Posts Tagged ‘brooklyn’

Trying to fit in with the Spanish-Americans

July 25, 2008

I got off the train near my apt (near if you consider 5 blocks near) and headed homeward. Or homebound, whichever. With each step I took, the sky got darker and I got thirstier. I realized I didn’t have any dinner, but I wasn’t hungry. Only thirsty, for a nice cold cider beer from the Pencil Factory. 

Lindsay and I go to the Pencil Factory, which yes, used to be pencil factory in the good old days, when we are feeling like getting out of the apt but not getting onto the hot, sweaty, stinky subways (i love you MTA! planning on a 13% fare increase by 2011, darn you MTA). And the PF has the best setup for buying a cider and enjoying it. Situated on the corner of Franklin and another road I forget the name of, the outdoor seating is positioned in a way where you feel part of the group (of other barees) and also an individual, as you stare out through the 20 foot metal chain-link fence down the street, across one of the most-polluted waterways in the country, and over to the beautiful, envied Manhattan.

Enough about that though, because I wasn’t about to go to the Pencil Factory by myself, as I hobbled home from work + meeting in 2 inch heels (low for me these days). I wanted something bubbly and refreshing and I wanted it now. … Hmm, I thought as I passed by all the good grocery joints near me. Hmm.. I kept thinking, until it was too late. I was at my resident- and tree-lined block. But wait, there’s that strangely populated Spanish place 2 doors down from my crossstreet. I never go there because there’s always a crew of In-Crowd people standing around, speaking foreign languages I don’t understand (but should, because I took like 5,000 years of spanish in high school). 

I stepped inside and, wow! they have Seltzer Water (I’m planning on making spritzers at this point with the Pineapple Orange juice I have waiting in my fridge). And they have — wait for it — milk! And bread! Someone’s buying a loaf of bread here! Ok, Ok, so I’m not that prejudiced at all. I instantly liked the place actually, and grabbed my seltzer near the front, and turned around to join the checkout line, but there was no end. It was just a mob of people chittering away with their respective companions. I waited a minute or two, not understanding much of anything. Did they think I looked out of place? Wait, I always look out of place, I’m 6’0, skinny, and blond-ish. 

Where’s the end of the line, I asked everyone at once. Are you in line, I asked the guy in the black Polo. Is he in line, I asked the same guy about the strange old man with no teeth and bright yellow shirt that said “Jamaica NO PROBLEM”

Then after one or two quick shrugs of the eye, a nice mom-looking lady ahead of me said “There is no line.” in such a straightforward, there you go kind of way. 

Sorry! I’m a first timer, I shouted to my new comrade as she slowly made her way out of the store.

When it was finally my “turn” to buy my seltzer water, I was ready to get out of there, but the Crazy Old Yeller with the Jamaica shirt and dark leather-like skin hopped in front of me, waving 3 dollars at the guy behind the counter. Who knows!

Finally, the guy rang me up, and said “Uno y sesente y seis” or something like that.

Oh, okay, he wants to get tricky! I know my Spanish and I’ll prove it!

Um, $1.60? I squeaked. 

Noooh, nooooh, Chicitica, $One and $Sixty Nine, he responded. 

We finished the conversation in Mostly Spanish, and he was nice enough to even teach me how to say the right things at the right times. Everything sounded so familiar, like Buenos Noches, but felt so much cooler and edgier outside the classroom.

I think I’ll be needing more selzer water soon so I can attend my Mostly Spanish class again 🙂 Buenos Noches Amigos!!!

 

Update: Just learned last night that the building that they made pencils in a long time ago is actually located across the street from the bar, The Pencil Factory. 🙂

One Last Laugh

July 19, 2008

I went to see The Dark Knight last night.

**Before I go on, if you are scared of clowns or very scary clowns, you may not want to view the photos at the end of the post. They’re so cool that I have to post.**

Going to see movies on opening weekend is so much fun in New York City, not only because everyone gets so hyped up about them and tickets sell out days if not weeks in advance, but because most of the plot usually takes place on the very ground we’re sitting on.

Or in the case of last night, on the very ground we were 10 stories above (in a very fictional sense, as it’s actually Gotham City). The theater we were able to get tickets to (my 4 girl friends and I) was in Brooklyn, exactly 1/2way between my place and their place (and Jenn, the odd woman out had to come from New Jersey — the other 3 are roommates).  But it actually works out quite well to have the Brooklyn Heights/Park Slope area as a 1/2way point between our apartments because it’s SUCH a nice area. It’s where all the editors at work live and where rich people stroll along wide, brick-laden sidewalks. And of course, since it is still Brooklyn, you can walk 2 blocks in a particular direction and be in the ghetto.

So we got to the theater exactly 40 minutes before the show, which was very necessary. 5 minutes later there was a crowd of 200 out the door slamming forward to — I don’t know why everyone has to push, it’s not like we were going anywhere at first! We finally were let through the gates and I thought we would be let into the theater, but no. We had to take about 10 flights of escalators up to wait in yet another huge line. Then after chatting away with my friends for a while longer (no problem) they led us to a different floor, yet again, and we got into a third line. And finally, got into our seats. There were definitely several people sitting on the floor by the time the movie started.

And I’m sure they didn’t mind too much because this movie is GOOD. I won’t give anything away, I hope, but it has several very intense moments of action, emotion and laughter. They really pack it in with the special effects, and the acting of Heath Ledger is phenomenal. He has that crazy thing down to a tee. 

Speaking of Heath Ledger, there are several moments where they have a specific way of portraying the character where you can see beyond the caked or dripping (depending on how excited Joker is) makeup to the personable and lovable actor from 10 Things I Hate About You (teen classic). It made Julianne and I very sad at a couple points in the movie, but I think it’s good that if he was going to pass away, at least he ended with a commendable role (do we think awards?)

 

Side Note: There’s one thing that made me really upset that night though. As we were in the area of Cobble Hill that can be a little more low-income shall we say, there were at least half black people in the theater (I didn’t really think anything of it, although I did notice) And let me first say that a person’s color doesn’t matter to me. But I have seen several instances of rude and/or stupid behavior in my life from Black and White people. It all just depends on the type of person, and there are definitely low-quality types of both. Anyways, there was a scene in which people had to evacuate the city of Gotham. They had one huge cruise-ship-type boat of inmates, who happened to be mostly black, and another boat of “civilians,” who were probably 100% white and the boats both just sat on the river off shore. The joker gave them each a bomb trigger to blow up the other boat, and said if neither had blown the other up before the hour’s end, he would blow up both the boats. Well, as you can imagine, it was a pretty intense scene of back-and-forth decisions and arguments on each of the boats, whether to do it or not. At one point, the civilian boat was about to pull the trigger to blow up the boat of inmates, and this black girl behind me said “You got the wrong boat” and her friend a few seats down repeated “You got the wrong boat” snickering. I’m sorry, but when did it become okay to be openly racist?! Or racist at all… I mean, I know we all have our prejudices (that I wish were not there, but don’t deny everyone has them), but don’t be outright hateful and mean. Unless you think they could be talking about something else? I really don’t. It was pretty obvious what they were saying. I mean, come on! 

But after losing about 2 minutes of the movie because I was steaming about it, I got back into the plot for the last hour. Honeslty, the only thing I’d say to critisize the movie is the length. It’s well over 2 hours long and the last 1/3 is not quite as gripping as the prior segments. But it’s still quite good throughout and well worth paying the $12 to see it in the city (or the 8 to see it in another city).

And one of my favorite parts, and I think pretty much everyone else’s in the theater, really was Heath Ledger as The Joker. He was absolutely amazingly psychotic and thrilling. And somewhat of a lovable character, too. Weird, huh? Here are some pics I like:

Marc Lee, The Daily Telegraph
The Dark Knight has plenty of high-speed, maximum-volume action sequences, but it is also one of the most intelligent big-budget Hollywood movies of recent times; and no sympathy vote is required for a cinematic creation as accomplished as Ledger’s deranged, demonic Lord of Chaos. It is a genuinely unsettling, brilliantly nuanced portrait of evil.


Brooklyn Promenade, Sunday night

June 16, 2008

Brooklyn Heights, a neighborhood close to the Brooklyn Bridge and the Promenade

 

 

View of the Financial District (Manhattan) from the Brooklyn Promenade

 

 

 

 

6/15/08

One of the Top Ten, at least

June 9, 2008

One of my favorite things in the whole world is art — watercolor painting is probably my favorite. Neck to neck with photography. 

I got my paints out tonite after I thought 2 episodes of Melrose Place on DVD was enough for one sitting.

From a Brooklyn Window.

I just did this one as quick reintroduction to painting. It was only a quick one, took about 15 minutes, but it felt great to slop on colors where I want them and pull dark lines of ink across the page again. With John Mayer or whatever other CD I’m obsessing over at the moment. 

Greenpoint Goodies

June 5, 2008

On Tuesday after work, I decided, after weeks of planning and thinking about it, I would get a mani/pedi.  In any other place in the states it seems, a manicure usually costs anywhere from $12-20 and a pedicure is definitely usually $30+.  At least that’s what I remember from the distant past when I lived in Normalsville and Pretty Boringston.  

I walked up Manhattan Ave, the main street near my apt., knowing that there was a manicure place up there somewhere. I was going to get on the G train 2 stops down to this place called Sun Nail Salon or something, but I didn’t feel like dealing with the crazy G train, esp. with gooey nails.

There was only one other girl getting her nails done by an Asian lady, but it was just 5 o’ clock. A 2nd larger woman emerged from the back, wearing faded stretch pants with what she probably thought was a hip print.  OR actually, she probalby didn’t care.  

You pick your colors, she barked before even really looking at me.

Geez, I thought.  I guess you DO pay for the price.  A manicure + pedicure was only $17!! That’s about half of the price of a normal pedicure where I come from.  Score!

As I sat in the massage chair, which was kind of stabbing my back with objects of all shapes and sizes from under the faux leather, I tried to joke around with the manicurist. 

Probably the worst feet you’ve seen, sorry.  

Instead of telling me she’s seen worse, like she should have, she just raised one of her painted on eyebrows. The space where her eyebrows should have been was painfully bare and her new, redish tinted paint brows formed scary upside-down checkmarks above her eyes.

Well, you’ve probably seen worse, I laughed, making myself feel better since she wasn’t going to.

The nails came out looking okay. A nice color — the hands a little too spunky for work, but I do work at a pretty spunky place, so I think it’s okay. Hot watermelon pink on the hands and grapey red on the toes. Perfect! 

And after my nails, I got some “please make it very hot” green curry at this Thai place a couple blocks up. The cook, who was working in an open kitchen, seemed happy to meet the challange.  A little too happy, in fact. 

I quickly withdrew my request, making sure he knew my tongue did not want to be burned alive. He only smiled and then added, “I take care of you.”

The curry was actually amazing! I love love love hot food, so it’s hard to describe how hot it actually was compared to what other people like.  Let’s just say I couldn’t feel my mouth after a while and had a hard time watching my Will & Grace DVD because my eyes were welled up with tears.  But oh, was it good.

Lunas Clifs and Ozwalies

June 4, 2008

*

As a working girl, I have been recently introduced to the confusing variety of snack bars, or whatever the official name is. And it’s confusing because, since we’re eating them, that means we’re probably trying to be healthy, which means, WHICH BAR TO DO YOU BUY?!

There are the infamously girly Luna Bars, the powerful hunkly man Clif bars, and those Ashevillesque hippie bars, Ozwalies (I know I’m saying that wrong). I personally have been a long-time (2-month) fan of the Luna bars. I quickly became accustomed to the somewhat chalky vitamin taste that spans across the brands of most all health bars, and am now able to appreciate the differences between the flavors.

Nuts Over Chocolate is so yummy. There’s one with cranberries and nuts, one called Blueberry Frost, which has spooky ghost-colored frosting all on one side. There are probably at least 20 different flavors, each bar costing anywhere from $1-2.

So, in an effort to provide some clarity to myself and others, I will post some nutritional information for the bars, which should help me decide which one’s the best, if any. I wouldn’t be surprised if they all have a whole ton of sugar to hide the Extreme Nutrients.

I found this comprehensive chart that includes several different “energy bars,” but does not include that Aussie bar, Ozwalie. Oh well. Here it is:

Prolithic Sports

Energy Bars Comparison Chart

Energy Bars Vegan Price
per Bar
Weight
(g)
Calories **Carbs
(g / %)
*Sugars
(g / %)
Fiber
(g)
**Protein
(g / %)
**Fat
(g / %)
NA
(mg)
K
(mg)
Bear Valley $1.13 106.4 420 59
56%
28
27%
9 17
16%
13
29%
90
Builders Bar $1.66 68 270 30
44%
19
28%
4 20
30%
8
26%
260 250
Clif Bar Y $1.13 68 250 51
82%
10-16
21%
3-8 5-12
8-19%
2
7%
80 293
Clif Nectar Y $1.69 45 170 29
68%
18
42%
3-6 3
7%
6
29%
0 270
Elev8 Me $2.01 66 220 32
58%
28
50%
4 18
33%
4
16%
30
Larabar Y $1.25 48 190 24
51%
17
36%
4 5
11%
9
42%
0 240
Luna Bar Y $1.17 48 180 24
53%
13
25%
1 10
22%
5
25%
125 105
Nutiva Original $1.57 40 210 11
21%
5
10%
5 9
17%
14
62%
5
Organic Veg. Bar Y* $2.25 68 300 34
45%
19
25%
5 14
19%
12
43%
115
ProBar Y $2.50 80 350 50
57%
14
16%
6.5 8
9%
8
40%
19
Raw Revolution Y $1.36 64 273 31
45%
19
28%
3 7
10%
14
46%
1% DV

**percentages represent calories derived from each macro-nutrient catagory (i.e. carbs, protein, fat)
*sugar percentage is percent of total calories.
Note: values listed may vary depending on flavor, vegan rating may depend on flavor.Data compiled by Prolithic Sports from product labels and manufacturer’s websites. We attempt to keep this page current and accurate but errors happen.

http://www.prolithic.com/hpages/efoods/barcomp.html

*Picture I took on my walk home from work* 6/2/08

A Non-Toury Tourguide (I hope!)

May 26, 2008

Well, the long Memorial weekend is almost over.. sadly.  It was jampacked with events and, being NYC, commuting.  Never really stopping, always on the move to our next big exploration or presentation of something — My dad, my brother and I.  Although I’ve had people visit before, this was definitely an opportunity for me to show what New York is all about for me.  

I think the reason it was so successful in that way, is that they didn’t have many requests or demands or expectations.  Which made it more fun for me to try to show them a good time.  Most of the time, when my girlfriends have come up for weekends in the past, they introduce themselves to the city with, “I can’t wait to go to all the hottest clubs,” and “Oh my god, I’ve been dying to go into every one of the H&Ms in the city” (there are probably over 100 .. seems like it at least!).  But Dad and Simon just wanted to come and visit and bring me my stuff, which is understandable considering it was probably taking up a large corner of the Buxton house.  hah.  my stuff is here now!  in boxes everywhere of course.

On Saturday morning, I was already awake.  Groggy in bed yes, but awake, when I received an earlier-than-expected phone call from Dad.  He and Simon were awake at their little Williamsburg apt, and had been awake for hours no doubt, and were ready for some Polski Polish Pastries.  Pronto!  And then to the Yankees game!!

Waiting at the corner of Keap and S. 3rd.  Waiting not only for me, but, more importantly, for their pastries.

“Give us our pastries!!!” they thought loudly, napkins ready.

The game was great, too.  Almost-perfect weather and more-than-perfect ballsport (is that possible?)… 2 home runs! and tons of bases loaded action.  Score, Yankees 12 Seattle Mariners 6 (aW, poor fishies)

“Go Yankees!”

Then we went to the Lower East Side to try out my personally most-frequented restaurant in New York City — a place my good friend Trilce told me about.  Caracas. I would suggest anyone who loves ethnic food or just super good food in general to try this place if ever in the city.  You won’t be disappointed, I promise.  Just get any of the arepas.  If they have the butternut squash soup with baked cheese and jalapenos on top, just get it.  And the summerstyle fried plantains – amazing. venezuelan food at its best… or maybe it’s just always this good.

 

Ahh..

 

Mmmm.

 

So good!

 

More Please!