Icicles – It was a Good Day

The largest man-made icicle was 36’4.5″ (11.1 m) long and weighed 26 tons. These were only ~6″ and located about 3 meters from the sidewalk which made this shot very difficult. There’s something so dynamic about an icicle forged by transitioning a compounds matter between two states as a result of cold, then heat and cold again. Clear, sharp, frozen solid in motion, yet fragile and temporary in nature. I took maybe 30 shots and just couldn’t get the angle or focus right. Here’s a few pics I took near Kee’s Chocolates in SOHO:


Ice Cube – ‘It Was A Good Day’

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A powdery snow blankets the “Merchant Princes” of NYC

Out come the Timberlands. It’s the first snow day in NY. Leaving early in the morning, I took a tour around the Village, Time Square and Bryant Park in the snow. It’s supposed to drop over a foot and that seems to be an underestimate. I haven’t seen snow like this in the city ever and can only imagine powder that’s dropping in the mountains upstate and in Vermont. If there ever were a time I’d want to board on the east coast, now would be it.

I took this shot in Bryant Park of the Reading Library. At the head of the library is a statue of William Earle Dodge considered at one time to be a Merchant Prince of Wall Street. William was a noted abolitionist, Native American rights activist, congressman, founding member of the YMCA, mining baron. A considerable resume for a NY Republican of the times; despite his Civil War profiteering (southerners labeled him a carpetbagger) but deserving of the bronze in the park honoring his support of the Native Americans, lobbying for the prosecution of the U.S. cavalry commanders who massacred Blackfeet Indians in Montana and campaigning for the creation of what would be come the Department of Interior.


Crookers – Remedy (Feat. Miike Snow)

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Rocco Ristorante

Italian food and culture is rooted everywhere in New York. Rocco Ristorante is one such traditional Italian joint, operating in the Greenwich Village since 1922 that not only has years of history still worn on their unchanged walls but was also a starter kitchen for the Mario Batali. An establishment of this age and character usually caters to die-hard regulars, neighborhood locals and a few well-researched tourists as a walk by doesn’t sell the uninitiated on the traditional style. Fortunately the family style decor and friendly service are still as much a priority as the quality southern Italian food typical 90 years ago today.

Legend has it Anthony “Tony Bender” Strollo operator of several illegal gambling parlors and nightclubs in Greenwich, ordered a hit here back in 1952. While dining in old restaurants such as this in New York, you can’t help wonder what illicit activities and patrons frequented their front and backrooms. Dean Martin and the Rat Pack crew may have graced Rocco’s doors, taken a card game in their backroom or indulged in a traditional meal at the very table you’re eating your Penne Arrabiata and Veal Piccata.

“Nel blu dipinto di blu” (“In the Blue Painted Blue”), popularly known as “Volare” (Italian for the infinitive form of the verb “to fly”) was originally sung by Domenico Modugno, and is the only non-English language song that has reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in America. Modugno became the first Grammy winner for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1958 for this recording. Here’s Dean Martin’s version, probably sung in one of Tony’s clubs in the Village.

Dean Martin – Volare (Nel blu dipinto di blu)

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Not quite a ‘Situation’

This week I had a friend in town that I hadn’t seen since I was last at Cal Poly; we’ll call him Marc. Marc’s working on 4 months of a long distance relationship, as I had in 2004, however, he’s in the Bay Area, and she’s in Philly (not much difference really to my LA-NY torture). I openly offered the 2nd bedroom in my apartment for them both to crash for the weekend because I know when trying to make a limited physical relationship work, you’ll need to save all the money you can for cross country flights (and get together as often as possible is my recommendation).

Even when you’ve lived in a city for years, decades, or all your life, sometime you’re too close to the “trees” to see the “forest”. I love the opportunity to have outsiders come in and give me a perspective of what they want out of New York. We let the love birds pick our Saturday evening, and ended up going to the Naked Comedy Showcase on Sat at the People’s Improve Theater (The PIT).

I love comedy but they rarely have good food so we started with a local sushi joint and plenty of sake and Sapporo. The PIT is a 2nd floor single room theater located on a deserted Flatiron block. After ascending a narrow stairway, I immediately had a good feel about the evening when the counter clerks, well stocked in bow ties and tweed, offered $4 Stellas throughout the show. However, they didn’t mention the clothing requirements (or lack there of) when we entered…

I had no expectations for the show. I was going in “naked” so to speak, however, I didn’t realize how literal that was until I sat down in the third row (in case there was awkward nakedness I wanted to conceal by the heads in front of me). While chatting with the petite brimmed smiling man in front of us, he stood up and completely disrobed in the manner an early riser would peeping for a shower. An announcement was made to remind the audience that nudity was encouraged, especially in our section, by the viewers as much as it was a requirement of the talent that night.

Sorry, I hadn’t prepped my birthday suit for public revealing yet… wasn’t going to happen.

I don’t think this was what my out-of-town friends has been expecting, especially Marc as he squirmed a little closer to his girlfriend. The show opened with a fully naked Andy Ofiesh emerging confidently from stage right and I instantly “got” the comedy as did the audience. Smiles, shock and wonderment spread quickly as we all stole glances at this untanned, pudgy, red haired man standing in front of us grinning with his thimble size protuberance resting on top of a racquetball sized scrotum. Wow. I guess you have to laugh for a moment.

Most comedy is adult oriented and this just takes it to the next level as Andy, a long standing nudist before comedian, started with “my penis is fun size; you can fit the whole thing your mouth,”. The audience became increasingly more comfortable over the period of the hour as they warmed to each comic’s self awareness and at many times self deprecating humor. 5 men and 1 women, followed Andy, performing in the buff some really good comedy. Those that know me, know I can’t remember or tell a joke to save my life, so I’ll leave that to the professionals and recommend it to all to just try this showcase out for an evening. However, if you’ll be dropping trou, please bring a towel for the chairs and any bar/bathroom breaks (located in the lobby) you may need to take during the show.

Marc and lady wanted to hit the NY club scene, which these days I’ll respond rhetorically under my breath “What scene?”. Marc being about 9 years younger than I had more interest in the “Jersey Shore” styled clubs of Vegas and NY so I pointed them to Crimson – a new spot in the Flatiron with a party hosted by Dirt Nasty (a Hollywood based Crunk-Pop “Rapper” – I don’t know, I’ve never heard of him).

If expressing my ignorance of Dirt to Marc didn’t date me as an “Old”, then the idea that I would pass on the fist pumping party at Crimson may have. Although researching Dirt for this post, I realize now there’s enormous irony for Dirt to start his US tour at the latest Christian Audigier fashion themed club, promoting his latest track “Fuck Ed Hardy“.

Dirt Nasty, Andy Milonakis & Rich Hil – Fuck Ed Hardy

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I didn’t actually get to take photos today. Instead of the club I still went out for wine and beers with the lady and then whiskeys with the boys. We all woke around 11 only Marc got 4 less hours of sleep than I and I still felt two times worse (more Old). We had a good brunch at Jane, mostly because I didn’t have to deal with the typical 30 min. to hr wait with most of the tourists on this wet Sunday.

Here’s a shot from when Washington Square was nice last fall and this LA man trying to do his best impression of The Situation.


Are you Stupid?

Sodium Chloride, the chemical name for the simple white substance used auspiciously in many religions, ubiquitous in the Northeast during the winter melting sidwalks and accelerating rust on old cars, and one of the oldest seasonings known to man used to preserve and flavor food for all.

Salt is a primary electrolyte in the human body, however, in excessive amounts can cause some minor to fatal health conditions. Because of the latter, many governments have instituted recommended daily intakes of the substance and some are starting to legislate it’s use. One such administration is Bloomberg’s here in New York City.

Mayor Bloomberg’s salt reduction initiative which in all accounts seems to be aimed at fast food joints has created quite a buzz especially in this city’s real kitchens; a source of some of the worlds best cuisine.

In response to the Health Department’s new salt reduction initiative, the NY Times ordered some food from local restaurants and sent it off to a Long Island lab for sodium testing. What they found may not shock you: A Double ShackBurger, fries and a peanut butter shake from Shake Shack contain 1,980 milligrams of sodium. Two slices of Cajun bacon-cheeseburger pizza from Two Boots clock in at 2,240 milligrams. But the saltiest of them all is the corned beef sandwich from Katz’s Deli, which contains 4,490 milligrams of sodium. Considering that the FDA recommends a maximum of 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day, “having what she’s having” might just leave you with hypertension

I’m all for recommendations and encouraging businesses or food producers to be more transparent about all ingredients used in their offerings, but I’m not about to be treated like a kid by a “Nanny State” that feels I’m not old enough or educated enough to eat in moderation. Enforcing a ban or restricting usage limits is absurd and I’m with the chefs, cooks and foodies alike in this hoping this doesn’t get anything more than wishful thinking for the mayor’s team.

Day 34: Be Stupid?

I still love The Boy’s old old work back when they were a shite NY punk band playing with Murphy’s Law and Bad Brains (ML opened for the Beastie’s on their “Licensed to ILL” tour). Some Old Bull is still a great album and although there’s better tracks per say and in a rough garage distorted sounding way (“Egg raid on Mojo,” Traffic Cop,” etc.), this still fit my post for both cookery and stupidity.

Beastie Boys – Cookie Puss

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Cold Day in Chinatown gets Colder

I was walking down Elizabeth St one day near the Blood Church and as I walked past a traffic cop, I saw the usual counterfeit handbag singers with their lamented flyers pulling more tourists aside to show their wares. I supposed that the traffic cops don’t really care but Bloomberg does and he’s been cracking down. That same day, I had my shopping done and as I walked up another block, I saw a “scout” take a call and then broad cast a call. The next thing I know, 8 LV fanny pack wearing ladies scattered like mice when the lights come on.

It was another bust of the Chinatown counterfeit hawkers. As the crackdowns continue, the locals know a slow death of the gritty chinatown we all know is eminet. As the NY Press details, Canal St is in for a big change in the next 6 months: “Very soon, locals say, Canal Street will join Times Square, Astor Place, the Lower East Side, the Garment District and all the other former centers of down-and-dirty capitalist grit that have been safely gentrified.”

Picture was taken this week, on an evening in Chinatown when it was about 15 degrees F. This lady has her own plastic shield to protect her from the icy wind. This was my first take as she didn’t want to have her picture taken from the front. Ah well, I should have bought my mushrooms here first…
Read more here.
Day 29: Cold Day in Chinatown

Cash Rules Everything around Me. Dolla Dolla Bill Yall –
Wu Tang Vs. The Beatles – C.R.E.A.M.

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Veins on the Roof

This summer there was a Roxy Paine exhibit on the roof of the MET called: Roxy Paine on the Roof: Maelstrom I’ll go to the MET about once a month and check out the latest exhibits and photography shows, however, during the summer it might be more often. Usually the extra trips are excuses to use the bathroom and grab a cocktail or beer on the roof over looking Central Park. Besides Columbus Circle (which is completely indoors) I don’t know of any public spots you can get to for free (donation) to enjoy the outdoor view of the park on a summer day.

Day 27: Veins in the Sky

I’ve loosely been trying to keep up with “what’s next” in house music. It was tough enough as a buyer of music when I worked at a record store in college, but being way on the outside of the music edge it’s just a mountainous task to keep up with what’s hot. What I’ve been reading and hearing though is Tech House, minimal, some funk, and dub step will be coming up big in 2010. I don’t know trends but I do know Lady Packa. She’s an award winning breaks DJ from Spain and easy on the eyes as well (which I’ve written on here before, may partially explain the awards). Check out some of her tracks and mixes on Sound Cloud and here’s a Maelstrom mix to match my post:

Lady Packa – Sara’s Night (Maelstrom Dubstep Remix)

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Santa Barbara Skater

Last summer I had some free time in Santa Barbara and hung out at the skate park near the pier. I took maybe 200 shots and really didn’t like 99% of them. I think it was my vantage point and the skaters weren’t that good so I didn’t have much to go on.

I often hear skaters cruzing down the street in New York. In Manhattan, most of the skaters I see use the boards more for utility than sport or fun, often using long boards as their vehicle of choice to shorten their trip to the grocery store or post office. I skated when I was younger, however, to say that now, is to say I owned a board and I practiced maybe a handful of times a month. There was one summer in college I rode half pipe enough to complete clean transitions, rail slides or small pop out but there wasn’t much encouragement at the secluded pipe. I may still have my first Steve Caballero board in storage but I would never consider skating for errands in this city. When I’m nearly hit by bike messengers and reckless taxis on a weakly basis, how would I survive rolling unprotected in the streets with this chaos to contend with.

I’m sure it’s only a matter of a few decades before skating is in the Olympics, like snowboarding will be this winter. I’m looking forward to the 2010 games next month.


Face to Face – Disconnected

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