Sunday, October 29, 2006

Tupperware Art Thing at Time Warner Mall

Last week the winners of the 2nd annual Translations in Tupperware design challenge contest were on display at the Time Warner Center Mall, or as it's officially, but not commonly called "The Shops at Columbus Circle", since New Yorkers tend to disdain the mall and all things suburban. This clearly was the obvious choice of locale to display designs made from an object most suburban- Tupperware.
The design winners were sort of a mixed bag, ranging from the simplistic dough roller lounge chair above to the more complex dresses made of lids below.
Project Runway- take note!
My favorite was the fish silhouetted below. Very intricate and detailed considering the materials it was made from.
Here's the backside view- it's constructed of Tupperware spoons!
Overall the designs seemed for the most part pretty amateur and uninspired and there was a complete lack of any signage around the display to indicate that this was some sort of contest- hopefully next year there will be improvements on both ends.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Grey Gardens She Wrote

Just back from a preview of the upcoming Broadway musical "Grey Gardens". Grey Gardens is the story of Jackie O's aunt and cousin who lived in an East Hampton mansion that descends from majesty to cat lady squalor (based on a true story!). Christine Ebersole is fantastic playing both the young aunt and old cousin in the 2 acts which take place many years apart. I'm sure the reviews will use words like "tour de force" and "Tony contender" to describe Ebersole's stage dominance.

The show did have some slow points and the story is sad at times but it was punctuated by some very funny lines and songs. Broadway musicals are not for everyone, but who shows up at a preview on a Thursday night? Besides me of course- it's gay men and old people (mostly old ladies, with an average age of maybe 75), and Angela Landsbury!

Angela is a multiple Tony award winner herself and an old lady and she looked pretty darn good for 81. She caused quite a huge stir in the crowd once she was spotted at intermission by the back bar, with whole groups of gays and old ladies standing up and looking at her. Clearly that is her demographic, housewives notwithstanding. Angela had tickets in about the 5th row, which is pretty prime- close but no neck craning.

This was my best theater celebrity spotting since I sat directly behind Ben Kingsley at The Elephant Man (featuring Billy Crudup in the title role) and thought he was Patrick Stewart the whole time- which is exactly why I don't approach celebrities.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Jets Have a Giant Week

Are you ready for some football? The Jets had a huge game on Sunday, thanks to Leon Washington . They finally found a way to run the ball more than 2 yards a play. They should give this guy the ball every time. He's quick. Chad Pennington played well again...the amazing thing about Pennington is that not only is he quarterbacking for the Jets but he's also hosting Extreme Home Makeover on ABC under the pseudonym "Ty Pennington". You're not fooling anyone Chad. Nothing says "come into my bar to watch football" than an 8 foot tall inflatable stiff arm. Note the patron inside the bar behind the elbow for scale.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Open Letter to Parents- Re: Halloween

Dear parents of the Upper East Side and other parts of Earth,

Halloween is a one day holiday. It occurs on October 31st every year. It is commonly accepted to put out pumpkins and other decorations in the weeks preceding the holiday, much as you would hang up your Christmas decorations in early December. However, the celebration of the actual holiday only takes place on one day, October 31st.

In recent years, it has become allowable to extend the Halloween holiday to the weekend before October 31st. In the current year's calendar, the weekend before (acceptable celebration time) falls on the 28th and 29th. This past weekend was the 21st and 22nd- completely inappropriate celebration times.

So why do I see tons of little kids (and parents) dressed up and parading around 10 days before Oct 31? Do you know how ridiculous you look? Parents, why have you extended the holiday?- would you open up your Christmas gifts on December 16th? I'm thinking of celebrating New Years on the 21st this year. I heard July 4th is rescheduled for June 28th next year, so it fits in with your weekend calendar.

Let's keep Halloween where it belongs, Oct 31st. A little anticipation never hurt any kid. If I get any trick or treaters before the 31st, you can be damn well sure they will receive pennies or raisins from me. And not little boxes of raisins-ziplock baggies with the number of raisins meticulously counted out.

Keeping the holidays in check

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Chase Bank Chillax

Attention Chase Bank- I think you have enough branches, there is no need to open any more. We don't need a Chase Bank every second block. You are oversaturating your market. You're already in every Duane Reade in the city. Do you really need to open a second bank directly across the street from where one already exists and diagonally across from a DR?You're kidding Chase, right? Chillax Chase, chillax.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mets Win..Yankees Lose Their Hats

Mets win! With the Mets win tonight forcing a game 7 in the NL Championship, things are looking good for Flushing's finest. Unfortunately for Yankee fans in the city, things are not looking quite so good:
But don't despair Yankee fans, just because you lost your hat this year and your postseason hopes were derailed, don't jump on the third rail, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can always throw your hat in the ol' free agency ring to get things back on track. Besides, that hat was ugly anyway.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Demolition Reveals Old Ad

Today we're going all Forgotten New York and uncovering Yorkville's past. The recent demolition of the buildings on the corner of 86th and 3rd (no, not the Papaya King corner, exhale and relax) has revealed an ancient advertisement. In this picture I overexpose the truth:
The former beauty on the corner with the mansard roof, soon to be dismantled, reveals a rich past.
Built in the 1860's and enlarged to it's present (for now) form in 1874, it was a hotel and billiard saloon called the Hotel Astoria. I can't find much information about Hotel Astoria at all- anyone? Here is the structure in the 1930's I believe:
In it's later years the building was home to such stores as T-Mobile and 86th St Photo. For some reason the contractor demo'ed the middle 2 of the 4 buildings to be pulverized first. Lucky for us, the old ad has been revealed. Additionally the outline of the peaked roof of a tiny ghost building has been revealed too- much smaller than the 5 story building that was taken down.
It clearly says "lodge rooms" but I can't quite make out the top line.. oversized?

Catch this forgotten piece of Yorkville's history now before it turns into this- 20 story tower with retail, retail, retail on the bottom. At this rate, the ad will literally be gone in a few days.

Goodbye CBGB's OMFUG

Tonight was the closing night at legendary NYC club CBGB's. Patti Smith was the last to play. It's a real shame all these old clubs are closing down and nothing new is really opening up to take their place. CBGB's was impressive for many reasons but it's decor takes the cake- the entire place is covered floor to ceiling in band stickers and flyers.
That's Rana on the stage. There are stickers everywhere-I mean everywhere.

The place is a total dive. The owners plan on dismantling as much as possible and taking it with them to reopen in Vegas, which seems like a bad idea when you consider the floor- a wood floor patched in about 50 places, many parts are patched with metal.CBGB's has probably the most famous bathroom on earth. The bathrooms are about on par with the rest of the club, graffiti and stickers everywhere. Note the famous "throne" in the rear, just sitting up on a platform, no doors, no shame.

Closeup on the world's most famous toilet. It's actually difficult to use (for #1) because the step is right in front of it, making it too high up.RIP CBGBs wherever you end up.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

OHNY: Open House New York

Last weekend was the fourth annual Open House New York where the general public is allowed entry to otherwise closed areas of the city. This was my fourth one attended, so I tried to hit up only sites that were new to me. Here's some highlights.

We started off at the little red lighthouse. You may know it from "...and the big grey bridge" fame. We were able to climb the stairs to the top and enjoy the view from atop Manhattan's only lighthouse. Ok the view wasn't great cause it's only like 30 feet tall but it was neat to be on top of a lighthouse.

We made a few less memorable stops and then went to 7 World Trade Center where there was an art exhibit on the 45th floor. The elevator was extremely fast and the views from the unfinished space were phenomenal.

On Sunday we went to one of the Rockefeller Center roof gardens, normally open only to certain tenants in the building. A very peaceful oasis about 6 stories up.

One of the great things about OHNY is they let you into individual architects homes, where you can admire their bold choices and laugh at their ridiculousness. Here is someone's shower from a home in the West Village. Yep 100% clear and right in the middle of their bedroom. This apartment also had a small shallow pond-like hottub made of something that felt like rubber. This small tub was built into the floor and completely uncovered- if you walked in the front door with your eyes closed and took 3 big steps, you'd be wet.
This is from another architect's home in Gramercy; what you are looking at are the steps to get from the living room to the loft bedroom. At the bottom of the steps is a pond with black rocks on the bottom; you have to jump across 4 concrete islands to go from the stairs to the living room. On the right of the photo is the bed- no guardrail or anything to prevent that thrown pillow (or person!) from going over the edge into the water.
I don't know how people can live like that. Overall, OHNY was fun as usual but much more crowded this year than the past few; long waits at many places made it difficult to see as many sights as we would have liked.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Plane Crash into Upper East Side Building

Still not sure if it's a plane crash but a building on E 72nd is on fire.

York Ave is crazy- emergency vehicles of all types and tons of onlookers.

After a little while most of the smoke seemed to have subsided.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Sky Mirror Rockefeller Center

So a few weeks ago they put up a giant mirror art thing in Rockefeller Center and of course Velvet Sea is right on top of it (not literally since there was security and I don't know where I placed my left hand suction cup climber). They call it "sky mirror". It's by Anish Kapoor and it's art. I have some art in my bathroom too, it's called "shower door mirror" and "medicine cabinet mirror". There's a small fee for entry though, just make a deposit in the white bowl.
This is just the sort of thing Rockefeller Center needs, an excuse for tourists to stop in the middle of the sidewalk... as if they ever needed an excuse anyway. Attention visitors to New York City: Welcome. The sidewalks in our city are like the freeways in your godforsaken Walmart ham sandwich shittown. You don't just stop in the middle, you pull off gently to the side. If you have to imagine yourself as one those pick 'em up trucks with 4 wheels in the back hogging the road, do it. And for the record Bubba Gump Shrimp is not considered an authentic New York meal.
In summary, art rules.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Mike's Original Grinding Truck

Not sure what the deal is with this guy "Mike" but he's got a seriously old grinding truck. It says since 1941 and Mike may very well have been driving this very truck in 1941. In fact, were it not for the new yellow cabs, the paved street, the Oz moving truck, the new NY license plates, the window air conditioners, and the fact that the entire thing is in color, this photo could have been taken in 1941. That's Mike or the other guy in the back grinding a knife up.
Gowanus Lounge spots Mike in Ft Greene. I actually do need one of my knives sharpened (I did a lot of mass murdering this summer- remember that gruesome double homicide slashing in the Bronx in July- yep- shhhhhh) but I could not stop to sharpen or I would not have made it to Baluchi's in time for the lunch special. You know how I get when I don't get my half price samosas and lamb saagwala. Nobody wants a rehash of the "sorry we don't have any more nan" episode from '04. Particularly if all I've got around is ol' rusty dull blade to do the job.

For the record, I would pay full price for the ka-choris.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Mansion Diner Supports Freedom

I'm not sure what the dealio is but Mansion Diner over on York and 86th seems to have gone all patriotic and shit lately. They put up a massive American flag-strung from the fire escape out front- how's the view now second floor (and short 3rd floor) residents?
But in the ultimate display of both supporting the local community and freedom, they have place one of those giant painted apples in front of the restaurant. Not just any big apple mind you, but the Freedom Tower big apple from the Big Apple Fest in 2004. Note the old designs for the surrounding buildings.
Further investigoogling, I have discovered that this piece was painted by artist Terry Lewis-not be confused with Terry Lewis of "Jimmy Jam and" fame. This particular big apple was previously located at One Penn Plaza. So how did it get here and why? I will need to get to the bottom of this soon since supposedly the Mansion Diner is going to close for renovations, news somehow big enough for NPR.

Velvet Sea, like the Mansion Diner, supports patriotism and freedom. However, Velvet Sea does not support renaming french fries, "freedom fries" and Velvet Sea does not support people who put mayo on everything, particularly french fries.