you be the brains, i’ll be the brawn

The newly-opened High Line in Chelsea, Manhattan.  It was everything we had hoped it would be.

This park/area has seemed like one of the more interesting landscape architecture projects in quite some time.  This is looking north, where it cuts through the Standard Hotel.  It was possibly a little difficult for Maria (Jenn’s younger sister, in town for a few days from Cincinnati, Ohio) to be excited about a bunch of local plants and grasses, with few flowers, without appreciating the context of the High Line’s past.  If you’re unfamiliar with it, the High Line is an elevated track system on the west side of Manhattan, used in the 1930s for moving freight through town, but had been abandoned for around thirty years.  Meanwhile bushes, weeds, and even small trees made a home on the platform, and, now in it’s reopened state, much of the same growth has been replanted.

• Jason Lytle, the frontman for the now-defunct band Grandaddy, recently put out a solo album.  Very exciting to get more of that Grandaddy sound after years of listening to the old albums over and over again.  It’s not 100% the same, but certainly closer than say, Jarvis Cocker’s solo work and his songs fronting Pulp.

• Also music-related, Helen was working the gate at the Crystal Stilts/Dean & Britta show (at Prospect Park), and let Jenn, Rachel, Mimi, and I in up to the very front of the VIP seated area.  I think seeing bands like the Crystal Stilts may be the closest thing my generation may get to experiencing a watered down version of the legendary Joy Division.  While the Crystal Stilts set was great (lots of reverb and droning), the real gem was Dean & Britta playing music written to accompany a series of screen tests filmed by Andy Warhol in the 1960s, which were projected behind them.  There may always be something compelling about thinking you’re watching a still frame, only for the face to blink and slightly shift with changes in breathing.

Not my Kryptonite, but still a scary sight.  People always say in New York that if you have a bike, one day it will be gone.  Thus far I’ve managed to avoid locking on the street overnight, and in higher-theft areas, I’ve tried to utilize two locks and other techniques (safety in numbers, with other bikes, etc).

• Eating at L’ecole the other week (associated with the French Culinary Institute in SoHo), may have topped my previous nicest meal (at Mario Batali’s Babbo).  They offer four and five course meals, with wine pairings.  As a reward from Jenn’s office, we were able to eat the meal for free, including items such as this dessert: mascarpone parfait with strawberries, aged balsamic and ginger snaps.  Some of the best food I’ve ever eaten.
After brunch at Northeast Kingdom in Bushwick, Brooklyn, a group of us (Jenn, Maria, Mimi, Rachel, and an Australian guy named Bass) finally checked out the Putting Lot, which opened in an empty lot this summer for some miniature golf.  Its nine holes are rather difficult (and possibly decaying a little bit with each customer), but the novelty is still worth the $5 fee.  An artist (or collective) was commissioned for each hole, including the local graf writer Skewville.

Water bottles always contain yellow stuff on my block.  I understand it’s tough for livery cab drivers to find public bathrooms, but inevitably my street is where their portable bathrooms always end up.

• The Gowanus Nest Colony project is back in full force, and we’re now working in conjunction with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy to hold some public birdhouse workshops in the next few weeks.  I’ll keep you posted with more info, though in the meantime feel free to give me a shout if you’re interested.  This time in the mix, we’ll be introducing some other habitats, including bat boxes, blue bird boxes, and kestel boxes (some of which can also house additional species, such as screech owls).  A big thanks to Andy in Carroll Gardens for the tools and workspace recently.

Metropolitan Lumber and Hardware in SoHo, Manhattan.

5 thoughts on “you be the brains, i’ll be the brawn”

  1. Compelling photos and description of the High Line. Maybe Rick will want to check out that carpet golf site!

  2. Thanks — one of my coworkers was saying that she felt like the architecture of both the High Line itself, plus the Standard Hotel and a few other buildings around there caused her to feel like she wasn’t in NYC, but possibly Europe. It’s good to see the area slowly getting a little greener, however Toronto is setting the bar quite high, in terms of sustainability & environmental ethics.

  3. Great shots of the High Line, Andrew & your commentary is thoughtful as well. Very interesting mini golf going on there! Say hi to Jenn!

  4. …my thought is if they want my ride that badly to make it through my u-lock, they can have it.

    in northampton, ma folks lean their bikes up against their homes and have simpler plastic locks to lock it up when in town. thought that freedom of mind was so interesting.

  5. Ah, nice — sounds like the shots I’ve seen of the Tokyo area. Though it’s dense and urban, the locks are much smaller, possibly just to indicate that something isn’t being discarded. It does bother me how many bikes get stolen in Brooklyn these days.

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