Sunday, May 31, 2009

A much needed afternoon outside.

What a weekend. It flew by when compared to last week's 4 day mini-vacation, but it was solid nonetheless. CJN was in town for an interview which was a pleasant surprise. Andy Bernard called dude, and you NAILED IT. An afternoon spent at brunch listening to jazz, followed up with some outdoor drinking? Yes, please.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A tiny shelf in a tiny apartment.

This shelf sits above my bed and contains an array of items. Both the chop sticks and the cigar are from Hawaii, and both were gifts from two different people (I've never been myself). The small bamboo is the only plant in my room, and probably the only kind I can't kill. Fact - I did not inherit Mama K's green thumb. Both the bamboo and its holder are from Safee, the best hardware store in the 'hood.

The picture is one I took of the Brooklyn Bridget a few years back. It was taken with the best point and shoot camera I've ever owned. The best that is until i dropped it in a beer at Yankee Stadium. Here's the original:

click to enlarge

Friday, May 29, 2009

You scream, I scream, we all scream for...decent parenting!

The work week is over and what better way to celebrate than with a Mr. Softee ice cream cone. Delicious, satisfying and definitely recession friendly. If parents have their way in Brooklyn however, Mr. Softee’s treats might be heading the way of old Coney Island.

Don't mind me while I get up on my soap box.

What is wrong with people?!?! The Daily News [via Gothamist] ran an article about parents complaining about Mr. Softee’s seemingly permanent hold up outside their neighborhood’s schools and park
Publish Post
s. Complain about the incessant jingle if you want, that's fine. But this was too pathetic good to pass up. Let’s start with an excerpt from Parenting 101, shall we?

“It’s very frustrating that they’re here every day. You’re a trapped audience. It’s hard to say no to your kids.

Oh really? It’s hard being a parent? You seriously didn't decide to have a child because you wanted a best friend, did you? If you wanted a friend, you should have gone with a cat. Maybe a dog if your landlord allows it. It's called parenting, people. Had I been allowed to get ice cream every time the Good Humor truck rolled in to the beach parking lot I'd be as wide as I am tall (okay that's not saying much) and my parents would have been asking the driver if he took MasterCard. But I was told no. Do you know what I did when I was told that? I pouted for .04 seconds before grabbing my shovel and continuing on my sandcastle.

But Mom of The Year wasn’t done yet.

“I’ve had fights with my daughter in the past about it. You kind of feel like it’s pushed on you.”

Pushed on you, huh? Do you know what’s pushed on you? EVERYTHING. You live in New York FREAKING City, where every possible inch of real estate is plastered with advertisements. Hell, there’s a neighborhood that is famous for its ads. I can't walk three feet in this town without seeing an advertisement for The Hangover, some overpriced (and vacant) luxury condo, or Bud Light...all while getting bugged by a vegan-only-eating bum for my spare change. Should Jameson be at fault for advertising on your child’s subway to school? Should Starbucks be condemned for setting up shop on every corner in sleep-deprived Midtown? Lady, it’s called doing business. I commend the entrepreneurs who spent thousands of dollars for the right to be next to your precious park. It’s not like they’re selling drugs or anything.

“It’s one thing if they’re just in the neighborhood, but to be here by contract [with the city], they might as well be selling drugs.

You. Have. To. Be. Kidding.

Let us pause a moment to really let that sink in. Can we move on now? Should we even? We should and we shall.

Not to worry, crappy parents. Assemblyman Felix Ortiz is coming to your rescue.

“If they are not providing different choices and alternatives for our kids, then they do not belong there."

There are different choices. Tell your child, "No you can't have ice cream, dinner is in an hour." Be a PARENT. Mind you, Mr. Ortiz will get behind any "good" cause included but not limited to taxing dancers of the night, terrible parenting (oh the irony), insane campaigns taxes meant to curb underage drinking, and more insane taxes on video games and movies. And oh yeah I almost forgot- alcohol ads on subways are in Mr. Ortiz's line of sight. Pretty soon the only ads you'll be seeing on your ride to work will be for bunion surgery. Are those images not more damaging?

I'll let a random Mr. Softee's driver plead the case of all drug-pushing, chocolate cone-dipping criminals out there:

“We’re not pushing anybody to eat ice cream. As a parent, you have to know how to say no.”
Case closed.

Look at all of the children getting their way!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I wasn't kidding about work.

You thought I was kidding about being busy at work? HA. Think again, bloggers.

This might be the most creatively named pizza joint in the city. I wonder if a Pete actually owns it or works there. Didn't have the time to step inside and ask this time around...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sometimes. Occasionally. Once in a blue moon…work gets in the way of blogging.

I’ll be the first to admit that my pictures are not always posted on a daily basis (blame weekend all-you-can-drink brunch specials and tireless spurts of travel). But no matter how long/crappy/spectacular/quirky of a day I have, I do my best to take a picture of something. Anything. Because that’s the point, right? Right. Well today was the first time that I got home and thought to myself, crap.

I’m in the middle of a busy week at work and the last thing on my mind as I trekked home tonight was taking a picture. It didn’t help that I left my camera at work. Minus two points for BK. Ok, just great. What is an amateur blogger with a devoted following of 3 to do? Rather than lie, cheat, and use one of my pictures from a previous session of going all touristy with my Canon point and shoot (I have a lot of these sessions), I’m doing the next best thing. Behold, a “picture:”

(click to enlarge)

Technically this screen shot is a photo. Albeit a cheap cop-out, pictured here is visual proof that work has consumed my time for the past few days. 350 unread emails. 1,000+ unread blog articles. Priorities, or the necessity of being competent at work, forced me to put my personal readings aside. The Man 1, BK 0.

For those of you who follow a few blogs, I highly recommend using Google Reader to organize your sites. You can subscribe to most blogs (including this one…use the button on the right side of this page) and have them organized in one, neat, Google-driven spot. The Reader updates your subscriptions automatically. It’s really quite fantastic. I currently follow 87 different ones, ranging from informative to random to downright pointless. I keep them organized into categories including but not limited to Penn State, NYC, and business-related. You could argue that my Reader is the most organized aspect of my life. And you would be correct.

So that's that. Picture taking will resume on Thursday. Cheers.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cafe Khufu serves up fresh fruit...sort of.

I passed this colorful sidewalk scribbling outside of Cafe Khufu on my way home tonight. Come smoke out of a real pine apple. Enough said.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day.

Happy Memorial Day everyone. I hope your grills were hot, your burgers medium rare, and your beers ice cold. I'll let the Empire State Building and Bill Murray try to best capture my sincere appreciation for the men and women serving our great country here and abroad.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Stage downstairs, vodka up.

I suggest upstairs. I haven't seen any poetry sessions downstairs (part of the bar upstairs), but the KGB Bar receives my two thumbs up. Drinks are strong, cheap, and plentiful. On a "busy" Saturday night in the 'hood, the KGB's patrons are a non-pretentious bunch too busy in their own conversations to care about being seen (read: this is a good thing). Read about the bar's history here and reviews there. Cheers.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Beware of oncoming gyro eaters.

How can one not love street fairs in NYC? Yes, I know it's the same 12 booths looped continuously back to back for blocks and blocks, but it's not every day that I can walk up 3rd Avenue in semi-peace. Throw in 500 thread count Egyptian sheets, $1 lemonades, and an international variety of street meats anddddddd I'm sold. I'll devote an afternoon and fully charged batteries to documenting a fair later this summer.

Walked up and over to Madison Square Park. Here the Flatiron Building can be seen poking its top corner through the park's trees.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Why can't California fashion (and its marketing team) stay in California?

After reading about its doom in February, I've been meaning to make the DKNY billboard at the corner of Houston and Broadway my photo of the day. Teenybopper magnate Abercrombie & Fitch bought the rights to the space and plans to promote its California-inspired Hollister brand on the 15,000 square foot space. Shame.

The DKNY ad was originally criticized as a stimulus to gentrification of the Soho/Noho area more than twenty years ago. The simple, black and white NYC montage became an unofficial source of both city and national pride for New Yorkers following 9/11 (notice the twin towers at the top of the N). At first considered an easy target for local graffiti taggers, the image has been mostly left alone over the past 7+ years.

Without progress a city perishes, but I'd rather not see this be part of the process. What's next, the ceramic tiles in the West Village?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tip your hat to Malkin - Pens up 2-0.

The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 7-4 tonight to gain a 2-0 advantage in the NHL Eastern Conference finals. Evgeni Malkin earned his first playoff hat trick, prompting the Pens faithful to litter the ice with their team's best. The 22 year old kid star is having a killer playoff run.

This picture is not brought to you by Versus HD.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sign #5 that spring is here - Washington Square Park is back in action.

I broke away from work today in order to trek to the Fedex's Leroy St. warehouse. In doing so I took a detour through Washington Square Park to see the newly re-opened and (sort of) re-aligned center plaza fountain. Village residents, tourists, and braces-wearing NYU kiddies alike have missed the park's welcoming accessibility for what seems like years now. Thankfully the park is here just in time for the weekend. Rejoice! The park looks spacious, inviting, and green - but was it necessary? I'll be back (hopefully this weekend) for more pictures. Until then, debate whether a symmetrical park or 24 hour subway service are more important.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jameson, a seat, and silence. Definitely worth the extra 15 minutes.

Let's be clear - today's picture is none of the following:

  • an all important 4/5/6 train
  • said lines at 6:23 on a Sunday morning
  • a Brooklyn L train idling late night at 8th Avenue

No, your eyes are not fooling you. This is an F train shortly after the evening rush. Is the below average F line to fault for the MTA's ridiculous $1.2 billion deficit? No. The blame game points to 23.7 other reasons. I'll get into the politics later; this is just a picture blog anyway.

Monday, May 18, 2009

This way to commencement or the Boston marathon?

The big day in Boston has come. No, not Roger Clemens' admission to using steroids. The bro graduated! For a better idea of what the day was like, here's a not-so-live blogging time line:

5:30am - I told you it was going to be an early day.
6:53am - Checked out of the hotel and on the way to campus.
7:19am - Arrive on campus, brother is devouring a healthy breakfast.
7:42am - Brother joins us in the dining commons, still going strong after an all nighter.
8:22am - Mom wins for idea of the day and takes the bro's extra long twin size comforter to the stadium. Seriously, does anyone know why beds are sized like that for college dorms?
8:35am - We're positioned at the 48 yard line of Alumni Stadium.
8:35 - 9:30am - The bookstore is making a killing on BC blankets and sweatshirts; later proceeds to sell out of their inventory.
9:13am - I check the weather on my phone - not looking good. Unless you're a fan of rain, then things are looking fantastic.
9:27am - Drizzle begins to fall. Family in front (FiF) of us puts umbrellas up.
9:30am - Commencement procession begins. We didn't do this at Penn State, I wonder why to myself.
9:52am - FiF takes umbrellas down, spilling the water on top all over themselves. I find amusement in this.
10:02am - FiF puts umbrellas up.
10:11am - Procession still going. Now I know why we didn't do this.
10:13am - FiF down.
10:15am - Drizzle turns to rain. This sucks. Everyone's umbrellas are up, including FiF.
10:32am - Rains turns to drizzle, drizzle turns to mist. Umbrellas down except for the FiF.
10:37am - Brother texts Yeah this sucks right now. Hangover in full effect.
10:42am - FiF puts down umbrellas.
10:50ish - Six honorary degrees extended, including Joseph Corcoran, founder and CEO of Corcoran Jennison Properties. Instantly wish I could afford one of these.
11:15ish - Ken Burns speaks. A lot of references to Lincoln. Lincoln was and always will be The Man.
11:26am - Brother texts Freezing.
12:21pm - College-wide commencement is over. Family pictures on the field.
1:10pm - College of Arts and Sciences commencement begins.
1:11pm - Interim dean delivers a solid speech.
1:21-2:55pm - Approximately 1,400 students walk across the stage. 1,400 names are read aloud. 2,800 handshakes happen before our eyes. Brother rejoices.

All in all a fantastic weekend in Boston. I couldn't be more proud of the younger brother. Congrats buddy.

Yankees 7, Minnesota 6
Boston idle
Final weekend score - Yankees 4-0, Boston 1-2

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Funday, Bahhhhston style.

Today technically started with this:
(one of these sayings is not like the others)

and ended with a tour around campus led by the bro himself:

Mixed in throughout the day were BC mens crew dinner and an awards ceremony for the School of Arts and Sciences. In bed by 10:30pm because an 5:30am wake up call was set. Marathon Monday comes tomorrow.

For those keeping score at home...
Yankees 3, Minnesota 2
Seattle 3, Boston 2
Yankees 3-0, Boston 1-2

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Commencement weekend in Bahhhston.

This weekend was spent in Chestnut Hill Massachusetts for the younger brother’s college graduation. Saturday included packing nightmares, great diner pastries, and moving the brother into his real-world apartment (real life, not that show).

Dad and I attempted to protecta dresser from Mother Nature's wrath, but physics and wind friction had other ideas. Kids, this is what happens when you try to use duct tape to fight Interstate wind turbulence.

We were told that his room was packed and ready to go. Consider this Exhibit A in the case of Deceived Family vs. Busy-with-Senior-Week College Student.

And for the heck of it because I'm a Yankees fan in Red Sox country, here's a running tally for the weekend:

Yankees 5, Minnesota 4
Seattle 5, Boston 4
Yankees 1-0, Boston 0-1

Yankees 6, Minnesota 4
Boston 5, Seattle 3
Yankees 2-0, Boston 1-1

Friday, May 15, 2009

Jersey for the night, Boston this weekend.

We're heading to Boston this weekend for TK's graduation so I'm home for the night in NJ. I met up with long partner in crime Stevie for a few cold ones. Things have never been the same since Tony & Rosemary's closed, so we gave Falconer's Smokey Joe's NJ Bar & Grill a shot. The newest joint to take over the now defunct Falconer's, NJ Bar & Grill has promise. Hopefully they sell as many entrees as they do Miller Light bottles. But their bread winner might just be their "I love NJ" shirt currently for sale. How many ways are there to say YES?

Today's runner up pictures:
  • NJ Transit connection in Dover
  • The 5 pounds of coffee I brought home for the fam.
  • The obnoxiously large bag I received from the NHL shirt for a lousy t-shirt for no other reason than the fact that it was the coolest bag from a marketing standpoint I've seen in a long time.
  • Thursday, May 14, 2009

    Beware of bike thieves with short arms.

    I've passed this bike on 7th Street for more than a year and still couldn't figure out why someone would lock their bike mid-air.
    Here are my theories:

    1. Why not - This is the East Village. One could bike around here with a nothing but a snuggie and a pair of swimmies on and the general public wouldn't think twice.

    2. Mean - Maybe the owner has something against little people.

    3. Religious - My bike is closer to Heaven.

    4. Bad back - Perhaps the biker is a giant and cannot bend down to lock their bike. Five feet off the ground is comfortable.

    5. Realistic - The owner is protecting his bike from being run over by SUV wielding, terrible parallel parking Bridge & Tunnelers. I understand the East Village is hip and you and your bridal party was a girls night out, but please take the LIRR next time, ok?

    Wednesday, May 13, 2009

    Bryant Park - I need more batteries.

    Bryant Park is one of this town's great parks. Sharing two city blocks of Manhattan real estate with the New York Public Library (you know, the place where Big stood up Carrie), it is a natural haven to thousands of workers. Good luck getting a seat here during lunch. The unique thing about BP is their extensive calendar of events. I really need to get up here and take more shots with decent battery life. Note to self that RiteAid batteries - no matter how much on sale - are never a good idea.

    I'll be back.

    Tuesday, May 12, 2009

    Stories told in five New York minutes.

    Former colleague and current Colorado crunchie CJN used to experience long hours at work just like yours truly. One way we filled the disconnect between life and the outside world was by subscribing to extensive amounts of podcasts. Free, informative, and not blocked by work’s firewall, podcasts are convenient for a life spent working behind a desk and waiting for the subway. The Moth (warning: iTunes will open) was one of CJN’s great podcast finds.

    The Moth is a not-for-profit organization devoted to storytelling that currently hosts events in LA and NYC. I caught most of a StorySLAM tonight in my neighborhood and walked away extremely fulfilled. Seven bucks (thank ya very much!) provided an evening of stimulating entertainment. Read my full review here. Shameless self promotion, I know.

    The venue was packed and the best (last) seat in the house on the steps behind the sound man. Hence the picture.

    Monday, May 11, 2009

    Go for a ride in space.

    This eco-friendly "taxi" was parked in Herald Square today. Its driver was in the mood for Mr. Softee (background) and quickly threw his the anti-theft system into action. Notice the black and orange bike lock in the front tire.

    Sunday, May 10, 2009

    Ode to Mom.

    Happy Mother’s Day for the 25th time! Granted it’s probably been 22, maybe 23 times that I’ve actually said it to you if you don’t count those few drooling years at the start of things, but you’ve deserved to hear it every day. You’ve put up with a lot of crap from me (not so much from the “other” child). It's been twenty five years of worrying. Twenty five years of I told you so’s and where are your socks. Don’t put that in your mouth and you will finish eating that. We’re proud of you. What girl is that calling now? Did you hear the new gossip? Do your homework. Move your car, you’re blocking me in. We'll support you in your decision, no matter what. Where’s your father? Boys! Take it outside. You’re grounded. I love you.

    Thanks ma. For everything.

    Saturday, May 9, 2009

    Beware of pigeons crossing.

    These two characters were crossing Bond St. earlier today. What, did New York's hometown flying rats not get the memo that the two block-long-hidden-East-Village/Noho enclave is reserved for the rich? Apparently not so much.

    In other news, I became an official member of 6BC today, so be prepared for an onslaught of pictures. Cheers.

    Friday, May 8, 2009

    Lady Liberty to once again be awesome.

    It was announced today that the Statue of Liberty's crown will be re-opened on July 4th. Long since shut down following the attacks of September 11th, visitors to Lady Liberty were restricted to the base of her pedestal. Queens Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner was the driving force behind the controversial push to reverse the Bush administration's decision to close the crown, but this victory is for everyone; American citizens, immigrants, the city of New York, tourists. I remember my (4th grade?) class trip to the landmark. Packed like 65 crayons made for a box of 64, the hot and sweaty innards are nothing pretty. The spiral staircase up to the top was better suited for the shorter, skinnier population of the 1880's. Twelve stories of a butt-in-face conga line. Once up top I had 3.4 seconds to peer through the dozen or so (scratched to oblivion with "JR loves SG" like comments) windows overlooking the Hudson Bay. Of what I can remember, it was beautiful. I felt on top of the city and the world, something every 4th grader should experience for themselves.

    Security will be grotesquely tight, allowing only 30 lottery winners per hour to experience the crown. But that's 30 visitors an hour more than yesterday. It's about time.

    I took advantage of the ceased rainfall and headed downtown to Battery Park to get a glimpse of Lady Liberty in the bay. Like always, click the image to enlarge.

    Thursday, May 7, 2009

    A friendly message from your local Post Office.

    In the wake of an MTA-sized deficit, the Post Office is raising rates on Monday. Per my roommate we shouldn't be complaining about the two cent raise (up to 44 a stamp) because it's currently 56 cents Euro in France to mail the same thing. Personally, I think Uncle Sam should have made it this past Monday and cashed in on the countless number of Mothers Day cards they'll be delivering this week. See, what I am doing behind an HR-related desk all day?! I could be turning this economy around myself. Then again my efforts to raise CASH would be thwarted by ridiculous situations like this. Seriously people, dog bites? I don't know whether to shake my head in frustration over the misguided governmental spending on the planned awareness training or be tickled by District Safety Manager Marvin Howard's determination:

    “My goal is to get on top of this. We just can’t figure out why the sudden increase for all these dog bites. Even small breed dogs have the potential to inflict injuries that can threaten a carrier’s career."

    You be the judge.

    Wednesday, May 6, 2009

    Dom DeLuise left his mark on St. Marks.

    Recently passed Dom DeLuise's memory will live on in movie and cook book archives for years to come. Personally I remember his bit in The Muppet Movie. Dom's mark remains outside the Pearl Theatre Company on St. Marks, as seen below.

    Tuesday, May 5, 2009

    Not quite a Hallmark holiday, but a marketer's dream nonetheless.

    So today was Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday celebrated in America by millions of people of Mexican decent and millions more who need a reason to shoot tequila on a week day. Chipotle and Qdoba sales were up and Jose Cuervo sold like hot cakes. Wikipedia even suggests that the holiday is anything but a big deal in Mexico, but rather serves as a day of pride for those who now live elsewhere. So raise your nachos and cheese high in the air in honor of another victory over the French. Isn't that really why we celebrate?

    Monday, May 4, 2009

    stikman strikes again.

    Late night/early morning on my way home. Corner of 1st Ave and St. Marks.

    Sunday, May 3, 2009

    Mystery solved.

    I feel as though I see these little guys everywhere - always on the ground and always in street crossings. I first spotted the robot-like character in my neighborhood when I moved in back in 2006. Thinking he’d be gone with the first rain/sleet/snow of the season, I was surprised when the little guy survived through to the spring. Two years later he’s still kicking around. I’ve long assumed that it was part of an underground guerrilla marketing campaign for something I had no interest in learning about. Not until I started researching for this post did I come to discover that, by all (limited) accounts, stikman is art in the truest sense.

    I uncovered one article from the Washington Post about stikman’s presence in DC:

    Is Bob really stikman's creator? I hope so. He was soft-spoken and thoughtful, unassuming in his desire for anonymity and concerned enough about safety that he places his stikman images near corners so pedestrians can look at them from the curb. The goal is not to provoke, Bob says, but simply to cause those gazing down to pause and wonder.

    I appreciate stikman now more than I have in the past two plus years. Have you seen these in your respective city? Where have you seen stikman around NYC? Leave your comments below.

    Related: A collection of stikman photos. [Flickr]

    Saturday, May 2, 2009

    Nothing crazy about him. Collin Huggins (and Co) rocks.

    I was cutting through Union Square's subway station Saturday afternoon and stopped to watch the musical act that was absolutely crushin' it before me. I normally don't stop to watch the acts because either a) they're not very good or b) I, like most people, am in a rush to get to point P of my day. But how often does one see a piano in the subway?

    I've seen the (self-titled) Crazy Piano Guy before. Union Square, 4/5/6 platform, solo. I have genuine respect for someone who puts forth the effort, time, and commitment to wheeling a piano around through NYC in order to share music with strangers. But today’s act included a drummer and array of three tap dancers. Cheers and more importantly TIPS to these guys for making everyone’s day (even those in a rush) a little brighter.

    One important question remains - does Mr. Huggins know anything about the baby grand abandoned on Houston?

    Check out the video below for a taste of what you missed out on today.

    Friday, May 1, 2009

    Heading downtown.

    Saw this straphanger waiting for the downtown F train.