around town update

I had no idea how large the bizarre, vacant armories were, here in Manhattan.  This one is in the Upper East Side, on Park Avenue.

Lots of taxidermy in there.

• My sister, Hillary, and her friend, Zena, are in town for a few days, so Jenn and I have been helping them to see the sights/sites.

The Whitney’s Biennial is currently going happening.  It had a few feature-length films playing this year — we caught some of a documentary on Hurricane Katrina backlash.

Last month the city saw a little bit of snow.  Not much this year thus far.

Recently the city decided to crack down on part of Chinatown’s rampant counterfeiting empire.  One block was shuttered with these bright orange court orders (in a fashion similar to widely publicizing the capture of a known graf writer).

Sunday evening construction in Chelsea.

North 7th and Berry in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

rubbish tip

Hmmm… looks like I’ve been shooting trash (no, seriously, literally rubbish, etc) for at least five years.  Shot on a trail in Dover, UK, in 2003.

• I’ll go ahead and say it.  It looks like I’ll be spending even more time over in Brooklyn starting in a little over a week.  I took a new job in the most populous borough (“extra, extra large, like the borough of Brooklyn, the residential”).  I know, I know, you’re all like, “how backpacker to quote Talib, especially when the kid fell off after ‘Reflection Eternal.'”  Well, my response to you is: true, it’s a backpacker move, and yes, “Move Something” was indeed on “Reflection Eternal,” which yes, I’ll even agree it may have been his last good album… OK, I’m starting to think this vein of thinking causes people to end up with multiple personalities within a fortnight. (sidenote: weird, according to wikipedia, the duo of Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek together called themselves “Reflection Eternal” for that album, and that the album had a separate name… hmmm… regardless, you know what I meant).

• Good luck to Big Dirty with the WK12 thang over in Portland.  Fingers crossed.

•  The weather recently in the city has been incredibly cycling-friendly.  I hear on the street that it may drop to the twenties next week, which may start to creep into the time of the year where the wind feels so cold that you swear its cutting groves into your face.  It’s always a wind-factor thing.  And sadly, as a sans-mustache (but still mullet-sporting) Chitwood reminded me, “don’t forget about March.”  And he’s right.  Winter in the Al-Gore-Warming days is Feb-March instead of Dec-Feb.

• But what are we — tangential acquaintances accidentally on the same elevator forced to discuss the weather?  Back to New York.

• I received word (via Will at RazorApple) that Sagmeister’s got a show that opened this evening, and will be running through February down at the Lower’s own Dietch Gallery.  I mean, they have an animated illustration of a tight-pants-wearing Terry Richardson (minus full sleeves) on the homepage.  Automatically this place is worth a visit.  And, as I mentioned last go-round, Sagmeister’s also lecturing on the evening of the 19th.

• For your late night needs, has a streaming audio station called “Secret Agent,” I just realized this evening.  I mean, sure their poorly-named “Groove Salad” can be hit-or-miss with the electronica scene… but this channel seems to keep it downtempo and stylish in a clean way.  It’s listed under “electronic” in the iTunes radio channels.  Recommended.

Land’s End, the southern most tip of the United Kingdom, with its rocky landscape and continuously crashing waves, remains one of the most breathtaking places I’ve had a chance to explore.  Shot in 2003.

Regent’s Park, London, December 2007.

iron stomach

Being that most who know me know that I’m a little bit too pro-mummy, when it comes to the always-popular robots vs. mummies vs. ninjas, etc debate… it may not be a surprise that I keep being forced to photograph Faro’s great pieces here in the Lower. I mean, a mummy with a mohawk? (I think this is Stanton near Eldridge. And also, that gallery space seen in the distance is as bizarre/hippy inside as it looks outside, but the people are nice.)

• Speaking of art-related stuff, when Jenn and I were wandering through Moss, aka “the Industrial Design Museum with items so expensive and fragile that you’ve gotta hold your breath while walking by them, but they try to pass it off as a genuine store, for the rich elite”, we ran into Stefan Sagmeister. Seemed to be a super nice guy — we mentioned having tickets to his lecture next month. Mental side-note: my sentence structuring has taken a major nosedive in recent years… but it’s all for the best, right?

• The other night at about 7:30, I take a walk up to Key Food on Avenue A, and was just thinking to myself I need to maybe relocate to Brooklyn with a quickness, when two kids on tallbikes casually ride down Avenue A, between about 3rd and 2nd streets. I’m always in awe of their ridiculousness. Top notch. So then, as even more of a reminder that The Lower and the East Village do still have character, it’s about 7:50 or so as I’m returning back to my apartment, groceries in hand, and this kid and his friend on 3rd Street are just walking down with black krylon, scrawling an indecipherable name on any vertical surface they can find.

• Happy birthday to Big Dirty last weekend. He was touring the Austin, TX area, but is back at this point.

• I think I neglected to mention how crappy the large New Museum is on the Bowery in the Lower. You know, that huge cube-stacked thing right next to the mission. It’s opening exhibits felt incredibly weak. Un-inventive material usage, and far too basic construction in most of the sculptural pieces. The only redeeming thing about this place is that the gift shop stocks some of the best design books in New York City. Certainly only go on Thursday evenings when entry is free. For a better selection of contemporary art, head up to The Whitney in the museum area of the UES. Oh actually, maybe it has a second redeeming thing: the building is so absurd that it successfully walks (and remains on) the line where you can’t tell if it’s mocking gentrification in The Lower in a self-aware state, or if it’s blatantly architectural masturbation by someone with a large budget and absence of taste.

Vong is a fairly high-priced Thai-French restaurant in Midtown East. Luckily Restaurant Week, if you’re not familiar with it, allows for people to experience certain overpriced culinary hijinx for a slightly-lower, fixed-price menu, all over the city. Pam was proactive enough to land a reservation, so Marta, Lori, Chris, Angie, Jenn, and I joined her for some good chicken and coconut soup, sub-par pork entrees, and some excellent volcano-chocolate cake, all washed down with an assortment of scotches that I hadn’t heard of. (Well, to be fair, I don’t know anything about scotch in general, other than I’ve been told that better scotch doesn’t taste identical to normal whiskey). Ultimately, there may be better places in this town for your money.

• On the other end of the restaurant spectrum, for those of you eagerly awaiting to check out the new Popeye’s that opened on the classy Delancey Street in the lower, make sure to go within the next week or so. I think for sure there’s some period of time before fast food places get disgusting, where they’re still fair game for casual, non-iron-stomach foodies. (Damn, I didn’t just mean to use the word “foodie,” ouch. That’s the same level of poor form as saying “preggers,” “K-Fed,” etc). But all I’m saying is that early the other week, this place tasted great, and I did actually hear the original track that Kanye sampled in “Through the Wire” during my late lunch.

Radegast Hall starts to get blurrier as the night progresses. Great turnout on Friday night: Katie Scott, Jenn, Erica, Mr. Appalachia, David & Cindy, Leslie, Johnny, Wells, Marta, and others. And yes, they have quite-large mice in there, which is fine, just try to keep coats and bags on the table or benches.

Apparently Greenpoint, Brooklyn still reps college-style keggers. Big ups to Emily and her roommates. On the left, Erica and Jenn have a moment with a stolen hat. On the right, Wells, has, well… a moment.

• For the record, since switching over to my current web hosting service (maybe 2 years ago?), here are the top search engine terms that bring people this way:


1. manhattan
2. will smith
3. lil wayne
4. india
5. peyote

I do think it’s slightly interesting. I mean, “Manhattan,” fine, fair enough. “India”, sure, I’ll give you that one too. I’m a major fan of Indian food in Manhattan and Queens. “Will Smith” though? “Peyote”? There’s no way peyote’s been mentioned more than like 1 time, well, now it’s three times, but still, maybe there are a shortage of occasionally-updated peyote informational info-hubs out there. (At this rate, I may accidently secure my place near the top of casual peyote searches.) But anyway, the #3 slot I really take pride in. “Lil’ Wayne.” Hahaha, any Lil’ Wayne mixtape seems to be instant gold. Fake prison tears aside, I suppose I do support him. (Though is that like saying, “Statatory rape aside, I do support the Piped Piper of R&B full force.”?)

• Speaking of internet-generated lists, I found FindYourSpot the other day (but beware, it asks for some info before it allows you to see your results). Anyway, here are the results I received:


1. portland (word, word. very pro-bikes)
2. little rock (what? is this some random wildcard? did little rock pay for this result?)
3. baltimore (this crime-ridden city is the only one of thee 5 that I’ve been to.)
4. oakland (cool, all I know is that it may be near LA.)
5. san diego (the weather seems appealing.)

Jenn (no, not a kidnapped WNBA referee) tries out the new “happy light.” But yah, to address growing concerns that the photography on this site is becoming far too dark and sinister, I’m afraid it’s just a sign of the times: winter is somewhat dark and sinister in the tri-state area.