Tuesday, June 30, 2009

One pretzel please (hold the rain water).

Yeah well this is just kinda weird. Three pretzels found themselves washed away from their owner and in this Lexington Avenue grate. The puzzling thing is that I didn't see a pretzel cart anywhere upstream. Where did these come from?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Damn it.

Work is over. You're burnt. Fried. Done-zo. Your day of terrible meetings, missed opportunities, overpriced soggy lunch, and shooting back pains is no more. You burst out of your office and briskly walk to the subway while simultaneously checking your phone's messages and finding your favorite ipod playlist. It's summer and finally feels like it; you yearn for the comfort of the subway's air conditioned cars.

Suddenly you're concerned. Beneath your feet you feel a rumble - the rumble. Nothing matters more now than speed walking your ass to the train that is literally below your feet. You've been here before - gliding gracefully through slow moving tourists and inconsiderate cell phone yackers. Down the steps, around the corner and through the turnstile in one swipe. Scale the steps and squeeze through the doors as they close. Home run. Grand @#$%ing slam. You're on your way home.

Then there are days like today. Train beneath your feet. Subway entrance a reachable distance away. But as you close in on your destination you are hit with a wall of frustration. And by frustration, I mean exiting riders.

This blurry, sore-sight-on-the-eyes picture is of the last person making their way up the steps. Down I went to an empty, humid platform. Down the track - is there another train close behind? Darkness. Nothing. Awesome.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A classic theater clings to the glory days.

I admittedly have not spent much time in downtown Buffalo. Typically when I am here for work I find myself under time constraints, leaving me no option but to swing by Anchor or Duff's before racing to catch my return flight. Buffalo has everything a good old fashioned (and nerdy) photo-fest needs. Gray skies, old buildings, and hard times. I'll be back, Buffalo.

Shea's Theater set the stage for today's picture. Per Wiki, the theater was the crown jewel of the once-bustling downtown area of Buffalo; built for $1.9 million it was the sign that Buffalo was a power player in the western New York economy. But we all know how this story ends - times change, industries die, and a city is left behind by the tides of change. Political corruption and ill-advised corporations almost leveled the beautiful space to a parking lot in the 1970's before community activists rescued the iconic space from the wrecking ball.

As the city struggles with economic development, things might be on the upswing. NYC-based families and artists see it as a new Brooklyn. Heck, a 3 bedroom house for $800 a month? Snap! Now if only finding a job was possible...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

She raced 33 miles without breaking a sweat.

Maybe not. But she's damn cute.

I attended the Ride for Roswell, bringing with me moral support in lieu of a bike and spandex shorts. More than $2 million was raised for the Roswell Park cancer research and treatment institute. Click here for more information about a touching story that hits close to home.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Not quite Manhattanhenge but still pretty bangin'.

This is what 13th Street looked like this evening as I made my way to the subway. Every passerby did a double take. It's not everyday that the streets are lit up like that for natural reasons. Manhattanhenge is coming up in a few weeks and yes, I will be there.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

La Cense burger truck debuts in midtown.

It's no secret that New York is a city full of unique food trucks and carts, many of which I frequent for lunch when I'm in midtown. Finding myself bugged by the craving for street food today, I hit up the LCBBurger Truck, Midtown's newest contender.

I headed over around 2 to wait in line. The truck was parked at 48th and Park, but I smelled the grease in the air as I closed in on the Waldorf Hotel. The line was 14 deep in front of me and was moving slowly due to first day issues Guy #1 stopped to cut onions while I waited to be served while guy #2 was lining up burgers left and right. Give them a few weeks to get their flow; I can't imagine how backed up the line is from twelve to two.

Using only La Cense beef, the menu is limited and straightforward. Six ounce, all natural and grass fed Montana raised burgers are $7, cheeseburgers are $7.50, and pickles are $0.50. Throw in chips ($0.50) and bottled water ($1) and you get the complete package. Due to space and time limitations the burgers are cooked to medium; no special requests at this time. All burgers come with grilled onions for free which was a nice perk.

Because the burgers are all beef and not fat filled like the typical street vendor, my cheeseburger with onions was more filling than I expected. Flavor, char, and texture were all spot on. My biggest complaint was the slow moving line. Come on guys, you're making burgers and nothing but. They're lined up, hot off the grill for the taking. Get those orders out!

I can't see myself waiting in line (25 minutes today) for a heavy meal like this on a regular basis, but for the occasional slow day requiring a long lunch this isn't a bad option.

Follow the truck's location on Twitter.

This picture brought to you by JP Morgan's plaza wall.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The rain stopped (sort of).

In an attempt to avoid stating the obvious, the weather has been terrible recently. Down right Seattle. But the weather broke just enough to capture the Philly skyline tonight. Picture thanks to an iphone.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Free to a good home.

Outside of the former Cooper Union building (and Starbucks!) was a line of school desk chairs. Leftovers from the building's gutting, the white sign on the fence behind them said "free." Who's going to take nearly a dozen school chair/desk combos? Side note: I, like every left handed student out there, LOATHED these chairs. Think about it. Leaning over to the side made for everyone else, life just didn't seem fair. Good riddance.

Ten bucks says Da La Vega tags them today.

Monday, June 22, 2009

So much for sharing.

One of the sweet perks of parental visits is, more times than not, I leave with homemade goodies. Yesterday was no different, as I received a fresh loaf of banana bread. Banana bread!!! Sweet, I thought. This will last all week! Oh how wrong I would be.

I'm dog sitting again this week, so I've been spending my down time with my main mutt Kodi. He's a good guy. Nice walker. Good listener. Also, apparently he's a fan of banana bread. When I walked in to his place last night after work I was met by a very happy dog and a mysterious assortment of tin foil shreds on the floor. I was dumbfounded by this until the light bulb went off...the banana bread! Fact - dogs love banana bread.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Mr. and Mrs. K came into the city today for Dad's Day. After saying I'd take him here for his birthday two plus years ago, I finally took him to the Old Homestead Steakhouse. Located in the Meatpacking District, it's been around longer than most. Delicious meal, even if my mother didn't get steak.

We then decided to walk lunch off over on the High Line and back over to the 6BC garden. Even better, the rain held off until it was time to head home; perfect timing.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

An afternoon of awesome hand puppets.

I spent much of the day volunteering up in Harlem with Dream Charter School. This little guy was a pro at making superhero hand puppets. The green one is "Mr. Goob."

Not a bad way to spend a rainy Saturday.

Friday, June 19, 2009

No reason to panic - I can hear again.

My trusty ipod survived the day to day abuse for more than two years. Yes, I've gone through my fair share of headphones (I'm on pair #4), but the core of my music survival has stood by strong. In the morning it's out of my bag, into my pocket, and on to the subway. Turned off and into my bag, bag thrown onto my desk. Work. Bag picked up, ipod thrown on for trip home, then turned off and tossed on to my desk/bed/living room table. Charge when necessary. Repeat.

Then out of the blue I turned it on one day to find the sound only coming out of one earbud. WTF. First I thought it was a headphone problem. Nope. My ipod was on its way out. Apple Customer Care informed me it would be at least 60 bucks to fix. Eff.

Younger brother to the rescue. He found a quick fix online, found the necessary part on ebay for less than $10 and bingo bango bongo - fixed. Sounds great, works great, and it cost me less than a pitcher of beer. Thanks bro.

Pepsi-drinking hawk update!

NYMag is reporting [via And I Am Not Lying] about the recent hawk infestation taking place in neighborhood eateries, something I touched on yesterday. I highly suggest reading the blog post linked above.

Best line of the story:

The counter guy, the delivery guy and I heard a few pots clanging as we debated calling animal control versus just trying to shoo it back out the door, when one of the cooks who was back there caught the hawk with his bare hands, and walked it back outside.

And the name of the restaurant? BIRDIE'S. Yup.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

That's what she said.

Michael Scott would appreciate this picture from a parking deck in midtown:

That's what she said.

In completely unrelated news, Saturday's hawk is storming around the neighborhood, dining out on barbecue chicken, and pretty much scaring the bejesus out of East Village residents. Check out this picture sent to me by a loyal reader:

Yes, the hawk is inside a restaurant on 1st Avenue (believed to be Paquitos). One small question remains. HOW THE @#*& DOES THIS HAPPEN?! That is a hawk - a living breathing HAWK - inside a restaurant meant for you and me. Here's a few things we can learn from this picture:
  • Paquitos is pet friendly.
  • Hawks prefer Pepsi over Coke.
  • I am never going back to Paquitos.
It is still unknown if hawks are respectable tippers.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pete Rose takes the subway.

There he was, struttin' his baseball dominance (and mediocre manager-ness) on the V train this evening. What the hell was Pete Rose doing on the subway in the first place? Did he fall out of some kid's pocket? Worse yet, was he left behind on purpose? Who trades 1980's era Topps managers anyway? How long was he riding the unbearable V? Why hadn't the 20 year old LES hipster or the Queens-bound nanny and mother of 3 push him aside? We'll never know, but he was there nonetheless on 2nd Ave bound V. Taking up seat, lazy ass.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sad Panda works the tourist circuit.

Spotted - the infamous Sad Panda moping around the Financial District today. But was he really sad or was he toying with our heart strings all this time? Let me explain. Here he was when I first came upon him in his natural habitat:

Sad Panda, indeed. But wait. What was hidden behind the little girl? I could not believe it:

What I thought then was a peculiar panda spotting near the tourist-heavy Charging Bull made sense now; Panda was working it! Hopefully things haven't hit rock bottom for him yet, but one can never tell. Sad Panda's dire financial situation got the most of me (okay, maybe it was the species-matching tip jar) so I spotted the downtrodden fella a crisp Washington. Apparently the market price of bamboo is tanking because Sad Panda became Dancing Panda following my tip:

There you have it, folks. Sad Panda is hurting so lend a hand when you can. One more shot for good measure; just a Panda trying to rid himself of sadness:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Marathon Monday.

Day one of Staycation was a marathon. One portion of the day included a stop by the High Line. Below is my review:


There you have it, folks. Check out the High Line next time you're in town. More to come later...I'm on vacation.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Staycation time.

With the interns successfully transitioned, it's time a for a few days off from work (not blogging). Today's picture is of Puerto Rican flags, possibly leftovers from the Puerto Rican Day parade.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Not just another East Village tourist.

Weekends in the East Village typically involves laundry, mimosa brunches, and tourists. Lots of tourists. Three wide, .02 steps a minute, they're simply in the way. But this visitor was above the rest. Literally.

What I can only describe as a bad ass hawk, this neighborhood passerby was seen on building adjacent to mine. Welcome! Please good sir, help yourself to the rodents in Tompkins Square Park.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The cup returns to Pittsburgh.

Youth out-skated experience. David slayed Goliath. Heart beat out greed. However you want to break down it down, cut it, or slice it, the Pittsburgh Penguins are Stanley Cup champs. Incredible. A little bit of heaven is smiling.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

You didn't miss much today.

We've all been there. You're locked up in your cubby, away from the natural world outside. January/February/March - this isn't so terrible. Days are short, skies are gray, and the temperature is anything but bearable. April/May roll around and you're antsy for the outdoors. You eat lunch outside once or twice with colleagues and swear to yourself this is the year I take advantage of the sun! I'll do this every day! Reality then strikes you over the head with deadlines, initiatives, and projects and suddenly it's June. JUNE! You're bitter that you're still as pale as the Ghost-of-Your-February-Past, but work keeps you enclosed in your 9-5 (hahahahahahahahaha) cage. You tell yourself don't look outside, you don't want to see people enjoying life while you squander away 20 floors up. Of course you have the self-control of an involuntary spasm, and you feel worse as the day progresses, the sun sets, and you remain chained to your cubby. Then you look outside a day like today.

And you don't feel as bad. At least not today.

This was the view outside of my conference room this afternoon. Views of Queens, Brooklyn, the East River, Central Park, or the ESB? Nope. This is was it must be like to live in San Francisco.

Side note - Last Friday's picture made the cut over at Better Off Soaked. Thanks Katie!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The grass is always greener...in the sidewalk?

Surprise! This determined patch of crabgrass caught my eye as it braved the elements (natural, urban, and otherwise) on Walnut Street.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Two for the price of one.

It's INTERN week at our company, so rather than spend my Tuesday diving head first into artistic culture (for free!) or dropping my jaw and burning through camera batteries downtown, I'm working late on a diet of cold coffee and colder food. Don't get me wrong; I love my job...but the timing for both of these events could not be worse. Consider the High Line picture of the weekend.

Ahh, but I digress. I passed the vehicles of two smart-minded New Yorkers cuddling in the same parking space. Imagine how much easier parking must be with one of these little guys. Almost as easy as not owning a car! But alas, mass transit schedules rule my life...

Monday, June 8, 2009

100 days in - a look back.

Wow, that was fast. This marks the 100th day of daily BK-ness. Make some room for seconds; things are just getting started.

When I kicked things off in March I didn't know what to expect so I snapped pictures of everything without focus or meaning. Over time I began to subconsciously be on the lookout; I'd stop mid-conversation, mid-stride, or in stopped traffic only to whip out my trusty sufficient Canon. Some of this blogs' followers know I can be quite annoying when I get the picture bug, so I thank you for your patience.

So far this little pet project has been on track, but where exactly that track has careened demonstrates the core goal of doing this. Documenting life. I've covered weather. I've touched on booze and food, life's great two companions. There's been days when I had dozens of photos to choose from and others when I snapped a desperate shot in order to make the day's quota. Sometimes I rant and other times I post and move on, much to the chagrin of one particular reader.

Here's a few quick stats from the past 100 days:
  • The East Village is, not surprisingly, the most common tag, being used 18 times. Spring comes in with 11 hits. Following in distant third with 5 tags a piece are art and the subway.
  • This still pisses me off. And yes, the culprit is still at large.
  • Places visited - Manhattan, Buffalo, home, Boston, Philly, Binghamton, Brooklyn, State College, Staten Island.
  • Number of parks/gardens visited: 7
  • Empire State Building shots: 3
  • Number of David's Bagels shout outs: 1
  • Number of visits to David's: Not nearly enough
Thanks for sticking around this long. I'm looking forward to what's ahead (like Tuesday). As always, comments are welcomed! Take care and happy reading.


I wandered down to Madison Square Park tonight after work...

  • Short line at the Shake Shack - check.
  • Quality people watching - check.
  • Sick picture of One Madison Ave - check.

Hey look - a great use for snazzy vacant lux condos!!! Sweeeeeet.

Click to enlarge.

DKNY sign no more.

As reported by the Bowery Boogie earlier today, The iconic DKNY sign on Houston is nothing more than a memory and a terrible paint job. As discussed here in May, this was only a matter of time. The city continues to evolve...but for better or for worse?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

This probably won't last very long.

I need to start running - I've been saying this for awhile now. But like a smoker trying to quit, I've been putting off the start date for some time now. But wait no more(!!!), I officially kicked off BK's cardio program this afternoon. And by program I mean I got off my lazy arse, cranked the ipod, and puffed, wheezed, and panted for what felt like an eternity. Things I learned today:

Don't run to the beat of the music. Especially when the first song out of the gate is DMB's Shake Me Like a Monkey. You will only want to lean against the nearest tree/unsuspecting person/lamp post in dire pain.

Don't run anywhere around restaurants. Wendy's. Subway. Sushi joints. The gyro cart. Outdoor cafes. Good or bad, these places often give off a particular scent. This smell is only magnified when you are breathing deeply to hold on to dear life.

I'm not 18 anymore. Holy Moley, it's not cross country season anymore. I need to start slow. The road hurts. "Aches and pains" is not just a phrase restricted to Advil commercials.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A refreshing day in Central Park.

My alarm buzzed earlier than my typical work day this morning, but unlike the typical M-F of life I didn't mind yawning my way to 1st Ave and cabbing it to Central Park. I was helping out with my company's table at the 24th Annual Central Park Challenge, a culmination a year of raising funds and awareness for people with disabilities and their families [official website]. My company has supported the cause for years, but our corporate support took on a personal meaning when an employee's daughter was picked to be the official CUTE face of this year's challenge. Seriously, click on the link; she's precious.

This year featured a 5K race, a 3K walk, a kid's race, face painting (sweet!), tattoos (awesome!) and bands (rock on!) for the thousands of participants. Our table was one tiny portion of the overall day, but it nonetheless reminded me of volunteering for different programs in college; a feeling that is truly contagious. More than $1.4 million was raised for the wonderful cause, but nothing can top the pure joy that was strewn across the face of every kid. Priceless.

Friday, June 5, 2009

So close, yet so far from its final resting place.

It rained (again) today, wrapping up what feels like a week of crummy weather. This is June, not April, right? I spotted this wounded soldier on the corner of 7th and what I assume is still 3rd Ave. Near McSorely's, the new Cooper Union building, and the space craft, this defeated guy almost made it to the trash. I plan to submit the pic to Better Off Soaked, a blog devoted to broken umbrellas everywhere. If you see any in your town be sure to snap a quick shot and send it over to author Katie; it's an entertaining read to keep in your daily line up of blogs. A soaked shot from the younger bro's graduation made the cut last month (search the site for Boston College).

Cheers - happy weekend everyone.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ohhh midtown.

With the week almost over it was time for a drink or two. I hit up my colleague's favorite midtown west/Times Square-ish bar Faces and Names. Nice place if you're ever in need of a good pint and happen to be in the area. Just above Times Square (54th St), I grabbed a quick photo on my way to the RW stop at 49th and 7th.

click to enlarge

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mother Nature 1; BK 0.

I'm generally prepared for what the city throws my way. I carry my camera with me everywhere I go. There's an emergency Metrocard in my back pocket for when my monthly pass expires and my ride to work is rolling into the station. iPod, fully charged. But sometimes man, Mother Nature just gets ya. Today was was of those days. With no time to check the day's weather before leaving for work, I assumed wrong. Nailed by the rain.

I was originally trying to capture the building's reflection in the puddle. Consider the speeding cab an added bonus.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

It's as shady as it looks.

But that's what gives Astor Place Hair its grungy - umm - charm.

Everyone knows how hard it is to find a consistent barber or hairstylist; after all, there are several variables that need to be considered. Price. Consistency. Conversation. Convenience (both in location and in open hours).

Let me back track for a moment. I've been devoted to barbers the way people commit to buying Ford trucks and Craftsman tools. From my first haircut at a barber until the day I left for college, I went to two barbers - Palumbo's Barber Shop and somewhere else one time when Palumbo's was closed. Why didn't I ever return to this other establishment? Because I walked out of that stuck-in-the-fifties-Sinatra-throne, marched straight to my father's car, and grabbed the first baseball cap I could find. Simply put, I was not in the market for a Richie Cunningham look. Moving on to college, I was devoted to one barber in Happy Valley (probably because of the football stories that were shared), so it was only natural that I wanted to find a go-to, no frills spot when I moved to New York. Behold - Astor Hair.

I found this place on Yelp when I was a lowly intern four years ago. Open late, it's the factory of barbershops. A cold twenty will cover cut and tip. You want corn rows? Coloring? Clean it up? Shaved head? Done. Open late. Cash only. Karaoke is in the back. The RW local rumbles underneath your chair.

Ledo is my guy. Moroccan father of one, he swears by Cafe Mogador, and does your cut while you're surrouned by postcards of bikini-struttin' ladies and pictures of his homeland. A "friend of a friend" recently installed his new counter, which is boasted about proudly and often. The cashier's wardrobe consists of nothing but Yankees t-shirts and he keeps the teli squarely on the YES network. Even during the offseason. Famous (and not so famous) actor head shots cover the walls and the areas surrounding the 40+ barber chairs.

It's a truly an "only in New York" kind of scene. Men, women, young, and old can all be found at Astor Hair. Hipsters pay in change while Wall Street types ask to break a fifty so they can tip out. If you're ever in the city and need a cut, check it out. Broadway and Astor, underneath the Vitamin Shoppe. Just remember to bring cash.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ending the day, errr evening on a high note.

Busy day playing catch up so I took a much needed walk to Bryant Park after work. I said I'd be back, didn't I? I just need to be better prepared (aka a tripod) next time I'm there at night. Here's was the least grainy of the pics I took.

click to enlarge

That's what she said.