Tag Archives: Brooklyn

2017 Top Five

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

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

1) Japan – I finally went on vacation to Japan, a place I’ve wanted to visit for a very long time. While there I was able to check off a lot of things from my to do list. I got to: fly on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, see a whale shark, visit Liberty Walk, visit Nagashima Spa Land and ride Steel Dragon 2000 (a coaster I’ve wanted to ride for 17 years!), ride the Shinkansen (bullet train), see Mt Fuji, visit RWB (Porsche), go to Tokyo Disney Sea, ride go karts on the streets of Tokyo, and see The 5.6.7.8’s in concert.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bike Kill + Rager Things

Bike Kill

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

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

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

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

IMG_7606Bike Kill Overview

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

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

IMG_7601Big High Wheel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rager Things

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

RagerThingsPosterGlowPS_2

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

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

IMG_7611Evan makes a great “J” from Blade Runner 2049

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

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

IMG_7609Me and “Chris Lawless”

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

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

IMG_7622Jazz Band

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

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

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Photoville Excursion

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

IMG_7453Photoville underneath the Brooklyn Bridge

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

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

IMG_7455Legend Car Company – CPO classic cars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Brooklyn/Manhattan Adventure

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

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

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

IMG_7408Loosie’s Cafe

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

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

FullSizeRenderKyra and I by the water with the Manhattan skyline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_7407The little park between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway

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

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

IMG_7410Cafe Lalo

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

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

IMG_7413Butter & Scotch

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

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

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

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

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Bike Tour of New York

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

IMG_3427Riding with no handlebars on the Hudson River Greenway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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