a few minutes with erik

I happy to introduce the very first ThisCityi$Mine foray into video. Erik sat down on a cold January night here in Brooklyn with Jenn and I to discuss his interest in compost.

Can’t let winter get you down.

it looked bigger on the map

Flooded roads out in an area called “The Hole,” at the far end of Brooklyn. I first heard about this place via Nathan Kensinger’s explorations last year or so.

I’m still at the tail end of another roll (B&W) which may provide some additional images of the area (to be continued).

On the way out, we rode our bikes past the Plum Beach area. It always smells a little rough, and I realized I hadn’t admired it during low tide. I believe those structures in the distance are at the end of Brighton Beach, the largely-Russian community near Coney Island, Brooklyn.

Maria in Times Square, last month.

In keeping with some of the older portraits I’ve been showing recently, here’s Joseph, about 9-10 years ago (2000 or 2001).

DLISH as Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks, Halloween weekend, back in October. He was “alive Laura,” whereas Emily was “dead Laura,” though at this moment, he’s a hybrid of both costumes.

I’ve always loved this half-finished cobra graffiti on a street in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. It’s been there for 3+ years, to my knowledge.

customer service needed in layaway

Bike Kill 7, on October 30, 2010.

There’s been a lot going on, but before too much time passes, I wanted to show this series from last weekend’s Bike Kill.

I think everyone was thrilled that Black Label brought it back, after a hiatus in 2009. I previously shot the event in 2007, as you may recall, but went into this year’s with a different approach. Instead of an expensive digital camera and multiple 40-oz drinks, this year I brought a point-and-shoot 35mm camera, 2 rolls of color film, and only drank a single 40, plus an extra beer or two. I was definitely having some issues with one of the rolls of film advancing properly and catching on the spool, but the results really surprised me when I got them back from the lab. Instead of stale, frozen moments, these unexpected double-exposures start to give more of a sense of the spectacle that is Bike Kill.

Jenn and I saw a bunch of people we know out there, including: Kathleen, Tom, Virgina, Jim, Henry, my cousin Julia, Tod, Sam, Stacher, and more that I’m forgetting. Great times!

Some participants of the 6-pack relay on the right side.

Conrad, aka Dirty Finger, on the tables.

That’s Tom on the right side, with Virginia sitting in his cargo bike. They road over from the East Village to join in on the action.

a little fish in a big pond

I met Jimmy a month or two ago — I was on a random street, and he was sitting out front of a run-down ice cream store. I asked if he was the owner, which he wasn’t, but we ended up talking about the neighborhood for a while. He insisted that I not take his picture, but he was excited that I wanted to shoot his old van – which he proudly had historic plates on (though I suspect from a practical standpoint, it’s to avoid inspections, haha).

American Gothic, on the Gowanus. Unfortunately, I forgot to get these young ladies’ names.

• Speaking of the Gowanus, Jenn and I ran into Sam at the Jerko and the Gowanus Water Vacuum launch, which my cousin Julia told us about. Sam was kind enough to talk to Adam, who owns the boat, to get us on-board for a quick tour. I’m a little behind in 35mm film developing, so the shots will have to wait until later.

Pam, in town from Chicago, always has the right clothing for any occasion.

There’s no question where Nick’s loyalties lie.

Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Midtown Manhattan, facing north, May 2007.

prices and participation may vary

Gowanus, Brooklyn.

To change it up a bit, all shots this evening are recent scans from 35mm film. I am happy to have found a little shop in downtown Brooklyn that seems to do great processing. It generally takes me a while to make it through a roll, so these are from the past few months.

Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Partially inspired by a string of cherry blossom shots that Terry Richardson posted on his fairly-new photoblog (link). His blog is really fascinating to check out occasionally — he mixes up his standard white-wall studio snaps of scantily-clad celebrities with an assortment of street ephemera he finds in the East Village / SoHo / Lower East Side area.

At the end of Long Beach, on Long Island, NY. From left: Erik, B.Davis, Erin, and Mr. Appalachia. It’s a 65-mile round trip from the Park Slope area, and even with 2 water bottles, I couldn’t seem to stay hydrated. If you’re in the Brooklyn area, definitely take advantage of the nice beaches out by the Rockaways if you aren’t already doing so. To get to this spot, we passed through some areas that had tiny back-alley-like streets that were closed to cars, only open to pedestrians headed over to the beach or hanging out.

Plum Beach, Brooklyn. Initially I thought this may have been a fox, but I’m starting to wonder if it was a raccoon, which I’ve seen a lot of around town.

Shane and Echo invited Jenn and I up to Scarsdale for a bike ride a few weeks back, right before Echo left for China. This is a highway that they close off on Sundays for cycling traffic. Its amazing how much ground you can cover with vast highways cleared of cars and trucks.

David Downs and I got in a good ride from the Manhattan Bridge, through Sunset Park and Bay Ridge, along the coast past Coney Island to Plum Beach before needing to turn back. That’s his fixed-gear Bridgestone townie on the left, and my Mercier on the right.

A skeletal saddle in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

of good pedigree

There are many feral cats in my neighborhood. Everyone once in a while, there’s an especially rough character, like this guy. Between an infected left eye, missing left ear, and some sort of open sore on his right leg, he may not have a lot of time left.

This stray, albeit tired, was in better shape. Unfortunately though, its tail was chewed down to the bone, with a little tuft of hair at the end.

On to happier topics, I was lucky enough to go on WNYC’s client appreciation cruise this past Tuesday evening. The three-hour open bar and full dinner, hosted by WNYC personalities ended up being good fun. Unlimited Johnny Walker Black Labels did help as well.

BAMcinemaFEST opened this past week, with a premiere of Cyrus. Most of the cast were in attendance for the film and afterparty (including John C. Reilly and the gorgeous Marisa Tomei). I also saw Susan Sarandon walk through the crowd. Jenn and I enjoyed the film, which felt like a humorous and fun take on a standard romantic comedy. My only criticism is of the extensive hand-held camerawork (with sporadic quick zooms) is worn out and unnecessary, very heavy-handed. The festival runs until June 20th.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

• Speaking of Williamsburg, on Friday night, Rebecca Smeyne, Tod Seelie, and Maxim Ryazansky presented a selection of their photography and spoke about their approaches to image-making, feelings on subject-photographer interaction, and the lifestyle of an artist. Tod, the only one of the three I’ve met on a few occasions, always comes off as genuine, modest, and passionate. Definitely check out all three of the artists’ work if you’re not familiar with them; a lot of great photography and traveling experiences.

Shane road his bike all the way down from Scarsdale to join Jenn and I at the photography talk. Afterward, we hit up Caracas for arepas.

A front yard in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn.

• A friend pointed out Urban Plant Research to me yesterday. From my understanding, it’s two women who document urban plants and weeds here in New York City and elsewhere. Worth checking out.

On the bike front, I’ve been very happy with a recent handlebar & brake lever swap on my Kogswell, over to Velo Orange Porteur bars (in stock over at Bespoke in Fort Greene) with Tektro RX 4.1 reverse brake levers.  Makes grocery runs even easier.  The bar tape is Serfas Echelon.

• The other week, Shane’s wife, Echo, began a new job which involved relocated to China for a year. The company is being really accommodating, though, in flying her back to the states at least 4 times over the course of the year, and two round trip tickets for Shane in the other direction as well. They had a send-off party in Koreatown the other week: drinks at the roof of the La Quinta hotel, then we all had a Vietnamese dinner later in the evening.

The M train in Bushwick, Brooklyn, as seen from The Opera Singer’s old apartment, circa 2007.

like a bag of bones

Mike flexes after performing a DJ set at Port D’Or on Friday night.

Marta, Katie Scott, Jenn, and I had drinks earlier at The Creek Bar in Nolita before meeting up with Hans, David Moses, Mike, Ben, and some others at the show. Some pretty disturbing activities went down at the venue, but music-wise it was primarily a mix of experimental/noise DJing mixed with some South Beach-esc party tunes between sets. The venue is a small storefront lined with speakers, tucked into an unassuming (residential) Crown Heights block. As to be expected, the cops were busting people for drinking out front in the light rain, and they poked their head inside once or twice, but I didn’t see them actually enter the space.

Still plenty of beards in Brooklyn.

Jenn and I finally made it over to Bahn Mi Saigon in the Asian area of Little Italy. It’s a Vietnamese sandwich place (as is obvious from the name), tucked into an area behind a jewelry store. It does live up to the hype: one bite into the #1 Pork/Saigon sandwich, and you realize that the others  (Hanco’s, Nicky’s, Henry’s, etc) are inferior and higher-priced. The summer rolls are also a great value. The location will be moving to somewhere else, close by, in May/June.

An abandoned car in South Slope.

inmates running the prison

The intersection of Atlantic and Third Avenues in Brooklyn. Snow’s hit the Eastern Corridor a few times in the past few weeks, though it’s always business as usual.

Parking lot near the Gowanus Canal.

Marta (on the right) and friends take a moment to play cards in the basement space of China One in the East Village. As a kick-off to fashion week, there was a secret party in the cavernous labyrinth downstairs (and yes, one would think that caverns and labyrinths are somewhat mutually exclusive, but the space managed to feel like both).  The music for the evening was quite an impressive mix of old Indonesian, Cambodian and other Asian pop, possibly from the 1960s, similar to Thailand’s Shadow Music I may have mentioned before.  The promoters were kind enough to post the entire playlist here. Absolutely worth the time the ~273MB download takes, top notch.

The snow back in Greenwood Heights. Jenn poses next to our late-night, 5-foot creation.  In Brooklyn fashion, the snowman had been decapitated by the next day.


If you’re considering moving to Brooklyn, or are already here but are looking for a different apartment, I highly recommend living within walking distance of the great Prospect Park. Snow & ice has a transformative quality on landscapes in general, but especially so in this park. Jenn and I traversed a good amount of the land on Valentine’s Day, this past Sunday, and saw improved snowboarding slopes cutting between trees in secluded areas and many small ice castles & partial igloos. Trails felt so quiet and remote it certainly was another one of those moments where you find yourself thinking “there’s no way I’m in New York right now.”

While it seems to be the norm for New Yorkers to seek out and crave those fleeting moments of city disguise, I’m reminded of similar thoughts I’ve had in different towns.  One example: in the small town of Bridgewater, Virginia, there’s a modest residential area of homes lining some of the smaller hills/mountains that lead up to the Dry River, and overlook the ancient Bridgewater Parade Grounds. My brother and I used to spend weeks in the area during the summer when we were back in elementary school, wandering around, finding small caves, building dams in creeks, among other things.  But back to the point: there was one street, I’m not positive of the name; it was en-route from our grandparent’s house near the peak of the hill (and surrounded by large evergreens), and Wildwood Park. The street lead off to the right (what seemed like north) as we headed (via bike or walking) to the park, and it climbed upwards and to the left (which would be northwest), and was flanked by a handful of homes possibly built between 1950 and 1975. For some reason I always had a feeling of being in Denmark.  I still have not have the opportunity to visit Denmark, and I imagine I knew even less about the country at that point in life, and yet: I was positive I was experiencing the spirit of Denmark, a temporary vision, if nothing else. The visual/mental association remains, sometimes surfacing in dreams (albeit, not in the past few years), though I can’t find an explanation.

The walls have eyes in the Atlantic-Pacific subway station, in downtown Brooklyn.

Miss Pacman in Metropolitan, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. When Brad visits from Seattle, Jenn, and I always find ourselves at Fette Sau and Metropolitan, inevitably. Always good times.