pitfalls and transgressions

1393_01
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.

1393_02
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.

1393_03
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.

1393_04
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:

1393_05
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.

1393_06
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.

1393_07
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.

1393_08
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).

1393_09
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.

alphabet city


Between Avenues C and D, in the heart of the Alphabet.


The rear bumper is pretty intense.


There seems to be no shortage of gangster 1950s cars.

• Jenn and I spotted Terry Richardson walking his dog a block from his studio, here in the Lower, on Sunday afternoon. He was rocking his trademark red plaid. I think he’s immune to aging.

The Great Bike Walk 2008! Despite getting off to a slightly later than expected start (following a “quick” 45 minute ride over to Park Slope and back around 7AM), I still rode in a good-sized pack of close friends: Jenn, Kate, Mr. Appalachia, B.Nasty and Delish. Regrettably, the delayed start caused my coworkers, Shane, Adam, and Matt, to need to go ahead and line up, which was more than understandable, given the intense crowds and our predetermined meet-up time. There were almost thirty thousand other cyclists. I heard yesterday that there were only 39 injuries associated with the ride, which is a pretty low number. After numerous bottlenecks and claustrophobia, we ended up bailing in Queens, halfway through the forty-three mile tour, to set out to carve our own path through to Brooklyn, via one of those more remote bridges, then a long, great trek through Bed-Stuy and some neighboring communities. As those California cycling coaches put it, “sometimes you have to control the lane.”

• Following the ride on Sunday, Mr. Appalachia hosted a great cookout in his backyard over in Red Hook. Beautiful weather. Great, large group of people, but the night really began at sunset when a raccoon attacked a cat, by chasing it up (and then back down) a fire escape. Animals make crazy noises when fighting. Defend Brooklyn.


Shane brought in this killer candy from Chinatown the other day. Chocolate tree stumps, complete with a wooden typeface. Golden. (And yes, Kathleen, that’s the clear skull in the background of the shot).

chef pants invades


• In a remote area of construction in the Upper West Side, we found a garfield stuffed animal crucified and left for dead.  Heavily faded, bloated, and missing an arm, it was difficult to determine time of death.

Jenn and I met up with Erica & Constantine for dinner at a small, snobby, new restaurant on 5th Ave, somewhat close to Southpaw.  Good food (steak, chicken, salmon tartare, and complimentary clams, but the owner was a little overbearing.  Later, we unsuccessfully attempted to bowl down at Melody Lanes in Sunset Park (we were faced with a 1.5 hr wait), so we met up with D.Lehman, Mr. Appalachia, and Ben Calloway over at Buttermilk on 5th Ave and 16th in Park Slope.

• I have no clue how those tiny urban boutiques survive.  You know, the ones like DQM, Prodigy, or Billionaire Boys Club, etc.  I mean, they have about five items for sale (which maybe isn’t the best word, because there isn’t anything sale-like about the prices), and the three-four employees in the 300-square foot space would much rather continue playing their video game console (perhaps Playstation 6 or whatever the kids have these days) than help any customers.  But it could be that I’ve never hung around those exclusive places enough to effectively pay my dues and gain their respect enough for them to assist me in purchasing something.  Or, I suppose, it could be similar to a bartender just intentionally not wanting to serve you… though, I never see anybody buy anything.  I mean, Republican Rob and I discuss the phenomena of the urban boutique from time to time, and his main theory involves unseen money coming in from a large behind-the-scenes celebrity (ie: Kanye, Pharrell, etc), which would always keep things afloat, despite never unloading any inventory.  It’s image.  (haha, actually, just from a little research, I see that Billionaire is Pharrell-owned, and Prodigy is going belly-up.  I think Rob was onto something.)


• Each time at the pay-what-you-want American Museum of Natural History, I find new things.  This time, I was most interested in the shapes the skeletons on prehistoric animals made.  Extra-large deer-like things, and ancient bears and stuff.

• Last weekend, Hillary, Zena, Jenn, and I took a number in the waiting space for Jin Fong’s famous weekend dim sum, then, once our number was called on the microphone, we paraded up the long escalator and into the large banquet hall.  Everyone was happy.  It was my third or fourth time eating there, but the first time for everyone else in the group.  If you’re unfamiliar with dim sum, its a lunch-brunch meal where waitresses roll carts by your table, and they announce (or sometimes just unveil) what their cart contains (mainly an assortment of dumplings) while you request (and point to, a lot of times) the items you’d like to be added to your table.  Then, the waitress stamps your card, which you later use to pay at the cash register near the exit.  I still haven’t figured out how to accurately gauge what the final bill will be.  It seemed like we had something like 12 stamps on our card, but the total for the four of us was $32.  It’s a steal.  I’d love to try the other larger dim sum options in this city – let me know if there are any you recommend.


• I finally removed the larger, unused larger chain ring on my bike.  Here’s a new shot (above).  A lot of my coworkers and friends have signed up for the Five Borough Bike Tour in early May.  If you sign up in the next week or so, you can still get the early registration rate, which comes to $46.50 or so, with a small service charge.  The real draw, aside from it being one of the largest rides around, is the chance to ride the BQE and the massive Verazano Bridge all the way to Staten Island.


• From the cutting-room floor: OK, there are at least 15 things wrong with this shot.


• A north-facing building on 2nd Street between Avenue B and C received an organic makeover at some point last year.  At a glance, the only name I recognize from elsewhere is the “Best” on the door.  But speaking of getting up in this city, Chef Pants has been pretty active in the past two weeks.  I’ve seen his poor penmanship near the LES Crabs tag on Houston just past the dumpy little architecture firm, beside the newish wheatpaste Elvis Playing an Assault Rifle at the 1st Ave entrance to the 2nd Ave F Train station, and on a handful of the cross streets between Avenue A and B (such as like 4th, I think).  As far as bizarre names go, “Teeth Soup Meat” may beat “Neckface,” “Earsnot,” and “Elbow Toe.” People definitely like body parts around here.

do the lunar


It became winter on Sunday. We had a sideways blizzard strike for about thirty minutes, then disappear. We (Mr. Appalachia, Jenn, Marta, Sarah, and I) were lucky enough to make it inside of a tribeca bar before things got nasty. Tabletop shuffleboard is a delicate game. I kept thinking the bar (Nancy Whiskey Bar) was like the Winchester, ala Shaun of the Dead, but I’m aware it’s a far cry from the truth, simple wishful thinking.

• Before the fleeting snowstorm, we found ourselves in Chinatown in the heart of the Chinese New Year Parade.


Mr. Appalachia (in the aviator jacket, Lehman would be proud) and Marta attempt to consume colored paper.

• BAM’s Harvey Theatre doesn’t allow photography. But they do allow employees access to otherwise closed dress rehearsals. Patrick Stewart is great in the upcoming play, Macbeth. It’s set somewhat in 1940ish England & Scotland with Russian military gear. Lots of fake blood. It’s received stellar reviews from the run it had in London, now it’s here, but the run is already sold out. You may have to craigslist this one, good stuff.

• Thanks to the huge turnout last Thursday at Black & White on 10th street. Hill, Nathan, and even Marc Choi all showed up, plus a large group of the happy hour regulars (Yair, Jesse, Kate, Kumiko, Kathleen, Debbie, Jenn, Redux, Regina, etc).

• The following night, I accompanied Jenn at Rink Bar in Rock Center along with David & Cindy and a bunch of others for slightly-discounted coronas. We later wound up at Calcutta in Curry Row for a sitar-laden meal.

• Also, the Fulton Street Guitar Center has in-store hip hop performances sometimes after work, for future reference.