Tag Archives: Brooklyn

Epic Bike Ride or How I Ended Up In The Bronx

This morning I woke up and sprung to action, making a list of all of the things I wanted to accomplish and setting to accomplishing them. After getting showered and dressed and brushing my teeth, I decided to embark on a bike ride.

I really only had two things I wanted to hit on the ride and I knew if I put it off for any reason, it wouldn’t happen. The weather was 55 degrees which is perfect, nearly. A little chilly, enough for a light hoodie. You’re a bit cold but the energy you exert ends up keeping you warm without making you sweaty.

11:30am to 12:00pm – Apartment to 188 Prospect Park East

I’ve known for quite some time that the esteemed Nighthawk Cinema is planning on opening a second location on the East side of Prospect Park. It is set to claim the location once held by the now defunct Pavilion Theater.

I rode the route I thought was correct based on the Google Maps search I’d done just before leaving my apartment. However, a cursory glance lead to slight miscalculation on my part which made me re-route and, on take two, I arrived at the work sight flawlessly.

IMG_8394The Pavilion Theater, soon to be Nighthawk Prospect Park

The site, at least from the facade, was much less far along than I thought it would be. I thought they had said it was supposed to open in the spring, but I might be making that up. It’s no rush, I’m just excited to see it as it’s closer to me than their Williamsburg location, which, though I’ve been too and looked at from the outside, have yet to see a movie there.

After taking a few pictures of the marquee, I headed to destination number two.

12:05pm to 12:25pm – Prospect Park to Domino Sugar Park (Williamsburg)

My next destination was the Domino Sugar Park. Technically my destination was the park right next to it, as this park is still under construction. I first read about this park in an issue of Time Out magazine.

IMG_8395Panorama of the Williamsburg Bridge and the Manhattan skyline from Grand Ferry Park

This too I had thought was set to open in the spring or in May, but according to an article I read on my phone while sitting on a bench in Grand Ferry Park (the adjacent park), it is set to open in June.

After resting and chilling on the bench for a bit, I headed to destination number 3.

12:35pm to 1:10pm – Williamsburg to Long Island City via Greenpoint and the Pulaski Bridge

I hopped back onto my bike and into the Kent Ave bike lane, making my way through  Greenpoint and briefly stopping at the Manhattan Avenue Park before taking the Pulaski Bridge into Long Island City (Queens).

It had been a long time since I had ridden over this bridge and to my surprise I found that they had added Jersey Barrier to block off the far lane to dedicate it to a bike path. I thought this was a great way to separate the cyclists from the pedestrians and to decrease congestion.

I rode around trying to find the same street I’d taken on the 4th of July to view the fireworks. I rode to the north end of Center Blvd and dismounted my bike to sit on a more posh and shadier (it was more in the shade, not sketchier) bench.

IMG_8397View from shady bench

Eventually I got back on my bike and rode along the waterfront, passing the iconic LIC Pepsi Cola sign, to Hunter’s Point South Park. This is my favorite spot in Long Island City and is one of the places I used to bring my students when I was an instructor for Bike New York.

After hanging out in the park for a bit I made a few laps up and down Center Blvd trying to find the exact street from which I view the fireworks on the 4th of July. When I was satisfied that I’d found the correct street (of which I am still not 100% certain), I headed to destination number 4.

?  – ? – Long Island city to Randell’s Island via Astoria and the RFK Bridge

I rode up to Vernon Blvd retaking the path I rode with my Bike NY students underneath the 59th Street/Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge and through Queensbridge Park. I popped out the other side and back onto the bike lane.

I took it passed the Roosevelt Island Bridge where I paused to leave my co-worker Jonathan, who lives on Roosevelt Island, a voicemail. I also took a pic of a Mercedes Maybach because, wtf are you doing in Queens?

IMG_8403Mercedes Maybach in Queens

I continued down Vernon Blvd, rode through Rainey Park (another spot from my Bike NY days), passed the Socrates Sculpture Park and through the Hallets Point (projects) waterfront bike path.

I made my way through Astoria to Astoria Park. I then rode through the park to the pedestrian entrance of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. I had driven, or rather been driven on the RFK Bridge while on the bus to or from New York but had never traversed it under my own power.

It reminded me of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is much higher than the three bridges that connect Brooklyn to Manhattan and is significantly longer. However, the ride down the ramp from the bridge to Randell’s Island is a worthy payoff.

? – ? – Randell’s Island to The Bronx

Once on Randell’s Island I continued north and made my way onto the Central Road/Randell’s Island Connector bike path. This lead me, inadvertently, into The Bronx. I had no idea I’d gone over a small bridge and into my third borough of the day.

? – ? – The Bronx to Central Park via the Madison Avenue Bridge

I exited the bike path onto E 132nd Street, passed Pier 132 (not an actual pier) and took my first right onto Willow Ave. I rode up to E 138th Street and took a left onto 138th to head West. After passing the Cypress Ave subway station, I took a few minutes to get my bearings.

I eventually continued on 138th street and crossed the Harlem River via the Madison Avenue Bridge into Manhattan; my fourth borough of the day. I continued west on 138th until I reached Malcom X Blvd where I turned and headed south. I knew that this would lead me right to the 110th Street entrance of Central Park.

? – ? – Central Park to President (bodega) via the Williamsburg Bridge

As I was approaching the entrance I briefly considered taking Central Park West and avoiding the crowded park. However, knowing that most of my ride through Manhattan would consist of few turns and essentially be filled with long straight stretches, I decided to take the scenic route.

After emerging at the Columbus Circle exit, I went around the rotary and headed south on Broadway before cutting over to 9th Ave. I took 9th all the way down to 14th where I cut over to 2nd Ave.

While on 14th Street I came across a bus that was starting to pull away from the curb. Standing in the street between the sidewalk and the bus was a tiny older woman with an oxygen tube in her nose. She was waving at the bus driver to open his door and let her in, but she was too small for him to see.

Defeated, she made her way back to the sidewalk to wait for the next bus. Seeing this, I caught up to the bus and waved and yelled to get the driver’s attention before he pulled away from the curb. To my amazement, he saw me and opened his door.

“There’s an older woman who wants to get on the bus,” I said to the driver, “can you wait for her?” A little confused, the driver nodded. I yelled back to the woman, “Ma’am, the bus is waiting for you, you can come back.” Eventually she heard me and slowly shuffled back to the bus. The driver said to me, “I thought you were yelling at me because I was gonna hit you or something. Thanks for doing that, that was great. You’re awesome man!”

I was really happy to have helped this woman and that I got such a positive reaction from the driver. It’s moments like this that give me faith in people. We gave each other thumbs up and I rode on.

I took 2nd Ave all the way down to Houston, across Houston and onto Chrystie Street then left onto Delancey and then onto the Williamsburg Bridge.

I slowly made my way up the Williamsburg, and, as expected, my legs began to cramp. I had by that point done at least 25 miles with essentially no breaks and no food besides my small breakfast. I barely made it to the top and, once I did, dismounted my bike to give my legs a break.

I stood to the side of the bike path and let my legs stretch out. I must have looked like a winded wuss who couldn’t even handle a relatively easy climb. I literally could not move my legs. I was in so much pain and the cramps were so bad that there was nothing I could do but stand still.

After a few minutes it subsided and I decided to punk out and ride back down. I could hop on the (F) at Delancey/Essex and take it to Carroll Gardens. I mounted my bike again and began the downhill. As I rode, I got a second wind. I didn’t want to bring my bike with me on a crowded train. I didn’t want to punk out. I had come so far under my own #PedalPower, I could survive another 5 or 10 miles.

I turned around yet again and, struggling, made my way over the crest of the bridge, down the other side and back into Brooklyn. At the bottom I turned around and made my way back to the waterfront and to the Kent Ave bike lane. I made my way out to Franklin Ave and took a right on Dekalb Ave towards Downtown Brooklyn.

I passed Fort Greene Park and eventually took a right onto the Fulton Street Mall. I took a left onto Smith, a right onto Schermerhorn and a left onto Court. I rode down Court for a bit before going right onto Sackett before eventually taking a left onto Columbia and arriving at President bodega.

? – 5:00pm – President (bodega) to Red Hook Crit

Because I didn’t have my lock with me, I took my bike into the bodega. I figured they wouldn’t mind and, as expected, no one said a word about it. I ordered an Italian Sub and grabbed an Arizona Ice Tea from the fridge. After my $10 transaction, I took the short ride to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook.

I followed some other cyclists to the Red Hook Crit, a foot and bike race two of my coworkers had told me about. I was due to meet one of them at 4:30pm but by the time I got there, set aside my bike and found a loading dock to sit on, it was a little after 5pm.

I called my buddy Darryl and found out that he wasn’t there yet. Even when I’m late to things I’m early. Good thing I didn’t rush to get there by 4:30. I sat on the dock, ate half my sandwich and drank some of my drink. Eventually I got up and walked around a little bit.

The day, which had started out chilly and had gotten warmer was now getting cold again. The sun was going down and clouds were rolling in. I was exhausted but I wanted to meet up with Darryl since I’d already come all this way. I looked at my phone, it was 6:13pm. I decided that if he wasn’t there in two minutes, I was gonna bounce.

Moments later I looked over and there was Darryl and his girlfriend Jess, riding over to greet me. I told them this story which you’ve now read and that I was cold so I was going to need to leave. After hugging both of them, I headed back to my apartment.

6:15 to ~7:00pm – Red Hook Crit back to my Apartment

I took the half hour or so ride through a dark and chilly Prospect Park. I returned home with a sunburn and bloodshot eyes. My lips were chapped from dehydration, my neck was sore and my legs were shot. I had survived a seven and a half hour day out on my bike.

The first half, the adventure part, the way there, all the way up to the point where I got to The Bronx, that part was cool. It was the whole ride back bit, particularly the Williamsburg Bridge that killed me and was less fun.

EpicRideA rough idea of my route starting at the bottom right and ending at the bottom left

I learned to always wear suntan lotion and a hat (that’s what you bought it for dummy) and to maybe stop for more breaks or for food. That said, I’m proud of myself for pushing through the pain and not punking out and taking the subway. My trip totaled somewhere between 35 and 40 miles. Tomorrow will be low key.

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NY St. Patrick’s Day

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

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

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

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

BanksyRatBanksy piece on the corner of 14th and 6th

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_8180The Met Breuer

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_8184Financial District from Pier 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Bonus Content

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

IMG_8192Free Zehra Dogan

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

IMG_8197Offset Mickey Mouse by Jerkface

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

IMG_8198520 W 28th Street

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

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

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Three In One

1. Saturday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_8146Abandoned lot – Harlem

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

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

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

IMG_8149DeVille

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

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

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

IMG_8150Sneaker Joint

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

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

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

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

2. Sunday

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

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

Year“A ‘Perfect’ Year”

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

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

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

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

IMG_8154City Activities With Subway**

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

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

IMG_8156A cool ornate door I passed on 77th

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

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

 

3. Being A Hypebeast

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_8085The Sauce

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

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

 

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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.

IMG_7599

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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