Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Classes Start Tomorrow

Classes start tomorrow and I just thought it'd be nice to say something about these past couple of months. It really is hard to believe that summer is over and to think of whether my prediction of "This summer will be the best one ever", proved to be true.

I learned A LOT the past couple of months, which while these lessons were not always easy, in retrospect they were worth any crap they came along with. Here are some:

That sometimes the best and easiest way to make sure you get what you need at the hardware store is to literally take a picture. When we moved into our flat, one of the locks they left for us was, lets say less than adequate. So off Claire and I went to the hardware store. Looking for locks, screws to attach said lock, saws to cut the screws to attach said lock and at one point contemplated taping the lock to the damn door. It was an adventure to say the least. We only were able to get the lock attached and workable after 3 hardware store workers, a guy across the street who cut the original screws (and damaged them) and finally my cousin who it turns out actually knew what the hell he was talking about. So maybe besides learning to take pictures, I also learned to better be able to distinguish between people who don't know what the hell they're talking about and those who do.

Door lock fail

Learning to sift through the bullshit and truth is likely one of my most valued lessons of this summer, to be more guarded, to be less trustful, to be uncompromising and to be particular when it comes to those you let close to you. In that same genere and theme falls Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World, which is likely one of my favorites in MOMA's collection, it really evokes a feeling of loss, of being left without your defenses, to be disarmed, to long for more or different. This summer had a lot of that and I'm grateful for how I learned these lessons, because like Wyeth's painting, I can leave the painting, the risks and injury someplace and walk away, thankfully unscathed.


That ultimately 25 is just a number, which I think I always knew, and really it's silly to be sad or to dread birthdays. Have fun, go get a few (or many) drinks, especially at 2 in the afternoon, eat yourself fat with sushi. Oh and start the day
off with birthday shots at midnight. Melon Liquor=yum.

Turning 25

And also, go see as many films in the park as you possibly can, seriously. Loads of Fun, especially if you can wrangle up a southern redhead who's always got a vitamin water full of rum stocked away somewhere.


That's all I can really say about these past couple of months. Lots of Learning, Lots of Living, Lots of Loving, Lots of Loss. I would not change a thing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Someone Shat in the Elevator.

I like to think of myself as a pretty nice guy. There's a really good chance that if you needed me to do something for you, and you asked me nicely and I could, I would. It's just my nature. I'm sure you can trace it back to my view on things and humanity, the whole I am my brother's keeper. It's nice when you can do things for other people and when they can appreciate it and maybe one day when I need it, the favor will be returned.

So today, with that in mind I gladly agreed to use my zipcar membership, driving abilities and what little brawn I could offer and help my friend Luke move from Harlem, down to Brooklyn. In fact, into an apartment in my building. I consider it just me doing part in gentrifying the neighborhood.

So we set off at 11, grabbed the car, the handtruck (thank god the hardware store rents them out for $10 a day) and headed up to Harlem where we would, along with his boyfriend and one of the current tenants of hsi old place, move his bed, and boxes. It was a fairly easy trip, aside from some fun double parking and trying to fit a mattress too big to fit in the bed of the pick up truck, in the bed of the pick up truck. Let's just say that we use A LOT of rope and I tried my best to not let the power of the pick-up truck go to my bed and start telling other drivers I would run them off the road if they braked or didn't use blinkers (might've happened on the way up to Harlem...).

When we got back to Harlem, after safely schlepping the mattress and box spring to Brooklyn we went to tackle the literal mountain of books that some might threaten to call the A&E show "Buried Alive: Hoarders" on Luke for (might've happened on the way back to Brooklyn with an actual truck load full of books...). The worst part about this second run was the fact that no joke, someone shat in the elevator of his old building, possibly multiple times. The smell was awful and also meant we had to carry said mountain down a flight of stairs, I guess the whole if you can't bring the mountain to Muhammad, line is now no longer relevant, considering I drove it from Harlem to Brooklyn today.

So that's that. I'm so exhausted and now I'm off to see a movie with Amy (a fellow Brooklynite!) at Brooklyn Bridge park, expect an update on it).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A collection of Things.

I have horrible writer's block. Absolutely horrible. Lucky for me Blogger saves every blog I've attempted to write and stores them as drafts. What follows is a weird collection of thoughts, sometimes about Brooklyn, sometimes not. Yeah, it'd be nice to have a photo montage of Brooklyn, but sometimes this blog is as much about Brian as it is about Brooklyn. Hopefully the little bits of my brain I can commit to words will be entertaining.

Titled: What we owe to the people we love, or don't love, or even barely know.

This has been a busy month for me.

I had a short trip on my birthday weekend which was spent celebrating the nuptials of my cousin in Vermont. It was a fantastic time. The first time we had the majority of all the cousins together for something joyous. Vermont is also absolutely gorgeous. If not for the repeated failure to deliver on the promise of Moose crossing the road and the absolute crap cell phone reception, I would consider living there.

Because of the wedding and because my birthday fell on a Monday this year I pushed the celebratin' forward to the Saturday after. It was likely the most ridiculous birthday I've ever had. a bunch of my friends and my sister met up at the Brooklyn Brewery to do the tour (which literally last 10 minutes) and to imbide in the endless supply of cheap, delicious and potent beer. We're talking $3 8.5% beer here folks. I could barely stand by 3 pm. Mission accomplished.

The one awful bit of the day was the ridiculous heat. Besides having to ride the shuttle bus and getting the seat that I'm fairly certain were actually part of the engine manifold, that literally gave me burns on my back and butt, the day was burning hot. After the brewery we all stumbled onto the L and made our way to a lovely and cheap sushi place ($55 fed 6 people). Getting there, it literally felt like someone was flaying the skin off of us with a hot butter knife. SO HOT. Even so it was so much fun and is likely one of the best birthdays I've had in a long time. Hurrah(?) to 25!

Titled: Summer in the City is full of Cleavage, Cleavage, Cleavage.

I was wandering across the internets and happened upon a discussion abotu winter boots in Montreal. Don't ask. Wikipedia probably led me to it, and lets face it, when you enter the wormhole that is Wikipedia, you're lucky you end up still on the internet and not trying to hunt some rare pygmy bird on Mt Kilimanjaro. Anyway, the general consensus was that in the winter time it is so cold, Montrealers wouldn't care if you had oven mitts wrapped in tinfoil on your feet, because it's winter and anything goes. Well, New York is basically the same way when it comes to heat and clothing (or lack thereof). For the love of christ, I can't even begin to formulate a number that would adequately give you even an estimate of how many bellies, boobs and muffin tops I saw running loose in the streets of Brooklyn and New York these past couple of weeks; there were that many. It really sometimes made the beaches of Jacob Riis look like a national Burqa convention. Now that's not to say I've suddenly adopted tube tops and daisy dukes to fend off the brutal heat (spans of days over 95 degrees), I'm still clinging furiously to the cliff of good fashion sense, albeit often soaked with sweat. Ah, New York.

Titled: The Finer Points of Gentrification.

When I first moved in and until recent days, I had concerns about whether you could consider my square inch of the Clinton Hill Neighborhood an up and coming place. Now, absolutely it was not "real-estate" Clinton Hill like my old place, (which p.s. I'm now too afraid to go there at night), but I still have my concerns. You may ask yourself, Why? Well, it could have been the crazy lady who no joke, lives on the roof, or the "Candy Store" across the street that is never opened and definitely doesn't sell candy, these are both glaring reminders that Brian, you don't live in an effective gated community anymore. In recent days though it has become more and more obvious that my neck of the woods is becoming a lovely piece of heaven! First a pretty awesome hipster yuppie bar has opened literally across the street from me. It easily has 10-15 quality beers on tap for cheap and it's a diamond in a stretch of closed commercial store fronts. What is even more exciting is that the future home of the Greene Hill Food Co-op is nearby too! Modeled on the thriving Park Slope Food Co-op, this will bring some much needed produce to a neighborhood sorely in need of some good eats. I'm real excited.

That's about all I can muster. Apologies, I spend most of my free time now reading the pile of books that the New York Public Library has waiting for me, hoping to prolong summer and push back the beginning of the Fall Semester.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Stranger in my own Borough

I'm turning 25 in less than a month.
My being here, physically, literally, mentally, whatever, seems more a testament to my bumbling gumption more than anything else. I'm like a slightly demented lichen, on the rock of life. What it and other happenings in my life has prompted is a reflective look at what's behind me, what have I done and where I've gone in the past year, hell last 25 years. We all would like to, even need to, believe that everything in one's life is a straight, continuous track, that we don't veer off, that the train doesn't derail, that we one day don't just wake up in Montana (or New York for Montanans), but we do, oh but we do. And sometimes we can't ever justify why we've ended up in a place so far, so foreign from where we were. We just can't.

So for me, now especially because I'm reaching a life milestone, I've started to understand and reflect on just how far from home I really am and more so hopeful that counter to everything anyone ever tells us, you can in fact go back home. Otherwise I'm going to have to practice my cowboy speak. Do they even have indoor plumbing in Montana?

All that being gran thinking and stream of thought having been said, I have a birthday to plan and it's going to be fantastic and Brooklyn. What would it say if the blog author of the Brian and Brooklyn Blog didn't have his birthday in Brooklyn. (Thank god there isn't a usage charge for using Bs)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

If Robert Moses could see us now.

Robert Moses, for those of you who haven't brushed up on mid-20th century New York Public Works history, was the great Machiavelli of the New York State Public Works. Highways were laid, to the inch, where he wanted them to, Bridges erected, tunnels dug, great public parks created and constructed. Moreover an equal amount of Highways, Bridges, tunnels and parks were swept into the dustbin if he did not want them to be. Now, all this being said, and accepting that he did leave, via the work of his office, New York a great wealth of benefits, that to this day it derives wealth from, Moses was a bit of a Elitist, Racist. Moses for lack of a better word didn't really care for the poor immigrants of the city. Rumor has it that although he created what is argued by many some of the nation's most beautiful beaches on Long Island, he also created low bridges across every major highway leading to these beaches in order to prevent bus loads of poor, inner city immigrants from mingling with the middle and upper classes and sullying the pristine beaches on the Island.

Now, on to the Brooklyn adventure, Moses was not a heartless cruel autocrat, he also built the poor folks a beach, closer to the city, now called Jacob Riis Beach. Intended to be the playground of the poor folks, last Saturday I, with a gaggle of friends, claimed another rights as a member of the poor folk class. Yep, the middle/upper class suburban kids were mingling with the unwashed masses, poor Moses likely spun in his grave.

Though it does only cost 2.25 to get to the beach, via the 2 line to the end and then transferring to the Q35, getting to Riis beach is a bit of an epic journey, but totally worth it.

We likely had the best, BEST location on the beach, right next door to literally a small house built by a Puerto Rican family. It had a roof, an actual roof. It was a sight to behold. Besides the fun that our neighbors provided, we also had fun with sand (Thanks Kel for "letting" me steal this photo):
After spending a good chunk of the day out on the beach and some of us getting wickedly burned by the sun, we packed up and headed home. What I think really was the icing on the cake that was this day was the couple we saw walking back to my apartment.

They apparently went to the shore too.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Like a fat kid at Golden Corral

Golden Corral for those of you who have never had the privilege to wander into one of these fine dining establishments is a wickedly cheap food buffet. Now, I'm sure the majority of their food was utter crap, but for me they had a salad bar that would make any herbivore wet with joy. For real. I got my money's worth on salad alone. This boy likes his leafy greens, what can I say. Anyway, on with the chunk of this entry and chunk indeed.

I have done nothing by gorge myself on food for the past 4 days or so, very much like a fat kid at Golden Corral. First I went out and had dinner with my sister and a family friend on the island and literally ate my weight in mussels. SO YUM. So after that food coma the next night I made homemade Wild Mushroom Raviolis with a friend, from scratch. Like flour and eggs we're talking. They were outrageously delicious. I wanted to crawl into the pan and just roll in them they were that good. So I'm sure you're thinking, this must have been the limit. Surely he didn't go and have another gorge-fest. In fact I did. The next morning I woke up and went with same friend to the Big Apple BBQ fest-thing. It was held at Madison Square Park, which is on the Lower East Side-ish. They had so much food and Heartland Brewery had set up a Beirgarten and was charging $6 for a big ole cup of one of their 6 offered brews. I had this dark beer that had molasses and honey. It was so delicious and filling.

Anyway, after having our fill of BBQ and Beer we headed back to Brooklyn (thank god) and wandered upon a $3 Jazz concert at Prospect Park. Now before you dismiss this as just some half-assed lame concert, the head liner was the Allen Toussaint. He's a pretty big jazz name and it was absolutely delightful to sit under the darkening skies and hear beautiful jazz float across the park to our little spot on the grass, all for $3.

Now I'm sure you're all worried that your blog author is now on his way to two-ton-hood, but rest assured, tonight I spent 2 hours playing dodgeball at an open play event. I wasn't really planning on going until 45 minutes before. It just seemed like a better option than finishing the 1/4 left of wall I have to paint and besides I want one ass, not two.

Okay lovelies, Thanks for reading and for the love of God, send a Brother some love and comment!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

And so we wandered

I went with a friend on Tuesday night on a trip to the Prison Ship Martyrs' monument in Fort Greene park. It was sort of happenstance because neither of us really had any intention of going to that park to see that monument, we just wandered, which seems a bit apt considering the state of things lately. And so we wandered.

The prison ship martyrs' monument is dedicated to the men and women who were imprisoned by the British, for want of prison facilities in New York, in former Royal Navy ships that have been described as rotting hulls with absolute hell-like conditions. You did not leave these ships, you entered and died and whatever was left of you was cast overboard to be collected and buried in a shallow grave.

They moved what can only be surmised as the long turned to dust remains of those who perished to the monument and buried them in a mass grave cyrpt. Upon the crypt they erected a massive column that nowadays plays hosts to park-goers and fat camp participants engaging in the "required" passive recreation (not my words but those of a sign that the city posted). Apparently what is considered passive recreation is a fat camp run by what can only be described as what a Nazi would look like if they wore athletic shorts and a sweatband.

I digress though, what this post is really about is the past and how we collectively and perhaps in turn, individually memorialize and move on when it comes to the past. Public monuments serve a purpose, obviously. But do they twenty, thirty, a century after the fact hold the same kind of value as they did when they were dedicated. Aside from those that demand that we re-call, remember and defend the memory of those who died in such large numbers, or in such tragic circumstances, or for a cause considered part of the very fabric of the nation, most public monuments are, after a while, simply nice places to sit in summer time. I'm not sure there is anything wrong with that either.

I leave you with an image of the Monument just before sunset.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Month #1

It has been over a month since my last update. I would say that time flies when you're having fun, but I've had to write 35+ pages, perform a song and dance for one class and do a reading lecture in the other, so not so much fun. Well, that's not entirely true either. I think my roommate and I have had a tremendous amount of fun, tempered with three weeks of me sitting on the couch, crying, consuming insane amount of sugar and carbs, typing, typing, typing. Thankfully I managed to get all my papers and work done AND managed to pull straight A's, but it did come at the price of developing a wicked case of bruxism. Really though, who needs teeth?!

Only in the past week or so has our apartment really come together, in fact my room is still only half painted. I tried to finish it before the housewarming party, but a combination of exhaustion and distractions foiled that intention. Even so the party went swimmingly, it sort of cemented things into place, certainly forced us to clear the boxes out of the front room and made sure we assembled the kitchen table. In short, we have become civilized. Also, apparently at my housewarming party, one of my delightful neighbors effectively called dibs on my sister as she was being buzzed in.

This month has also introduced us to the neighbors, who are a colorful bunch. As it's a rent controlled/stabilized, many family have come to occupy multiple apartments and have really started to treat the lobby area as a front room, lounge and sometimes even a screaming room. Thankfully because of how the apartment is constructed we don't really hear any noise unless it's immediately outside our door and even then no further than the front hallway.

I definitely enjoy living here. There's still a lot of work to be done, but slowly things are coming together. In fact, today I managed to 'fix' the faucet, which had become stuck in one awkward position but now can 'freely' (read as:man handled) into actually being useful. Mostly I like living here because I don't have to listen to anyone have sex every single night, that's sort of nice to not have to deal with anymore.

There will be more entries I promise. So far I have Kayaking, Museum trips and general fun planned. This summer will be the best one ever.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

About that time I become fluent in Swedish.

I would have never thought when I started making the normal rounds of "Hey who wants to help me move", that Jesus would be game. That's right folks Jesus was here today for the first round of Apartment cleaning/moving/IKEA fun.

Let me explain.

I've been hanging out at our new place for most of the day in order to make sure I was here for the IKEA delivery people. Yeah it was 89 bucks to deliver what could easily fit into the back of my borrowed car, but who really wants to carry all that crap up two flights of stairs. Not me. Anyway, so after everything arrived safe and sound I really wanted to start setting up stuff and the most logical piece of furniture was obviously the sofa bed. So here I am sitting on the new sofa bed and guess who rang the door bell. Jesus! Well, not actually him, but one of his people trying to sell a doomsday newspaper called the Final Call. I assume they were proselytizers and not girl scouts, but that's only because they were middle aged men in suits, but maybe Girl Scouts of America is trying to reach a new demographic and I just refused the opportunity of girl scout cookies.

I'll no doubt have more to say about the new apartment. We're having folks over on Friday night to help paint and get toasted on Kosher Wine (don't judge, it's cheap and tastes like grape juice, what's not to love?!) so I will try to document the fun with photography!

Until then, take care.

Friday, April 9, 2010

An end to an Adventure

I'm thrilled to be able to announce the end of an adventure for this Brooklynite. Ladies and Gentlemen, I found the place to live, not just a place, but the place to live.

Although we did much journeying through most of Brooklyn, using criaglist et al. as our unwitting travel guides, my roommate and I, after wandering through Clinton Hill on the Saturday before Easter, decided that we really enjoyed living here and wanted to stay. The periphery is a nice combination of yuppie, hipster and ghetto, most importantly though, it's cheap and close to the subway, which means Manhattan is easily reached.

After what turned out to be a draining week filled with fake adverts and shady landlords, my roommate, with her blessed OCD found an advert that was posted 40 minutes before she logged on. To be honest, it sounded too good to be true, 1,200 for a two bedroom apartment, 3rd floor (2nd floor for you English) walk-up, with HUGE rooms, an eat-in kitchen, full living room and a bathroom, with a sink! (I neglected to mention the charming apartment we found in south, south park slope that I kid you not, had no sink in the bathroom). Either way, I scheduled an appointment right after work and discovered that it was actually legit, and gorgeous. We're talking Pre-war, solid construction, best of all, Rent Controlled. The Holy Grail of Apartments. I obviously jumped at the chance and had my roommate come right after work.

We put a deposit on it today and sunday I sign the lease. These types of apartments don't come on the market everyday, usually people move in and then the only way they leave is on a stretcher. To make the deal even sweeter, because I'm a poor student we qualify to enroll in the low-income housing program which was started by former mayor Guiliani in order to re-claim tenant occupied, but owner abandoned buildings, while also keeping low-income housing, so I'm only paying 1,015. I'm so thrilled.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I ventured from Brooklyn, but it was for Jesus, honest.

I write this having just returned from attending "the great Easter Vigil" at St. Thomas in midtown. Yes, I will take the hisses and boos from you dyed in the wool Brooklynites (if there are even any among you) who denounce such a besmirchment of my Brooklyn blog with tales of a foray into the whore to those whom will pony up the cash to buy her. But anyway. Yes folks we're gonna talk about god, go get your drink now, I'll wait.

My relationship with god (forgive me from quite literally yet unintentionally yoinking the phrase from some hick town preacher's pulpit and plopping it here, but I lack a better phrase) is a bit like a friend whom you call when you realize you've run out of plans and don't want to spend a night in, baking Easter eggs cookies (mightve happened just sayin'). Now granted if were to take the angry, I shall smite you heathen! approach of God, I should fully expect and deserve to have a ceiling that leaks, a roommate that squeaks and well you get the point, but I don't, I prefer to think of my luck as crap and my God as some similarly minded friend who calls me when he/she/it is bored, but otherwise leaves me to my devices (again, which might lead to baking, icing and packaging 3 dozen Easter cookies).

So that's that, it was an Anglican service which is mostly because I was tagging along with a friend, far more godly than I (hard to convince someone else to come to another sect's church, if you haven't actually been to services in 10 years). It was though quite nice and the choir and building was quite definitely worth the effort. Would I start attending again out of some god fearing/appreciation/respect/buddy-buddy feeling? Probably not, but I wouldn't mind going to another Anglican service if not for the choir then for the forced 2 1/2 hour contemplation time. It was quite nice to find some silence in a city (even in Brooklyn and don't you hipster naysayers claim otherwise) where peace is so rare.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We're leaving you, because we don't love you.

Last night was the talk. Now for anyone else, the "Hey we're moving out" talk would be casual, or at least not be nerve wrecking enough that anyone stumbling into my room last night would not find a small Asian girl and myself knocking back shots of polish vodka from the bottle to give us liquid courage. Instead exactly what you think happened happened. Both of us were literally shaking with nerves. It's a bit like how Margaret Cho explains long term, live-in break ups. It's very much like a game of trying to join an already started game of double dutch, at least for our other roommate apparently. It went from Oh, is that your margarine to OMFG WE HATE LIVING HERE AND WANT TO LEAVE, NOT SEPARATELY OF COURSE, BUT TOGETHER, BECAUSE WE LIKE EACH OTHER.

To be brief the phrase, "it's us, not you came up". She cried, said she really liked us, and we said "Oh well Brooklyn is a small place, I'm sure we'll see each other all the time". We were a hair away from giving the roommate version of break up sex. I assume of course such things exist. Either way it was awkward and we felt like we had actually broken up with her and then started making out in front of her, while she cried and self-harmed. It was not fun.

Of course, I would happily continue to bear this cross, if not for the fact that I just found my room advertised on craigslist for $50 less. Yep. Sorry, don't really feel like carrying the cross today Jesus, you're on your own.

So the apartment hunt is on. In New York I've discovered it's a bit of a marathon to the finish, (the finish of course does not involve a ribbon and water bottles, but instead homelessness) and so we're off!
Wish me luck on apartment hunting part deux. This time *should* be less awful than the first.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Oh, Hello Spring.

Brooklyn is absolutely gorgeous.
On walking to my cafe today (yes I did say my cafe. That's not to imply I own, control or in anyway have proper right to refer to it as my cafe, but it's as much mine as something can be and not actually peeing on it.) Anyway, while walking to my cafe I realized two things, first that it had been AGES since I updated my Blog. I'm afraid I don't have a good excuse for not updating sooner (unless of course you count having to go to IKEA, Recover from a Korean brought on hangover and new apartment hunting as worthy reasons). The second thing that I realized is that there's really no proper way to convey to you the weather right now.
There's a nice breeze out today that exists only in thought, not in actual form and it's just warm enough that if you walk in the shade you're delightfully lukewarm. Lukewarm as you should know, if you're to continue reading this is my favorite temperature. As a child, before discovering the concept of thermodynamic, I used to spend a good deal of time adjusting the taps in the bathroom to achieve that perfect water temperature and then line up cups to contain this wonderful water that felt like nothing, to save it for another day. Really though, I've done a crap job at describing to you how wonderful the temperature is outside, just take my word for it that if you're not here sitting next to me, you're missing out.

This gets me on another topic that I've been meaning to mention. The weather in Brooklyn>The weather in Manhattan. Whenever I leave my apartment I'm usually comfortable. However, no matter how prepared I am, the moment I step out of the subway and onto the street, whether to go to Hunter or just for my occasional forays into the concrete jungle, the weather is suddenly ramped up on steroids. Blistery cold, Horribly windy, Jungle hot. It never makes any sense. Manhattan clearly is a menopausal woman in desperate need of some plant estrogen.

Now obviously at this point you're begging me to stop rambling about menopause and the weather and how much of a dim, yet adorable child I was and get to the topic that you're all desperate to know more about: the news that I'm moving, again.

I'm afraid to say, even with access to a potentially wonderful backyard garden (stress the potential part), my cafe literally being 2 blocks down the street, the same cafe right near my laundromat, which means I can partake in Sangria Sundays while doing a load of wash, and even the wonderful smell of fried chicken wafting through the air, I am indeed still planning on moving.

You see my dear readers. I (and another girl, Claire), sublet from someone, when we originally came to visit and see the place we both were told that while this someone's boyfriend frequently was over, he had his own place in Flatbush, and was decidedly NOT a resident of the apartment. Quel Surprise, a month and a half later he hasn't slept at "his" place a single night. More so, we're now paying Manhattan Prices, for Manhattan-sized Space (the space divided by 4, not three) and basically going along for the traumatic ride of feeling like we're awkward groupies to a honeymoon. I, of course won't mention the fact that they're rediculously loud, I hear them every, single night, my ceiling and wall leaks like a bubbling waterfall in the rain and that I have to share a bathroom and shower with two people who regularly like to have group showers together, no I won't mention any of that, that would be petty.
Having come to one of those grand moments of OMG YOU TOO?! with Claire we have both decided to give notice on the 1st of April that we're moving out and we're currently searching for a 2 Bedroom place. So far our quest has produced some gorgeous albeit impractical results. Picture Pre-war apartment with bedrooms the size of a small house, for $1325. However the second bedroom had awkward glass doors, which made it more of a study off of the living room and less of an actual bedroom. Alas, there'll be more.

Suffice to say if you have two arms and legs and live within walking distance of a car, subway station or my old or future apartment, don't plan anything for the end of April, there's going to be beer and pizza and wonderfully light furniture to carry. I'm a big fan of blow up furniture, and so everything I own is light, ridiculously light and not heavy at all. I promise. You should probably bring a car if you have one, no reason in particular, just because I like cars, big spacious cars, with fold down backseats and strong people inside them, they're my favorite.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Brooklyn Museum

Well dear readers, hopefully you haven't abandoned me yet, Last weekend was filled with a visit to Jersey and the plague like illness that I contracted while there. Rest assured I am slowly mending, which is why I'm happy to say I present you with another adventure!

I went to the Brooklyn Museum of Art!

Easily got to by taking the 2 or 3 lines south until you get to the Eastern Parkway stop and Voila!

The Brooklyn Museum is the second largest in the City and arguably one of the largest in the United States; it was opened just prior to the consolidation of the Boroughs into New York City.
It has a pretty eclectic collection and sorts things similar to the way the larger Metropolitan Museum in Manhattan divides it's art, albeit with a slightly smaller collection. To its credit though the Museum embraces a more personal, human approach to art and although it has within it's collection Cezannes, Picassos and Monets, it also has a rather nice chunk of religious/iconic work, African, Asian and Islamic, personal artifacts of various other cultures. Some of my favorites, include:

Albert Bierstadt's "A Storm over in The Rocky Mountains", located within the America Identities, A New Look, American Landscapes exhibit, which looks at the changing concepts and norms of American art.

Another interesting one was by Louis Rémy Mignot "Niagara". I enjoyed most the thoughts of one child who visited the museum:

Pretty articulate for a 7th grader, even if from a school devoted to a Museum! See what you think of it:

Apologies for the weird angle, there was an awkward chair seating area in front of the painting and I wasn't sure if it was a 'Sit and Enjoy the Art!' or a 'This is a display of art that happens to be chairs'. Either way I didn't want to be the one who accidentally traipsed across the 15th century Ming Dynasty, hand-woven carpet made of unicorn hair.

Now for those kids at heart LOOK AT THIS! I was so amazed by it, and although supposed to be about how the West has essentially lumped Native American cultures into one category and illustrated this feeling by the whole plastic mold bit. BUT if for a moment we ignore the smallpox blankets for a bit and be amazed at this for the very fact that it's a GIANT PLASTIC (native american) INDIAN!:

Thank you Yoram Wolberger for creating "Red Indian#4 (Spearman)" and while making a social, political and cultural statement also making a life size toy!

And lastly this is just fun to look at. I forgot to look at the name so I have no idea who this is by or the title, but it is AWESOME.

What's also unique about the Museum is they have a large group of actual rooms (and an entire house!) of hisorical homes both from Brooklyn and other colonial states. Here's the Schneck House: It's the original Schenck House which was the family house of one of the settlers of the Dutch Colony of I think present day Flatbush. The Museum also has rooms from colonial South Carolina, Connecticut, 1920's New York. It was very cool to walk through and see how folks lived. (They were so short!)

Last but not least, what is unique (at least I think) about the Brooklyn Museum is they have a publicly accessible Collection Storage area. A humidity and temperature regulated space, it contains a large portion of the Museum's collection which it can't display due to space constraint. Nearly every Museum actually usually has more art stored behind the scenes then it actually displays to the public, it simply doesn't have enough wall space. The Brooklyn Museum, I think takes this in stride and allows both the protection and storage of it's collection but also the public a glimpse at as much of their art as possible. I managed to snap a picture for you to see what it was like:

If I haven't been able to convince you yet to visit the Brooklyn Museum perhaps this picture will tip the scale:

Yes, That is Three kinds of Beer and two kinds of wine, in the museum cafe. If you don't love this Museum by now, then clearly we cannot be friends. I did take a few more pictures of the nearby main Brooklyn Public Library and Grand Army plaza, which you're welcome to check out in my Flickr feed, I might include them in a general post about Prospect Park, but this entry would be HUGE if I included them too!

Hope you enjoyed my adventure to the Brooklyn Museum!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Kosciuszko Bridge

This will just be a quick "adventure" entry. Regrettably I was over served last night and so I am dealing with an epic hangover and a gashed and bleedy leg.

Let me explain.

Last night started off as any other night, had made plans to go to MOMA to see the Tim Burton exhibit with a friend and then it was decided that we should visit the fine drinking establishments of Brooklyn. How could we go wrong.

We started our evening off at my lovely neighborhood pizza place, whose charm is slowly being eaten away by it's complete lack of service. Although it has absolutely amazing pizza, it's windows announce what you're in for, in Niçois, the French dialect of Nice, is written "I don't give a shit, I'm from Nice." Midway through our dinner the waiter walked out for what I thought was a cigarette, except he never came back. Today I found out that my flatmate saw him in the local bar down the block, having a drink, about the same time we were having Pizza. Of course, I'll still go back, because it's amazing pizza, but I'll just lower my expectations.

Anyway, we then hopped on the G and took it to Metropolitan and Lorimer and visited the aptly named Metropolitan bar/lounge/place. It was pretty nice, Brooklyn Hipster central, I was in heaven really. We stayed there for a bit and then reaching the point of drinking exhaustion and getting sleep, we decided to head back to the Heights. This is where the adventures comes in.

The G was shut down for the night, we had to take a cab. The reader should note that trying to find a yellow cab in the outer Boroughs, regardless of the night is not an easy task, the reader should also note that trying to find a cab and then telling the driver how to get home, also not an easy task, when you've forgotten which borough you're in. I thought I was in Queens, and after the driver had some confusion about where I actually lived, I announced that we had to take the bridge whose name I can't pronounce, because we're in Queens and have to get to Brooklyn, did he realize just how lost I really was. We luckily made it home, after a nice conversation with the Israeli cab driver, who I thought was French and the only war wound I'm left with is a wicked gash on my leg from my bed. Apparently at 24 I need corner guards.

So that dear reader is why you'll have to get by without lovely flashy pictures and instead take pity on this poor soul who went into the ring with Brooklyn last night and lost.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Breukelen Hoogtes!

Hello again,

Well for those of you non-dutch speakers (myself included *Thank you Google Translate!*) the title of this entry is the closest approximation of the current name for Manhattan's first commuter town, Brooklyn Heights, in Dutch! According to the Brooklyn Historical society, the first permanent settlement began soon after the transference of land from Native American chiefs to Europeans in 1636. Now, for thecynics among you, try to keep in mind, the Dutch were pretty good about trading fairly for land. They avoided conflict as much as they could with the native people for two reasons, first war interrupted commerce and commerce was the reason for the entire settlements existence and two they lacked for the most part the religious conviction that allowed certain other Europeans *cough* English *cough*; who often decided that this new world was theirs and well anyone who might have thought they owned/possessed/pitched a hut upon it could just go some place else.

So yes, Brooklyn still has everywhere proof that the Dutch were here, the most obvious is the Breukelen Apartments which I found while wandering around the Heights (and freezing my ass off).
Signs that the Dutch were here
(Hopefully you can see the tiny print on the sign)

The area though is likely most famous for it's association with George Washington. In fact it has (which is oh so common in America) a "George Washington was here!!!!" sign.
George Washington was here.
Apparently during the Battle of Long Island George Washington set up camp here. What the giant stone tablet neglects to mention is that the British trounced the Americans and went on to occupy New York for the remainder of the American Revolutionary War. FUN!

The tablet, though it lacks a full perpective of the Battle of Long Island certainly has a lovely view of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge, which isn't surprising considering it sits in the aptly named Brooklyn Bridge Park. Look at the views!
View from Brooklyn Bridge Park
(That's the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan)

Looking south from the park you also get a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, which can only be viewed from the front while standing in Brooklyn, unless you want to rent a boat or come as steerage.
Statue of Liberty
(That tiny little blip on the horizon is the Statue)

Also close to Brooklyn Heights is the Brooklyn Borough Hall, which originally served as the City Hall, when the borough was an independent city.
Brooklyn Borough Hall

This little stretch of park is absolutely gorgeous in the summer time, you get a nice breeze off the water and people usually walk dogs and fly kites and just hang around taking in the site. In winter time, in below freezing weather, it makes for frozen limbs.

So that's about it, apologies for the awful HTML coding and the complete lack of context. This trip was sort of spur of the moment and completely unplanned, but I figured a rough start is good as any. I have my sights on the Brooklyn Public Library, The Brewery and The Grand Army Plaza Farmer's Market for future adventures!
Until next week,

Saturday, January 23, 2010

First post ever.

Hello Internet.

My name is Brian and I'm a 24 year old part-time grad student at Hunter, full-time-ish Barista. I've just moved to Brooklyn, into a pretty little area where Fort Green/Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights and Bed-Sty meet. Technically my zip code is Prospect Heights so that's what we're working with here.

My goal for this Blog is to have it be part-travel, part-adventure, part-documentary journal. Basically I plan on taking you along on my adventures, both so you can see them and so that I can remember them. My goal is to do one fun thing a week and write about it.

I'm still in the process of moving in and have so far discovered my Grocery store (which has quite a nice selection), my Pizza place (which is a weird combination of French and Italian, but OMG delicious pizza), My Liquor store, or at least where it lives, having not ventured into it and the subway lines that connect me to the world.

This should be a lovely adventure and I hope you join me for the ride.