Category Archives: New York City

A 2011 power ranking of New York writers as food

(see  below)

Emma Strauberry

Jen Carlsjrson

Puree Shafrir

Anil Mrs. Dash

Nate Freerangechicken

Brian Rieses Pieces

Rosie Gravy

Carl Ron Swanson’s Breakfast

Choire Sriracha

Alex Balkan Tulumbe 

Jim Brûlée

Emily Gulden’s

Kat Stouffers

Jen Dahl

Dill Keller

Sachertorte Frere-Jones

Joe Cous-couscarelli

Hugo Limburger

Ryan O’krannel

Edith Zeppoleman 

Lawrence Ryeght

Jennifer Veganburger 

Molson Whitehead

Jonathan Franzia

Brian Speltler 

David Carrbonara

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Everyone gets a go

This little comment I got from one of our new writers this week after posting her first story warmed my heart in a strange way, and it alone explains why there’s inherent value in working for a scrappy but diligent blog staffed by volunteers, open to all and welcoming to anyone willing to put the time in to contribute — and also why, even with all the hyper competitiveness bred into all corners of New York City, Brooklyn is the right place to be for anyone just looking for a place to give it a shot:

AWESOME!  My first non-self published work ever!  Thanks!  (AKA, looks great.)

I know the feeling, for sure, and I’m glad to help. (And in case the relevant writer happens to be reading this, thanks for sharing!)

Wrap the damn cat

PORT AUTHORITY 9:45 a.m. Christmas morning — I resigned myself to a slight layover after being a  mere one minute late for the morning NJ Transit bus. I sat on the floor cross legged using my jacket as a mat after wandering around the terminal with three bags in hand before realizing that — jeezus, really? — Port Authority has a severe and tragic dearth of places to sit. Camped out between a growing line of other Toms River-bound New Yorkers, all of us occasionally dodging pigeons that swooped in overhead, I noticed, without any humor, that there were more pigeons in the terminal than seating options.

Through my headphones I heard an approaching sound of faint screeching mixed with muffled thrashing. A blue-shirted authority employee rounded the corner, distastefully holding a box in hand away from his body like an infected football. I involuntarily started laughing to myself: the first thing that popped into my head was this scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. How ridiculous that is, i thought.

Except that was exactly what was happening. Continue reading

Up up up

Accidental wisdom at the corner of Third and Atlantic avenues, via a super windy day.

one way up sign

Continue reading

“Whattya reading?” “Goddamn book”

I know I’m coming in right behind Selleck Waterfall Sandwich and Unhappy Hipsters to be the last person on the internet to write something about Jerry Salinger, but I couldn’t let it pass without making some sort of nod, especially since just three weeks before I was passing through Central Park with Sister Donnelly and took these pictures of the duck pond, specifically with Holden in mind:

In relation, of course, to this part of the book:

I live in New York, and I was thinking about the lagoon in Central Park, down near Central Park South. I was wondering if it would be frozen over when I got home, and if it was, where did the ducks go? I was wondering where the ducks went when the lagoon got all icy and frozen over. I wondered if some guy came in a truck and took them away to a zoo or something. Or if they just flew away.

Continue reading

On the 6 train, they came to snuff the rooster

Headed towards the Adam Golfer photo exhibit at the 92nd St. Y last night, I overtrusted the space phone and followed the first result directions to the Tribeca branch, never once thinking that maychance the 92nd street Y might actually be on 92nd Street. Grumbling and fumbling through a bad mood, I trudged up to the Canal Street station to catch the uptown 6, still awash in my stunning lack of street guile in this city.

When I got onto the train platform I was stunned to realize there was a girl sitting next to me, some mix of wintry goth chic, puffing away determinedly on a cigarette. I pulled out my phone to distract myself from this anachronistic habit-spewing, and was surprised to find AT&T had full bars somewhere underground Chinatown. I then twote: “I don’t know what’s weirder: that there’s a girl smoking in the Canal Street station or that I get service down here.”

Then I got onto the 6 train to see this sight and immediately corrected: “nevermind. this is weirder:”

That is, in case it’s unclear, a man lying on the ground of the train (gross, already) cuddling with a live rooster.

This video surfaced today from a fellow 6 train passenger, appearing on Gothamist and Daily Intel (via AdamIss)

When I first entered the train, he was standing, holding the rooster by its legs and letting it flap about, occasionally reaching out to grab his shopping cart as it swung with the train momentum to bash into the adjacent railings. The cart contained a bevy of empty cans (like you do, as a bum in the city, climbing your way 5 cents at a time back to the top), a few random clothes and one Guitar Hero plastic guitar controller. The man was wearing a blue MTA uniform shirt, but was not believed to be, as of press time, any known employee of any New York-area transit organization.

While hardly my ideal transit scenario (i.e.: mostly empty train express to Brooklyn, ample leg room, cute girl making potential missed-connection eyes a few seats over reading Howard Zinn), this was hardly the most annoying encounter on a train. Far worse are the bums who colonize the train with a potent odor; the panhandling high school students; the guy who goes from person to person asking for “nickelsandwichoraquarter? nickelsandwichoraquarter?”; or even the prissy pancake-makeuped Manhattanites with their purse-sized Paris Hilton dogs they treat more as iPhone accessory than actual animal. While Rock-a-Doodle on the six was blocking a train entrance he was hardly causing a scene, and clearly seemed to be reveling in the attention as tourists and locals snapped iPhones and flashed digital cameras. After he lay down on the floor, his only movement was to pull the chicken closer for a series of affectionate kisses or to reposition an empty, crushed Budweiser can under the cart’s rear wheel in failed hopes of stopping it from sliding again and again. And the chicken, for its part, didn’t care to protest too much, hinted that maybe they had a long and winding friendship (but who knows). And we had 95 blocks uptown ahead of us.

And hey! I finally made NY Mag and Gothamist, for non-Martha Stewart, non-Hipster-Grifter-related news! One of these days it may be for actual writing too! You’ll notice how I’m chilling’ trying to read my copy of “As You Like It” (book club holla) in peace. This is partly because I had already taken 25 percent battery life worth of photos and observed several angles.

I was headed to the 96th street station, and the Colonel almost made it, but at the 86th Street the po-po finally stopped the train and evicted him. “Easy way or the hard way, pal,” one of them said. “You can’t be on here with that [pointing to the chicken], with this [pointing to the cart] or in the state you’re in [either an assumed drunkenness or an implied mental instability].” After some back and forth, they all left. “You’re going to secure that bird too, right?” one of the cops asked him, to a mumbled reply.

rooster, snuffed

I had planned to say something to this guy on the way out, even if just a quick “Thanks buddy!” because, truly, I was having a crud day before this encounter reminded me that I live in New York, where everything is possible, and probably is happening at any given time. Plus, so many questions! Where does one even obtain a live chicken in Manhattan? (Chinatown, we presume.) What is the cash rebate value on a Guitar Hero controller? It was only 42 degrees out last night; was it really worth losing one’s pet over in lieu of sleeping on the floor of one of the busiest commuter trains on the east side? At what level of brokestlyes do you betray your dear friend and turn him into trash-can-fire dinner?

In between the book, I began anticipating each new stop to see people’s reactions as they entered the train car in their hurried pace. Some did a double take and then moved towards the ends of the car. Some stopped as if smacked with an invisible force-field and turned instead for a different car. The hardest-core New Yorkers entered, looked down, scoffed, sat down, put their ear buds in and continued about their day.

shake that tail feather

I’m still too new to my New York experience to write this off as just another commute; though thankfully not new enough to run away from it in awkward trepidation. I made it in time to see a friend’s awesome art show, hit on a girl who’s getting married in three months and win three free games of NBA pinball in Williamsburg. New York City: I defy you to say this is not the greatest city on Earth. It’s where there’s always some avenue that will let you show your stuff, struggling writers, photographers and chicken effers alike.

tray-boo-shay

tres boochet

I was planning to write about our recent adventures at The Daily Show, but turns out Dave already did. And since he’s one of the stars of the story, I’ll let him tell of the rise to inside-first-joke-with-Jon-Stewart fame.

Excerpt:

Now or never. I pointed to the tripod. “I was just curious, has anyone in the crew ever tried to convert that thing into a trebuchet.” My friends laughed and we waited for an answer.

“Wait a what? What the hell is a trebuchet?”

“It’s a catapault. Well it’s a little different, but it’s a catapault.”

From there it became the perfect forum to watch two Jews argue as Stewart remained perplexed and I gestured wildly at the tripod, tried to explain that JP had just taught me the word and attempted anything else to hold my own and get my point across that we had been talking about trebuchets before the show.

“Right, but what’s so special about a French catapault?” Stewart finally asked.

JP came in with an awesome save. “It surrenders more easily.”

The audience laughed, Stewart laughed, pointed at her and said “You’re hired.” Take that, job guy!

A couple more questions were asked before Stewart walked over to his desk, and some kind of director or something gave us the countdown to cheer wildly. He hit one, the theme music hit and everyone went wild. Then, this happened:

WHAT HAPPENED?!?!?! Better read on to find out!

2010: already a solid notch in the WIN column.