please remember to tip the waitstaff

The Suzan performed at Build it Green this past Saturday, as part of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy’s Winter Festival in Brooklyn, NY.

• The event also gave Jenn and I an excuse to get back to Brooklyn for the weekend and see my brother’s new place (though unfortunately Linda was travelling for business). And, it was also great to catch up with the Brooklyn crew (Hans & fam, DLISH, David & Cindy, Kyle & Lisa, Erik, Kurt, and everyone else I’m forgetting). Kyle, I owe you a drink. And Tim, sorry I was too wiped out to make it to dim sum. Next time!

Amanda Palmer, of the Dresden Dolls, also at Build it Green.

Savoir Adore.

Bella and Pirate Jim.

Meanwhile, back in Philadelphia, people are filling their windows with rabbits and Easter bunnies. I do always appreciate off-season/forgotten seasonal decorations. In the Fishtown & Northern Liberties areas many times people are living in what was once a storefront, and it never hurts to decorate a little.

Fishtown, Philadelphia.

A family restroom in Amsterdam, back in August. I believe the lower Dutch text reads, “donate here, your contribution is voluntary.”

farewell new york

Looking east, towards Brooklyn, from thirty-nine floors up in the new Frank Gehry building, 8 Spruce.

David and Cindy are some of the first tenants in the newest Gehry building in Manhattan, and, after only a month, the place is looking great. They’re no strangers to great interior design, as their Hoboken spot made Apartment Therapy earlier this year. They cooked an amazing meal for Jenn and I, and we ate out on a nice rooftop patio.

So, after a hectic few days of packing, moving, and moving the majority of our possessions into storage in Philadelphia, we’re safely down in North Carolina, a few rental vehicles later, for a few days before a trek up to Detroit and northern Michigan (for a friend’s wedding), then we’ll be heading out of the country. It’s been a great 6 years for me, and 7.5 years for Jenn in New York.

Hans out at Fort Tilden, at the Rockaways (though I’m never sure if this is Brooklyn or Queens), during our farewell bike ride the other weekend. Thanks to everyone who joined us on the ride, picnic beach lunch, and the dinner/drinks afterward. We’ll be in touch!

Empty N train, circa 2006.

Also: thank you for all the Photo Contest entries thus far — I’ll be notifying the winner around August 9th-10th! (see here for info, if you missed it the other day).

no such thing as a free lunch

The High Line in Manhattan.

Renita double-dutching, with her sister, Alison, and Mr. Appalachia manning the ropes, over at Prospect Park the other weekend. An intimidating pastime.

When Val and Verena came into town for an afternoon, Val demonstrated how to sneak dogs (in this case, Udon) into galleries, in the Red Hook, Brooklyn area.

Assorted thawing and rotting meat and cheese, in Brooklyn. Oddly, the same afternoon I found this box filled with homemade “ground venison with pork” and stuff, Pam, texted me a picture of some slabs of meat that were scattered on the sidewalk in front of her apartment over in Chicago (because it made her think of me). One of those meaty kind of days in summer, not vegan-friendly.

Sarah Sze’s impressive and high-profile birdhouse installation in the newly-opened phase II of the High Line in Manhattan. Certainly in a different league of sculpture, compared to the bird habitats my friends and I have been building along the Gowanus over the past few years – this High Line piece’s strongly skewed perspective lines and combination of modern/minimal nooks and feeders is drawing a lot of attention, from both passersby and birds themselves. This guy was kind enough to pose for my Yashica T4.


Mike’s Linus bicycle, in patriotic mode, in Prospect Park. It’s not summer in New York without bicycles and park time. Speaking of Mike, he’s premiering in a film tonight (Sat, July 16) being screened at the Anthology Film Archives in the East Village, at 10PM, called The Warm War. Definitely check him out if you’re around.

• Quick thanks to Big Joseph for dropping off some film for me over in Greenpoint, I appreciate it!

Medical advertising in Chinatown, Manhattan. “Excellent Results in Pain Relief, Asthma, Facial Paralysis, Depression, Insomnia, Anxiety, Stress, Fatigue, Gyn. Complains, Etc.”

you’ve been keeping a low profile recently

Brett & Amanda are getting married this weekend, and Jenn and I had the pleasure of shooting an engagement series for them a few weeks back, over in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Also wedding-related, today marks my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. My siblings and our significant others are sending them on a vacation back to where they got married, near Lake Junaluska, in North Carolina, later in the summer. This shot is a repost (I first posted it in 2008) don’t know who shot it, possibly my grandfather, “Big Clay”? Amazing 70’s style with the touring motorcycle setup.

Grilling season is in full effect. This particular grill was manned by Mr. Appalachia at the time, down by the Gowanus, where he served up hamburgers, veggie burgers, hot & sweet sausages, and roasted corn to a large group of us.

• Also on the grilling front, Renita organized a great Prospect Park picnic last weekend for her sister, Alison, who finished up a Master’s degree recently (in Sustainable Education, I believe). Good times meeting some great, new people, and Michael killed it on the grill — with spare ribs and dozens of chicken legs.

People on the street in Camden Market, London, UK, 2003.

• OK, on the subject of Europe, and just so the cat is fully out of the bag, so to speak: Jenn and I are taking a two-month sabbatical in Europe before relocating to Philadelphia, PA. We’ve put in notice with our respective offices, and will be leaving our positions in July. We’re tossing everything into storage, and, after the wedding of some friends (up in northern Michigan), we’ll be heading out of the country for a bit.

With the current itinerary and plans, there shouldn’t be an interruption of ThisCityi$Mine — things should continue as usual. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line if you’ve got any Amsterdam/Prague/Budapest/Cinque Terre/etc tips, or if you’ve got any knowledge of some housing options in Philadelphia.

It should prove to be an adventure, but we’re up to the challenge. And we’ll have a camera or two to keep you abreast of the locations during the sabbatical.

Thanks so much to everyone who’s been super supportive thus far.

Some little birds near a drainpipe in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Former site of a children’s playground in East New York, Brooklyn.

I love moments like this in New York: when areas start to become full-blown meadows in Spring, with many different species of plants and grasses competing for coverage. Sadly this area has been mowed several times since I took this. Detective Joseph Mayrose Park, Brooklyn.

“Al-Noor School: Education for Life & Hereafter,” Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

“Come taste the tropics,” Kensington, Brooklyn.

supreme soy sauce

A discussion between two carteneros in Brooklyn’s Chinatown, Sunset Park.

• Congrats to Tod Seelie for the great feature in this past Sunday’s New York Times. Well done!

“Your resource for anything Jewish.”

• Some friends and I were invited to the Thompson Hotel’s rooftop pool opening party in the Lower East Side last week. While the “rooftop” was only 3 or 4 floors up (despite the hotel stretching further upward), and the view being oddly obstructed by a black, opaque wall, an open bar in an elevated area of Manhattan after the workday is not something to turn down. Jenn and I met the event director, a nice, young guy, though I can’t seem to locate his name at the moment.

“Opium Poppy: Breadseed Poppy – Fruits are the source of morphine and other alkaloid drugs.”

• Each night around 1am or so (sometimes a little earlier), the racoons come out in search of trash on my block. If it’s a Tuesday night or Friday night, they score big in front of my apartment building, and drag black trash bags underneath the cover of cars to dig into the discarded meat, vegetables, bread, and fruit. On nights other than Tuesday and Friday, they check the usual spot, but generally move on when all they can find is leftover trash juice on the sidewalk.

St. Mary’s Hospital of Brooklyn. Status: abandoned/condemned.

Brownsville/East New York, Brooklyn.

Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

• I finally finished reading the New Yorker’s massive Scientology article from the other week/month. It’s split up into 26 pages online, but I’d recommend clicking “view as a single page” then copying/pasting it into a text editor to make a more manageable document/print of everything. This is a well-researched journalistic gem, and if you have even a slight interest in learning about the ridiculous ins and outs of contemporary cults, read it.

• On the subject of New York-based magazines having solid articles recently, I’ve recommended that some friends & family also check out the great cover story from a few weeks back over at New York Magazine, called “Paper Tigers.” It sheds a lot of light on the Asian American identity (possibly more slanted toward a male Asian American identity, in part due to the writer’s gender), and it’s generated a massive amount of online discussion, and some consider it to be one of the most popular articles ever from the magazine. It is also a long read, but in my opinion, well worth it, and timely.

Sidewalk in Brownsville, Brooklyn. I remember a few years back when I thought that ailanthus was the most prolific & iconic urban weed in New York City, but Hans told me to look out for chrysanthemum weed (also known as mugwort). And he’s been right: it thrives in such abundance that it dominates any size vacant lot (such as this one, or this bench), and I think it may take the crown of most successful NYC weed.

Matt in Allentown, New Jersey. The annual pirate canoe race (or a variation/off-shoot of it) is coming up, in just under a month, over July 4th weekend. Here’s last year’s, and back in 2009. Just remember to bring stuff that can be trashed/thrashed. I’ve had cameras dunked underwater, and have had to throw out pairs of shoes, after repeated getting stuck in several feet of mud. It’s the good stuff.

we like the flag, but where’s the pole?

Two new Friday the 13th tattoos, though I neglected to get this gentleman’s name (or his girlfriend’s, below) – sorry for not properly introducing myself to you guys.

Typically Friday the 13th tattoos are $13 dollar (plus tip) specials – quite a good deal, the only catch being you have to select from a certain amount of pre-drawn flash, and can only get them on certain body parts (I think generally arms/legs/chest/back, as opposed to ribs/hands/neck/feet/face/butt/etc).

Rachel’s dog. I’ve been terrible about remembering pets’ names recently – I think it might be something literary-related. A few weeks back, Rachel and Mimi had a shared birthday party at Rachel’s apartment in Greenpoint. Amazing late-night crowd, quite a variety of people (contemporary dancers, photographers, television producers, writers, etc), and I always love getting a little time to play some stuff on people’s stereos.

• On the music front, my good buddy Val just notified me of the fact that Pulp has reunited. Amazing and unexpected news for Brit Pop fans. Jarvis Cocker is amazing to see in person doing his solo stuff, but I haven’t had the chance to see real-live Pulp songs being performed yet.

Pam’s been in town, over this Memorial Day weekend, and it’s been great to spend time with her, both over in Williamsburg and the Upper East Side, at a handful of great restaurants and bars. Jenn and I even had a chance to meet her parents – very nice people, with some great stories to share.

• Recently Jen & Rich came into town for Emily’s wedding – and we hung out with them over on the west side of Manhattan (near Chelsea), and ended up witnessing a large group of people get busted for pot right beside us by a brigade of plainclothes officers – grabbed, handcuffed, and hauled away. Bloomberg’s got eyes everywhere in this town. But always great to see Jen & Rich, and get updates on their indie rock and farm renovation-filled days down in Asheville, North Carolina.

“No offense, but compared to Paris, or really any city, New York is a rat hole.”
David, an Ecuadorian living in Copenhagen, Denmark, who I met at Katie’s going-away party in Brooklyn Heights the other night.

The annual Cherry Blossom Festival (Sakura Matsuri) at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden brings some interesting characters out of the woodwork. I find it hard to get past the plentiful people watching to even have time to admire any plants/flowers. So much to see in all directions.

Georgia, Clay & Linda’s West Highland White Terrier, gave up on chasing some ducks, once she realized she was in a little over her head, so to speak.

Ra (on the left here, beside Jenn), is one of the most interesting people I’ve met in quite some time. Its tough to put into words, but every once in a while, someone comes along with a certain crazy-upbeat personality that makes you say to yourself, “Wow, I could learn a thing or two about how to live life from this person.”

a few minutes with tim

For the second installment of the interview series, here’s Tim. He’s a Brooklyn-based systems administrator by day, and a turntablist/DJ during many evenings and weekends under the name “DJ Idlemind: The Appropriate Agent.”

He sat down to chat with us in his Bed-Stuy residence one afternoon, and demonstrated his craft for Jenn and I. We had heard him spin at parties before, but it was extra special to hear some mixing at his place. While he mentioned his favorite artist of all time is Prince, he definitely pulls from a wide range of sources to keep people dancing, and when possible, sneaks in samples that give props to Brooklyn. He’s also known for having love for Brit pop and hip hop from the 1980s, which never hurts to toss in, either.

For more information on Tim, and to find out where he’s performing next, definitely check out:​djidlemind

Only a fraction of his equipment.