June 2011

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 | Filed under: Manhattan, Queens, The Bronx

If you stare deeply enough into your drink, messages appear:

Aldea, 31 West 17th Street, Midtown Manhattan

Custom House in Lower Manhattan:

Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, Lower Manhattan

Rotunda, Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, Lower Manhattan

Even though we missed the scheduled tour, one of the park ranger people let us into the ornate Collector’s Reception Room:

Collector's Reception Room, Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, Lower Manhattan

Back in June, the Freedom Tower was still short enough to fit into the camera frame:

World Trade Center Site, Financial District, Lower Manhattan, June 6, 2011

I already talked about visiting Yankee Stadium.

The awesome Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens:

Behind the Screen Exhibit, Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, Queens

I could watch the exhibit showing how they produce a live baseball game for for hours:

Behind the Screen Exhibit, Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, Queens

The 36th Avenue Subway Station in Astoria.

Block Drugs on Second Avenue:

Block Drug Store, 101 Second Avenue, East Village, Manhattan

The remnants of Mars Bar also on Second Avenue:

25 East 1st Street, East Village, Manhattan, June 16, 2011

We already talked about seeing the Phillies play the Cubs.

There’s a lot of stuff behind fences in the East Village. Albert’s Garden:

Albert's Garden, 18 East 2nd Street, East Village, Manhattan

And the New York Marble Cemetery:

New York Marble Cemetery, Second Avenue Between 2nd and 3rd Streets, East Village, Manhattan

They were even using St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery for some sort of film shoot.

Prince Street in Lower Manhattan:

Prince Street at West Broadway, SoHo, Lower Manhattan

Prince Street and Lafayette Street, SW Corner, SoHo, Lower Manhattan

(Funny detail: The Google Street View up right now is from right around when I went walking around there — theirs is from July 2011 — so all the billboards look the same . . .)

There’s a great view of Union Square from the Whole Foods cafe on the second floor. They also have a bathroom you can use:

Union Square From Whole Foods Union Square Store, 4 Union Square South, Manhattan, June 16, 2011

Astoria Park at dusk on the longest day of the year; this is at 8:40 in the evening (I knew there was a reason I took this but it took a while to remember):

Robert F. Kennedy Bridge From Astoria Park, Astoria, Queens, June 21, 2011

Hellgate Bridge From Astoria Park, Astoria, Queens, June 21, 2011

Staring out the front door at Coppelia on 14th Street:

Coppelia, 207 West 14th Street, Midtown Manhattan, June 22, 2011

There’s nothing more depressing than an emergency room entrance at an abandoned hospital:

St. Vincent's Hospital Manhattan, 12th Street and Seventh Avenue, NW Corner, West Village, Manhattan, June 22, 2011

Well, OK, maybe some things are less depressing . . .

I honestly don’t remember what interested me about 60 Spring Street:

60 Spring Street, Nolita, Lower Manhattan, June 25, 2011

Was it because it was a blue jean store or something? Who knows . . .

The Astoria Market at the Beer Garden:

Astoria Market, Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, 29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria, Queens, June 26, 2011

It took me two years to get two pictures of the San Antonio Abate Festival on Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria. Maybe in another year I’ll put a link up to the page:

San Antonio Abate Festival, Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria, Queens, June 26, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend 2011

Posted: April 11th, 2012 | Filed under: Out Of Town

We were up in the Rhinebeck area for a wedding during Memorial Day 2011.

Market Street, with its requisite iconic wooden Indian and Doughboy:

Rhinebeck Smoke Shoppe, 2 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, New York

Rhinebeck Doughboy, East Market Street, Rhinebeck, New York

The A.L. Stickle store on Market Street is hard to describe — other than totally awesome, that is. It’s a time capsule of sorts what with all those Revell model car kits (do you remember Revell model cars? do kids still sniff model glue?) and vintage display cases. I remember huge zipper displays in our local supermarket — what happened to all that stuff? I haven’t thought about some of these things in years. So wonderful . . .

A.L. Stickle, 13 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, New York

We bought some herbs and various plants at the Rhinebeck Farmers Market for the backyard.

Rhinebeck Farmers Market, Rhinebeck, New York

Mill Street and Montgomery Street both comprise U.S. 9 around Rhinebeck; one is U.S. 9 north of Market Street and the other is U.S. 9 south of Market Street. The Rhinebeck Reformed Church is on Mill Street, just past the Lions Club Eyeglass Drop Box:

Rhinebeck Lions Club Eyeglass Drop Box, Mill Street, Rhinebeck, New York

The wedding was at Camp Rising Sun in Clinton.

Several Random Things From May 2011

Posted: April 1st, 2012 | Filed under: Brooklyn, Citywide, Manhattan

Chief of which is Brooklyn Bridge Park, which was a lot more elegant than I expected, especially considering how ugly/utilitarian the piers used to be:

Pier 2 From Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Brooklyn, November 3, 2005

Pier 2 From Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Brooklyn, November 3, 2005

Pier 2 From Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Brooklyn, November 3, 2005

It’s like, where did all that dirt come from?

Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, May 13, 2011

Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, May 13, 2011

Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, May 13, 2011

There’s a staircase thing-place that overlooks Lower Manhattan, which is just stunning. Propose here:

Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, May 13, 2011

Grimaldi’s has since moved from its longtime location, just down the street at 1 Old Fulton Street:

Old Fulton Street, Fulton Ferry, Brooklyn, May 13, 2011

I really, really want to start a “I [Heart] Unicorns 4-Eva” meme:

I [Heart] Unicorns 4-Eva, Southbound ACE Platform, Times Square Subway Station, Midtown Manhattan, May 13, 2011

Remember when they thought the world would end on May 21? And people spent their life savings on subway ads? Why did they do that? Not because they weren’t right (they weren’t), but what difference would it make if you saw this ad on the subway beforehand?

May 21, 2011 Doomsday Subway Ad, Queens-Bound N Train, May 22, 2011

One day they’ll finish the East Side Access project. For now, it’s kind of a constant thing:

LIRR East Side Access, Long Island City, Queens, May 18, 2011

Vacant spaces are so strange looking, like repeating a word over and over until it sounds completely foreign:

60 Henry Street, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, May 13, 2011

I sat outside a bar one night in May 2011 staring at the bright lights in this space, just sort of pondering how weird it looked. Now I know that it’s a “cursed” spot, only recently occupied by a somewhat stable business.

A Bunch Of Random Updates (Read: Catching Up)

Posted: March 28th, 2012 | Filed under: Brooklyn, Out Of Town, Queens

First part of 2011 . . . I’m caught up to about May now . . .

We saw the Supermoon on March 19, 2011 from the Westfield New Jersey Transit station:

Westfield New Jersey Transit Station, Westfield, New Jersey, March 19, 2011

Westfield New Jersey Transit Station, Westfield, New Jersey, March 19, 2011

Hard to believe how little snow there was this year, especially compared to last year:

49th Avenue Between Vernon Boulevard and Jackson Avenue, Hunters Point, Long Island City, Queens, February 15, 2011

One thing I’ll miss/won’t miss about our old neighborhood is how many film shoots there were there:

San Remo Pizza, 48-20 Vernon Boulevard, Hunters Point, Long Island City, Queens, February 25, 2011

There’s a sort of park/playground in the old neighborhood that was created from a sliver of land leftover from the Queens-Midtown Tunnel called Old Hickory Park, which the Parks Department seems to have disowned, at least judging by the fact that it’s somehow disappeared from their website. The name is a goof on Jackson Avenue, “Old Hickory” being Andrew Jackson’s nickname. Stupidly esoteric:

Old Hickory Park, Jackson Avenue and 51st Avenue, Hunters Point, Long Island City, Queens, January 11, 2010

Robert Moses did a lot of neat things in the New York City area. He also oversaw a bunch of ridiculous orphan roads. The Prospect Expressway, for example:

Prospect Expressway Near 10th Avenue, Brooklyn, February 27, 2011

Blockbuster closed and some guys eventually took away the sign:

21-61 31st Street, Astoria, Queens, April 14, 2011

Back when we lived in Astoria we called this passage to the municipal parking lot “Deuce Alley” because it smelled like people took shits back there. Now it’s gussied up all fancy and such:

Astoria Walk, Astoria, Queens, April 10, 2011

I love the fact that there are public restrooms at the end of the subway lines. This is graffiti from the Ditmars Boulevard Station on the N/Q line in Queens. The idea of having sex in one of these restrooms boggles my mind; I can’t think of a worse place to do it:

Ditmars Boulevard Subway Station, Astoria, Queens, December 11, 2010

On the other end of the spectrum, Michael Bolton graffiti at Sweet Afton, which is where we celebrated Kawama:

Sweet Afton, 30-09 34th Street, Astoria, Queens, April 8, 2011

Spring Training

Posted: March 19th, 2012 | Filed under: The Bronx

Now that I’m caught up with baseball outings from 2011, we can finally get ready for the regular season. In 2011 we saw the Diamondbacks vs. Giants at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, the Phillies vs. Braves, Phillies vs. Rangers and Phillies vs. Cubs at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, and the Yankees vs. Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

It occurs to me that we saw some pretty good teams in 2011 — I definitely didn’t expect the D-Backs to be that good when we saw them back in April. We saw four playoff teams play. In fact, I challenge anyone to have seen teams with a better combined record than we saw in 2011 (minimum five games? can we create a variable to take into account how many total games one saw?). Let’s tease this out:

Arizona Diamondbacks: 94-68
San Francisco Giants: 86-76
Philadelphia Phillies: 102-60
Atlanta Braves: 89–73
Texas Rangers: 96-66
Chicago Cubs: 71-91 (you can always depend on the Cubs to screw up at least one thing a season)
New York Yankees: 97-65
Boston Red Sox: 90-72

Total win-loss record: 725-571 for a .559 winning percentage.

Well, did any of you do any better?

Mom and Dad were in town while the Red Sox were playing the Yankees and they had never been to see the new stadium, so we went early. I had never seen Monument Park, and neither had they, so we got to see that. Much has been said about the giant Steinbrenner plaque in the center of everything. Here it is:

Monument Park, Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, June 7, 2011

George M. Steinbrenner III Plaque, Monument Park, Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, June 7, 2011

We also had time to visit the Yankees Museum with all the hardware:

World Series Ring, New York Yankees Museum, Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, June 7, 2011

The collection of signed baseballs from everyone who ever played for the organization is actually very cool. Here’s Cory Lidle, who crashed the plane he was flying into an Upper East Side building in 2006:

Signed Baseballs, New York Yankees Museum, Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, June 7, 2011

And I searched out Ian Kennedy’s ball:

Ian Kennedy Signed Baseball, New York Yankees Museum, Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, June 7, 2011

This was the first full season after Steinbrenner died, so there were a lot of tributes to him around the park (in addition to the oversized plaque in Monument Park:

Right Field Bleachers And George Steinbrenner Memorial From Section 214, Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, June 7, 2011

Remembering George M. Steinbrenner III Display, New York Yankees Museum, Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, June 7, 2011

Oh, and we had good seats, for once:

New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox (Section 214), Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, June 7, 2011

This was Jorge Posada’s last season, which we didn’t know at the time:

Frieze and Hit-Hit Jorge Sign, View From Section 214, New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox, Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, June 7, 2011

And “We Want Pie” is a shoutout to A.J. Burnett, if I’m not mistaken (yup, that’s it); that’s all behind us now as well:

Frieze and We Want Pie Sign, View From Section 214, New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox, Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, June 7, 2011

The Red Sox won, by the way; A-Rod struck out to end the game:

Alex Rodriguez At Bat, New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox (Section 214), Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, June 7, 2011

Philadelphia 2011

Posted: March 13th, 2012 | Filed under: Out Of Town

We didn’t get down to Philadelphia as much as we usually do in 2011, what with moving and baby stuff, but there were a few Phillies games we went down there for, basically in May and June.

We (or some of us at least) ate a Pork Scrapple slider at White Dog in University City:

Pork Scrapple Sliders, White Dog, 3420 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Before we installed the toilet at Kawama, and before we even ordered the toilet on Amazon, we checked out toilets at the Lowe’s in South Philadelphia. They want you to know that it’s not too difficult to install them yourself:

Lowe's, 2106 South Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 7, 2011

Just across the parking lot at IKEA (where we bought pulls for the cabinets) you get a nice view of the S.S. United States from the Meatball Chamber:

S.S. United States From IKEA South Philadelphia, 2206 South Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 7, 2011

S.S. United States From IKEA South Philadelphia, 2206 South Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 7, 2011

At the Braves-Phillies game, we saw how much of the Spectrum was finally gone:

Site Of The Spectrum From Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 7, 2011

Later in May, I think I took this picture because I was surprised how expensive gas was. That seems reasonable today . . .

Sunoco, 7265 Castor Avenue, Northeast Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 21, 2011

At the day game on the 21st against the Rangers, it was just after the end of the world and everyone was still a little anxious:

AT&T You Make The Call Seventh Inning Stretch Song Survey, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Texas Rangers, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 21, 2011

And at the game in June against the Cubs, expectations about the season were sky high:

T-Shirt/Pretzels, Sports Complex Parking Lot, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 12, 2011

Of course we know how that turned out:

2011 NLCS Tickets

When Theaters Become Duane Reades . . . And Chase Banks And New York Sports Clubs

Posted: March 11th, 2012 | Filed under: Queens

This Times article about the Millennium Theater in Brighton Beach was interesting — so many theaters have been shuttered over the years that it’s cool to see a theater being used for something approximating what it was meant for — i.e., some performance of some sort.

Atlantic Oceana Theatre, 1029 Brighton Beach Avenue

It’s cool because so many theaters are now Duane Reades or whatnot, to which @RICANROLL tweeted like the theater on 30th Avenue and Steinway is now a Duane Reade. Yup, that’s exactly which one I was thinking. We walked by it yesterday:

Astoria Plaza, Steinway Street and 30th Avenue, NW Corner, Astoria, Queens, March 10, 2012

In this case, the Astoria Sixplex (which I actually went to once or twice before it closed in 2002) actually became a Duane Reade, a Chase bank and a New York Sports Club.

I’m not even upset that @RICANROLL fucked me by spoiling a Walking Dead plot point.

Phoenix, Winter/Spring 2011

Posted: March 6th, 2012 | Filed under: Out Of Town

On the airplane (new page for Airplanes, by the way) . . . some strange things. Here, for example, is the way the Royal Jordanian in-flight magazine described Eat, Pray, Love:

Eat Pray Love Movie Description, Royal Jordanian In-Flight Magazine, Royal Jordanian Airlines Flight 262 From New York City-JFK To Amman, Jordan, December 28, 2010

And here is the way the Delta in-flight magazine described it:

In-Flight Magazine, Delta 1447, February 5, 2011

We also marveled at the come-hither look the lady on the Delta fasten seat belt announcement had. Hubba hubba:

Delta 2815, February 5, 2011

In Phoenix, we went back to Hance Park and saw the I-10 plaque installed there. Under Hance Park (aka Deck Park) is the final link in the transcontinental interstate, completed in 1992:

Margaret T. Hance Park/Deck Park, Phoenix, Arizona, February 11, 2011

A new page for the Palm Tree Stealth Monopole at 15th Avenue and Camelback Road. I love these things:

Palm Tree Stealth Monopole, 1333 West Camelback Road, Phoenix, Arizona, April 17, 2008

In April, we had to fly through O’Hare and saw one of these old school Airfones. I almost forgot about these things:

Verizon Airfone, United 702, April 15, 2011

We ate at Culver’s (nearest location to NYC is about 473 miles west in Reynoldsburg, Ohio).
We saw the D-Backs vs. Giants at Chase Field early in the season when no one — no one! — knew that the D-Backs would be that good:

D-backs Legends, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants, Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona, April 17, 2011

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants, Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona, April 17, 2011

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants, Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona, April 17, 2011

Diamondbacks Win, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants, Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona, April 17, 2011

50,000 Lights In Canarsie

Posted: December 27th, 2011 | Filed under: Brooklyn

The Seddio Christmas House in Canarsie, Brooklyn at the Southwest corner of Flatlands Avenue and East 93rd Street features 50,000 lights and can be seen from planes landing at Kennedy:

Seddio Christmas House 2011, Flatlands Avenue and East 93rd Street, Canarsie, Brooklyn, December 23, 2011

Seddio Christmas House 2011, Flatlands Avenue and East 93rd Street, Canarsie, Brooklyn, December 23, 2011

Seddio Christmas House 2011, Flatlands Avenue and East 93rd Street, Canarsie, Brooklyn, December 23, 2011

Clearly there was some hubbub going on between the Seddios and the Department of Sanitation; not sure if it stretches all the way back to 2003, but here’s some evidence of that:

Seddio Christmas House 2011, Flatlands Avenue and East 93rd Street, Canarsie, Brooklyn, December 23, 2011

In all, quite a display and worth the trip if you can make it out there!

But What Is It About Model Trains And Christmas?

Posted: November 19th, 2011 | Filed under: The Bronx

The New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show is one of my favorite things about Christmas in New York. I mean, yes, there is that gigantic tree in Rockefeller Center and, sure, the Christmas windows all around Midtown are a sight to behold, but there’s nothing like taking in the collection of 140 New York City landmarks entirely constructed from plant material (!) in the Haupt Conservatory.

I mean, have you ever seen a montage of Midtown skyscrapers built from plant material?

Midtown Skyscrapers, Holiday Train Show, Haupt Conservatory, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx Park, The Bronx

Dr. Chi hipped me to it a while back shortly after I moved here and that was his point — there is this thing that happens each year where people make replicas of New York City landmarks entirely from plant material. He probably said something along the lines of, “The original Penn Station constructed from twigs — twigs!”:

Pennsylvania Station, Holiday Train Show, Haupt Conservatory, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx Park, The Bronx

The old version of the old Yankee Stadium:

Yankee Stadium, Holiday Train Show, Haupt Conservatory, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx Park, The Bronx

Yankee Stadium, Holiday Train Show, Haupt Conservatory, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx Park, The Bronx

Rockefeller Plaza’s sunken plaza:

Holiday Train Show, Haupt Conservatory, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx Park, The Bronx

And my new favorite, JFK’s Terminal 5:

Terminal 5, Holiday Train Show, Haupt Conservatory, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx Park, The Bronx

Here’s the original:

Terminal 5, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Queens, New York, Queens, New York, March 28, 2007

Are the Barney’s windows fun? No question! But the heartfelt, homespun tradition at NYBG is really something special. It would be demeaning to call it “outsider art,” but the near-obsessive attention to detail evokes that spirit. And I suppose to a certain extent, the inclusion of model trains is a dog whistle of sorts for the like-minded among us who celebrate that spirit. So be it. Let the Lionel-Industrial Complex have its time of year. But really, a G-gauge Brooklyn Trolley is only gilding the lily. The train show runs between mid-November and mid-January at NYBG (details).