person.

One section had hundreds, maybe thousands of postcards that were sent 1, day after day, to different people that said “Today I woke up at (insert time here) .” and that was it, no other message. He also did something similar with telegrams except the message was “I am still alive.” He kept albums fill with pages, each page was a day, and on each page he typed the names of the people he met that day. It was really bizarre but really eerie and cool.

Staten Island/5 Boro Bike Tour – May 3

StatenIslandFerry

Sunday was the 5 Boro Bike tour, a 40 mile tour of New York free of cars. I wanted to join but a) I didn’t want to pay and b) the registration had closed by the time I knew about it. Regardless, I wanted to go on a ride that day so I took the free ferry to Staten Island and went on a little ride. I had ridden to SI once before (a few weeks ago) just to say I’d been there but I wanted to explore more  and the best way to do that is by bike.

I didn’t go very far south because I didn’t really know where I was going. I thought there would be a ring road that would go around the perimeter, but there wasn’t. I ended up just going in this weird loop which took a few hours before hoping the ferry back to Manhattan. It was packed with cyclist who were finishing up the 5 Boro. Once on the other side I booked it back to the apartment before passing out.

There are several other things that I should have mentioned but I’m past them at this point. I guess none of these were really “big” events and thus I didn’t feel the need to make dedicated posts. Typically when I do adventures, I have a post in mind. Lately I’ve just been doing stuff sans posting. I hope I am not phasing out HWS but I think I just havn’t been going on excursions worthy of note. Maybe I’m just lazy.

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Luna Park Opening Day

Sunday was opening day at Luna Park. Ever since my visit there last month when I found out that their opening day was March 29th I had been wanting to go. So, after a quick breakfast and getting showered and dressed, I began my 45-minute train ride to Coney Island.

WonderWheelSignBeautifully painted Wonder Wheel sign

I wanted to be one of the first people to ride the Cyclone for it’s 2015 season. The park was set to open at noon and I arrived at 11:47am. I had not heard anything, but for some reason I had a feeling they might do some sort of special promotion where the first people to get there could ride it for free.

Low and behold, my complete guess was correct. Apparently every year the first 100 people in line get to ride the Cyclone for free. Unfortunately for me, other people were actually aware that this was a thing and had gotten there very early. I heard one kid say he was there at 1am! (Un)fortunately for me, this happened and it didn’t matter anyway.

CycloneStuckCyclone stuck on the lift hill

So I went on with my day, walking around the park. Though it was sunny, it wasn’t particularly warm out. I made a few laps of the park and was planning on riding a few rides but everything is pretty expensive. The Wonder Wheel, the consolation prize attraction I was gonna ride, cost $7! The Thunderbolt, the other coaster I wanted to do was closed. However, even if it had been open, it costs $10 to ride!

ConeyIslandPaintedSignBeautifully painted Coney Island sign

Now you can buy a wrist band for unlimited rides but a) it costs $35 and b) it excludes the Cyclone and the Thunderbolt, so what’s the point. I basically just spent my time walking around and taking pictures. I considered getting a Nathan’s Hot Dog but decided against it as I’m cheap and knew I had food back at the apartment.

So, there you go, it ended up being a fruitless endeavor, but it got me outside for a bit, so that was good. I figure if I am able to stay in NY, if a job actually comes around, maybe I’ll try again on a nice day with warmer weather and I’ll save up the money so I don’t feel bad spending it.

LunaParkPanoramaLuna Park as seen from the pier

A couple cool things did happen though. 1) I got to see some Guardian Angels in person; until then I thought they were a myth. 2) Apparently Wahlburgers will be opening a Coney Island location this Spring.

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Dance Contest

On Saturday night I went to Brooklyn Bowl for Soul Clap, a soul music dance night/contest put on by New York Night Train and hosted by DJ Jonathan Toubin. While standing around waiting for the music to begin, a woman came up to me and started asking me what was going on, if there was going to be a DJ, etc. I explained to her and the guy she was with about the soul night and how I was planning on winning the contest.

We got to talking and I found out that they were from DC and were just up for the weekend. After chatting with them for a bit I looked for the coat check and upon seeing the line, immediately gave up. Upon returning to our corner of the dance floor, I put my coat on the ground. I noticed that workers were putting up what looked like a screen on the stage at the other end of the room. I didn’t know what it was for but moved to that end to investigate.

Additionally, I wanted to know how, where, and when I could get my number for the dance contest. Eventually, I saw on one of the permanent screens on the wall -where they had been projecting information about upcoming events- that they were projecting information about the contest. The screen said to get a number at the merch booth, so that is where I went.

DancersSilhouetteDancers stood behind the screen and were backlit to form silhouettes of them dancing.

Upon getting there, the booth was closed. I hovered around it for a while, and asked passers by what they knew. Eventually, the guy hanging out outside it told us he was running it and that they were just counting the money from the show that was on before this. Once they were done he would go in and give us our numbers. Shortly after he said that, that is exactly what happened.

In spite of the fact that I was first in line, this girl cut in front of me and got the first number. It didn’t matter as they weren’t in an order and it wasn’t going to effect how they judged your dancing, but I wanted the first number and I wanted number 1. As it turned out I got the second number and it was #23. The person who gave me my number helped pin it to the back of my shirt. After that I made my way to the dance floor.

By the time I got back to the dance floor, the music had already started. I could now see that the screen was being used to project silhouettes of professional dancers that were dancing behind it on stage. I wasn’t sure if the contest had already started, so I decided to really get into it. It wasn’t until about an hour later that they took the screen down, stopped the music, put the lights on and explained that the contest was starting.

RandyJonesRandy Jones -the original Cowboy from The Village People- was one of the judges of the dance contest. The other guy is DJ Jonathan Toubin.

Jonathan introduced the judges, including Randy Jones, the original Cowboy from The Village People, and then they described how it was gonna go down. There would be three elimination rounds, one song for each round. You had to dance your ass off and the judges would walk around the crowd while you were dancing. If they tapped you and handed you a card you were allowed to get on stage and dance. After the three rounds were over they were going to have a few more elimination rounds to weed out the finalists until it was whittled down to the last three.

The second the music started, it felt like the Rydell High dance-off; how everyone flocks to the cameras. I just tried to do my thing and not be to sucked in by the fact that I was competing. This was clearly not what the judges were looking for. It seemed they were only into weird clothes and jumping craziness as opposed to actually good dancing.

After not being picked in any of the rounds, I thought all hope was lost. Then, during the first on-stage elimination round I made a last ditch effort, going all out to see if they’d spot me in the crowd. Alas, they did not. As misfortune would have it, one of the people in the final three was that girl who had cut me in line to get her number first. Fed up, I didn’t have to patience or interest to wait and see who won, so I made my way back to the subway.

—Afterward

While waiting on the platform, I struggled to get the number off my back. After eventually getting the number off, I was approached by a woman. “Hey number 23,” she said, “how’d you do?” I explained what went down and she and the guy she was with told me that they were also at Brooklyn Bowl and had watched the contest but didn’t participate. They were both a little drunk but very nice and interested in what I had to say.

If memory serves, their names were Tara and Glenn. Tara was comparing her pants to mine, “Look at how similar our pants are.” She then asked me to do some dance moves for her, so I did. They told me to just keep doing what I was doing. Even though it came from a place of “drunk wisdom,” I was still appreciative of what they had to say and it was a nice consolation prize.

Sidenote: there was a hired photographer taking pictures from the stage during the event. I know, based on the flashes proximity to me, that I was definitely in some of the photos. Unfortunately, I have no idea where they were posted to.

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Birdman Excursion

My excursions had been a little stagnant as of late and so yesterday I decided to go on a solid one to make up for lost time. My plan was to start in SoHo and work my way up towards midtown before heading into Queens. This plan however was foiled by the fact that I zoned out on the train and got off at Union Square instead of getting off at Canal Street. As it turned out (and is typically the case), the unplanned adventures are often the most fun.

ChryslerBuildingThe Chrysler Building upon exiting Grand Central Station (we’ll get to this part of the story later).

I crossed over to Broadway and made my way south towards my original plan. Along the way however I was sidetracked by a comic book shop called Forbidden Planet. Being that it was on a main street it was one of the nicest comic book shops I’d ever been in. Though I rarely buy anything, I typically enjoy stopping in to see what sort of stuff they have for sale. The window display had a life size Terminator and ET that I assume were for sale.

The door pulls were each half of Captain America’s Shield and were connected to large wooden doors. Everything was neat and organized, nothing seemed to be dusty or hiding in a corner. It was a place you wouldn’t feel ashamed to bring your girlfriend, but let’s face it if you had one, you wouldn’t need the comic book shop.

After that I made my way to a few other places; Lids (I was in search of a hat I don’t need), John Varvatos (similar but not the same as the one on Bowery), The Hundreds, and a couple of art galleries on W Broadway. I was going to take the train to Grand Central (where the rest of my adventure was to take place) but decided to walk back up Broadway. I had passed a store that I had, for whatever reason, decided not to take the time to go in. Knowing that a) I need to “smell the roses” more rather than just rush through experiences and b) that I would want to come back at a later date to check it out anyway, I decided to go back to check it out.

The store in question, Flight Club, is a sneakerhead mecca. The walls were filled with -mostly Nike- limited editions. The prices varied, but most of the ones I picked up were between $150 and $275. Each sneaker was shrink wrapped to ensure no potential buyers scuffed them up. There were two that stood out to me but Nike’s aren’t really my type of sneaker, I’m more of a skate shoe type of guy. Plus, I really don’t have the money to justify a purchase like that.

Moving on, I made my way back to Union Square and hopped a 4 train to Grand Central station. It seems like whenever I go there I never exit from the same place. This time I got out at Lexington Ave and was immediately staggered by a huge building in front of me. Not knowing what it was, I took its picture. It wasn’t until later when I got further away that I realized  it was The Chrysler Building (see 1st pic in the post).

TheHelmsleyBuilding(Left) The Helmsley Building seen from one block away, notice the “tunnel” entrance/exit at the bottom; (Right) looking right up at the building from the base; (Bottom) a better view of the Park Ave Viaduct entrance/exit.

I went up to 46th and Park Ave -along the way stopping in at Midtown Comics- because I had a special mission. After seeing Birdman, which [I didn’t take the time to review but] was excellent by the way, I was reminded of an area of the city  that I’d never been to before. It is also featured in Lord of War (another great film) when Nick Cage is trying to evade a helicopter that is following his limo. The area in question is the Park Ave Viaduct that elevates and splits around Grand Central station before dropping back down to street level while exiting through the base of the The Helmsley Building.

As you know I am easily amused by visual stimuli and this was no different. It was really cool to see and to finally know where it was in the city. It reminded me of the Admiralty Arch or the gateway that leads traffic in to Trafalgar Square in London. After taking a few pics I then went stumbling around midtown. Initially I was just going to walk down to The UN but then I saw the Chrysler Building. I hadn’t realized until this point that that was the building I had seen upon exiting Grand Central Station.

ChryslerBuilding2In search of a good view of The Chrysler Building

I tried to make my way towards it but as I got closer, I lost sight of it due to other closer buildings getting in the way of my vantage point. Eventually, when I did get to the base of the building I realized that the view really wasn’t that good and it is better appreciated from a distance. Thus, I made my way East down 42nd Street until I got to the stairs that led to Tudor City Place. Being that I am guided by the spirit of adventure, I made my way up the stairs and turned around to see this…

ChryslerBuilding3The Chrysler Building as seen from Tudor City Place

…a cool view of the Chrysler Building. After admiring it for a short while, I made my way around the block and down to the United Nations. I don’t know if I was just in the wrong area or if you simply can’t just go in anymore (maybe you have to be part of a tour) but the area I was at required a pass for entry. I know I went into the UN when my family went to New York in 1998 but I was too young to really appreciate it and I certainly don’t remember if we signed up for a tour or were able to walk right in.

I was going to walk around the outside but I was freezing and my feet were hurting and I was hungry. Luckily in my wanderings I had passed two 99 cent per slice pizza places. I found one of them and got a couple slices before heading back to Grand Central. I was about to get on the subway and head in to Queens to finish the last couple of things on my “to do” list, when I remembered I wanted to get up close to the MetLife Building (formerly the Pan Am building).

Cut to another montage of me walking around for a good view/to try and get to the bottom; a sidewalk entrance from which I could stare straight up at it. All this was foiled when I realized it is basically on top of or appears to be growing out of Grand Central Station. Thus, one cannot simply walk to its base and look up. Instead I was able to get this pretty cool shot of this uh, art thing in the lobby.

MetLifeBuildingLobbyArt/sculpture(?) in the lobby of the MetLife Building; thin wires that converge to look like beams of light.

I then made my way back to Grand Central to board the 7 train into Queens. Cut to a montage of me freezing my ass off looking for 5 Pointz (legendary graffiti area) that I knew was closed but I still just wanted to see it; eventually finding it, being disappointed and walking back to the train for the long ride back to Crown Heights.

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Super(bowl) Weekend

Saturday the 31st

So, if you hadn’t figured it out by now, I get enjoyment out of just going places and seeing things. A few weeks ago I saw an add for the Fulton Center, “New York’s Newest Public Space.” When I got home I looked it up and found that it is new as of this past November. I had organically been to the station before but had never needed to change trains there, or if I had, never needed to go through the main area and thus never saw the cool section featured in the video below.

Finally, the other night I had to change trains there and got a momentary glimpse of the skylight (pictured below). I also had the trippy experience of walking through the hall with the video art installation New York Minute. After that glimpse, I decided to make a little trip of it on Saturday morning (last week).

FultonCenterSkylightThe skylight at the Fulton Center/Fulton Street station

I rode out to the Fulton Street station and just took my time looking at all the advertisement and beautiful interior architecture. I was not able to tell whether there were shops there yet, but it is still just cool to stand in and look at. I was sort of on a time crunch and felt weird just wandering around a train station, so I decided to explore the financial district.

FreedomTowerFreedom Tower

I made my way passed the Freedom Tower and down to the waterfront. I found myself wishing (as has been happening a lot lately) that it was spring or summer and that I had my bike with me. The area was really nice and I happened upon a pier off which launch helicopter tours.

Waterfront_FianacialDistrictThe waterfront by the financial district looking out to Brooklyn.

After making my way up and down the waterfront, I headed back to the station and went to my new friend Elle’s apartment to work on music.

Sunday February 1st

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is to get a good New York bagel. So, I Googled, best bagels in New York. Upon planning my Sunday, I realized that Terrace Bagels (one of the ones on the list) was right near Prospect Park, one of the things on my “to do” list and thus decided to go there for breakfast.

As I was walking up I got nervous because there was a big fire truck double-parked right outside the shop. Of course the day I go there, they have a fire. However, when I went in what I found instead was a chief and like ten of his men yelling stuff like, “Yeah, can we get three everything bagels with cream cheese?” in thick New York accents.

After eating half of my sandwich (and taking the rest with me) I made my way over to and through Prospect Park. This is the Central Park of Brooklyn and the surrounding area, Prospect Heights is beautiful. There were kids sledding down the small hills and I was suddenly smiling, brought back to a time when I was a kid and that was me. I enjoyed the calm and the quiet and the cold as I made my way to Grand Army Plaza where I took the train into Manhattan.

I got out at Canal Street and made my way to Opening Ceremony. OS is a high end fashion store I had found out about while looking for retailer of a brand called ICNY. (If I haven’t talked about them before, ICNY makes cool reflective clothing for cyclists). Unfortunately, OS only sold the sock and I was looking for the shirts, so I left.

Next I made my way uptown to the Intrepid Museum. I have know about and wanted to visit the Intrepid for a while but now I finally went there… sort of. I basically just looked at it from the sidewalk because I didn’t want to spend the $25 for admission. To be honest, the only real thing I wanted to see there was the Concorde. I guess if you pay a special price for the tour they let you go on it. Though I didn’t go on it, I did get a good glimpse of it.

Concorde_IntrepidMuseumSo close…

During my time looking at Concorde, I gained the urge to pee. Fortunately as I was making my way over to the waterfront I passed a place called Gotham West Market. It looked cool and I wanted to check it out but had no reason to, until now. Basically, the place is a conglomerate of restaurants where each place has its own section that flows into one another, like a high end hipster food court.

Fortunately, because of this layout I was able to go to the restroom without being detected by someone who might out me for taking advantage of it. On my way out, I passed this one restaurant that had a glass fridge filled with tons of craft beers I’d never heard of before. Definitely a place I’d like to check out at a later date.

Studio54The Roundabout Theatre, formerly Studio 54

With an empty bladder, I made my way to my next location, Studio 54. Again, I didn’t want or need to go in, I just wanted to look at the famed location where so much cool shit went down in the 70s and the 80s. Sadly now it’s back to just being a theatre. After a moment of silence, I moved on.

I would not have thought to check out the Phillips Auction Gallery if it had not been for the fact that it was posted on the Opening Ceremony blog. And I was only on the OS blog because, as you know I was looking for ICNY merch. The gallery had a cool display of fashion photography from photographer Steven Meisel. I checked out the the art for a bit before making my way to my last stop.

Bike New York is a company I found out about through an add on the subway. They are, apparently a non-profit that helps teach people how to ride as well as sponsor group rides through the city. Unfortunately I went all the way to 116th street just to find that they were closed. I should have figured. It was a Sunday after all. After that I made my way back to Brooklyn to pick up the snacks I had bought for the Superbowl Party I was planning on attending.

Superbowl Party at Elle’s apt

I grabbed my things and then made my way over to my friend Elle’s apartment. I was planning on stopping off at Brooklyn Beer and Soda, a liquor store that apparently has a plethora of beers to choose from. However, upon looking them up, I found that they were already closed, so, I just went straight to their place.

I can’t really even put my finger on what was so cool about it, but once the crew showed up it ended up being a really fun night. Everyone was really nice and it just felt like we’d all been friends forever. We drank and joked and talked and ate and barely watched the game and to top it all off, the Pats one. Pretty solid Sunday. Pretty super weekend.

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3-Day Moonstruck Excursion

I started my day (1/17) later than I planned to. Partly because I woke up late-ish and partly because I didn’t have a concrete plan as to what I wanted to do. After looking through my “to do” list I decided to go on a Moonstruck excursion, something I’d been pushing off. While doing my planning, I also found that the New York Transit Museum was in the same area as the other things I wanted to see. So at 1:30pm I made my way into the cold.

CastoriniHouse19 Cranberry Street, Brooklyn aka the Castorini house

The first thing on my list was the location they used to shoot the exteriors for the Castorini house. Upon getting there I was taken right into the scene towards the end of the movie where Cher comes walking around the corner after her night at the opera and kicks the can down the street. I half expected (or rather hoped) there would be a red Pontiac Firebird parked at the end of the street, but alas, there was none.

BrooklynPromenadeBrooklyn Heights Promenade

After making my taking a few pictures of the apartment and having a moment of realization of where I was, being in a real life scene from a movie, I made my way around the corner to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. This was listed on IMDB as, I think the location where the grandfather takes the dogs for a walk. “Bella luna, bella luna,” but it did not really feel that way.

I feel like that takes place in Brooklyn Bridge park, closer to the water. I’ll just have to watch the movie and see. Additionally, for some reason I had this music (which BTW I had no idea was done by Philip Glass!) in my head while I was walking around. I should have had this music in my head, but it did not prevail.

My favorite scene from Moonstruck

Next on my list was the NY Transit Museum, not Moonstruck related but it was on my “to do” list and was nearby the other things I was visiting… and it was only $7. It was also a welcome escape from the cold. Not surprisingly, the entrance to the museum looks like the entrance to a subway station; mostly because it is, well, it was. The station now holds a series of artifacts and information about the construction of the MTA.

To my surprise there was actually a line to get tickets. The place was pretty busy but it was filled mostly with parents and their children. Overall it did seem to cater to a younger audience but there were still things that an older person, such as myself, could enjoy. There was a lot to read, some interactive exhibits, and my favorite- a bunch of old MTA train cars from throughout the years.

By the time I was done (and that was rushing-ish) it was 4:22. I intended to go to the Cammareri Bakery next, but I had a job interview to go to at 5. Also, I was losing light and it was getting colder so I decided to put off my last Moonstruck locations until the next day.

After my interview I went back to the apartment and got some food. A little while later Dilila called and came by to watch none other than Moonstruck with me and Steve. And BTW after seeing it, the scene I had in mind def takes place at BB park.

—Part 2 (1/18) the next day

The first thing on my continued list was to visit the location of the Cammareri Bakery. Due to costs, the actual bakery has since moved to 1559 62nd Street in Brooklyn; it’s now Maybelle’s Cafe.

CamerariBarkery502 Henry Street, former sight of the actual Cammareri Bakery.

I thought today would be a good day to explore because in spite of the fact that it was supposed to rain, it was supposed to be relatively warm. This was a mistake. My jacket and pants soon soaked through, so I was cold and wet. I should have stuck to my original plan and gone to the Hayden Planetarium. At least then I would have been inside, oh well.

Because of the rain, the rest of the plan was scrapped and after miserably finding the location and getting the photo I made my way back through the rain to the apartment.

—Part 3 (1/19) the day after that

The first thing on my “to do” list was to find the Grand Tocino restaurant. I took the train to 14th Street and walked to 12th. As I made my way towards 254 I was sort of aimlessly on my own world. Not having done my usual calculations, I wasn’t thinking about whether it would be on the right or on the left. I had assumed that it was going to be on my right and then suddenly it was in front of me.

GrandTorcino254 West 12th Street, Cafe Cluny aka Grand Tocino

I don’t know if it’s because it is no longer the Grand Tocino or if it’s just not as impressive as I thought it was be, but I was very underwhelmed upon my arrival. It made me question why I visit all these places. Just to see them, who cares? I took my photo and moved on.

Next I made my way back to the train and went all the way up to 66th street to visit The Metropolitan Opera. The subway goes directly to the Lincoln Arts Center and after ascending some stairs and walking a short distance to see The Met.

TheMETThe Met

It is rare that things take my breath away but this really got my heart pumping. I don’t know if it’s that I was actually there or that it was a cool looking building or some combination of both, but I was really happy the moment I saw it. It instantly renewed all the doubts I had been having at the previous location.

I had done all this research and now my journey excursion -at least the Moonstruck part- was over. It wasn’t until after I was finished with the first or second day that I found this site which  is really good to reference in regards to finding locations.

TheMET_GrassAndWaterReflecting pool and grass area at the Lincoln Arts Center

After getting the picture, I made my way up to the entrance to look at what shows were playing. To my pleasant surprise, La Bohème was playing that night! (This is the show that Nick Cage and Cher go to on their “date.”) I wasn’t planning on going and didn’t end up going but it was still cool to see.

Next I made my way around to the side where I found to reflecting pool and grass field thing pictured above. The whole Lincoln Arts Center was beautiful. I can just imaging that in the spring and summer the area is mobbed with people.

MartinLutherKingJrHighSchoolMartin Luther King Jr. High School; “We shall overcome…”

After an appropriate amount of time at that LAC I decided to move on to the next thing. Initially my plan was to go right back to the train as my next stop was 59 blocks away. However, since the weather was nice, I decided to walk… at least until the next subway station.

As I made my way down the side of the LAC and out to the back, to Amsterdam Ave, I came across a sculpture. The sculpture (pictured above) was in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. I thought that it was strange that on this day of all days -Martin Luther King Day- I would stumble across this memorial. I could have gone back to the train and missed it, but something brought me here.

I took a moment to cross the street for a better look and to take the time to pay my respects to a man who had such a positive impact on history.

125thStreetStation125th street – Harlem

Eventually I moved on, passing the 72nd street station and getting on at 79th. I took the train where I got off at 125th street. It was to my surprise, the first stop that was actually elevated that I had ever been to in Manhattan. As I mad my way down the stairs a guy in front of me said to his friends, “Doesn’t this look like GTA 4?” It felt nice to not be the only person who appreciates art imitating life. Not to say that him and his friends came all the way to 125th street to see something from GTA, but simply that he appreciated the game’s ability to recreate reality in such detail.

ElevatedTrainElevated train

I had two places I wanted to see while I was in Harlem. The first was the world famous Apollo Theatre. I made my way east across 125th towards 253, the Apollo’s address. What at first seemed like it would be a long walk turned out to be not too far and I soon got what I came for… a photograph.

ApolloTheaterApollo Theatre

The second place I wanted to visit was a restaurant I noticed on Google Maps while scouting the area around the Apollo before heading out on this journey. As luck would have it, it was noonish, lunchtime, and the joint was only one street down and a couple blocks over at 100 west 124th street.

HarlemShakeHarlem Shake – restaurant

The restaurant in question was a place called the Harlem Shake, and it was right up my alley. It was essentially a diner/burger joint with a 50s/60s vibe. The thing that made it cool was that everything seemed, and I believe was, authentic. Rather than taking a new location and making it look old, as far as I could tell, this actually was old. I got a sandwich and a chocolate shake. Both were really good and hit the spot. After eating, I walked back to a subway station I had passed on the way that had lines which were perfect for brining me to my next destination.

AmericanMuseumOfNaturalHistoryDinosaur skeleton at the AMNH; I’m sure I have this exact same picture from the last time I was there.

The second to last thing I did was to visit the American Museum of Natural History. This was not originally my plan. My plan was to visit the Hayden Planetarium which is part of the Museum. However, upon entering and purchasing my ticket, I found that the suggested donation price (aka pay whatever you want) only refers to entrance to the museum. For entrance to the planetarium you have to pay full price, $27. Being cheap, I stuck with my $5 donation and decided to just make a day out of the museum.

Though I had been there before with my family in 2007, it was really cool being there again. Even though I was 18 then, I feel like I was young enough to not really appreciate everything I was looking at. This time however, I really enjoyed every room and exhibit I saw. Additionally, I was able to navigate the museum by myself, see what I wanted to see when I wanted to see it and for the exact amount of time I wanted to stare at it. I ended up staying there from 2:10 to 5:40; 3 and a half hours.

A Most Violent Year

I ended the night with one last thing. I had been curious about the movie A Most Violent Year and after finding a theatre with an upcoming showtime, decided to go see it. As a short synopsis, my advice is this: Do Not Go To This Movie!

The movie is literally 2 hours and 5 minutes of people talking. There are maybe two or three scenes of action but overall, nothing happens in this movie! I don’t mind dialogue if it goes somewhere, but the problem is that it doesn’t. I have only vaguely an idea of what that movie was about. They try to shroud what’s really going on in mystery by being vague but they are so vague that it doesn’t come off as mysterious or cool, it just comes off as confusing. Additionally, from what little I did pick up, the plot is super boring. I kept waiting for things to pick up and get interesting, but they never did.

The story is about a guy who runs an oil delivery company keeps getting his trucks jacked and he spends the whole movie trying to figure out who’s doing it. Meanwhile he has 30 days to raise enough money to buy this new oil facility but can’t because of all that stuff that keeps happening to his trucks. Sound boring and stupid? That’s because it is.

Another thing that made the film boring was how it was shot. Every scene looked exactly the same. The framing, the focal length, the depth of field, the same in pretty much every shot. Also, I didn’t care about any of the characters. There were these flat people who don’t do anything and don’t make you feel what they’re doing matters in any way. Once again, just as was the case with The Councilor I was foiled by a well cut trailer. To make matters worse, I don’t know if this is a New York thing or if movie prices are just this high now, but it cost me $13.50 to watch this abomination!

The only good part of that movie was Jessica Chastain. She was the only character who had real depth and emotion.

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Led Zeppelin Excursion

I started my Monday by taking the 4 train to Borough Hall and walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. This is a touristy thing that I’ve wanted to do for a while. Apart from the wind, it was a really nice experience. Great views of the city, the Manhattan Bridge, and a little bit of the Statue of Liberty. The only thing that would have been better is if there were fewer pedestrians. I guess the pedestrians weren’t the problem, it was more that they were all stupid. Not paying attention to the traffic and stopping for pictures in the most inconvenient places.

BrooklynBridgeInstagramBrooklyn Bridge

The first thing I did after getting into Manhattan was to make my way back to The Magic Shop. This time however, I rang the doorbell. A few seconds later, the door was answered by a young guy in a hat and a button up shirt. I told him I had heard about the studio from Sonic Highways and was wondering if I could have a tour. He told me that they were in the middle of a recording session but that I should come back in a week and a half to two weeks. I was glad to have at least made contact and will indeed try to make my way back there.

BrooklynBridge2

Next I stumbled my way up and down and back and forth through Soho in search of the Adidas Originals store. Though I’ve been there several times before, I had some trouble finding it. I was in search a particular pair of shell toes but it was immediately apparent that they didn’t have them, so instead I used the store to collect my thoughts and temporarily escape the cold.

I then made my way to McSorley’s  for a beer and some food. While there, I asked if there were any job opportunities. I was told that there weren’t any but that I should try The 13th Step, a bar nearby and Swift another nearby bar. Before I left I was told instead to just try Swift as a) they knew the bartender over there and b) because The 13th Step is more of a “college bar.” (Their words, not mine).

PhysicalGraffiti_96-98StMarksSt96 and 98 St Marks Place aka Physical Graffiti album cover

After stopping in at Swift and leaving my business card, I made my way over to 96 and 98 St Marks Place to continue my media inspired excursion. This time, the location in question was a pair of apartment buildings which were used as the cover for the 1975 Led Zeppelin album Physical GraffitiThe cool thing was that the area clearly recognizes and has capitalized on this fact as there is a restaurant called Physical Graffitea located next door.

As I was about to leave the area I got a text from Tom telling me that there was a half-off sale at a nearby Army Navy store. Why was this relevant? Well, the night before we had been talking about pea coats and he had mentioned that a good place to look for them would be an Army Navy store. As fate would have it, the one he was telling me about, Uncle Sam’s Army Navy store, was on the same street I was already on, just a few blocks back in the other direction.

Upon my arrival at the AN store I was immediately helped with what I was looking for. I found a pea coat that fit me well, and at $125, it was very reasonably priced. However, I left empty handed as there are other, more important things in line in front of it that I should be concerned with buying.

After a random, useless quick-trip to Central Park I made my way back to the apartment.

—Later that night

I had made plans with my friend Brandon to meet at a bar after he got out of work. So at around 10:34, I took the B46 (bus) over to Williamsburg. The place we went to was called Jackbar. It was a rad little dive populated by pinball machines.

Jackbar_PinballMachinesPinball machines at Jackbar

Brandon is friends with the bartender, Kirby, and so the three of us just chatted and drank and played pinball all night. I chilled with him until around 1:30 or 2 after which time I walked to the L and eventually made the appropriate connections to get me back to Crown Heights by around 3-ish. It ended up being a really cool day.

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