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.