Tag Archives: Manhattan

Rainy Day Adventure

Despite the fact that I knew it was supposed to rain today, I wanted to make the most of it and go on an adventure. I figured that since it was going to be crappy out, I’d do an indoor activity.

I woke up at ~7:20 and got ready for the day. I decided that I’d go to The Met first thing in the morning to avoid a crowd. Unfortunately, everyone else in New York had the exact same idea. I left my apartment at 8:55 and when I arrived at The Met at 9:55 (it opens at 10), the line was down the front steps and down the sidewalk.

IMG_8509Saw this on the way to the exhibit

I got in the line, but to my left, noticed that there was a much smaller line for this little side entrance. Intrigued, I decided to give it a shot. Shortly after, I noticed that the sign said that this was for groups only. Worried I had made a big mistake I started to scheme, feign ignorance upon entry.

Once in the doors I found that no one was checking if you were in a group. On top of that, though there was a line for people with bags -I had my backpack- no one stopped me. Good thing I didn’t have a bomb!

IMG_8514Found this in the Asian art section; saw one exactly like it at a museum in Melbourne, oh deer

I passed all of the sheeple and went to a kiosk. Using my membership card, I had my free ticket in a flash. I then breezed through one of the galleries on my way to the coat check. A worker stopped me to check I had a ticket (bet you thought I didn’t you douchebag) and told me to take off may backpack (yes sir… douchebag).

Luckily no one was at coat check so I got my bag checked by a nice man who commented on my Luke Skywalker Lego Mini-Fig keychain on my backpack. We then had a micro conversation about the show The Toys That Made Us before I bolted to the Public Parks, Private Gardens Paris to Provence exhibit.

IMG_8516The America Wing, one of my favorite parts of The Met

Exposition, exposition, I ended up staying until 2; a total of 4 hours! I did not plan on hanging out that long, but I ended up finding some hidden nooks and crannies of the museum I had never been to before and I got a much better mental map of how things, specifically the things I like, are laid out.

Got my backpack, left the museum, hopped the (6) to 51st street, transferred to the (E) and got off at Court Square (Queens). I roamed around a bit and after a quick Google map redirect, headed in the correct direction. Along the way to my 2nd destination I passed a chicken place. I was very hungry so I made a mental note to hit it on the way back.

Shortly after passing the chicken place I reached my destination 24-10 21st Street. This seemingly unassuming auto-body shop was the location of Luftwaffe Automotive, the fictional(?) auto-body shop featured in the 2007 Wes Anderson film The Darjeeling Limited (which I recently rewatched).

IMG_8521“Luftwaffe Automotive” from The Darjeeling Limited

After basking in it’s glory for a bit I made my way back to the chicken place and got some food. I sat and ate for a bit but wasn’t able to finish my food. I asked the guy for a box and he said, yeah, bring your food up here, I’ll box it up for you. This was a feat I could have accomplished on my own but was a very nice gesture. He then joked with me about how his wife is the same way with her leftovers.

Afterwards I left and got on back on the (E). I took it to 42nd St where I switched to the (R) (I think) and took that to Prince Street. I walked to 23 Prince and arrived at my 3rd destination, Filipacchi. I went there specifically to check out the Ural motorcycles I knew they carried.

Upon entering, the first thing that stood out is that the handle to their glass door is the butt of a Beretta or some hand gun. The second thing I noticed was that this was one of the coolest stores in Soho. They carry everything from motorcycles, to gear to boosted boards to off-road skateboards to one wheels… .

IMG_8523Ural motorcycle with sidecar

I walked around for a bit (I also learned about Cleveland Cyclewerks, which they also carry) and eventually got to chatting with one of the associates. He invited me to sit on the Ural and told me all about it. Apparently it has a parking brake, a reverse gear (unheard of on most motorcycles, but this one has a sidecar… so…) and 2 wheel drive! He pointed out the drive shaft that connects the rear driven wheel of the motorcycle to the wheel of the sidecar. This blew my mind.

After hanging out for a bit and eventually even chatting with the manager, I learned that they occasionally do demo drives (apparently Ural had just hosted one last weekend or something) and they invited me to stop by some time for a test drive! I think I need to do a bit of a refresher course before I feel comfortable enough to do that but it’s good to know. Reading Hells Angels by Hunter Thompson has really gotten me to want to get on a motorcycle again.

After finishing my conversation, I made my way to my 4th and final stop. I took the (6) to Chambers St where I switched to the (J) and took it to Myrtle. From there I walked to 123 Melrose St. This is the address of a new housing development that is being built. I entered a lottery to possibly move in once it’s finished, though I did just sign a two year lease on my current place.

IMG_8525Flushing Ave Station – (J) train

The place looks really cool and I’d love to take a tour of the building once it’s finished. After a walk around I made my way back to the (J) and took it to Lorimer where I switched to the (G) at Broadway and took it to Fulton. From there I switched one last time time to the (5) at Atlantic Ave and took it back to my apartment. I got back at ~6:30, not a bad day.

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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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On A Roll

For the past 3 weeks I have gone to a museum. First the Met, then the Met Breuer and now The Brooklyn Museum and the MoMA. Read on

Friday

I had been having a shitty day at work. Additionally, I had recently read about a new(?) bar in Manhattan called Patent Pending. The bar is a Nikola Tesla “themed” speakeasy and based on the pictures in Time Out Magazine, I was itching to go.

After coming home and changing into a button up shirt, I hopped on the (5), took it to 14th Street, switched to the (6) and took it to 28th St. From there it was a relatively short walk to the coffee shop that fronts in the daytime as a… well coffee shop and in the night is transformed to a speakeasy.

After being buzzed in, I told the woman behind the counter I didn’t have a reservation. She let me in to the small waiting area where I was able to hang up my coat and get a beer. I chilled there and finished my milk stout just in time for a spot to open up at the bar. There I ordered a pilsner which I sipped slowly while taking in the dark cavernous atmosphere.

When it came time to pay, I realized that the bar tender had only charged me for the the drink I’d ordered at the bar and not the one I’d ordered while in the waiting area. I mentioned this and he said, “I didn’t see anything.” Pleased by getting off easy, I tipped better than I normally would have and left.

Saturday

The first thing I did in the morning was my laundry as I was in desperate need to do so. Once done I got showered and dressed and made my way to the Brooklyn Museum. The email I’d received the day prior told me to arrive a half an hour early.

By the time my train arrived and I walked to the exhibit entrance, it was 11:19 and my entry time was 11:30. Luckily there was not a line like the one which had been described in the aforementioned email. So I killed 11 minutes looking at some art deco furniture before heading back to the entrance.

The employee there scanned the e-ticket on my phone and I was on my way in to David Bowie is. This is an exhibit that had traveled from the V&A Museum in London and so I knew I had to catch it while it was in town. Without going into too many details, the exhibit was pretty cool.

Visitors are not allowed to take pictures, however, there was a cool audio guide that worked on bluetooth. As you walked to various sections of the exhibit, the bluetooth receiver would pick up the frequency of the device you were wearing and switch to the appropriate track. I ended up spending about 3 hours there.

After leaving the museum, I made my way to the nearby Brooklyn Public Library. I’d received an email that the book I’d requested,  How To American: An Immigrants Guide to Disappointing Your Parents by Jimmy O. Yang, was in.

Though I’d just started House of Leaves, I decided to check this out as well because it is much shorter and I’d found out that my co-worker owns it so I can just borrow House of Leaves for as long as I want once I’m done with this one.

When I got home, I took care of some housekeeping, cut my nails, shaved, ate, put my clothes away and put my dishes away. Next I read the prolog, introduction and first chapter of How To American. After that I watched the last episode of season two of The Grand Tour and the Bruce Lee movie Game of Death before going to bed.

Sunday

I woke up this morning and made it my mission to get to the 10am screening of Isle of Dogs at the Alamo Drafthouse. After having a small breakfast and a quick shower, I hopped the (5) to Borough Hall and got the the theater just in time to score the last back row seat.

I watched all of the pre-movie content that Alamo curates which was, as usual, really great before jumping into the movie. Without going into detail, I really enjoyed it. It was laugh-out-loud funny, heartwarming and sub-textually (or perhaps overtly) political. I hope it gets nominated for Best Animated Feature.

After the movie, I walked to the (F) and took it to 57th St. There I headed south to 4 E 54th St, a building I knew to be historically significant, before heading into my true destination, the MoMA.

I love having my membership card because it makes it really easy to just go there whenever you want and not worry about paying. I started at the 5th floor and worked my way down. I passed the very crowded Starry Night before moving on to this great painting of a couple kissing. I didn’t take a photo of the info card so I don’t have the official name or the artists name, but I really liked it.

IMG_8231Kiss

I somewhat quickly made my way through the museum, not that I was in a rush per se, but mainly because it was busy and I only wanted to spend time with the things I really wanted to see. After retrieving my bag and jacket, I strolled through the Sculpture Garden before entering the Education and Research Center. There, I spotted an old F1 car mounted on the wall of which I wanted to take a closer look.

IMG_8239Alain Prost’s 1990 Ferrari F1 car (photo has been rotated 90 degrees clockwise)

Because it was red, I knew it had to be a Ferrari and, by a rough guess of the era of car based on the body style, I thought it to be Alain Prost’s car. Sure enough, upon reading the information card, I was correct.

I starred at it for quite a long time, gazing at the wings, aerodynamics and the tight weave of the carbon fiber before moving on.

Next I made my way to another building that I had noticed from a window of the museum (550 Madison Ave) before going to the MoMA Design Store to catch a glimpse of the KAWS BFF Companion window display. Once there, I entered the store and strolled around a bit. A $25 vintage Casio watch caught my eye, but I really didn’t need to make a frivolous purchase.

IMG_8246KAWS BFF Companion window display

After that I headed to the (F) and took it back to Jay Street where I exited and transferred to the (4) at Borough Hall. While On the platform, I saw that the next (5) train, the one I needed to get home, was 13 minutes away.

I had a plan. Rather than wait like a chump I was going to get off at Grand Army Plaza, walk to the Brooklyn Library, return House of Leaves, walk up Eastern Parkway to the Brooklyn Museum station and hopefully get there in time to catch the (5). Sure enough, my plan worked out perfectly, I arrived at the Brooklyn Museum station just as the (5) was pulling in. Damn I’m good.

Once home I made/ate dinner and wrote this while listening to the Isle of Dogs soundtrack and later The Shape of Water soundtrack, which by the way are both done by Alexandre Desplat, who knew!

I plan to finish just in time to get into my jim-jams and watch Silicon Valley the premier of Barry on HBO. Not a tad bad.

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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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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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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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Fina-fucking-ly Pt.2

Let me start by saying that it could be better. Let me add that this was edited in iMovie. iMovie was never good, but ever since they came out with the latest version I feel they made it more difficult to use. Excuses aside, here for your viewing pleasure is “Shattered.”

Before you ask, no this does not take place in 1978; I would have been negative 11 years old. I just added that because that was when “Shattered” was released by The Rolling Stones, thus that’s when I envisioned this taking place.

This is a super rough idea of a concept I’ve had in mind for a really long time for a “music video” for the song. Unfortunatly, I am sometimes more concerned with getting things done than I am with quality, hence why I didn’t wait until spring/summer to shoot this. Also, I wanted this as test footage to make sure the camera actually worked/works. That’s also the reason I didn’t buy more than one roll of film.

Next, realize that I was editing only about 3 and a half minutes of footage. Anyone who’s edited before knows that more footage is better because it gives you a larger variety of coverage to work with. That is why some shots repeat and why I had to cut the song short (and there’s still a ton of blank space at the end). If I do ever decide to make this for real, I’ll actually storyboard and stuff like that.

PS I was able to fix the contrast in the post prod.

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Fina-fucking-ly

It took 4 years but I finally got my 8mm film digitized! The footage was shot in lower Manhattan in 2012. I was visiting my friends in Brooklyn and brought the Bell & Howell super 8 camera my grandpa had just given to me. My friend Tom and I had gone to B&H Photo Video to pick up some Kodak 8mm black and white film.

The main reason it took so long for me to get it digitized is because film is expensive. The 8mm film cost ~$15, it cost $24 to get it developed and then it cost another $125 to get it transferred to digital. That last part was the killer. The film sat in my desk drawer literally taunting me for years. After getting this job, I finally had enough disposable income to spend on getting it digitized.

Tom shot most of the footage with me shooting a few things myself. Note: 1) there is no sound, do not attempt to raise the volume, there is nothing to hear. 2) this is merely “raw” footage, it is unedited and has no meaning or order to it. 3) I don’t know why the frame rate seems to be off. 4) I don’t know why a lot of it looks “blown out.” Perhaps I can “fix it in post.”

Lastly, keep your eyes peeled as I am in the process of editing the footage and syncing it to music so that I can post something that may be somewhat interesting to watch.

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Belated Birthday

So if you didn’t know or figure out by the previous post, June 4th was my birthday. A month ago, on May the 4th be with you, I sent out a mass e-mail to about 30 of my friends, inviting them to come to a birthday celebration on Saturday the 6th (yesterday). Since last year was such a bust, I wanted to try and rectify it by giving people way more than enough notice to clear their schedule and to be able to attend.

However, as the date approached I was getting more and more “No’s.” I was beginning to re-think my decision and was almost going to cancel since I didn’t think that pretty much anyone would come. But, I figured it’s a Saturday night, regardless of my birthday I should probably go out and have fun.

I had planned an epic six bar bar-crawl including: Culture Club, 230 Fifth, the 40/40 Club, Bowery Electric, The Back Room and The Alligator Lounge. I had no allusions about how unrealistic it was but I figured, shoot for the moon, maybe reach a painting to the moon perched slightly out of my reach. (<–a failed attempt at humor).

So, as we reached the hour of departure I had six people that were maybe going to meet up at the first spot, Culture Club. Luckily, a few days ago, a friend -Nina- of the girls at whose apartment I am staying came by to crash for a bit. So, at around 8:30pm Nina and I left their apartment and made our way to CC. I was glad that if no one else showed up I’d at least have one person to hang out with. Granted a person I barely knew, but still I’ll take what I can get.

We arrived at Culture Club a little after 9pm only to find that it was apparently closed… forever! I texted the people who were potentially coming to let them know Nina and I were going to instead start off at 230 Fifth. In response two gal friends decided they weren’t going to come; one because of work getting out late and the other because of a lack of money. Another said he was at a different bar trying to “close” with a girl so he was as good as a “no.” Another said she would be on her way soon and the last said she’d come after she ate.

Off to a great start, Nina and I made our way down 5th to 230. There was a pretty long line to get in but it moved really fast. Once inside, we took the elevator to the bar on the 20th floor. The place was really posh. Not the type of spot I would usually find myself in. It’s where the “beautiful people” go to verbally masturbate with one another. There were a bunch of “bros” and business men and woman; “young professionals.”

By contrast, there were also a good amount of tourists, you could tell by their accent. Clearly these people had googled “roof top bar new york” and clicked the first result. I can’t hate though, that’s exactly what I did. It is undeniably a tourist attraction. No self respecting New Yorker would actually ever go there. But I am not a self respecting New Yorker, I’m basically a tourist myself and I wanted to go to a spot where I could drink a beer on a roof and look out at the city, and that is exactly what I got. Plus the weather was beautiful so I really couldn’t complain.

After grabbing drinks (I got this grapefruit beer that was really tasty) and heading to the roof, Nina and I chatted for a bit until we got a text from our friend Hannah, one of the girls whose apartment I’m staying at. She was getting in line so we made our way back down to the club area to meet her at the elevators. After we met up and she got her drink, we went back up to the roof. A random bro was kind enough to take our picture. This was the crew for the rest of the night.

230FifthNina, myself and Hannah on the rooftop bar at 230 Fifth

Despite the fact that the place was packed, we found a place to sit. I grabbed a second drink and we planned out the rest of the night. I said that though I did sort of want to check out the 40/40 Club for the novelty of it, I was willing to forgo it. As it is we felt out of place there and felt that 40/40 would have just been more of the same. I was also fine with passing on Bowery Electric as we had already been there.

The only two other places on the list were the Back Room and The Alligator Lounge. Since I go to the Alligator every other Friday for karaoke we decided to skip it. Thus, the next spot we went to was the Back Room. I was totally cool with this as I’d been wanting to check it out ever since getting to NY and the girls liked the fact that it was a speakeasy. Also, it was featured in the FOMO episode of Broad City.

After a bit of a screw up with the train, because the F wasn’t running, we ended up taking the Q to Canal St. It meant we had a bit more of a walk, but again, the weather was great and we were in no rush. We eventually made our way to The Back Room.

I was a little disappointed by the fact that there was a bouncer at the sidewalk entrance because it sort of ruined the mystique. After getting your ID checked, you then walk down these stairs that lead to an ally that leads to an opening and another set of stairs with a door at the top that leads into The Back Room.

TheBackRookOverall idea of the look and feel of The Back Room from the “second” level.

TBR is not only a speakeasy themed bar but it also actually used to be a speakeasy, which to me makes it a little cooler. Just as was the case at 230 Fifth, no self respecting New Yorker would actually ever go there, it is purely for the novelty. However, it was still pretty rad. The cocktails are served in tea cups as to not arouse the suspicion of any undercover cops and the beer is served in a coffee mug. If you get a bottle it is served in a brown paper bag.

After standing by the DJ booth for a bit, we sniped an opening at the couch across the room. We sat and chatted for a bit and just enjoyed the atmosphere. We decided after finishing our one drink each to grab a 99 cent slice of pizza before making our way back to Brooklyn. However I didn’t let us leave without getting another group photo.

TheBackRoom2I look super drunk in this pic, however, I assure you I was squinting because of the super bright flash on my phone. Additionally, I insisted we take in pic in front of the painting of the naked lady. It reminded me of the first room from the Haunted Mansion.

Upon leaving I expertly navigated us to a nearby cheap pizza joint. I had been there before with another group of friends but was amazed that I remembered where it was/how to get there since a) that was a month or two ago and b) I was not leading the group that night.

After grabbing a quick slice we made our way back out to Delancey where Hannah hailed us a cab. I would have been fine with taking the train because I’m cheap, but she paid for it so I don’t really care. Although I do sort of feel obligated to chip in so that might have to happen, oh well.

So what have I learned from all this? Basically something I should have known from the beginning but failed to listen to myself yet again which is this: don’t plan parties for yourself! Don’t plan any events of any kind ever because no one is ever able to come to your events. This is not a “Oh, feel bad for me” statement, it is simply the truth. I have had plenty of lessons in this and have not learned from any of them.

Perhaps now I finally will. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fun night and I’m glad it happened. I’m not mad at any of my friends who weren’t able to show up. I’m also genuinely not upset or bitter about this. I just need to give up trying because these things just never work out for me; FACT.

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