Mr. Appalachia and Jason, on Breakneck Ridge, in upstate NY.
• The Hudson Line (of NYC’s Metro North) is very pretty in the summer. I took an early morning trek up the Hudson river on the train with Mr. Appalachia (who tells me that his trail name is “Moses,” which, by the way, the whole trail name phenomena is pretty interesting), Richey Poison herself, and Jason (an architect who appears to not have a pseudonym) two weekends back. We arrived in Beacon, NY, a fairly small, quaint upstate town (home of the Dia), and walked through to get to an entrance to Breakneck Ridge. Highlights included: two abandoned, burned-out vehicles, a massive and unstable fire tower at a peak, a snake, a chipmunk, the ruins of an old chairlift system from years ago, and of course the amazing picnic lunch that Jenn spearheaded (sliced apples and jarlsberg on turkey and stuff with grapes…). We got a little turned around later in the evening when we made it down the last mountain, and ended up hiking several more miles along hypodermic needle-strewn tracks before reaching a train station that wasn’t going to be bypassed on a late sunday afternoon. The 12 miles beat us down a little, but I’d still recommend the area for hiking. Also, there’s a bizarre castle you pass, on Bannerman’s Island, in the Hudson. May be worth borrowing a boat to sneak some shots.
• After catching Camera Obscura play a set down at the South Street Seaport this past Friday, a bunch of us got dinner over in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn at a thai place, then we went down the street to some campy bar called, well, Camp. We played a little jenga. Proceeded by more bike-riding late into the evening.
• Well, you guys know about the law of attraction and stuff. So, for whatever reason, due to mentioning the whole skinhead thing a few weeks back, I’ve seen more and more here and there, oddly. So I’ve got my bike on the G Train (which was replacing the F Train because of weekend construction) heading back into the city the other week from Brooklyn, and this neo-nazi starts complimenting me on my bike. I mean, I know, you can’t assume some guy in laced-up Docs, camo pants, and rocking a shaved head is automatically a neo-nazi, but the swastika patches holding together his tattered travelers clothes provided a fairly certain diagnosis of this rough looking guy and his strung-out companion.
skinhead: “that’s quite a workhorse you’ve got there.” (he’s referring to my bike.)
me: “oh this? thanks man. i bought it this summer.”
skinhead: “nice. i used to have a ______…” (I don’t recall the brand, and he went on and on about it.)
me: “nice – where was this bike? did you have it in the city?”
skinhead: “oh no, this was back in idaho. you know, it took me forever to find work there.”
me: “oh yeah?”
skinhead: “yeah, walmart won’t even hire you if you’re a felon. so i applied to this security guard company.”
skinhead: “yeah, they gave me a gun the first day i started, go figure!”
The Coney Island boardwalk as seen from the Wonder Wheel.
• The Cyclone. The Wonder Wheel. (shots courtesy of Richard Orris) I was able to check off these last two required elements of the full Coney Island experience this past Saturday after biking down Ocean Parkway from Prospect Park in Brooklyn with Jenn to meet up with Rich and the other Jen. The Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel both are being spared any potential demolition by the European investors that somewhat-recently bought out Coney Island for a resort-overhaul. The Wonder Wheel didn’t do a whole lot for me, but the Cyclone was pretty solid. It’s very condensed and narrow, a very well-designed wooden coaster. It’s initial drop isn’t massive, but does give that “I’m going to die on this thing today” feeling as you feel like you’re gonna fly out of the seat and your internal organs shift upwards. Though, the real fun happens with the bunny hills. The long, narrow construction of the ride (similar to NYC’s railroad-style apartments) manages to minimize speed (and therefore minimize lateral Gs) on the already-short turns (with uphill banks) and completely maximize vertical Gs with the bunny hills on top of bunny hills. Well worth the fifteen minute wait (this is provided it’s not some crazy festival day at Coney). Hillary, I hope you were taking notes. And yes, we then got hot dogs and coronas at Nathan’s for good measure. I took this shot from the Wonder Wheel.
• That new, dimly-lit restaurant/bar on 5th Avenue and about 12th-15th street or so in Park Slope called Sidecar? It’s pretty decent. The owner came out to talk to us several times, and the food was excellent for being the cost of a meal at Au Bon Pain. They don’t have their liquor license yet, so BYOB it up while you still can. It’s also the sharpest looking place within a 5 block radius, easily.
• Two Fridays back, after being taken out to lunch to a great (and appropriately overpriced) Italian bistro on perhaps 10th or 11th between Broadway and University, I believe), then later going to Rachel’s for burritos, I hit up a house party to celebrate Pam’s birthday over at Marta’s place in the ‘Wick. Alright, alright, you’re still hung up on that part where I said “appropriately overpriced.” Well, while it may be an oxymoron, I think everyone is allowed one or two slip-ups every now and then, right? But anyway, yah, good turnout over there, with a serato setup and pretty massive speakers, and a handful of quality DJs (with one sadly Crobar-style DJ)… and I don’t recall Hill actually taking the tables. But maybe next time.
• A few days ago, Jenn and I biked down through a bunch of random neighborhoods to get to Canarsie and Canarsie Pier, near where tons of people were playing cricket, in several different games that drew lots of spectators. We received dirty looks from people who didn’t want us there, I mean please. Well, I won’t get into that. But it seems to be a large West Indies population in that area, lots of music and people out having a good time, enjoying the Sunday afternoon weather. We then took a really long bike path along Brooklyn’s coast down to the Coney area, before cutting up through the largely orthodox-Jewish Midwood and some other very pretty neighborhoods.
• Here are some of the Washington, DC shots I took a few weeks back.
• If you hadn’t heard already, big ups to both Rich (who recently moved down from Albany) and Sam (F.Trainer) for their unrelated photos being published on Monday. Rich got shots of the Revenge of the Bookeaters show posted on the front page of Pitchfork, and F.Trainer got shots of a band called The Mugs published in the citywide paper, The Metro. Nice!