Tag Archives: manhattan

ET the Extraterrestrial

4 Apr

If Day #1 of my last week in NYC was all about Williamsburg, then Day #2 was largely Lower East Side… and a one-off trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

First order of business was the Tenement Museum, where my roommate Sanaz and I jumped on a 4pm tour called “Hard Times” At this point, it was around 11:30am, so we had some time to kill. Sanaz wanted bubble tea and, after I mentioned a good dumpling place I’d visited a couple of years ago, she was suddenly very hungry. Then we were off, on a mission to find these Chinatown culinary all-stars, zig-zagging through cramped streets and past tiny stores with funny names (ahem, Mei Dick).

After we’d accomplished everything we came for around the Canal/Mott Street area, Sanaz and I made a split-second decision to hop on an Uptown train and spend a couple hours at the Met. What a great idea – especially considering that the museum recently updated its Art of the Arab Lands collection. It might help to know that Sanaz is from Iran and quite knowledgeable regarding the traditional regional designs of Persia.

By 4pm, we were back in the LES and on our tenement tour. By 5pm, we were at Essex Street Market buying produce for the night. By 6pm, we were (literally) limping home. Not sure how I’m going to run and go to the NY Botanical Gardens tomorrow.

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NYC you later!

30 Mar

What would you do if you only had one week left in New York City? Excellent question.

Responses are as varied as the people I’ve met in this great city and range from Turkish baths to botanical gardens, schmancy brunch spots, and endless amounts of walking. In my last week-and-a-half in New York, I want to really love this city. She’s been my constant companion for the past two-odd years and I want to do her right – no tears, no speeches, no cowering, no wimpering – just naked gratitude.

I’ll miss her, that’s for sure, but more for what she’s shown me; more for what I’ve learned about myself while living in this place; more for the wonderful people I’ve met; more for the life-long friends. New York has been very good to me – very good for me – and, for that, I could never feel sad.

When I say goodbye to New York, I will not only bid farewell to part of my life but also a piece of my heart.

Adieu, mon ami!

My last week in NYC. Photo credit: Shannon McGarvey 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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Eyebrow Treading

7 Mar

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Mannequin

5 Mar

I wished that this guy looked a little more like this guy.

That is, “Hollywood Montrose” from the 1987 classic Mannequin

Happy Monday!

Man and mannequin

Central Perks

27 Feb

My “Maine Squeeze” Carter came to visit last weekend and we made a pilgrimage to the American Museum of Natural History.

If you recall, I also embarked on an adventure to the museum - though, alone – recently. I’ll concede that our time at the museum was much more eventful than my own – after all, we did have an en route picnic in Central Park while meandering crosstown.

I also got to scratch a “to-do” off my long list of items when we stopped at the Hayden Planetarium for “Journey to the Stars.”

Way cool.

Man Mask
Carter at the American Museum of Natural History

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Man and Woman Smiling
Shannon and Carter
Man at 81st StreetCarter in the 81st Street Station

Stop and Smell the Roses

22 Feb

Every morning I pass the same violinist in Union Square.

She is not just any violinist – she is The New York Violinst - of whom I’ve never heard of but admittedly sounds very official.

Every morning I pass this woman; with her violin and her stiff back, her long gray hair and her yoga pants; a tourist invariably stopped beside her to listen; and I think to myself, “how nice it would be to have nowhere to go.” But it’s the morning and I’m headed to work with the rest of Brooklyn, caught in the human deluge of rush hour. Every time I see this violinist, that scene, I pull out an ear-bud and I listen for as long as it takes to walk by. And when the music gets too far away or the sound of trains drown it out, I always think about how I should have stopped to enjoy it.

This morning, as the same lament for the dying chords of “Pachelbel Canon in D” set in, I had those thoughts again. “Choices,” I thought. I could choose to stop instead explaining away reasons not to. And so, as effortlessly as that, I retraced my steps back to the violinist, still with her for all of one minute, and then instantly headed back on my way.

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.”

Republican Primaries

31 Jan

It seems as though Republicans are really pulling out all the stops.

I saw this beaut on the way to work this morning.

Just goes to show, no venue is too small – or dirty, for that. image

“Anybody but Obama in ’12′”

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.

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Occupy art.

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Still moving.

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More Occupy art.

imageWeird door.

Love Thine Enemy

25 Jan

The night began with an ice sculpture.

I think it was intended to be a dog but it ended up looking more like an icy bust of Zuul. As in the Gatekeeper of Gozer. I made the mistake of mentioning this observation aloud, which got me into a lighthearted but truly serious argument about whether Zuul was those beast dogs or if Zuul was merely the spirit of a demigod that could inhabit any form. The answer? Both, I guess. At any rate, I am a nerd.

After that, I caught Cass McCombs at the Bowery Ballroom, where I reflected on the 15-almost-16-year-old me. This bored my young friend Sam, who speaks of the ’90s as if it were some urban legend.

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Who is Zuul?

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Totally sold out.

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Cass outside of the Bowery.

imageOn stage.

The Bowery Ballroom

25 Jan

Every time I go to the Bowery Ballroom I’m always reminded of the first time I went to the Bowery Ballroom.

It was the summer of 1998. Armageddon was the blockbuster. Platinum-frosted tips was the style. I was a month shy of my 16th birthday and I was in New York City visiting my dad.

At the time, he worked for the corporate arm of Sam Goody (Remember Sam Goody?!), which had offices in Greenwich Village. Last time I checked, it’s a bank now. In 1998, however, it was the mecca of cool and, when ever I’d come to town, my dad made sure to show me just how cool it really was. That meant tagging me along to his office under the guise of an “internship,” loading me up with a bunch of free music (it was during this time that I discovered Belle & Sebastian and Superdrag) and taking me to tons of free shows. We saw so much music together, in fact, that live shows have since become a tradition between the two of us. Seriously, we saw everyone from Van Morrison to Beck to Ben Folds to Fastball and Semisonic.

You remember Semisonic, don’cha? The ubiquitous “Closing Time” anthem? Yeah well, we saw them at the Bowery Ballroom. I don’t really remember much of their set but I do remember the floor was especially sticky. Like, pull your shoe off sticky. I also remember seeing the chubby, bespectacled frontman of Harvey Danger hanging between the necks of two young women. That’s about it.

Any time I go to the Bowery Ballroom I always think about those random details. I also think about how cool it would be if the me now could talk to the me then. Specifically, that I’d be standing in the exact same spot nearly 15 years later recounting the arbitrary events of that night. The 15-year-old me would’ve been totally stoked. Heck, the 29-year-old me is still totally stoked!

Cass McCombs tonight @ the Bowery Ballroom

Life Moves Pretty Fast

11 Jan

Day at the Museum

8 Jan

I found myself in midtown today after leaving my phone charger at the office last night.

Because of this unlikely occurence, I decided to make a date with Manhattan and visit my favorite place on Central Park West: the American Museum of Natural History. Specifically, the IMAX presentation of Tornado Alley.

Of course, no trip to the AMNH would be complete without a stop in the hall of gemstones and at least one peak at a dinosaur. I also enjoyed the Hall of Biology, the meteor flick and the many, many gift shops.

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Season’s (Pizza) Greetings

15 Dec

You know what the annual office pizza party means?

Means I’ll be home for the holidays in just a few short days.

Guests included all the regulars – Ariel, Lindsay, Caron - and our guest of honor, Pete Tsa. I have to admit, he was looking a little greasy; pepperoni-faced, even.

imageCo-workers.

A King Among Kings

14 Dec

Live like a king, die like a man – that’s what I say!

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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.

imageSantaCon.

imagePot Talk.

imageSidewalk holly.

Shooting (Film) in Times Square

1 Dec

Today I took  a break from the office and hit the mean streets of midtown with some of my co-workers.

Ariel, Caron, MiMi and myself wrangled, shot, and interviewed a whole slew of strangers on this the first (and coldest) day of December.

Shooting in NYC is always interesting but shooting in Time Square is a real feat of strength. Between tourists, food carts, police officers, security guards, street performers, homeless men, throngs of teenagers, and those Salvation Army bell people, we had our jobs cut out for us. Thankfully, everything went extraordinarily well.

So much fun!

imageCaron and Ariel.

imageThe production crew.

Blast From the Past

18 Nov

Either this girl is off to her choreography class or she’s en route to 1992.
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Human sacrifice, dogs and [horses] living together… mass hysteria!

4 Nov

Monster

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.

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

Master/Slave

27 Sep

One of the many joys of living in New York City is having the world at your fingertips.

For a price, almost anything you want can be yours at almost anytime you want it. Let your imagination run wild, from innocent to extravagant and debaucherous, it is all possible in this place.

One of the pleasures that I’ve come to appreciate in recent times is laundry service. To be honest, at first I was a bit leery of allowing a stranger to sort through my dirty knickers but, after I realized how much time it saved me, I stopped caring so much. Now I take a more adversarial approach to the situation and I intentionally include the filthiest items from around my apartment. I even took to melting a Hershey’s Kiss in the seat of my favorite jeans. Why? Just to watch ‘em squirm.

Jokes aside, I’ll admit I take joy in some of the unique services provided by the people of New York City. Other services, such as the shoe-shine, I haven’t quite wrapped my brain around.

Somehow I always find myself feeling sorry for the shoe-shiners as they scrub and slap at the feet of well-to-do men in train stations and airports. How filthy or scuffed could their shoes actually be? How much time would it take to scrub your own shoes? To me, there is a kind of sick master/slave delusion to the whole thing.

imageMaster/Slave

Zippedy Do-Da

8 Sep

In an evolved contemporary society in which the rights of men and woman continue to equalize; in a world where powerful women are increasingly visible,  it is really quite astonishing to see advertisements that so openly and playfully demonize the female sex.

This observation began as so many others: on the subway. I spotted an ad for Zip Car in which a woman had apparently kicked her boyfriend out of their apartment and destroyed most of his material possessions. The copy read: “Sometimes you just need a car,” scrolled atop the mess of this man’s life. A mess, might I add, that his girlfriend created.

What did he ever do?

If you look at him (and his broken things) it appears that he enjoys music, watching TV and playing golf. Judging by the garment bag splayed over the stoop, he probably works a job that necessitates a suit. He likes vinyl records and douchey clothing. He seems like an okay guy.

What do we know about her?

She is pissed, just look at her. He must have done something really bad, that guy. Maybe he cheated on her? Maybe he said she looked fat in that new dress? I bet she’s on her period. What ever the case, he’s perplexed, desperate and pleading with her not to destroy his things. C’mon, baby! She’s irrational and won’t stand to hear any of it. Look at her face, she’s sadistic. She’s enjoying every second of this temper tantrum. It appears as if she’s even deriving some pleasure out of completely destroying and humiliating him. “Him” or should I say “that poor guy.”

In all seriousness though, hasn’t the female image suffered enough in popular culture? Not only are women consistently portrayed as objects of desire but our sexuality is often trivialized (lesbians are frequently depicted as criminals or predators), along with shows of confidence or power.

The woman below is not portrayed in a positive light. She looks like a kook; a crazy, psycho girlfriend in a story that only tells one side. A story that I happen to find really annoying and even a bit offensive.  

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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.

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

imageAdam.

image“Get thee to a nunnery.”

imageUsual.

imageJ train.

imageCarter.

“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!

One if by Land, Two if by Sea

30 Aug

Manhattan’s culinary stalwart One if by Land, Two if by Sea has a reputation for being haunted but it wasn’t until I examined a recent photograph that I actually began to take these claims seriously.

The restaurant was once the carriage house of vice president Aaron Burr, who infamously murdered Alexander Hamilton in an 1804 duel. Many patrons and employees of the establishment have reported cold spots, footsteps in the attic, and have even seen the specter of an African-American man at a balcony table.

I was at One if by Land for “Restaurant Week,” which actually spanned the entire month of August. My dining companion and I sat in the center of the main room of the restaurant, beneath the stern gaze of a large portrait of Burr. Throughout our three-course meal, I intermittently spouted facts about the politician and criticized his dealings with Hamilton. I repeated the lore of the carriage house to my friend, pointing out creeping architectural details and placing particular emphasis on a tombstone that was purportedly discovered in the basement.

Before we left, I placed my camera on a table by the entrance and opened its aperture. What I caught is at best a little perplexing.  

Check out the shadow, center, in front of the portrait of Aaron Burr.

Write. Right?

25 Aug

I think to write is to do one of the bravest things ever.

Earthquake? Really??

23 Aug

About 20 minutes ago, I was sitting at my desk at work when all of the sudden my computer monitor began to shake. Then my chair started swaying. Then a lull swept across the office – Was that an… earthquake?

Within mere moments of asking this question, a co-worker Googled “NYC earthquake” and found that New York was not the epicenter of the quake but instead Richmond, VA. According to the United States Geological Service, a magnitude 5.9 quake struck about 34 miles northwest of Richmond at around 1:51PM today. It was clearly felt by my office in Midtown.

Someone even said that they saw Jake Gyllenhaal running from the building! These really must be the end times.

Starry, Starry Night

19 Aug

“If the entire human race fell into a neutron star, we would compress to the size of a sugar cube.”

As autumn closes in, events like that of the Columbia Astronomy Public Outreach program will become fewer and farther between. Throughout the summer, the university conducts bi-weekly public lectures, movie screenings, and guided star-gazing. On account of the weird inclement weather the past summer, I haven’t had much of a chance to check any of it out. Tonight is no exception. Cloudy with thunderstorms looming.

Hopefully the September 2 lecture bodes a bit better.

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