This is the Fulton-Empire State Park in Dumbo, Brooklyn, as seen from the Manhattan Bridge as the sun goes down in late summer.
• Alma. It’s over in Carroll Gardens (on Columbia, pretty close to the East River), and I believe the name translates to “soul.” While it may be more appealing in the summertime, it’s possible this quaint, affordable-but-nice Latin American (well, largely Mexican) rooftop restaurant may have some interesting things happening in the winter: I believe the rooftop area gets a little closed-in and heated. The ceviche appetizer, served in a small glass, actually contains some cocktail sauce, and not just lime, which was a little surprising. It’s difficult to go wrong with many of their main entrees. A little bit of a hike from a train, but it’s well worth it for this under-appreciated date place.
• So yes, you may recall, perhaps back in 2004 or so, when all new restaurants decided to start dropping out letters (largely those pesky vowels), well, I finally made it over to one of these establishments that I had partially written off because of it’s seemingly self-absorbed, truncated name: S’wich. As it were, being forced to listen to a daft punk album from 1997 during a 2PM lunch was a little bit of a turnoff, however, their pressed sandwiches (and handmade sweet potato chips) are worth the price tag (and Chelsea’s European electronica regulations). That price tag, though, isn’t quite as high as fellow gourmet sandwich competitor, ‘Wichcraft. While a pressed chicken and avocado sandwich on raisin bread may run you $8+tax at S’wich, most everything is $9+tax at ‘Wichcraft (and don’t even ask how much their drinks are).
• It feels like there’s been a finite beginning and end to this summer. I know public pools are always bookended with Memorial Day and Labor Days… but I’ve almost got that mildly sad “it’s time to go back to school” feeling (which could be in part fostered by my current office’s “summer friday” halfish-day perk). Back to the grindstone, as McClure would say, haha.
• After doing a little over a loop at Central Park’s bike path, I was walking my bike along a side path, and a girl says to the guy she’s with, as I walk by, “see, I need someone who likes outdoor stuff.” I then decided to sit down against a tree and rest for a bit, though most likely some old drunkard had urinated and perhaps defecated there… at the moment it still seemed like fair game.
• I met up with Lorin, B.Davis, Mr. Appalachia, Big Joseph, and Laura (unfortunately we couldn’t find Andrew Jr. in the crowd) to catch Deerhunter and Battles perform the final show of the summer at the South Street Seaport. Deerhunter, with their token mannorexic lead singer, put on a pretty good show, perhaps appropriately matched with the headliner, Battles. So, the thing is, only now writing this am I realizing: this is the same band I saw open for Prefuse73 about 3 years ago. I thought it was a different act with the same name, because back then, they seemed to be doing more hip-hop stuff… but with their recent embrace of the experimental indie-rock scene, Pitchfork and the other indie media giants have been pushing their name as much as if they were “Clap Your Hands” and we were sitting around a front porch in the summer of 2004. You know? The crowd at the Seaport was pretty young (afterall, NYU is back in session), but seemed to be into the largely instrumental set. Afterwards, we all (minus Lorin) headed up to Chinatown to the Shanghai Cafe (maybe not the most unique name), where we ordered plenty of soup dumplings, some chicken lo mein, and some tsing-tao.
Leticia and I take on the likes of that triangle where Bed-Stuy, Prospect Heights, and Fort Greene join up in Brooklyn.
• Met up with Leticia on Sunday in Fort Greene, Brooklyn to I-Shebeen Madiba. It’s a South African place with a great environment, despite some flies and an understaffed and tired team working there. The nice, high ceiling inside gives room for animal hides to be hung on the walls, and some African art that seems to be in pretty good taste. The food’s presentation was great (on banana leaves, or some kind of large leaf), and it tasted pretty decent as well. Their brunch cocktails are a bit steep for the area ($10), but what is brunch without alcohol? Afterwards, we biked somewhat eastward, and ended up eventually looping around to where the police were setting up for the West Indian Parade along Easton Parkway, were the Brooklyn Museum is located, near Prospect Park.
• Thanks go out to Elizabeth over at Continuum Cycles for giving me a great deal on the chopping of my bars into bullhorns, new brake cables, and new brake levers. You’ve gotta appreciate any place that lets you trade back old equipment. The shop is great, and they’re conveniently located on Avenue B around 12th-13th streets. The shop also seems to be a standard checkpoint for the messenger races in the city (as does Trackstar, both places of which, were convinced I was in the race — damn you, bike helmet). More info on upcoming events here.
• You know those freshmen NYU girls who walk around Washington Square Park without shoes on? Don’t be like them. You know the guys who follow them around because they don’t know any better? Definitely don’t be like them.
• “How are y’all chasing dreams, when what’s tangible still outruns ya?” – Aesop Rock, circa 1999.
• The other week, Jenn and I caught Dappled Cities (who sometimes go by “Dappled Cities Fly”) and the XYZ Affair perform at the basement in Union Hall over in Park Slope (you know, the one with the old woman painting on the back wall behind the stage, and where the beers are cheaper downstairs than upstairs). Both acts were very good. If I’m not mistaken, both have received some airplay on WOXY. Recommended.