we may need to redraw the map

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Fort Tilden is a 50-minute bike ride from my apartment in Brooklyn, and is located on the Atlantic Ocean.  It is one of my favorite places in the New York City area.  I have still only explored a small fraction of the land out there.

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The shower facilities could possibly use a contemporary remodeling.

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Moments almost feel like you’re on the set for a spaghetti western in the 1960s.

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Ben, contemplating his upcoming move to the Los Angeles area, on his roof, here in South Slope, Brooklyn.  A handful of my friends are packing up and moving to the other coast.

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A successful (albeit, rushed) harvest from Hans’ rooftop garden.  We used some of these ingredients on some homemade pizzas that evening.

pitfalls and transgressions

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Governor’s Island is a short, free ferry ride from the south end of Manhattan.  It’s been abandoned for about 10 years.  Since then, it’s been made into somewhat of a park / landmarked site / location of art installations.  I highly recommend you bring your bike to explore, though if you don’t, they actually have bike rentals on the island now.

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There are many acres of empty housing, in various states of disrepair, due to roofs starting to cave in, and the strong ocean breeze taking it’s toll on them.  The city has been largely successful in keeping vandals out, which causes these places to feel like an untouched ghost town.

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You may have been following the Swimming Cities of Serenissma recently (an extension of the Swimming Cities of the Switchback Sea, however this vessel pictured above is possibly more compelling, for it’s sustainability alone.  The project is called The Water Pod, and it’s currently docked on the south side of Governor’s Island, and houses crew amidst livestock, rainwater collection and filtration, while also growing many diverse plants and utilizing other alternative energy (ie: stationary bicycles that generate electricity).  Additionally the two large geodesic domes serve as beautiful, 1960s-era removable shelters.  Definitely check out the project.

• I caught a free Matt & Kim show at Pier 54 in Manhattan last week one night after work.  Robin and a few of her friends ran into Jenn and I there, and we caught some of the Flosstradamus set, as well as the entire main act.  Matt & Kim seemed thrilled to be playing at the space, but it didn’t feel like the best environment to experience a show (due to being long and narrow, sound dissipating in all directions, and no slope to the space, making for obstructed views all around).  However, still a scene (a pretty young crowd, as to be expected), and great to see them free.

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My block may be even more rowdy than I’ve been giving it credit for.  Sure, I’ve definitely seen drug deals, livery cabs meeting up for lots of coronas between shifts, many people stopping their car to relieve themselves near the cemetery, and all of the extra trash that shows up at the end of the street mysteriously, however, I have not yet seen public sex, prostitution, or break-ins.  Time permitting, I’ll have to check out this community meeting, it sounds like my block is on the up-and-up!

If you’ll bear with me a minute, I’d like to provide an update on Jenn’s and my current bike stable:

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This past Friday, I picked up a really nice 5-rail Cetma rack for my primary commuter, my 2008 Mercier Kilo TT, nicknamed “the Urban Explorer.”  Thanks to the guys at King Kog over in the Williamsburg area.  I’ve already people asking me on the street where to get them.  Lane currently has the black 5-rail on sale on his site.  I’ve heard they can hold a lot of weight, though I’ve only done a smallish grocery store run with it thus far.

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Affectionately known as “the Backup Bike,” I picked up this 1988 Centurion Ironman the other month via NYC Craigslist for a really great price.  I may have mentioned it previously, it’s got all Shimano 105 components, and recently I replaced the bar tape with bright yellow FSA tape, changed out the nice, stock Nitto stem for a shorter Kalloy, replaced the slightly-too-short Sugino seatpost with a lighter, used Bontrager post, and replaced the pedals setup with MKS GR-9s and MKS (LL) clips, among other small changes.

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Jenn’s new bike (a 1988ish Peugeot Nice) was a recent addition, to replace her 1983 Miyata 210, which had been known as “Brownie.”  There may still be some slight tweaks in the future, but it definitely a step up from the Miyata, in terms of components, gearing, color, and weight.

OK, back to the regularly scheduled programming.

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Recent ink: I got a raven that I drew tattooed onto my arm by Mike Drexler over at Fly-Rite in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  They do great work over there, highly recommened, plus Mike’s a good guy.

• Two blocks over, Landis and Ed hosted a fundraiser rooftop party for Landis and David Downs to run for charity in some upcoming marathon/half-marathons.  Excellent chicken sandwiches from Jacob, a fellow former North Carolinian, and Cindy provided great burgers (vidalia onions inside, and topped with tomatoes and guacamole).

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In closing, here’s one more picture (of Jenn) from the Outer Banks, North Carolina trip the other week.

smash a kangaroo


Deciding what to write on a sign for the afternoon.  A little stumped after “HOMELESS.”  19th Street, Manhattan.


Fifth Avenue in South Slope, Brooklyn, vacant on New Years Day, a few months back.


Stripes, skirts, legs, bikes, plants.  It’s springtime at last.

• Speaking of bikes, after a lot of errands recently around several neighborhoods, I was able to source a bunch of parts very inexpensively for some upgrades I’ve been making to Jenn’s bike during this week of solid rain.  Thanks to John over in Bushwick for a used wheelset; thanks to Bespoke Bicycles (the brand new shop in Fort Greene) for some brake cable, housing, and a tire; thanks to Dixon’s Bike Shop in Park Slope for a lot of help with a rear hub issue, and for the very cheap rear wheel; thanks to Henry and Chris over at the sparkly new Brooklyn Bicycles, just down the street on 6th Ave at 9th Street for a bit of brake cable and conversation; thanks to On the Move on 7th Ave in Park Slope for brake levers; thanks to John in Greenpoint for a set of bars; and to Spokes and Strings in Williamsburg for another set of bars and some super cheap brake pads; and I think the list goes on.  Suffice to say, with everything in order, nothing to do now but ride.


Mr. Appalachia, may be the only one of my friends to possess a full-size backyard in the borough of Brooklyn (chime in if I’m overlooking someone).  He invited Jenn and I over the other day to his Red Hook backyard for some planting of seeds and installing of chicken wire (mainly to keep the feces of feral cats out) in some raised beds he created out of salvaged ikea shelving.  These were some seperate seedlings I noticed on his desk.


A popular gentlemen in the financial world.  Williamsburg, Brooklyn.


If you’re in the NYC area, feel free to join my friends and I on a little adventure next Saturday (May 16th) at 9AM at the Circle Line pier (somewhat near Times Square) for a leisurely ride up the west side parkway, a short rumble through the Bronx, and crossing over a bridge or two to get to the small fisherman’s village known as City Island.  Relaxed pace, bring some sunscreen, a bicycle, some money for seafood, and possibly a camera if you’re inclined.  Adam will provide the pepper spray.  Send me an email if you have any questions.

dinner party season

Winter hit last week in South Slope, or SoSlo.  I’m always drawn to burning oil drums, especially in snow.

My siblings were kind enough to fly into town for some holiday cheer.  Clay, from Atlanta, via Charlotte, NC, and Hillary from Bangkok via Hong Kong.


Inside the Brooklyn Museum. I hadn’t seen a large portion of their permanent collection, as it turns out.  I think I always ended up finding my way to the cat mummies and then running out of time, previously.


My brother took my bike out for a spin.  I rode my backup bike (the Christmas tree one from the other week), and we rode down through the industrial parks of Sunset Park near the waterfront to Bay Ridge, and practiced riding on ice at the pier near Owl’s Head Park.

Hot tea over at Zaytoons in Prospect Park (which seems superior to the Carroll Gardens and Murder Ave. locations) on Saturday for lunch.

•Winter in New York does seem to be a time for parties, comfort food, hot drinks, and even catching up on some reading during the few spare moments.  I just started reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and, just 60 pages into it, the book’s sparse landscapes filled with approachable philosophical discussions are definitely compelling.


Leonard Street in Greenpoint.  Shot from the roof of D.Lish & B.Davis’ apartment, during their Christmas/Hanukkah party.   A good turnout, including Hans, Bethany, Gene (in from Barcelona), Yoost, Erin, Sylvia, Moses, Ellen, and some others.  Excellent homemade beef stew (with horseradish sour cream) and potato leek soup.  Later, we moved things to Europa a few blocks away.  If you haven’t been, it’s completely Euro-trashed out upstairs.  Mullets all around, really terrible, loud dance music.  I can’t really recommend it to anyone, however there are lots of super thin Polish and Russian girls there.

Cory and Holly also threw a great dinner party, the following day, at their place down in the Kensington area.  Jenn, Clay, and I joined Moses, Hans, and a few others for some incredible homemade shepherd’s pie and some great salad, and an assortment of meads.

• Additionally, while my siblings were still in town, Jenn and I took them to a few other bars and restaurants: Chip Shop, Otto’s Shrunken Head (for Danish Folk night), Pianos, Lil Pig, Bar Toto, and some others.  It’s great to be with family over the holidays.

i can’t go out and i can’t stay in


My good friend Mike Mararian had another solo show opening Friday night, at a gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Great turnout.  Katie Scott (left) and Alicia (right) are seen here.


I borrowed Mike’s hat briefly.  And that’s the man himself on the right (and I believe that’s Dan in the background).


Jenn pays tribute to the legendary Allan Lee.


If every city has its own official liquid, you don’t want to know what New York City’s is.

• Scavenging has been a fun and often-productive activity for me for as long as I can remember.  Perhaps it could be linked to my Southern roots, where you drive around town, and anything out on the curb is fair game to add to your own packrat collection (I think several of you guys have ridden shotgun with me, years back).  That moved onto the justification of removing of remote, government-owned objects sometimes, and certainly anything in an abandoned area was available for the taking.  Never did this feel too much like direct stealing.

I haven’t fully considered aquiring food the freegan way, but scavenging lately has been on my mind in the context of bicycles here in New York.  I’m referring to abandoned (but locked), rotting bicycle frames that you probably see a handful of every day you commute.  It’s been an internal battle for me: surely bad karma will hunt me down, should I decide that I could use an old threaded stem attached to a decaying corpse of a bike.  So, I’ve never touched a locked but abandoned bike.

Let’s take the red Shogun road bicycle currently attached to the fence of the dog park on 7th Avenue and 17th Street in South Slope.  It showed up a month or two ago, in pristine condition, connected to the iron fence via a standard-size U-lock around it’s top tube.  After it remained unmoved, untouched, un-checked-on for the first solid week, the front wheel walked away.  Then, in a matter of days, the rear wheel was gone, perhaps at the same time that the handlebars were pryed from the bike’s stem.  The pedals, seatpost, and saddle were the next to vanish.  I guess it may be similar to the way flies and beetles naturally break down dead animals on the street to aid in the decomposition cycle.  The frame (often the only thing actually locked in these cases) is permanently left, the same way that the insects will consume the skin, tissue, muscle, and body fat of carcasses, yet will leave the bones to eventually become brittle and succumb to long-term weathering.

But the question is still there: is there a threshold for the exact moment when a discarded bicycle is legitimate, honest “fair game” to potential scavengers?  Obviously if your bike is locked for more than about ten seconds in the Union Square area, it’s considered fair game by the scourges of society (the number of stolen bike posts involving Union Square on Craigslist is scary).

• On the subject, this evening I found some steel drop bars and two bike tires in a large pile of trash on my street.  It’s business as usual around here.

• Sadly, two of my old staples in Manhattan are looking pretty rough: both Lounge (ideal for its inspirational, curated fashion), and National Wholesale Liquidators (ideal for achieving middle-america prices on household junk) are getting priced out of their SoHo and NoHo spots, respectively.  Both stores are heavily marked down and tearing down excess aisles daily, and may be gone completely by early January, at this rate.

• Last Wednesday I caught a performance of Pina Bausch’s Bamboo Blues at BAM.  While it seemed good, I’m not positive I’ve yet aquired a taste for contemporary dance.


Recently at the Broadway-Layfayette stop in Manhattan, there’s been a resurfacing of the top-notch Belvedere Vodka ads, but in print.  This self-portrait of Terry Richardson is on a poster about six feet tall.


Macri Park near Metropolitan and Union in Williamsburg.  Pretty laid-back atmosphere, but cozy.


The Gowanus Canal has high tide and low tide.  During low tide, you can find all your lost stuff.  The smell of this highly polluted waterway can be a little foul though.

here’s to the first thousand


I vote for more than one bike month.

• So it has been a good thousand days. A few years ago, it got off to an action-packed start, with this little quote from Day 2:

“…two of them start beating the dreads guy’s head against a parked car’s door… Blood is running down the faces of at least 3 of the men, several have cuts near their ears that look pretty rough, the dreads guy has blood coming from his nose, perhaps mouth.”

I’ve been debating about it, and I think I may be dropping the “day” nomenclature. At least to see how it feels for a while. We’ll see. In the meantime, here are some recent film scans from an old Canon SureShot 80 I’ve been testing out for a few months.


A concrete factory near the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn.


Timeless Fort Greene, Brooklyn.


Maybe one day. Fort Greene, Brooklyn.


Spare mountain bike tires. Fort Greene, Brooklyn.


Foodstuffs outside of Mama’s Food Shop in the East Village, Manhattan.

• I caught up with Mr. Appalachia, Corey, and Jenn over at that new barbecue place that replaced the old barbecue place (Biscuit BBQ) on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, and the verdict is in: it is somehow equally bland. While the food has more flavor, the lameness of everything being served in Mason jars combined with overpriced meat results in a bland experience.

• I walked to a bodega last night about a block from my apartment for some gatorade and heard no less than three cars rocking the new Lil Wayne album. I mean, I’m certainly not one to hate on him, but it’s no Weezy mixtape. Just saying.

• Also: a goodbye goes out to my dear grandmother. She’ll be missed.

lets not be fair weather riders


There’s an old airport in remote Brooklyn, in between mainland Brooklyn and Far Rockaway, on the coast. The area is called the Floyd-Bennett Field.


Road bikes make the best transportation.


The amount of open space (and asphalt/concrete) feels a little overwhelming.


Despite the looming clouds, there were still people down at the tracks. The gas-driven R/C cars can corner with astonishing speed.


Apparently some of the airport is still functioning, on one of the more distant runways. “Yeah, take the picture, buddy.”


Jenn shows off the tight rake (the fixed distance the fork pushes the front wheel forward) on her new Miyata 10-speed.


In a nearby salt marsh area, we found an old car, burned beyond recognition. Brooklyn, NY.

• Last week, Leticia and I caught a performance of Sizwe Banzi is Dead over at BAM’s Harvey Theatre. Despite a minimal cast (2 people) and a minimal set (a table and a chair), it still came through, maintaining a compelling story. The title and story refer to the desperate measures taken to survive the apartheid system in South Africa. While the first few minutes are painfully dull, hang in to get to the segments with dead bodies and drunkenness. I understand the actors have said that this will be the very final performance.

• On Friday, Big Joseph, James, Jenn, and I saw a Loser’s Lounge Battle of the Bands show over at Joe’s Pub near Astor Place. Though the event felt a little bit 40+, you can’t hate on anything that involves comped tickets. The main event was a Duran Duran cover band versus a Cars cover band. There was a bizarre, skinny electro guy with angular hair who came in to do a song at one point for The Cars band, but regardless, Duran Duran won. Too many aging white people are into “Hungry Like the Wolf” it seems. Drinks are $$ at Joe’s, just an FYI. Afterwards we had a mediocre dinner over at B Bar down the street on Bowery.

Pam, Jenn, and I had another great brunch over at Cafe Mogador. Like with a lot of other East Village/Lower spots, getting there prior to noon most likely guarantees a table. Don’t sleep on the pita and hummus. Certainly don’t leave without a few poached eggs either.

• Yet another flat today caused me to go ahead and pick up an armadillo for my rear wheel today at the beginning of my commute home this evening. The ride is a little bit stiffer, but from many people I’ve heard that they’re boomproof: a quality that is handy when riding through a terrorism-targeted city.

• Sunday night, Moses and Cory hosted a dinner party over in the Hook, complete with lasagna, a melon & prosciutto heavy salad (from Jenn and I), beer, wine, bread, and some f-ing solid olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Fairway (arguably the one staple of the Hook, as a neighborhood is as only as good as it’s grocery store). Davis, Lehman, and Calloway also made it out, and we started to run out of poles to lock to out front.

• “In hindsight, I don’t want to be like the people I’ve liked.” – The Death Set.

sixteen knives


OK, it’s been a busy few days. Shot in Bushwick, Brooklyn.


Cassettes Won’t Listen performed on Friday night at Sound Fix. He created loops on the fly with a drum machine and keyboard, then sung and played guitar over them, occasionally altering the loops with foot pedals. Next, we hit up an Ad Hoc afterparty at a Marble Factory warehouse space (filled with lots of massive painted canvases) in Bushwick after a botched dinner order at Vera Cruz on Bedford.


Roommates Seth (right) and Johnny (left) have a moment.


• Easter brunch at Marta’s. The kids were calling it “feaster.” Bloody marys and champagne.

Jenn and I caught a performance of this crazy, dark puppet show called “Bride” at PS122 with Kathleen and Redux after a dinner at 7A, this past Thursday. The religious references and motifs were a bit bizarre and perhaps unnecessary, because I think Redux and I simply enjoyed the large puppet body parts that eventually formed a fifteen-foot-tall nude woman, and the giant rats that gnawed at peoples legs. I thought the junk was solid. Not for young children.


Apparently there’s a bed & breakfast at 405 Union in Carroll Gardens. I understand these days it’s more of a bed (minus the breakfast aspect). My cousin, Julia, who happened to be working there this past weekend, gave Jenn and I a grand tour Sunday evening before we made our way over to Bombay Dream on Smith Street for some good but slightly overpriced Indian cuisine.


Weekend brunch at Cafe Mogador is top notch. That’s poached eggs, hummus, pita (with garlic and spices), tabouleh, and some other Mediterranean salad thing. The best pita bread I’ve eaten.

• This evening, Will scored me a ticket to sit with the ranks of This is Pop at the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary benefit performance at Gotham Comedy Club called Komedy for Karma. We saw Dave Attell, Janeane Garofalo, Louis CK, the creator of Bizzaro (Dan Piraro), and a handful of other comedians perform for the cause. I was reminded of Jeremy’s hypothesis about the comedic differences between men and women based on the necessities presented within biological evolution (opinions of which I feel may be credible because he’s in a lifelong doctorate program for something like “philosophy of science”), anyway essentially that men need to be (and most likely are) funnier than women, as a whole. It does initially sound sexist, but I believe he had a dozen points of which it’s too late in the evening for me to convey now (but it’s not intended to be a gender superiority comment or argument). Regardless, I bring it up because there was only one woman in a male-dominated list of comedians tonight, and unfortunately she had to follow up the very funny Louis CK. Highlights included Will and Dave Attell joking about eskimos after the show, meeting some of the Pop team, and Louis CK keeping the crowd crying with laughter (his style was aging-related anger mixed with self deprivation and making fun of babies).

• From 1:20 – 3:20 the other night I caught James Dean in East of Eden (1955). It felt sorta like a blend of two of his other films: Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Giant (1956), though, I suppose that’s no surprise, being that they were all made within a year of each other. Slow by today’s standards, but there’s certainly something cozy about American golden-era cinema late at night.


“My best friend’s a butcher, he’s got sixteen knives. He carries them all over the city, at least he tries. Oh look, it stopped snowing.” This gem is located here in the Lower, and its a pretty close representation to, well, hell.  Check out the skulls on the left side.


Layfayette Station on the C train in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. If you’re waiting at Jay Street in the mornings, you’ll notice there are six F trains for every three A trains and one C train. Just saying.


The sun sets over a closed Lowes Home Improvement in Red Hook, Brooklyn.


Let’s do it up right, come election time. Bushwick, Brooklyn.