pitfalls and transgressions

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

time of celebration

My good friends Kathleen and Tom got married this past weekend, and I had the honor of shooting the event.  (Though, full gallery not available quite yet).  The ceremony and reception were in Nolita/Soho.  When the couple left in Tom’s vintage VW truck, it drew quite a large crowd on Spring Street.

So I need to work on my stenciling skills.  Regardless, a big thanks to America for the large victory!

Pay-O-Matic in South Slope, Brooklyn.

The annual NYC Marathon went through South Slope last Sunday morning.  There was certainly some pain on people’s faces by mile 6.

“Bunny for Obama.”  There were also a few people running in full Braveheart costumes.

• I think Thievery Corporation’s role in globalization (and I don’t think the world always automatically has to have negative connotations) is greatly unacknowledged.  I mean, I know I’ve probably said this before, but so many restaurants (especially Thai restaurants in NYC, and I’m pretty sure I heard it in a real Thai restaurant in Thailand last month) can’t seem to avoid playing “Lebanese Blonde.”  And I heard it yesterday during the Future of Web Design conference.  But maybe there’s no coincidence — the track is safe, entirely instrumental, could maybe fit into the horrible generic label of “world music,” and kinda is genuinely good.  I just think that the band’s songs may be more ubiquitous in NYC than perhaps even super-old Michael Jackson songs.

• Speaking of bands, during the voting queue on 7th Avenue yesterday, Jason of The Bloodsugars informed me of a few more spots in South Slope I hadn’t yet discovered: the 24-hour Mexican bakery on 5th Ave that has tacos and tortas (aside from normal bakery stuff), plus the slices at Luigi’s Pizza (also on 5th) come highly recommended.

• Also, happy birthday this past weekend to Hillary!

Some bright green parrots in a tree near my apartment.  Their high-pitched chirping is kinda nice.

autumn upstate

There was dancing.

• My good friends Rich and Jen got married the other week, upstate at Mount Tremper, NY.  In addition to spending time with them, it provided a great opportunity to meet more of their friends who flew in from the west coast and the midwest.  Quality people and lots of drinks on hand.  Perhaps too many drinks, though, for a good cause, of course.  The Catskill Mountains certainly rival Appalachian areas when it comes to deciduous trees and winding streams.  The beautiful weather didn’t hurt either.  Gallery of shots: here.

A block from my apartment here in Brooklyn, some people got busted for illegally selling a ton of cats and dogs and other pets out on the street without any permits or papers.  There may have been other factors at play, because the people were hauled off, the animals were rescued, and all of the cages and food were simply abandoned.

• On the topic of abandoned things on the street, a big thanks to my neighbors for the bike with the “free” sign on it the other day.  I’ve fixed a few minor things on it, and now I may have enough bikes to supply my 2 siblings with when they come into town in a few months.

“Do not rent rooms.  It is not legal.  If your name is not on the the lease, I will give your name to the police.”

danger falling bricks

South Slope, Brooklyn.

• Speaking of South Slope, if you’re in a 25-block radius or so of 26th Street and 3rd Avenue, I’d highly recommend riding your bike to Rossman Farms .  I was shocked initially the other week when I filled a basket with produce and assorted prepackaged items and the total was a mere $15.  In several return trips, I can’t seem to get the total over $22 (though my physical limit is what I can carry on my bike).  I mean, limes were 12 for $.99 last night.  Oh, and the junk is 24 hours .  Alright, that’s all, just wanted to put it out there once.

Roosevelt Island tram, on 59th Street in Manhattan.

• I rode my first official Half Century two weekends back, through the NYCC’s Escape New York .  Shane rode with me, up from Sakura Park in Harlem across the George Washington Bridge, up 9W in New Jersey to Piermont Pier, in New York on the Hudson.  After I fixed another flat (I’m not sure what to say about multiple staples being in my tires in the past few weeks), the route headed back through some stunningly decadent homes set into super steep terrain (specifically Church St. and Walnut St. beat us into submission).  But regardless, it felt good to be able to say I did 65 miles fixed, at the end of the day.  I still have yet to get the photos processed from the voyage, but hopefully soon.

South Slope, Brooklyn.

A livery cab.  I feel like NYC possesses 96% of America’s black Lincoln Town Cars and Crown Victorias.

• Happy birthday to my father last week.  Things seem to be on the up-and-up in North Carolina from what I gather.

• Thanks to D.LISH and B.Davis for continuing to host great italian feasts over in Greenpoint (now relocated from Bed-Stuy: Do or Die).

There are blocks and blocks of unmarked factories and warehouse complexes.  A security car followed me for a while around this area.  Many, many stray cats.

While the R train might be the most 1980s due to the fake wood grain, I do think they did something right with the wallpaper pattern.  It’s the NY state seal in positive and negative, effectively rocking the “all over print” before the junk was even in style.

• This past Saturday night, the party I’d been helping with (identity, print and digital promotions, printed collateral, etc) seemed to be a big hit.  TAKEOVER was this past Saturday night at BAM from 9PM until 4AM.  Brad (crashing with us, in from Seattle), Marta, Moses, Jenn, and I ate ceviche over at Coco Roco before meeting up with B.Nasty and some others for the event.  The two highlights for me were: when Sufjan Stevens came on stage to perform a cover of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” with St. Vincent, and when The Warriors (1979) started playing at 2:25AM, and the overflowing crowd, beer in hand, was cheering at the on-screen NYC gangs.

• Lots of drinking lately, with some time over at Lakeside Lounge in the East Village and some time at Metropolitan in Williamsburg, plus some standard entertaining in one’s apartment.

Brad visited from Seattle for the past four days. Jen and Rich were also in from Asheville, NC for a while too.

to the south side

Red Hook, Brooklyn has some strange tropical moments.

• A few weeks ago, my cousin Paul was in town, so Jenn and I met up with he and two of his friends, Jane and Chrissy, to hang at Prospect Park, then Soda Bar over in Prospect Heights (good atmosphere, bad service) and then across the street to Zaytoons (great food and service, some of the best Mediterranean food in BK).

• Also a few weeks ago, I ended up meeting some friends of Mike Morarian’s at Katja’s going away party at the grossly-fratty, Spitzer’s, in my old neighborhood (the Lower), named Steve and Dave.  We also checked out one of those dark, soul bars, and eventually wound up at the Parkside Lounge.  Good times.

“Better red than dead.”

Earlier this year, upstate, NY.

I ended up getting some Mavic CXP22’s laced to Formula 32H hubs on my bike. While they look pretty similar to the stock wheels, they’re considered the strongest in their class.

South Slope/Sunset Park, Brooklyn. I moved a week and a half ago, and we’ve been getting adjusted to the new neighborhood daily.  A big “thanks” goes out to D.Lish and Moses for aiding in the U-Haul move.  Very cool.

Jenn and I ended up running into F.Trainer over near the cemetery the other evening, and he had positive things to say about the area.  He’s always doing good things (ie: the 1058 post).

• The Escape New York ride is right around the corner (Sept 20), but there’s still time to register.  Could be good.

fish jerky

A mysterious package arrives.

A variety of seafood-flavored items explode out — a little preview of late October, courtesy of my sister, Hillary, who’s living in Thailand.  Everything, except for some of the cuttlefish jerky, was consumed within the first 24 hours.  Don’t sleep on the shrimp chips and hot sauce combo (or squid-flavored peas, or even beer pretzels, good times).

• Happy birthday to Pam this past weekend.  Johnny Juice, Marta, Chris Griggs, Lou, Jenn, and I celebrated over drinks and mexican corn.  Not just any corn, this crap is phenomenal.  It’s grilled with mayonaise, kojita cheese, cayanne pepper, and lime juice.  $2 at Habana Outpost.

• The next day, Jenn and I met up with Steve Nghe, Will Hall, Frank, and a few others for a painful (location-wise) Midtown Dallas BBQ experience.  Good to see everyone, but no way it’s going to happen again in the center of all that is Midtown.

• On Sunday, Jenn and I met up with Marta and Pam again in the main fields of Prospect Park. Luckily, this was before my rear hub spontaneously stripped on my bike, hopefully we’ll be back in business within a day or two.

Albany, NY.

100% custom Schwinn in Midtown.

• A quick work-related mention: one of the largest projects I’ve worked on has reached fruition (last Thursday): bam.org.  Represent BK.

All quiet on the southern front.

defend brooklyn

A stray cat hangs out in the lot that might unfortunately become the prohibitively-expensive Whole Foods near the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn.

Speaking of being eco-friendly, Jenn and I made it out to the monthly Brooklyn Critical Mass, at Grand Army Plaza on Friday.  It was decidedly higher profile than normal, with the widely-publicized police brutality at last Friday’s Manhattan ride.  The entire, enjoyable 2.5 hour police-escorted cruise through Park Slope, Dumbo, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bed Stuy, Bushwick, and some other remote neighborhoods went successfully, without tickets or much police harassment.  The vast majority of onlookers cheered and waves, though a handful of drivers and pedestrians shouted some funny things: “I thought the Olympics was in China!  Yall is the Special Olympics!” and, “Are you the Bike Squad?”, “There goes the Gay Marathon!” plus, “Communist bastards!” Haha, near a bar, some guy walked out with his beer and asked “What are you riding for?” and someone responded “Yes!  What are you drinking for?”  We met a few nice fellow cyclists, including some people active with TimesUp and a Dyker Heights guy on a black and white Langster named Mike (who reminded us of a younger and slightly more Brooklyn Mike Morarian).  Great fun, check it out next month.

• This past Tuesday I made it out to a small group ride for some training laps at Prospect ParkHenri, Lewis, and (damn, drawing a blank now on the other name), were super nice, and very fast.  I’ve got a little ways to go before I can power through that many laps at a decent clip again.

• Speaking of keeping active, in very unfortunate news, my super-active British uncle, Peter, died unexpectedly the other week.  He was a well-respected physician and marathon runner based out of Richmond, Virgina.  He’ll be missed.

Under-appreciated South Slope, Brooklyn.

• So as of August 1, I officially became a Brooklyn resident. I’m living out of a suitcase on 9th street in Park Slope until I move into South Slope (on 23rd St) on September 1st.  But no, to get “BROOKLYN” on one’s knuckles is certainly more than a little preemptive.  Though, I did get this on my left arm a little over a month ago (though it’s a homage to a small place in South Carolina, not the NYC area):

Carroll Gardens side of the Gowanus Canal.

• The new Five Guys Burgers & Fries on 7th Ave in Park Slope does cook great burgers.  The normal ones are double patties, and the smalls are single patties.  Their interior space and identity do seem to be a laziness-driven cop-out, but the food is certainly worth checking out once or twice a month (though, go easy on the arteries).

• Last night Jenn and I caught I’ll Come Running (2008) as part of the Rooftop Films series over at the American Can Factory on 3rd Street.  The passion-into-freak-accident plot reminded me a lot of the poorly-named Japanese Story (2003).  A 2-person band called “Bell” opened for the film, and drew upon Bjork inspiration to layer vocals, keyboard, and electronic drums, sounding like a cuter and decidedly less catchy version of Cassettes Won’t Listen.

Defend Brooklyn.

• Thanks to Jason & Kirby for throwing a good, old-fashioned cookout in the backyard of their 8th Street apartment, in the heart of the Park Slope brownstones.  Filled with many of their triathlon friends and coworkers.

Remnants of an alleyway pool party in the Lower while I was moving out.