Tag Archives: brooklyn

Happy birthday, Sara!

24 Mar

She’s the first one to go.

Of the 2o-somethings in our group of friends, Sara is the first one of us to cross the threshold of a new decade.  My milestone comes later this year. Whereas Sara celebrated her 30th in Brooklyn at a small bar called Good Company, I think I’d prefer a more natural surrounding.

After many months of thought, I’ve decided that I would most like to spend my next birthday in the Redwood National Forest or at Yosemite National Park.  When I was a kid, I had a tremendous fascination with the natural world, an awe that’s followed me into adulthood. It makes perfect sense.

But this post isn’t about my birthday (it kinda is), it’s about Sara… and a creepy bus in the courtyard of that bar. Valerie actually said that she wants to get married on it. Let this post stand as the living proof of that statement.

Bean bag toss at Good Company. Photo credit: Shannon McGarvey

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Dine in BK

16 Mar

Dine in BK poster 2012

A Walk Around North Brooklyn

10 Mar
Phil Collins Street Art

Phil Collins Street Art at the Greenpoint Ave. stop in Greenpoint. Photo credit: Shannon McGarvey 2012

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Daydream Believer

6 Mar

Spring in New York – the sunshine, the crisp air, the wide eyes peeking out from winter burrows – need I say more?

In comparison to last year’s blizzard, the past few months have been a cakewalk. Heck, New York hasn’t even had any substantial snowfall and it’s supposed to be 65 on Thursday!

Even though I’ll be locked inside an office…I’m still super stoked!

Balloons in a tree

heart shaped box

Gutter Balls

4 Mar

It’s been two years and I haven’t bowled with the Bohls once. That is, until Saturday.

There’s something you’ve gotta understand about Adam and Sara Bohl – they love to bowl. Sure, it sounds like a joke but it’s totally true! These Indiana siblings are straight out of an episode of Roseanne and they’ve got the flannel to prove it, too. They’ve also got the bowling scores. I, unfortunately, do not.

I walked away from Gutter with a measly score of 84. Total fail.

Friends on stairs

Shannon and Sara outside of Gutter Bowl

Bowling shoes
My haunted bowling shoes.
Girl bowling
Sara bowling.
Man glowing red

Adam glowing red.

Awesome Air-Drumming Gone Way Too Long

26 Feb

Notice the sweat accumulate as Carter toils over ‘Sweet Emotion.’

Painting Valerie’s

20 Feb

It has been said that only your true friends will help you move for free. I think this adage applies to the painting of one’s Bushwick apartment, as well.

Valerie and I did just that over the course of two days this past weekend. It was like Hurricane Irene all over again!

The fun started at my house on Friday night and then moved to Valerie’s on Saturday and Sunday. By the end of it all – Whitney Houston’s funeral, two rooms and all that crown molding – we were nasty.

Let’s just say we could’ve fried some chicken with the grease off our heads. It was gross, ya’ll.


Let the games begin!


My knuckles, swollen like a blow fish.

Real New Yorkers

7 Feb

Why are so many New Yorkers obsessed with being “real New Yorkers?”

This thought entered my mind while watching a promo for the NY1 “Real New Yorker” campaign yesterday. A narrator speaks over photos of different New York street scenes while asking the viewer certain questions: (I’m paraphrasing) “why do you look into oncoming traffic instead of the traffic light before stepping into the crosswalk?”; “how do you know the street vendor umbrellas are garbage?”; “how do you know which subway car will drop you off closest to the exit?” – “you’re a REAL NEW YORKER.”

I understand the angle. NY1 is at once attempting to illustrate it’s longevity while also giving viewers the “secret handshake.” New Yorkers wear this city like a badge and rightfully so. The longer I’ve lived here, however, the more I’ve come to see New York as I would any other city: just a city.

Before I moved to New York I got a lot of chatter about how expensive it is, how hard it is to “make it,” how everyone is rude, how New York is the loneliest city in the world, how it’s a dog-eat-dog world and New York City has the sharpest teeth – the list goes on. What I’ve found? Well, there’s truth in every trite adage but only a little.

As with any megalopolis, New York is going to have slightly stiffer competition than other cities, more expensive options, more people thus more of the ruder variety, and, yes, it can be very lonely. My point is, when I stopped glorifying New York City and saw it stripped naked standing in front of me, I realized that we’re not so different from everybody else – we’re just more concentrated.

Sure, New York is different in the details: I walk everywhere; I look like a pack mule coming home from the grocery store; I have a personal relationship with my cobbler. In many ways, I feel like New Yorkers are closer, more in touch, with their residence just because of simple interaction. There is an energy to this place but there is no magic.

So why are New Yorkers so obsessed with being “real?” Maybe it’s because we know how special this city is. We know how, perhaps, we once glorified the skyscrapers and bustle; how we felt when we first visited; how envious we were of our friends that had already made the leap. We also know the dirty, often stressful realities of living here.

Maybe that’s what they mean by “real.”

Out In the Streets

29 Jan

It’s no secret: Williamsburg is blowing up.

Development off the Bedford stop is booming. So much that the original gentry are now the ones being gentrified! In a strange although completely expected turn of events, “adventurous” Manhattanites are crossing the bridge to settle North Brooklyn side. What does it all mean?

Well, it definitely means a price hike. It also signifies the next phase in the evolution of Williamsburg. Such is New York.

Always changes, never sleeps.


Occupy art.


Still moving.


More Occupy art.

imageWeird door.

Sunday Treasure

9 Jan

Upon stepping out of my apartment on Sunday afternoon, I found a stack of rather interesting publications strewn across the sidewalk in front of my door.

When I took a bit of a closer look I realized that there were some real treasures in the pile: first edition short stories by Jonathan Lethem, George Saunders and Haruki Murakami, to name a few. You don’t have to have a master’s degree in creative writing (ahem, me!) to know that those puppies are some real finds.

Of course, before I fully committed to pocketing these lovely chapbooks I allowed the paranoid New Yorker inside of me to surface. That means I inspected the delicate pages, one by one, every crevice of these tiny manuscripts for any sign of beast or vermin. Bed bugs, folks.

Laugh it up, but it’s a real concern in the City. Thankfully though, these bad boys were pest-free!

At least, I think…

Photo courtesy of Valerie.

For Esme

5 Jan

I knew Esme when I lived in Austin and we shared several close mutual friends.

One such friend I was visiting on New Year’s Day just as she heard that Esme died. I’ve never seen such a sadness befall anyone. There is a certain type of cry that people cry when someone passes away. Still, this was different. This was what it sounds like when you find out someone you love has been murdered.

It’s been almost a week and Esme’s killer is still free. A certain madness has descended on the city these past few days as her friends, co-workers, and even strangers scramble to make sense of something ultimately senseless.

The scope of Esme’s charity and kind spirit touched many lives in Texas and beyond. As small evidence of such, Brooklyn Vegan is publicizing a Bushwick benefit to raise funds for funeral costs and Esme’s charity of choice, Girl’s Rock. NME  also provided a compendium of memorials to the late 29 year old, as well as links to several sites erected after Esme’s murder.

The Austin Police Department has released a composite sketch of two males (possibly the same person) responsible for other attacks in the vicinity of Esme’s former residence. One such attack happened just outside Esme’s apartment within an hour of her murder.

Rest in peace, Esme.

Esme Barrera.

Esme’s suspected killer.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

11 Dec

Believe it or not, winter is finally upon us and the good people of New York City are taking to the streets to celebrate.

In one of the most obvious and decidedly fratastic displays of holiday spirit, a small subsection of New Yorkers dressed up as “Christmas” and roved the streets drunkenly harassing passersby. It’s called SantaCon and, on Saturday, those Santa-themed pests infested every nook of Manhattan. It was like the bedbug debacle of August ’10 all over again. But with Santas. And slutty elves. And some barf.

Beyond the treachery and debauchery of these very bad Santas, there were also a bevy of healthy holiday celebrations on Saturday. Most notably, the hoards of Christmas tree-luggers, sidewalk holly, and the ever-overwhelming Union Square Holiday Market.

My favorite was the lady in the tri-corner hat standing beside the “Pot Talk” bike. Just classic.

imageSo New York.

imageNothing says Christmas like painting a street light.


imagePot Talk.

imageSidewalk holly.

Whole Lotta Love

4 Dec

It’s always nice when world’s harmoniously collide – especially when the respective worlds belong to your two favorite people!

This weekend, Carter and Valerie met on the site of many, many hallowed Williamsburg nights: Daddy’s. Keeping with our tradition, we hoarded $2 pints of Budweiser until 9pm at which time happy hour was over (beers increased to a whopping $4!)  and we promptly departed. What, you think we’d pay an extra $2 for a beer buzz? We are what you would call “high-class broads.”

I mean, clearly.

Photo credits: Valerie.

The Best Laid Plans

14 Nov

As I was walking to my apartment yesterday, I came across a blueprint on the sidewalk.

I thought to myself: In my lifetime, how many times have I come across a blueprint on the street? (thinking) I have never come across a blueprint on the street. Why is this so special, aside from the fact that you’ve never come across a blueprint on the street? Truth be told, this blueprint is not particularly special aside from the details of its unfortunate circumstance.

Meaning, some times even the best laid plans still end up slipping away, falling out of your portfolio and onto a dirty sidewalk in Williamsburg.


Free the Turkey!

9 Nov

I think the folks at the New York City Department of Health are taking Thanksgiving a little too seriously this year, what with a seemingly spontaneous order to shut down the Williamsburg dive bar Turkey’s Nest.

When the order was handed down, I read that mass waves of hysteria rolled down Bedford Avenue and the echoes of bearded weeping could be heard throughout McCarren Park. Indeed, it is a sad day in Williamsburg. Rumor has it that the Turkey’s wings will flap once more tonight – though devoid of the mice, flies, and rancid bathrooms that put this grungy little place on the map?

Not if I have anything to say about it!

Broken Glass Everywhere

8 Nov

A light bulb? Milk glass? Crack cocaine?

What ever it is, it’s kind of beautiful.


El Topo

27 Oct

I saw Jodorowsky’s El Topo for the first time several years ago.

It’s creativity, along with freakish imagery, both inspired and creeped me out.

I will not be in attendance at tonight’s screening but I believe my roommate will be.


25 Oct

This is what over a year’s worth of construction looks like: the leaning tower of the Lorimer stop.

Not pictured: a front sign that “welcomes” Williamsburg to architecture.  I think the sign should instead apologize to the neighborhood for driving rent prices up, destroying our skyline, and causing a general nuisance of noise for the past umpteen months.

Honestly I appreciate progress and I, most certainly, realize that neighborhoods – especially in New York City – are constantly evolving. There’s just something about this monster, the lack of appreciation for the aesthetic of the block, that really bugs me. What aesthetic, you ask? An ugly, filthy, post-industrial kind.

Keep Lorimer creepy!

imageKeap and Hope.

35 Delicious Years

10 Oct

Today, on my walk home from Cutie Calls, I happened upon the 35th anniversary celebration of my favorite neighborhood bakery, Fortunato Brothers.

In recent months, I’ve had to temper my time with the panetteria (lest I start looking like Dom DeLuise), but today I cut myself a little slack. After all, there was a two-story likeness of the Empire State Building covered in frosting, giant cannolis, and meat pies out the wazoo. That’s not even counting the Fortunato Special (a birthday cake comprised of cream puffs), thick NY cheese cake, and pignoli cookies. I felt like it was Christmas (or an episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey)!

Everyone on the block came out to show their love for the 35 delicious years of service from one of Brooklyn’s finest Italian bakeries.

Happy birthday, Fortunato Brothers!






Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful gourd

9 Oct

imageTo the tune of John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy”

Tough For Temporary

8 Oct

Today Mike and I went to Fort Greene to check out the Brooklyn Flea Market (again) and I ended up getting a (temporary) tattoo for charity.

The Temporary Tattoo Project combines the skills of Brooklyn-area tattoo artists, in a less permanent manner, to benefit the building of a girl’s school in Kenya.

I got Steven Lam’s lion on my forearm. Of the other tattoos to choose from, there was a kite, a tiger riding a airplane, a rocking horse, a goldfish, and a lotus flower.

I’m pretty sure that mine was the toughest.




imageThe application.

imageMy toughness knows no bounds.

Live Free Or Die

5 Oct

I’ve recently and quite suddenly become really bored with my morning commute. To me, it’s slowly transformed into a lot of the same : same rotating cast of figures – the Ecuadorian crooner singing “Stand By Me” in broken English, the over-styled young professional carrying a man-purse, that one guy on the lap steel – same packed subway car, same cattle call at Union Square, same AM New York guy, same same same.

This morning, as I was getting ready to head to work, I began thinking about permanently changing my morning commute. You know, just to mix it up. It was a passing thought really because my regular commute is the most efficient route and any other option would lob on another 10 to 15 minutes, which appeared to be a preposterous option despite my boredom. So when it eventually came to me walking out the door (15 minutes “late,” mind you) I chose my tried and true (and boring) route instead.
When I landed on my old  worn-out subway platform, I found that the next train was due to arrive in 12 minutes. That feels like an eternity when you’re running late. Then it dawned on me: This was the perfect opportunity to test out a new commute. Even if it tacked on an extra 10 minutes, it would still be better than hearing the botched lyrics of “Stand By Me” for the umpteenth time.
This little light bulb moment got me thinking about serendipity and how, I believe, the Universe always supplies us with the tools to achieve exactly what we need. It’s just a matter of paying attention; seeing the opportunity in every situation; seizing the moment – even down to the smallest or most insignificant circumstance.
I think so many people don’t even realize these instances and just spin away, content to live with boredom or sadness or even misery. Never knowing – er, never noticing – that we have been holding the key to our own happiness the entire time.
imagePlease don’t stalk this person.

Bowling with the Bohls (et al.)

19 Sep

On Sunday, I met up with Adam, Sara, Tim, and Danielle for brunch and, later, a quick bowl at the Gutter.

Afterward, the girls headed to Soft Spot for a quick drink and a bite to eat. On Sundays, Soft Spot barbecues burgers, ribs and corn on a grill in the back patio.






17 Sep

Today was fat with activity.

First with a walk across the Williamsburg Bridge to this morning’s volunteer project, then with a quick ride to Fort Greene for a treasure hunt at Brooklyn Flea.

Adam even met up with me, as I was in the hood, and we kicked it on his stoop for a while. Apparently one of his roommates has a green thumb. I helped myself to a tomato and a bag full of mint leaves. I’ve already made mint iced tea and a chutney of some sort is on the way.

Before heading home, we made a random stop at Adam’s neighborhood health food store for a juice – carrot, ginger, and apple juice.

When we finally parted ways, I commemorated the awesome-ness of the good day with some subway graffiti of the RUSH variety. Just remember:  What you say about his company is what you say about society.


“Graham Home for Old Ladies”


This juice guy didn’t like us too much. imagePicked these myself.imageMy new look: The David Letterman.imageAdam and Ben.imageThis dog was cool.imageSo was this dog… and this dog.image

This guy wasn’t dead but he sure was a long way from home. imageAnd he was STILL faster than me.

imageTom Sawyer.

All Grown

12 Sep

For the past year-and-a-half, construction scaffolding hid the sidewalk along Keap and Ainslie streets in my neighborhood.

Recently the mass of wood and metal piping was removed, revealing an unsightly condominium and this little guy, who I’m calling the Monchichi.

If you look down the block, you’ll see that construction has since moved to the “Open Your Eyes” building off Union Avenue and Metropolitan. For every morning of the past week, construction workers focused on a different part of the building’s facade, slowing inching toward the vacant lot next door, and even closer to one of my favorite pieces of street poetry.

I really hope they keep it!  


Bushwick Bon Voyage

5 Sep

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer and, with it, I welcome the chill of my favorite season: autumn.

There’s a change in the air that always comes with the turn of a season but for whatever reason this year feels different. This summer felt like the end of something and this autumn, the beginning.

I’m excited to see where the wind blows me.


“Being on a rooftop is like being on a boat, really far inland”


image“Get thee to a nunnery.”


imageJ train.


Last of the Beach Days

4 Sep

Anyone who knows Valerie and I know that we hit the beach every Saturday in the summer.

Although this season has been a little rainy we’ve still managed to go most weekends. This past Sunday marked our last beach day of 2011. It was a sad day but we soaked it in and embraced the change.

I’ll miss you, Rockaway! 

This is me saying goodbye. Photo courtesy of Valerie.

Best friends.

“An Ocean Voyage”

31 Aug

Sara, Ariel, and myself went on a booze cruise – er, “booze crooze” – last night.

There were some initial doubts when we first spotted our constituency at the marina but, once we hit the high seas of the East River, it turned out to be a very special experience.

Sure, the “crooze” was trashy to the core – hot buffet line, top 40 music, and cheap wine – but the views were spectacular. Throughout the course of our “three-hour tour” we up-skirted three bridges and got a spectacular view of Lady Liberty.

At one point,  I was so overwhelmed by the magnificence of our Lady that I spotaneously requested that everyone on deck toast her and “show some freakin’ respect.” What did I get? Laughs.

I also got a view of the new World Trade Center building, an eerie reminder that the tenth anniversary of September 11 is indeed upon us.

imageAriel and Sara walking to our boat.

imageAriel and the East River.

imageThe City looked fake and I looked like a Russian immigrant.

imageSo we all took our turns posing in front of it.

imageThe Brooklyn Bridge.

imageShow some freakin’ respect!

Hurricane Exit

27 Aug


About to leave for Valerie’s in Bushwick.

Keep NYC in your thoughts!

29th Skip Around

26 Aug

For my 29th skip around the Universe, I invited some of my closest friends to join me for pizza and wine at the Williamsburg location of Fornino.

Valerie, front and center, with a bevy of other friends.

Sam and Mike.

Valerie again supplied the cupcakes.

I wore day glo.


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