Tag Archives: New York

Pool Hopping

The last time I was living in New York, I, for whatever reason, got the idea that I wanted to find a hotel pool to sneak into as a means of a) doing something fun and b) beating the heat without having to go to the beach.

Thus, a quick Google search lead me to a list of NY hotel pools and how to sneak into them. Fast forward to present day and the idea resurfaced in my brain. Knowing that it was a super low risk “crime” and that I had nothing better planned for this weekend, I decided to go for it.

IMG_7183Pool at the Millennium Hilton; spoiler alert… I got in!

I thought that the best place to start would be the top of the list. In addition to knowing exactly where the Millennium Hilton is, the article I found made it seem very easy to sneak into.

After getting off at Fulton Street Station, I walked the very short distance to the Hilton. I decided to enter through the side entrance as to draw less attention to myself. I had my headphones on and my sunglasses too. I walked straight to the elevator and pressed the call button. Moments later my ride was there.

I got in, thankfully alone, and pressed 4. According to the article, the pool was on the 4th floor. However, when I arrived, I was greeted with a hallway filled with business centers. I nervously paced back and forth down the corridor. Was there a different elevator shaft I needed to take?

The only other rooms I saw were labeled “Staff”. I had a feeling that any second a staff member was going to pop out and I’d be busted. I found a nearby bathroom and collected my thoughts.

No one knows you’re not a guest at the hotel. You have yet to give them a reason to suspect you aren’t a guest. Even if you get caught, the worst that will happen is they’ll kick you out.

Relaxed, I got in a different elevator. Again it was empty and as the door closed, I scanned the buttons to see if any were labeled. Then, out to the corner of my eye, I spotted a plaque with a list of amenities and what floor they were on; “Fitness Center” Floor 5.

The article had screwed up the floor number. I pressed 5 and was pleased when the door opened one floor later to smell chlorine. I was in the right place.I walked around the corner and down the hall to find a glass door leading to an empty reception desk, just as the article said. Beyond the desk was the pool, I was home free.

As I entered the pool room I saw two life guards sitting on the chairs at the shallow end of the pool. They were twenty-something year old dudes who were just talking and looking at their phones. They were also fully clothed so even if there was an emergency and they needed to do actual life guarding, they would have been pretty useless.

I casually walked over to an empty seat, took off my backpack, took off my headphones, took off my shoes, took off my shirt, slipped off my basketball shorts, under which was my bathing suit and walked down the stairs of the shallow end into the pool. I did it!

Being that it was around 11am the only other people in the pool were a young, roughly my age couple, and a grandmother with her granddaughter. The pool was heated, as I hoped it would be, and after maybe 20 minutes of swimming around, the young couple left. A short while after that, the grandmother and granddaughter got out too.

For a short while I had the whole place to myself. After that a mother and her teenage daughter came in. And after that two women maybe five years older than me came in. At around noon I decided to bail. The thrill of sneaking around was sort of gone and because I was by myself and the pool was… just a pool, I was getting bored.

Though I’d brought my own, I grabbed an unused hotel towel off the seat next to mine, grabbed my bag and went into the bathroom/changing room. I toweled off and changed back into my regular clothes. I then dropped my used towel in the hamper and made my way out.

As I was leaving, I pushed the glass door to exit. However, I didn’t remember having to push it open to enter. Had it been left ajar? I pulled on it to see if I could get back in but it had locked behind me. I glanced over to the wall and sure enough there was a key card reader.

Either I had gotten lucky and the door had not been shut fully OR it was wide open when I got there OR the hotel staff waits until later in the day to activate the key car reader.

Either way it was pretty lucky that the door wasn’t lock when I’d arrived or I’d have been boned. I probably could have waited for another guest to arrive or something, but still, it would have put a serious monkey wrench in the plan.

So, two things I learned, 1) the pool is on the 5th floor, not the 4th and 2) you may need to procure a key card, or find someone with a key card in order to gain access to the pool if the glass door is not left open/unlocked. Other than that it’s smooth swimming.

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Pedal Pushers Club

For those who don’t know I recently moved back to New York after having been away for almost two years. This time however, rather than flying by the seat of my pants, I relocated because of work.

However, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Just as was the case the last time I was here, today I attended Bike Expo New York. Like last time, there were basically just a bunch of booths trying to sell you bike related gear and what not.

NYC_manhole_1024x1024Not the shirt I bought

This time, though I didn’t walk away with a free Kryptonite lock, I did buy a couple pieces of swag. The main piece I want to talk about is a t-shirt I bought from a company called Pedal Pushers Club.

Let me start by saying that the last thing I need is another fucking t-shirt. That said, this one is pretty dope. This company specializes in making bike themed t-shirts. They do them for a lot of major cities.

The last time I lived here I wanted something, a shirt or hat, that represented Brooklyn. Well this time I got something. I highly reccomend checking them out as they make some really sweet designs.

Oh, and I almost forgot, because they were selling them at the Expo, they did a discount. Rather than costing $25 it only cost me $20. Hard to pass up a deal.

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Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow

WARNING: this blog post contains spoilers of the movie Tomorrowland and has I high level of Disney nerd-ing and fandom. Readers should be well acquainted with the Disney Parks to fully appreciate this post.

When I saw the first teaser trailer for Tomorrowland I was very excited. I always wanted to write a movie about a future based off of Walt Disney’s original vision for EPCOT. However, Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow OR Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow (I’ve heard it both ways) was probably too clunky of a title for a feature length film and thus I can understand why they went with Tomorrowland.

After the first full trailer was released for the movie I was instantly turned off by the idea. I suddenly thought it look very bad and very different from the original movie that had been pitched to me. Thus, I decided to skip it when it was released in theaters. That said, after hearing my parents reaction upon seeing it in theaters, I decided too give it a second chance. That chance came last night when it was finally released on Starz.

Tomorrowland is a movie that is filled with wonder. What I mean is, it does something that all great movies should do; it transforms you into wanting to exist in the world that has been created on screen. I have always been a fan of anything with secret passages and hidden worlds. The idea that behind a doorway could be a portal leading to different world. Call it the kid in me or the fact that I still have a very active imagination, but the movie helps to bring out the dreamer that still lives inside me.

When I was living in New York, one of the first things I did was to visit Corona Park in Queens. That is the site of the 1964 Worlds Faire. When you enter the Queens Museum there is a whole section dedicated to photos and memorabilia from the Worlds Faire. It really does a great job of transporting your mental state to a different period in time.

The whole opening of the movie which takes place there and then transports to Tomorrowland is one of the most exciting parts of the movie to me. I would love to see Disney World update “It’s A Small World” to more closely represent what takes place in the version of the ride in the film.

Next, I was blown away by the actual visuals of Tomorrowland. I genuinely don’t know how they did it. The first time Casey goes there, I genuinely don’t know what is a set and what is CG. Some of it is fairly obvious but some seems like it was actually built, in which case, how big was their budget!? I loved the homage to “Space Mountain” as it is one of the buildings featured in the background of several shots that take place in Tomorrowland.

To me, I felt that Brad Bird did a great job of capturing the spirit of Walt’s vision, not only for Tomorrowland or EPCOT, but his passion for innovation, invention, imagination and adventure. The part in Paris when they’re in the Eiffel Tower and there are the wax figures of Tesla, Jules Vern, and the others; that felt like part of something from “Spaceship Earth” or “The American Adventure”. It feels very steampunk and reminiscent of a Disney ride. Specifically, not that I’ve been on it, “Space Mountain: From the Earth to the Moon,” at Disneyland Paris.

I will admit that it is not perfect. Tonally, the movie tends to shift from feeling serious, almost a PG-13 type movie, to feeling much more light-hearted and dare I say silly at moments. This does not ruin the movie but it does make it seem a bit unbalanced. I was not as blown away or amazed by this movie as I may have made it seem by all of my praise at the beginning of this post, but I did very much enjoy it. It was actually better than I thought it would be. I think partially because I was expecting to hate it.

In short, Tomorrowland is a very enjoyable film. It was very inspiring and, as corny as this may sound, is exactly the type of movie the world needs right now. An optimistic vision of the future. Something to wake the dreamers up and have them realize that with the right energy and action, anything is possible.

Extra thoughts I couldn’t organically fit in:

– I loved the bit at the end where he has to drop Athena in order to destroy that ball thing. It was very reminiscent of Metropolis (anime) when Tima lets go and falls to her death. That movie makes me cry, without fail, every time I see it.

– I loved that they included the 1939 Worlds Faire “logo” or whatever you’d call it, hidden as one of the buildings in the animated version of Tomorrowland that is shown during the end credits.

– It felt very much like Wall-E in the best way possible, a movie with a message about the human race and planet earth.

– Some of the Chevy product placement felt a little heavy handed. We get it, GM sponsors “Test Track.”

– It also reminded me of “The People Mover.”

– I loved the costume design for Athen at the 1964 Worlds Faire. Her dress with the color and the pattern were a perfect compliment to Nix’s shirt and tie.

– Working for Tesla makes me feel, in a small way, like I am contributing to the future of this planet and thus I feel like my thoughts and work very much align with the message this story tries to portray.

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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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2015 Top Five

After listening to the last “hostful” episode of The Nerdist podcast for this year, I’ve decided to make a top five list of the most memorable moments from this past year. I think it’s easy to get down on yourself at the end of a year and think “what, if anything, did I accomplish.”

I saw a lot of people posted collages of their favorite memories from 2015 and it made them look so accomplished. My sister told me that she did a Top Five of 2015 on Facebook which I thought was a great idea. Thus, I’ve decided to copy her.

1) Moving to New York – Even though it didn’t end up being permanent, moving to New York was a great way to start out the New Year last year. I technically got there on December 28th of 2014, but I got to celebrate New Years Eve in Times Square which was a good thing to check off the bucket list.

While I was there I saw a Nics/Celtics game, held two jobs, met a lot of nice people, made new friends, lived in three different apartments, performed at an open mic, DJ’d at a night club, performed several nights of karaoke, got to do a lot of sight seeing, saw a Red Sox/Yankees game at Yankee stadium and, one of my favorites, I got to bike in all five boroughs as well as New Jersey, something I’ve always wanted to do.

2) Sold My Motorcycle – Ok, so this one’s not that exciting, but, it was something that needed to get done. It was a huge “splinter in my mind” to quote Morpheus and I was/am glad to be physically and mentally rid of it. I never rode it, got nothing done in terms of modifying it and all I did was sink money into it. Additionally, I’m glad that it at least seemingly went to a good home with a father and son who will be able to wrench on it together and, hopefully, put it to good use.

3) Built TARS – My TARS costume/puppet-thing was a very proud accomplishment for me this summer. One of the hardest things to do with an abundant amount of free time is to channel your unused energy into something positive. I am the king of coming up with projects and either never going through with them, or only going through half way. TARS is one of the few projects I actually saw to completion. Using the RPF, screen shots and behind-the-scenes special features on the Interstellar Blu Ray I conceived my own way to build a TARS replica. Not only did I build it but I was able to share it on Halloween and at a Mini Maker Faire at my local Barnes and Noble.

4) 23 Weeks of Bond – This is something that has been mentioned time and time again in several of my posts between June and now. Probably because it was a huge part of my Summer and Fall. Having something to do every week, something to loo forward to, was a great way to keep me sane while unemployed. Also, it was a great bonding (pun intended?) experience between me and my friends. You never realize how special or impactful something will be until it’s over.

5) Getting a job – Becoming a Product Specialist at Tesla was probably one of the most clutch moments of 2015. I had been searching for a full time job literally all summer, ever since I got back from New York in mid-June. Though having the summer off may sound glamorous, when you’ve got no income, all your friends are busy (at work), and you feel like you have no purpose in life, the glamor quickly fades.

Tesla is a company that I am actually proud to work for and I enjoy going to work every day. I hope to continue to grow with the company. As a bonus, having money coming in again is great and hopefully it will allow me to once again move out.

Of course there were many other things that happened in 2015. Not all of them were good and some of which were painful or even sad. This was merely a list of the things that stood out to me as noteworthy accomplishments. I’m not much for resolutions, but if I had to set goals for myself it would be to finally move out this year, get a girlfriend (that one always seems to be on the list) and to be more assertive.

I guess the goal at the beginning of every new year is to have a fresh start and to “make this one better than the last.” 2015 was pretty good to me, here’s hoping 2016 is too. But, since we’re finally in “the future,” I won’t rely on “the universe” to make my 2016 great, but instead I’ll rely on myself and end this post with a quote from Doc Brown, “The future is what you make it, so make it a good one.”

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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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Subway Symphony

It’s rare that when given the opportunity to skip an ad before a YouTube video that I don’t take said opportunity. However, when I saw the following ad, I thought it was poignant for 2 reasons. 1) it features LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, a guy and a band that I’ve gotten more interested in over the past several months and 2) it features the MTA, a subway system I am now very familiar with after having spent the past 6 months living in NY and learning it.

The idea is that since the MTA is supposedly going to switch from a swipe based card system to a tap based one (apparently not till 2019), that they might as well make the sound of the beep when you tap your card, be a pleasant one. So that is what James Murphy is teaming up with Heineken to try and do. I love this idea and have thought for a while now that the MTA should switch to a tap based card system like the T in Boston. In his words: “someone’s going to make a chip that beeps on the next system… that’s a given.  All I’m asking for is the chance to help make that beep something memorable.”

If you’re down with this idea, go to Subway Symphony dot org and sign the petition.

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You’ve Got Mail Excursion

Two warnings/heads ups:

1) this is only for “die hard” YGM fans as there are some “deep cuts” -in other words jokes that only people very familar with the movie would understand- in this blog post

2) I want to apologize that this isn’t as thorough as it should be. I wanted to flesh it out more but I got lazy. Also, I’ve been putting this off for so long that a lot of this information is no longer relevant in terms of the dates it’s referencing.

You’ve Got Mail is legitimately one of my favorite movies. While crashing at Steve’s apartment, we somehow got on the topic of YGM and the next time I was home, I brought it down to watch with him. Well, this past Wednesday I finally got around to watching it. I have a weird thing with movies I really love where I can’t watch them too often or else I ruin them. Luckily I had waited the perfect amount of time so that it felt new again.

I don’t know why it took me so long to go on this excursion. Perhaps I was waiting for the movie to be fresh in my mind but I’m glad I did. One of the key ingredients that makes YGM so great is the soundtrack. Every place I went on the excursion brought up the musical cue for what plays at that location in the movie.

One thing that surprised me was how close every location was in relation to one another. I feel like the characters are so lazy, they never seem to have to go more than a few blocks to get to where they need to go. Regardless, this didn’t ruin the magic, it just surprised me.

YouveGotMail_mapHere is a map of the Upper West Side with highlighted locations from You’ve Got Mail.

I took the B train to 72 street and then walked a few blocks south to begin my journey.

The Shop Around The Corner (106 W69th Street)

TheShopAroundTheCornerThe Shop Around the Corner is actually La Mode an organic cleaner.

Starting at the most southernly point of the map we come to La Mode, the business used to film the fake store front of The Shop Around the Corner.

Gray’s Papya (2090 Broadway)

GraysPapya

Next on the list is Gray’s Papya. This is where Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) and Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) meet towards the end of the movie and get hot dogs before they split off, in order to meet again at the 91st Street Garden.

Verdi Square – “I keep bumpin’ into you.”

[Verdi Square; I didn’t get my own photo for this location… sorry]

Just across the street I found myself at Verdi Square. This is where Joe and Kathleen stop on a bench; him eating pretzels and her eating a fruit.

79th Street Boat Basin – “Hello New Jersey!”

[79th Street Boat Basin; I didn’t get my own photo for this location… sorry]

Working my way north, I headed west towards the Hudson River and the 79th Street boat basin. This is where the Fox II (Nelson Fox’s boat) and Fox III (Joe Fox’s boat) are docked. I had unknowingly biked past this a few weeks ago while on an epic ride. Additionally, this is the place where Joe meets with his father after they’ve both been dumped and this song plays.

Ocean Grill (384 Columbus Ave)

[Ocean Grill; I couldn’t get my own pic because there was scaffolding in the way]

After a short detour through Riverside Park I made my way east to Columbus Ave and the Ocean Grill. This is the restaurant where Kathleen and Joe get lunch as they begin to become friends.

Zabar’s (2245 Broadway)

Zabars…orange you going to give us a break by zipping this credit card through?” -Joe Fox

Next I headed back to Broadway and north one block to Zabar’s. This is the grocery store where Joe sweet talks the cashier into allowing Kathleen to use her credit card to pay for her groceries despite being in the “cash only” line.

Cafe Lalo (201 W83rd Street)

CafeLalo“Do you think we should meet?” -Joe Fox

A few blocks up I found myself at Cafe Lalo. This is where Kathleen waits for her pen pal (email pal?) NY152 to show up but instead is confronted by Joe Fox who, unbeknownst to her is NY152. This is when Joe finds out that Kathleen is Shopgirl, the woman he’s been talking to on the internet.

328 W89th Street

KathleenApartmentKathleen Kelly’s apartment; the one on the left

Further north we find ourselves at W89th street. Simply put, this is none other than Kathleen Kelly’s apartment. Just FYI, between this location and the next I popped off at another spot from the film. However, I felt it was best to save that location for the end of the blog post.

210 Riverside Drive – Joe Fox’s apartment

[152 Riverside Drive]

A bit further up brought me to 210 Riverside Drive. This is one of the locations where the film opens up. You might be wondering why I went here and not to 152, his “actual” address. The reason being that apparently they shoot the exteiror for 152 at 210 for some reason. 152 doesn’t even have an awning in real life.

The weird thing about where he lives is just how close he lives to Kathleen. They are literally only a couple of blocks away from each other. They make this apparent in the opening of the film when they’re both walking to work and you can see the other walking several paces behind. I guess strangers don’t really talk in NY but it seems weird that they would live so close and never run into one another.

—Other Locations

I was fortunate that the DVD had some really in depth special features. One of which pointed out all of these UWS locations, taking a lot of the leg work out of my scavenger job. However, it doesn’t explicitly point out every location.

Fox Books (W17th Street and 7th Ave) – on the DVD extra Nora Ephron (the film’s writer/director) explains that Barney’s was closing down and so they were able to use the space to build the Fox Books set.

H&H Bagels – this is where Joe Fox has his little speech about the flour cloud that gets poured into basement. Unfortunately the location featured in the movie has since closed down. However, that didn’t stop me from going to H&H Midtown Bagels for breakfast.

The thing that sucks about the old H&H location is that, similarly to Kathleen’s speech about what will become of her store once it’s closed down -“soon it will become something very depressing, like a Baby Gap”- H&H is now a Verizon store.

94th Street between Columbus and Central Park West – this is where Joe takes Annabell and Matt to the little fall fair. Fun fact, when I went to check out the area, I ran into a spring festival/street fair one block over! What are the odds?

Riverside Drive and W111 – this is where Kathleen talks with Christina before entering Birdie’s apartment(?). I forget if that is exactly what is happening when they are talking but this is definitely where it takes place.

W111RiversideDrive

W78th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam – this is where Kathleen and Joe part ways before meeting at the end of the movie.

91st Street Garden – This is where Kathleen finally meets NY152 and realizes that it was Joe all along.

91stGarden“I wanted it to be you, I wanted it to be you so badly.” -Kathleen Kelly

Now that I know where it is, I’ve passed it several times on my bike. I had been to Riverside park a bunch before but it wasn’t until I brought down the DVD and opened it up that I realized where spectfically they were standing (it’s highlighted on the inside cover). If you didn’t know, Riverside Park is huge.

Lastly, I just wanted to say thank you to the late Nora Ephron for this fabulous movie.

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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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