Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Barry Diller's Big Ugly Monolith

The new IAC headquarters designed by Frank Gehry is rising in Chelsea over near the West Side Highway. The building's shape is really cool. One would have to assume that IAC's CEO Barry Diller would like to keep his orifice office on the top near the hole.
While the shape is awesome, the semi-reflective banded glass is butt ugly. Hello 1987 suburban office park.
The building's undulations lead to some interesting reflections though. Or non-reflections.
That water tower is directly on top of a building that is not reflected. I can assure you that the water tower building is in fact NOT a vampire and would in normal circumstances actually have a reflection.
Here the IAC building is actually reflecting only itself as this corner is angled inward however the reflected IAC looks taller and skinnier. Hmm.. so maybe it really is a vanity building.
category: nyc_

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

NBC- Don't Screw Up Last Comic Standing Again

Surprise surprise. Last Comic Standing is back on NBC. Hopefully NBC won't screw it up again this year. If you recall, during the last season of Last Comic Standing in the fall of 2004, the show was pulled with only the finale episode remaining. Airing in it's place was a repeat of already cancelled Father of the Pride- the animated show about Siegfried and Roy's lions during which the winner was announced via an onscreen scroll. The finale actually did air a few days later on Comedy Central but what was the point since NBC had already announced the winner. In retrospect it's funny but the laugh is at the expense of the inept scheduling department.

Needless to say, former host Jay Mohr was beyond pissed and has not returned this year. Taking over hosting duties this year is that guy with the weird accent from Boston Common. Does anyone think he's actually funny? He was barely even on the show tonight.

The premiere episode tonight make absolutely no mention of Last Comic Standing season 1 winner Dat Phan. Could it be because Dat Phan was the unfunniest person to ever appear on television and only won due to the producers leaving the final voting in the hands of an audience believing they were voting for the comedian who would make the best sitcom host instead of just the best stand up comedian? That somehow America was wooed by an impression of a crazy Vietnamese mother? Or maybe season 1 wasn't mentioned because celebrity judges Brett Butler and Drew Carey pulled out of the show in complete outrage after it was determined that their votes had no bearing on the competition whatsoever?
The current season of Last Comic Standing is off to a mixed start so far with some questionable eliminations. The actor who played Skippy on Family Ties puts forth a funny and topical routine but doesn't make it. A girl with a lisp who tells lisp jokes is put through to the next round while several funny New York comedians are left high and dry. The judges (who the hell are these guys anyway?) are clearly going for younger more unknown talent. We'll see how the talent stacks up once the next round begins but NBC it's looking questionable so far, you're on shaky ground- don't screw it up again.
category: tv_

Monday, May 29, 2006

Gramercy Angles and Shadows

Angles, shadows, light, dark, the sky and a skybridge in Gramercy. Happy Memorial Day.category: nyc_

Friday, May 26, 2006

Reeves Bullock Supastar

Meet Reeves Bullock, the greatest protagonist action hero megasuperstar of all time. Reeves Bullock can wipe out any enemies with his awesome monotone powers.
Alternatively: Keanu has finally done something worthwhile- making Sandra Bullock disappear.
category: nyc_

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Action Painting Street Battle

There was total mayhem on the streets of Tribeca today as an Action Painting Street Battle took place on Jay Street. What's an Action Painting Street Battle? I'm not sure either but it was freakin awesome. It was like the Wrestlemania meets Japanese crazy TV meets the art world.
Two massive canvases were set up opposite one another and the street was covered in plastic. A crowd gathered on the sidewalks on either side. The battle featured 74-year-old grand champion of boxing painting Ushio Shinohara vs upstart youngster Ryoga Katsuma.
The ref hands out posters and gets ready to ring the bell. Hard to see but note the judges Corona filled table on the right in the back.
Heavily favored and popular Ushio is introduced and goes first. He comes out in a mohawk, goggles, boxing gloves, and boxing shorts.
He dips his gloves in the paint and whacks the canvas hard. Really hard. Wham. Wham.
Check out this video- feel the excitement in your own living room:

Covered in paint, Ushio mugs for the plethora of cameras.
The finished painting after only about 1 minute was actually pretty decent.
Next up was Ryoga Katsuma. His style was completely different. He basically dipped most of his body in different colored paints and then flopped around on the canvas- all in time to the beat of a live drummer off to the side.
Unfortunately, the promoters invited the crowd right onto the street for this one so it was hard to see. In a total Wrestlemania move, one of the judges threw a glass bottle at the barefoot painter. The ref stepped in, and the match was stopped until the ground was cleared of broken glass.
Ryoga continued on strong after the break.
We did not stay to see who won but it doesn't really matter anyway because in Action Painting Street Battle, everyone's a winner (except the judge who threw the glass).
category: nyc_

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Jersey Drivers

I really wasn't going to post this but an incident today on 22nd street has forced my hand. Now it's pretty well known that New Jersey drivers have a bad reputation. If you don't believe that, believe New York Hack who's documented firsthand experiences here, here, here, or maybe here. Anyway back to 22nd street near Broadway, a car attempted to parallel park in a spot next to a hydrant with 20 feet of empty curb on either side and yet still managed to come in at such a sharp angle that he was within inches of hitting the pump (which is at least a foot in from the curb). With at least 40 feet of space there was no reason to be parallel parking to begin with. I said to myself, this guy's either completely blitzed off his ass or he's from Jersey. Sure enough, I look at his plates when I get closer and he's stone cold sober. Alas I did not have my camera with me.

The incident was the second in less than 5 days; it reminded me of a picture I took on 72nd street over the weekend while walking around waiting for David Copperfields to open. Magic Hat Porters are awesome by the way. Nice parking job, Jersey. It's not like this was a tricky left side of a one way street parallel job. This is standard week 2 of driver's ed stuff. You've got to straighten up once you get in the spot buddy.
To be fair, I'm sure there's at least one or two good Jersey drivers out there.
category: nyc_

Monday, May 22, 2006

Stealth DaVinci Code Ad?

More weirdness over on York Avenue. Is this a stealthy ad for the DaVinci Code movie? It sort of looks like a map of Italy with a circle and fire coming out of it. Might be a clue. On second thought if I squint hard enough it sort of looks like Arvid Engen from Head of the Class. Hmm... Arvid Engen is an anagram for Gave Nerd In. I theorize that a secret sect of albino nerds is holding the final unreleased season of Head of Class, including the long rumored "Gave Nerd In" episode where Darlene Merriman (played by Robin Givens) goes on a rampage after getting an A- in gym and holds Eric hostage until teacher Charlie aka Dr. Johnny Fever and guest star Mike Tyson calm her down . This VHS stash, hidden since the 20th century, can be located by following the clothesline at St. Patrick's and can be opened using Dennis Blunden's locker combination. Or so my theory goes. Ron Howard give me a call if you're looking for a sequel.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Horse v. Internet

Here we have a horse mounted NYPD officer giving a parking ticket to a Fresh Direct (internet only supermarket) delivery truck in Battery Park City.
I'm sure there's some sort of witty line I should write here about maybe Henry Ford rolling in his grave, or Al Gore never saw this coming when he invented the internet, or something about horsepower, or don't order the mystery meat from Fresh Direct next week, or I told Fresh Direct they shouldn't have raised the price on donuts. Leave a comment if you've got something better.
Horse 1: Internet 0.
category: nyc_

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Building in Williamsburg

Ivy covered vacant building on the waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn:category: nyc_

Friday, May 19, 2006

Apple Store Opens on 5th Avenue

The glass cubed Apple store on 5th Avenue across from the Plaza Hotel opened today at 6pm. Since they were offering free t-shirts (which I'm a total sucker for) and chances to win Macbooks hourly, I went to see what the big deal was. The crowd was massive! The cube has power, like some giant geek vortex.
Rumors of a U2 appearance may have helped to draw the crowd too, but apparently not everyone had heard that Bono was in Africa this week. Hey doofus with the we heart U2 sign, I could see from ground level there was no band set up, why couldn't you from 10 floors up?
The line at 6pm looped around the front of the Apple store plaza three times before completely encircling the block and heading back and up Madison. According to the Gmap pedometer map I drew below, the line to get into the Apple cube was .45 miles!
There was no way I was going to wait that long, so I just walked around it the best I could. It's really cool.The store is actually below the plaza, there's a glass staircase and elevator in the middle.
Just after 6pm, Steve Jobs was spotted by the door and the cube was surrounded by people in black t-shirts who applauded as people entered the store. Love the floating logo.
category: nyc_

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Main Squeeze Accordion Store

I can't believe there's an entire store dedicated to just accordions but Main Squeeze is the place for "all your accordion needs". It's down at 19 Essex Street next to the pickle store (I can't believe there's a store just for pickles either). My accordion needs have greatly decreased since Weird Al's third album but it's good to know where to go should I start getting back into the wild gritty lifestyle of the hardcore accordion scene.
Maybe I'll check out the 1st Annual NYC Main Squeeze Accordion Festival on July 8th.
category: nyc_ music_

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Burger Joint Review

I went to The Burger Joint on 3rd and 20th in Gramercy for lunch today . The Burger Joint (not to be confused with Burger Joint) is small, with a bar seating about 10 surrounding the tiny grill and a counter in the window. I ordered a double hamburger, fries, and a Diet Rite. Normally I would not drink Diet Rite but the fountain soda choices were extremely limited unique.
Sitting at the bar, my fries were brought to me almost immediately with the burger following less than a minute later. The hamburger is sized like a thick slider, topped with grilled onions and served on a potato roll. The Burger Joint hooks you up with a massive mound of french fries. The excellent fries were crispy as if twice fried frites style.
The burger was juicy and had a distinct spiciness that I could not put my finger on until I saw a worker mixing up more meat. He used salt, pepper, and garlic to spice it up. On my next bite, all I could taste was garlic. The burgers are overly garlicy. It overwhelms the beef flavor and is unnecessary. Then I saw the grill worker doing the cardinal sin of burger cooking- pushing them down with his spatula. You learn not to do that in Burgers 101. For these reasons I can't recommend The Burger Joint. You're about 1000 times better off at nearby Shake Shack even with the massive line.
category: food_ nyc_

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Slow Bus Smells Like Tuna

Sometimes the bus is the slowest possible way to get from one place to another. Usually because some crazy old white lady (and it's always an old lady- never a man) is asking the bus driver her third question before getting on the bus. Seriously lady, couldn't you ask one of the people standing at the bus stop with you while you were waiting for the bus? Since the MTA technically doesn't allow you to talk to the driver while the bus is in motion, I propose that the MTA demand that all pickups be made at a very slow rate of speed- ferris wheel style, thus eliminating old lady banter delays.It's not always the old lady though; sometimes it's the 43 year old men with the light blue 2 sizes too big Mets hat, fake Member's Only jacket in real pleather, bulky around the neck headphones with the AM/FM radio built right into the earphones, military issue/Elton John thick lensed glasses, wispy mustache, and pants that ride up halfway up their calves when they sit revealing boat shoes and mismatched gray striped socks held up by sock garters, searching through their tan reusable 20 year old shopping ecobag thing for enough quarters to finally get on board the bus before sitting down next to you and chewing on a Wonder bread tunafish sandwich with their mouths open. There's not much the MTA can do about that, but at least they can fix their fallen signs.
category: nyc_

Monday, May 15, 2006

Small and Mighty Interns

The All Small and Mighty Laundry clothes covered promotional bus was in town today.
Upon approaching the bus, I saw several people dressed alike aggressively handing out flyers. Really pushing them- jumping into people's paths and not moving until they took one. All with a good natured smile though. Immediately I glanced around looking for TV cameras because it looked like something out of The Apprentice. Seeing none, I was confused by the tactics. Then suddenly I came to a realization- it's intern season! I proceeded to take a flyer and fold it into my back pocket. Not more than 10 seconds later as I stopped to take a picture of the crazy clothed bus, did the two flyer holding giggling Small and Mighty interns (pictured above) try to forcibly give me another flyer. Despite showing them the flyer sticking out of my back pocket they insisted I take one. The Small and Mighty interns got all up in my business almost pushing me over and actually placed a flyer in my hoodie pockets before another Small and Mighty intern reassured them they I did in fact have a flyer. So to the two All Small and Mighty interns above, I applaud your literal representation of the Small and Mighty brand.
category: nyc_

Disco Biscuits at Albany's Palace Theater

Saturday night the Disco Biscuits played at the Palace Theater in Albany. The Palace is a gorgeous theater with fantastic sound and is a really enjoyable place to see a concert. It has a huge balcony and is extremely wide overall. The interior is ornately decorated, the beer is reasonable at $4.50, and there's no lines for the bathrooms.

The only negative points are for the long lines for beer. Oh and the fact that it's located in downtown Albany and if you walk more than 3 blocks in the wrong decoration you are in one scaryass hood with hookers, pimps, crackheads, vacant lots, boarded up buildings, and people taunting you for being white. Good times.
The show was pretty good, it had both really danceable moments and some slower songs. I liked the long intro jam to Spectacle that started the show. The Munchkin Invasion beginning drum section into Little Betty Boop featuring a Sabre Dance (classical tune) jam then back into a partially inverted Munchkin (ending first, then middle) before going back into Boop was hot hot hot. Confused? Those are the lights from Helicopters (which was pretty good) above. I actually did not intend to take any pictures but we ended up moving back in the middle of the 2nd set to a sweet spot right behind the soundboard and I since I had my camera in my pocket anyway, I could not resist. Memphis and Nughuffer seemed to be lacking any real energy. The new song was decent; will have to relisten as I missed part of it due to our relocating for more space.
Basis lights above. I liked the Basis- it was surprising that they would play such a long complex song so late in the show. As you can see, the crowd was pretty pumped up by this point. Have a Cigar encore was a lot of fun again- they play it pretty close to the original version.
If you leave the Palace theater after a show, turn around and see the marquee from this angle, DO NOT continue to walk- go a different way. Unless you're looking for some post concert crack or hookers. Whatever floats your boat.
category: music_

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Reading Outdoors

Today's theme is reading outdoors. Everyone should read. Ok good, you're reading this right now, that's a good start. Now go outside it's a nice day out.

category: nyc_

Friday, May 12, 2006

Little Brick Building vs Big Gray Rat

In New York if a building uses non-union workers and the union catches on, they will dispatch a giant inflatable rat to sit in front of the building's doorway. This one has been in front of 420 E. 86th Street most of the week. There's also a scary looking union guy guarding the big rat and handing out flyers. I took a picture of the less menacing looking of the two- the cute NY hat gives it the edge. Here is the rat after it pounded a pair of (non-union) orange hat wizards clear into the pavement:Usually buildings just sit there and take it like a bitch. 420 E 86th says "Nuh uh. I don't think so. Giant inflatable rat, it is on like Donkey Kong". The building has plastered flyers along the sidewalk calling the union a rat and accusing them of "lies and propaganda".
Earlier today, the signs were still up and the giant inflatable rat in a hat was gone. Building 1. Rat 0.
category: nyc_

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sassy's Sliders Smooth Secret

It's no secret that Sassy's Sliders has pretty good bite sized burgers and fresh cut fries.
The small mostly takeout burger stand is on 3rd Avenue just north of 86th St. next to Papaya King. The menu offers a variety of bite sized burgers including chicken parm (not so good) and veggie (never had 'em but I'm picturing square cuts of flattened broccoli in my head). The beef and turkey sliders are your best options- the meat is nicely grilled and slightly salty. This is complemented nicely by the grilled onions that sink into the bottom of the fluffy moist steamed buns. The bun/meat ratio is perfect for this style of burger. Sassy's fries tend to be a bit greasy but are crispy and delicious. Today I went with a relatively healthier option of turkey burger sliders and sweet potato fries:
Ok so what's the big secret? The secret is that Sassy's Sliders has the best shakes in New York. Creamy smooth thick shakes made using soft serve ice cream. Just awesome. So did I order a shake and take a picture to share with everyone? Hell to the no- I'm still feeling like a sloth from eating so much Big Wong the other night. Instead I present you some girl freaking out and shaking it to her own homemade Sassy's theme song.

Ahhh Sassy's.
category: food_ nyc_

Bacardi Mural Gets the Blues

They're painting over the huge Bacardi ad mural on the corner of 13th Street and 4th Avenue just below Union Square! The Bacardi ad was hand painted in October of 2003. Even though it's an ad, it was done by hand and was not too product-centric so it seemed artsy, permanent, borderline iconic, and timeless- just like the DKNY ad on Houston St.

These pics were taken on Tuesday, so it might be all gone by now.
Hopefully they'll replace it with something good and not some obnoxious vinyl thing.
Update: it's going to be a hand painted Crunch gym ad- ugly so far- Curbed has the scoop.
category: nyc_

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Big Wong is Tasty

Despite the unfortunate name at Big Wong Restaurant the food is really good. I was looking for a more authentic (ie less American) Chinese place in Chinatown than WoHop when my friend said to me, "I love Big Wong". I retorted, "Does your wife know about that?". After several minutes of confusion I got the restaurant recommendation. Last night I tried out Big Wong.
Walking into the Mott Street joint, I could already see it bulging with people. Multiple waiters stopped by to be cocksure that someone had taken our order. The first dish came quickly- perhaps premature, as our soup had not arrived yet. The chicken in black bean and garlic sauce was extremely flavorful. Big Wong's sauce was sticky and thick, almost creamy. The garlic taste was more prevalent on the tongue than the beans. The rice was sticky enough to make my chopsticks stand erect when placed in the mound even after soaking up the sauce. Next up was the roast duck and pork over rice. We were served big meaty chunks of moist juicy Big Wong pork. The Big Wong duck was extremely succulent with a crispy skin, but the bones made it hard to eat with the sticks. Lastly our wanton soup was served. In a ballsy move, Big Wong put both shrimp and pork wantons into the tasty but overly scallionated soup. Completely stuffed from Big Wong, I cocked my head over towards the waiter to give the check nod and pull out.

Big Wong is one of the best Chinese restaurants. You can not beat them for price/taste/value. I could eat Big Wong almost every day of the week. I love Big Wong pork and duck. Even as I write this, I'm craving more Big Wong. Big Wong is at 67 Mott St, just south of Canal St.
category: food_ nyc_