New York City Diary

Words and pictures from my interesting life in New York.

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Night Run

Today was a beautiful early spring day but I was cooped up in the office for most of it, so when I got home I immediately changed from my clammy work clothes into a sweater, shorts, and sneakers and hit the park for a short run to get the blood flowing a bit. The sun had gone down and the temperature had dropped but once I started running on the track my body was warm and my face was pleasantly cool. The track is made from an advanced spongey material so it's really easy on your joints, even if you have lousy shoes and a clunky running style. It was good to get my heart rate up and breathe some fresh air.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Vegas Baby

I received this quarter in change at David's Bagels this afternoon, as I was picking up some onion bagels and egg salad on my way home from karate. It was the first time I've seen the Nevada quarter, which is one of five state quarters coming out in 2006. The others are Nebraska, Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Have YOU received a Nevada quarter yet? It's pretty cool-looking, at least when it's still really shiny. It shows three wild mustangs galloping across the desert plain, with the sun peeking over snowy mountains in the background. Sagebrush is also represented.

Nevada was our 35th state, admitted into the club on Halloween Day in 1864. It joined the union before the end of the Civil War in 1865.

The New York quarter, which came out in 2001, is also nice.

Anyway, I thought the new Nevada quarter was especially neat because Jenn and I will be traveling to Nevada next month, to visit Ted and Sonny in Las Vegas and get out of the city for a few days. [This is Ted's Blog with photos of Nevada life.]

Jenn has been to Nevada (primarily Las Vegas) a number of times, but it will be my first-ever visit to the state. Our plan is to see the highlights of the Las Vegas strip for a day or two, spending the rest of the time concentrating on active outdoor pursuits, such as hiking and adventuring in the surrounding desert and mountain areas. We may also take the damn tour.

Getting back to my bagel shop story, I pointed out the new quarter to one of the two counter girls running the register (I think most of the employees at David's Bagels are from Thailand). She said "ooh, let me see it" and I handed it to her and she checked it out admiringly. Then she told me that earlier in the day a customer attempted to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. She ran that special counterfeit-detection pen over it and it gave an unambiguous verdict of fake. She showed me the pen and mimiced the motion of running it over a bill. It was her first counterfeit bill detection, she told me, somewhat proudly. I told her matter-of-factly that counterfeit money comes from North Korea.

Speaking of counterfeiting, I'm not sure about the legality of reproducing images of money, so please do not print out a page of this blog and attempt to purchase something with it. It has no value except what it means to you. Thanks.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


On my way home from work last night Seth and I stopped in for a quick one at Otto's Shrunken Head on East 14th Street, a tiki bar.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Marissa's Dog

I dropped by Seth and Marissa's place after work today. This is Betty the dog. Nice dog.

The Unusual Auto

As requested, here are a few more photos of that strange car Jenn and I saw on Sunday. Thanks for reading my blog, Allison! The above obviously is a profile shot of the car.

This is the nose of the car.

So, what the heck kind of car is this?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Spring has Sprunged

Spring began today with the vernal equinox at 1:35 p.m. I'm pleased with its arrival, and look forward to warmer weather.

I shot the photo above during a walk I took with Jenn on Sunday afternoon. This American compact was parked on Lorimer Street. Can anybody identify what model/make this is, and what year? All I can tell is that it's a Ford, if the front left hubcap is any indication. It's a pretty keen-looking vehicle, I must say. You can click on the photo to make it bigger.

This next photo was also taken during our Sunday walk. I've shot this orthodox church many times, but I liked how the winter sun was setting behind it.

It is Monday night as I write this, and I am tired. After work today I got my 2005 income tax returns prepared. Have you done your taxes yet?

Panda Face Cookies Part VII

It's been a while since I posted a Japanese Sakusaku Chocolate Panda Face Cookie cartoon. I was prompted to post this after I saw a stylishly funky Japanese girl eating panda cookies on the L-train platform at Lorimer Street on Saturday.

This particular panda cartoon has me stumped, and if anybody out there (Miki?) cares to translate it, I would appreciate it. Here's my best estimation as to what is going on. (Click on the cartoon to make it big.)

Panel One (Top Right)
Chocolate Panda looking in mirror "Oh no, I'm starting to get acne or some other condition that is deforming my face!"

Panel Two (Bottom Right)
"Perhaps there is a medication of some kind that can remedy this affliction?"

Panel Three (Top Left)
Glug glug glug.

Panel Four (Bottom Left)
"Uh oh, this is chocolate milk, which means, in essence, that I have just drunk my own blood!"

So, am I close? If you speak Japanese, or even if you don't, please help translate this important cartoon by leaving a comment below. Of course, I'm sure that my translation is spot on, but just in case there's another interpretation. I am also curious about what it says on top, whether just Sakusaku or a lede-in to the narrative.

Here are links to the previous panda entries:

Panda I
Panda II
Panda III
Panda IV
Panda V
Panda VI

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Saint Patrick's Day in New York

Friday was Saint Patrick's Day, and my plan was to go home after work and hide from the hooligans. Much like New Year's Eve, the evening of St. Pat's is considered amateur night by many New Yorkers due to the influx of booze tourists via the many bridges and tunnels to Manhattan, and it was especially so this year because it fell on a Friday. I enjoy the parade, and green is my favorite color, but I'm not Irish (though I've been told I could pass for Irish to anyone but an Irishman) so the holiday doesn't have too much significance in my life.

That said, I'm not a complete party pooper, and I do love a good Irish pub, so when Steve K. called to see if I wanted to get a quick drink after work in honor of the day, I consented. We met at Union Square at around 6:20 p.m. and walked to a nearby Irish pub that I used to frequent, but haven't in a long while. The pub is called Shades of Green, and it is located on East 15th Street between Irving Place and Third Avenue. There's a photo of the front of the pub in my blizzard entry here.

I shot the photo at the top of this entry by sticking my camera up in the air and pressing the button, just like the professionals do. I did have it aimed a bit better, but nothing was happening (didn't see a flash) so I started to pull my hand down to take a look a the camera. Perhaps my battery was low. Of course, at that moment the flash went off and this is the photo I got. Ironically, I think it captures Saint Patrick's Day in New York pretty well. I never realized what a green ceiling they have at the pub, but there you go. One of many Shades of Green.

Here's a more traditional angle.

The pub was crowded, but not overcrowded. It was still early. We made our way to the bar, and, in keeping with tradition, Steve and I ordered Guinness Stout. Guinness is one of my favorite beers, and once we toasted the day and had a taste I was reminded of how delicious a perfectly poured pint of draft Guinness can be. The texture of the bitter, foamy head stands alone among beers. I frequently buy Guinness in bottles, which itself is yummy, but there's no comparison to Guinness on draft, properly poured by a proper Irish bartender in a proper Irish pub, even when served in plastic cups for $6.50 apiece. I'm sure the plastic cups were just for the holiday hordes. Normally they use pint glasses. I forgive them.

We had that Guinness and then another. Steve and I talked about writing and how hard it can be to get good writing jobs, noting that the fault lies within ourselves, so you can't really blame circumstances. Steve had to dash off to meet Tiffany, so we finished our beers and I showed him to the 6-train platform and I took the L train home to Brooklyn. I shot this last photo on our way out. Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everyone!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Haiku Geisha

Jenn scored some tickets from a friend, so on Thursday night after work we went to the Perry Street Theatre in Greenwich Village to see a play called Sake with the Haiku Geisha. It was wonderful. We don't go to the theater often enough.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ripping up the Road

There was a low rumbling sound when I woke up this morning, and it wasn't my stomach. At first I thought it was from the ongoing work going on in the apartment next door (they've been smashing and banging things all week) but I was wrong. Actually, a road crew was in the process of tearing up Leonard Street. It was quite a suprise when I walked out the front door to see that there was no longer a street there. All the cars where gone, and the big scary machines pictured above were scraping and sucking up the street. Fortunately, I do not own a car (haven't owned one, in fact, since 1992), so it doesn't affect me much, but it was still a bit odd. The street wasn't even in particularly bad shape before, but I guess they're gonna do what they're gonna do with our tax dollars.

So I continued my walk to the subway. On my way I snapped this picture below of a newly-built apartment building that appears to be just about ready for occupancy. If you would like to buy a place there, too bad. The building is sold out. Each unit went for 3 gajillion dollars. That's the new Williamsburg for you.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Huge Development for Williamsburgers

New York City subways can be a funny thing. Sometimes a station will be named after a street that you can't actually get to from that station. The West Fourth Street station in Greenwich Village is an example. There are no stairs that connect the station to the street that bears its name. It should really be called the West Third Street Station.

Until recently, in our neighborhood in Brooklyn you could only access Lorimer (the street) from Lorimer (the station) on weekdays until 9:00 p.m. and on weekends and holidays not at all. Getting home in time to be able to use the "Lorimer Street stairs" was actually a motivating factor in leaving work or wherever early. It saved a five-minute walk up Metropolitan Avenue from Union Street, which is where the main entrance to the Lorimer Station is. The subway attendants (the ones who organized that wonderful strike a couple of months ago) delighted in shutting the gate in your face at 8:57 p.m. Ha ha, I'm the boss of this gate, they would think. I am an authority figure.

Well, the MTA has decided, in its wisdom, that there is no good reason to shut down the Lorimer Street entrance during evenings and weekends anymore. It is now open 24/7, and that is great news. A five-minute walk doesn't seem like a big deal, but day in and day out, round trip, it could be a real drag. So Huzzah to the MTA for coming to its senses and opening up a subway entrance that should have been opened all along.

Now, about those weekend service shutdowns. It's true. The MTA hates hipsters. It is absolutely miserable when L-train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan is suspended. The G to the A to the F. My commute looks like alphabet soup sometimes. But that's a story for another time.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Hearst Tower

I took this picture yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon when Jenn and I met to go buy lunch at the JY Deli. This is the neat-looking new Hearst Tower at the southwest corner of 57th Street and Eighth Avenue, and it's where I'll be working in a couple of months, once Esquire and the other Hearst titles move in. What's especially cool about this building is that they didn't destroy the original historic building it's replacing (the first Hearst Tower, originally named the International Magazine Building), rather, they preserved the facade and built right through it. Here's a link with more information.

I'm not sure what floor we'll be on. All I know is that Seventeen will be on 17.

It's Thursday night and I'm beat from a busy week, and now I've got to finish transcribing an interview I did last week. I am listening to classical music, specifically, Antonin Dvorak, Concerto for Piano in g, Op. 33, performed by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam (conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt). Pierre-Laurent Aimard is the pianist. Good stuff.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Elaine's Oscar Party

I normally wouldn't care about the opinions of the so-called Academy, but my friend Elaine hosts an Oscar party every year that's always lots of fun. She recently moved into a new place, and tonight's party was both a housewarming and a fete in honor of the best films of the year that nobody saw. Above, my main man Jon Stewart is our host.

Here's another view. Elaine is on the right.

I took this photo standing next to the 50-inch plasma. The audience is riveted. First prize in the Oscar pool was a bottle of Johnny Walker black. Second prize was a DVD of Breakfast at Tiffany's. Third prize was ... no, not a set of steak knives. Third prize was a box of white chocolate truffles, or something like that. Elaine hosts a great party. Thanks, Elaine!

Elaine's new place is on West 110th Street. I went out on the balcony and shot this night scene of Morningside Heights and Harlem, facing north.

The cats were making Jenn sniffly, so we left before it was over. I don't know who won the Oscar pool yet, but I do know that Crash won best picture. I have not seen it.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Big Brooklyn Buildings

It's a nice day out today. The temperature is only a few degrees above freezing, but the sun is shining brightly in the blue New York sky. I went for a run in McCarren Park this morning to enjoy the weather before I spent the afternoon indoors editing a screenplay for a friend. McCarren Park has a nice spongey running track, and I did two miles (eight laps) and also took some photos. It was quite pleasant.

The photo above shows the fanciest new builing currently being built in Williamsburg. It's a luxury condo building right on the park, although this photo was taken from the back because the sunlight was better. Supposedly it's going to have a fitness center and lounge on the roof. Below is a photo of the front (park side) of the building, along with its shorter but still snazzy neighbors.

This neighborhood has really come a long way in a short time. It's amazing that developers have put so much faith (and money) into a neighborhood that was for so many years industrial and working class and more than a little run down.

Here's the kavorka church.

Tonight we're going to an Oscar party at my friend Elaine's new apartment on West 110th Street. I've only seen one nominated movie, Good Night and Good Luck, which is a movie about smoking.