Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sundae, Monday, Happy Days...

The perfect antidote for another case of the Mondays...
a Monday Sundae from the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Our New Local...

We've just come back from a couple of Sunday drinks at our local - Project Parlour. We've walked past Project Parlour every time we've ever gone to do some laundry and I've always thought of going in and seeing what it's like - so today, we did.

(I didn't take any of these photos, they're all nabbed off t'interweb)

It's a funny little bar, full of old furniture all miss-matched and well-loved. Everything feels like it's been reclaimed, even the bar itself feels old. It's got no sign outside, just a chalkboard, and it always seems to have a couple of locals in there, sitting at the bar talking to the staff. It's very much a hipstery place, trying to be more of a Williamsburg Bar - which is great, especially as it's so close. They've got a projector on the wall that's always showing old cartoons or comedy sketches - it was the 3 Stooges as we were at the bar.

They have a lovely looking bar and had some great bottles of stuff - some fancy drinks that I've seen on the design blogs recently, they also have a big list of cocktails, so Abi had one - I'm not sure what was in it, but it looked might fine. It was a bit funny when I was getting a coke for Abi though, they pulled out a small bottle of coke (like you'd get at the train station) and poured it into a glass... they must be saving up for the coke jet-gun thingys.

There's also a back yard - which is pretty basic, but on an afternoon like today it was perfect. It's so lovely and hot and sunny today, it's been absolutely beautiful, so sitting outside sipping a beer and smelling the BBQ smells come wafting over seemed like a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Bedstuy.

We were saying it'd be good to go back there and get to know a few faces, feel some familiarity in the area - we bump into our neighbours every now and then, and they're absolutely lovely people, but it'd be nice to recognise more than the corner shop man and the laundry people. It's so close and so convenient - I think we'll certainly be heading back there soon.

A Little Smackeral...

We had a little wander around the Broadway and Bleeker Street area after the museum and stumbled across a little patisserie down a side street. After such a big brunch you would think that one might be a bit full...

Think again.

I must make it clear now that I didn't order a pudding at all, I merely had a can of coke. This was all Abi's work - a strawberry tart and a chocolate oreo cheesecake! I was lucky enough to be allowed to try some of each - they were delicious and they didn't hang around for long - they were gone by the time I was halfway through my drink!

It was a lovely little place and it felt very European, I think we must have been channelling Mops & Pop's Italian adventure, there was even a European sounding man sitting at the table next to us, so it felt like we were on a little holiday too.

It was a lovely way to end the afternoon and another new discovery in another different part of Manhattan. There really is something new around every corner - however corny that sounds, it's true!

The MoCCA...

After our brunch, we went off to find a new museum. Abi had found out about the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Arts and so lead the way to a building down on Broadway. To say it was a museum might have been pushing it a bit, it was more like a mini gallery on the 4th floor of an office block - but what they had on display was fantastic.

There were all sorts of original scribbles from famous comics and cartoons - they had some original Where The Wild Things Are drawings, some Batman sketches, some amazing Marvel Comics sketches - like Iron Man, original Looney Toons stuff and some Snoopy. The had a lot of American comic drawings that we'd never seen before, but it was all great.

The walls were crammed from top to bottom with different sized drawings in different frames. It was a lot to take in all at once - it was a funny little place.

This was great to see - sketches of Bugs Bunny on tracing paper, there were pencil scribbles with pen over the top of them and a coffee stain on the paper to the right.

In the corner of the room was an 'Adults Only' section - sectioned off with swing doors with warnings of adult content and no children allowed plastered on them. So guess where I found Abi...

I went in, but only to get Abi out you understand. It was sectioned off mainly because of the politically incorrect stuff that was in there that might have been a wee bit offensive, like this...

Tom - I'm afraid they didn't have a gift shop, so they didn't have any copies of these posters for sale! I think they would have looked great in your new kitchen!

It was a completely different type of museum or gallery, and it felt funny being in an officey type building - but it was fascinating to see all the different styles of illustrations, seeing the human-ness in them, the smudges on the paper, the pen over pencil, the wrinkles in the paper... it was really inspiring and made us wish we did more drawings and illustrations in our free time.

Delicious Delicatessen...

On Saturday morning we headed into town for a bit of a mooch and for some brunch. We thought we'd try and find somewhere completely new, and so stumbled across the wonderful and delicious Delicatessen!

Down in SoHo (or NoHo, I'm not sure which side of Houston Street it was on), on the corner of a cross-roads was a very busy looking restaurant/cafe with stainless steel and big bold lettering on the outside.
It was buzzing with people, lots of groups of friends meeting up, enjoying the amazing weather and the delicious food. It felt quite European with the inside/outside seating, the seats flowed out onto the pavement and the walls of the restaurant were completely open, making the whole place feel very bright and airy.

(This picture's off the Delicatessen website, it was obviously a LOT busier than this yesterday)
The interiors were fantastic too, lots of crisp clean edges, small white tiles, little sofa seats, Eames style chairs and a mix of wooden clad walls and glass walls. Apparently there's a downstairs bit with a swanky bar bit, but we didn't go down there this time.

The food was fantastic, their tag-line is that they do 'International Comfort Food' - so there were burgers, big breakfasts, mac n' cheese, salads and all sorts... We couldn't resist going for the Cheeseburger Spring Rolls for a starter, then I had Eggs Benedict (Chatsworth's Eggs Benedict are still the BEST) and Abi had a Chicken Caesar salad.

The Spring Rolls were a bit unusual - I think we'll stick with Chinese Spring Rolls, but you've got to give things a go haven't you? The rest of the food was yummy and the whole look and feel of the place was fantastic - it was a great find and somewhere that we'll be going back to me thinks.

Perfect for a lazy Saturday morning.

Clever Billboard...

We saw this yesterday down on Houston Street...

I love how there are special billboards in New York, I also love the massive painted adverts that are on the side of buildings around town. There was one near work for Inception a few weeks ago, it was incredibly clever - the side of the building had been painted to look like there was water gushing out of all the windows. It was great.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Just Cruising...

We were just going into our apartment last night when this guy came crusing past us on the pavement, casually making his way down Myrtle Avenue on his unicycle!

Xavier Rudd...

On Wednesday night I went to go and see Xavier Rudd play at the Fillmore Theatre.

Xavier Rudd's from Australia and plays a lot of slide guitar and plays the dijerido, often at the same time! I've liked his music for 4-5 years and have been dying to see him play live, so I was so pleased to get a ticket to see him, and the Fillmore is a small intimate place too.

The atmosphere was absolutely amazing, lots of people who looked quite 'travelly' so they'd obviously discovered his music while travelling too, lots of Australians in the crowd too. It was a very relaxed gig - mainly because half the people in the audience were high, there was a veeeeeery strong smell of herbal cigarettes (you'd have loved it Pops!).

He was playing with his new band (Izintaba), they were two quite old looking guys, both of them were incredibly smiley, there was a chubby chap playing the drums and a tiny skinny man playing a massive bass guitar. They both did some fantastic Aboriginal/African sounding singing during some songs - they were both amazing musicians, some of the bass lines were incredible.

At one point during the gig Xavier was sitting at a mini drum kit with a dijerido, playing them both at the same time - it was fantastic, then the bass player joined in and then the big drum kit kicked in and it was like a big old party!

I took a few videos, but the sound didn't come out very well and I seem to be having trouble uploading them for some reason - so I'll leave it for now. The amazing atmosphere didn't really translate that well through a tiny little video anyway.

Let Me Be was the last song he played, it's his best known song and it had everyone dancing and singing along - it was a fantastic gig and well worth the wait... I just hope I don't have to wait another 4 years to see him again!

More Arsty Lamp Posts...

The other night Abi, Amelia and I went along to Crif Dogs to try and get a seat in PDT - Ben's asked us to an audit of some cool/secret bars in New York for a client of his in the UK, so we had to go.

Unfortunately the wait for PDT was a little too long, so we jush had a yummy hotdog (or two) in Crif Dogs instead. On the way back to the subway we spotted a special mosaiced lamp post just down the road from Crif Dogs.

There are a load of different mosaiced lamp posts around the St. Marks area - they all remind me of the art on the walls and floors at House on Fire in Swaziland, they're great.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


What can I say... it's been a long week.
(Sorry Abi, I don't know why you look so scary in this photo)


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Baby Talk...

Yesterday was a bit of a Baby Fest.

Around lunch time, Abi and I went down to Prospect Park for Malvina and Damani's Babyshower. I was worried it was going to be a bit girly with everyone talking babies, but luckily it was more like a normal BBQ, with yummy food and beer... phew!

I was a bit shocked though, the email invitation thing that we got had a link to two gift registers! So not only do people register lists, as they do for weddings, but Malvina and Damani had registered TWO! I'm not sure if people do that back at home, I suppose it cuts out getting many unwanted gifts. Still, blummin' cheeky if you ask me (we ended up straying from the list anyway).

Luckily, we didn't have to endure much baby talk or discussions about stretchmarks (it's bad enough hearing it all the time at work), we sat with Amelia and Claire (one of Malvina's friends at another design agency) and a couple (who I can't remember their names, but the bloke was British - they might have been called Mike and Elissa...?) who were very lovely, and they had a beautiful and veeery well behaved dog called Lupa. So I spent most of the time trying to get Lupa's attention and trying to work out if Mike was being serious when he said we could have her!

Prospect Park was heaving, we were in a special area for picnics and BBQs so there lots of big groups of people having different parties and gatherings, all cooking lots of lovely food, there was some kind of sports day going on at the far end of the BBQ field too - it was a lovely atmosphere. The surrounding areas of the park are beautiful too, lots of lovely brownstown townhouses with typical Brooklyn stoops - a dream house for Brooklyn (when we make our millions, that's where we'll live).

After we'd escaped, we went for a drink around Prospect Park, I'm not sure what area it was or what street it was, but it was a nice quiet area and another new bit of Brooklyn that we'd not seen before. There's so many places to go and explore, I don't think anyone would ever be able to see it all.

Then we went into Manhattan to go to the cinema, the plan was to see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (which looks amazing), but just as we were buying the tickets we noticed that The Switch was out, so we had a last minute change of mind and watched that instead...

It was a lovely, funny film and it was more emotional than we'd expected, but it was great (people clapped at the end!). It's all about getting pregnant, having babies and relationships and stuff...

It's all set in New York, so it was great seeing places that we've been to, or places that are near us - there was a scene shot in Greenpoint in Brooklyn (somewhere that I'd posted a photo of a month or so ago) and there were lots of recognisable shots around Manhattan. It's funny getting all the references that are in films now, when they mention certain shops, like Duane Reade, or when they reference places in New York like Washington Heights. We know what and where they're talking about now! It gives me goosebumps when see places I know or when there's a beautiful shot of the Manhattan skyline and I get a wave of 'We live there!'... I wonder if it'll ever wear off (I hope not).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Restaurant Week...

It's that time of year again - New York Restaurant Week (stricly speaking Restauraunt 'Week' has actually been going on for well over a month now, and will finish on September 6th, but still).

During Restaurant Week lots of fancy restaurants offer a fixed price menu for lunch and dinner, $25 for lunch and $35 for dinner - it's a fantastic deal as most of the restaurants charge nearly $30 a course normally.

So last night Abi and I went round the corner from work and took advantage of the offer at a place called Steak Frites. We've walked passed it many times and though how nice it looked and how tasty the food sounds on the menu but it's a wee bit pricey, so it was lovely to be able to go in and enjoy it at a fraction of the price.

We had the most delicious food, Abi had mussells in a herby sauce, then a New York Strip Steak, then a chocolate pot mousse and I had a lump crab cake, then a New York Strip Steak and then an amazing apple tarte (it tasted like Sunday evenings at home, warm apple pie with ice-cream, it was very comforting).

The atmosphere in the restaurant was lovely too, it wasn't too busy but wasn't deadly quiet and it felt liek a proper New York Steak place, dark wooden floors, soft lighting, groovy bar, it was great - and so close to work. Perfect.

I'm not sure if we'll be able to go to any other restaurants within the remaining time, but hopefully we'll be here next year to enjoy Restaurant Week 2011. Who knows.

Aaaaall white...

Some more odd fashion in the subway from this morning...

I thought she was a little bit spooky looking.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lunch Time Stroll...

Yesterday morning was a little frustrating and a wee bit stressful (not the work, just the people at work), so by lunchtime we were more than ready to escape the studio. We walked down 5th Avenue at and annoyed-person-pace and ended up at Washington Square Park and instantly felt relaxed...

I'm not sure why we've not been down there at a lunchtime before - it's so beautiful and only 5 minutes walk away.

Being surrounded by all the characters, the buildings, the beautiful arch and fountain, the buskers, the bulldog puppies, the cupcake cart, the hotdog vendors, the University students, the homeless people, the old couples, the school children, helped put everything back into perspective. The people at work might be complete plonkers, but we're having such a fantastic experience out here, it's not really worth getting het up about it (easier said than done sometimes though).

I think Washington Square Park might become a new lunchtime hangout spot on sunny days.

Tuesday Night, Date Night...

(This is my 400th post!)

On Tuesday night Abi and I went to see Inception, which was completely and utterly amazing!

Our TV and internet provider (for our apartment) gives their customers a reward card which gives you discounts at certain shops and Planet Hollywood - but the best bit is that every Tuesday you get 2 FREE cinema tickets! So we thought we'd start to use them, the only problem is that a lot of people use the same internet provider and have the same card and the offer is only valid at 3 cinemas in Manhattan - so the cinema was more than a wee bit busy. In the end we didn't get our free tickets, and we ended up going to see it at another cinema, but we know for next week to book ahead... anyway.

Despite not going to the free cinema in Chelsea, we did get to discover a new area of Manhattan and discovered some very interesting looking places to have tea next time we use our free tickets. This place looked brilliant - the Trailer Park...

I think we'll be heading there next time.

Inception was absolutely mind-blowing, I can't wait to go and see it again. It's so clever, so imaginative and beautifully shot, is incredibly well written and is very complicated (I'm still asking myself questions now), but in a good way. It was one of the best films I've seen in a long time. I won't tell you too much about the plot (because I don't understand it all), but it's all about shared-dreams and planting ideas in people minds through visiting them in dreams. It's great.

Despite not getting free tickets, we did get free popcorn! I've got a loyalty card thingy for the Regal Cinema round the corner from work, so you get points when you buy tickets and despite never actually using the card, I got a voucher for 1 free popcorn and a second popcorn for $1... so we got something for free.

On our way out of the cinema we spotted a very (very, very, very) minor celebrity. Someone called Charlie who's in the MTV 'reality' series The Hills. I think we were the only uncool people who would ever recognise him, he's not even a main character in the programme, he's been in it about 6 times. Still, it's another one for the list.

It was an fantastic night, Inception is well worth watching, and was well worth paying for. I think we might go and see it again.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hello Sailor...

I saw these chaps crossing the road this morning... It was really sunny so it hurt to look at them for too long *ping*

When It Rains...

... it bloody POURS!

There were HUGE storms yesterday evening, just as we were getting on the subway in Manhattan it started to rain and then when we got out of the subway in Brooklyn it was absolutely tipping down. Big, ploppy, hollywood rain drops were relentlessly coming down, soaking everything and everyone around.

Unfortunately I had to go and get the laundry, and I'd forgotten and umberella, and I was wearing a t-shirt, and flip-flops, and I got very very very very wet. I may as well had just jumped in a swimming pool or climbed in a shower with my clothes on, I was soaked through. My legs had turned blue from the dye from my jeans and my clothes were still wet this morning. Still, once you get to a level of being wet, that you can't get any wetter, it becomes a bit more fun.

On the way back from the laundrette the puddles on the road were starting to become rivers and the drains were flooding. When I was a couple of blocks away from the apartment I heard a load of sirens and all of a sudden three fire engines appeared, blocking off the road with their lights flashing. I started to walk a bit slower to see what was going on, but I think they were just in a hurry to unblock the drains or something... I couldn't really tell.

It looked quite dramatic though.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love, Eat and Eat some more...

Yesterday evening, we went to the pictures to see Eat Pray Love. We'd actually planned to be a bit naughty and go to one of the big cinemas and sneak into a showing of Inception too, but we ended up going to the wrong cinema... You see, if you want to sneak into a couple of films you need to go to the AMC on 34th Street or the Regal Cinema down near work, but we made the mistake of going to the AMC Cinema on 42nd Street instead - they've got security.

Anyway, we remained law abiding citizens and very much enjoyed the film. Abi's just finished reading the book and I heard there was quite a bit of food in the film, so it was win-win. It was a good film, the cinematography of all the different countries was beautiful and the food looked absolutely delicious, it made me feel incredibly hungry and made me want to go traveling around the world.

The music in the film's brilliant too, there are two new songs by Eddie Vedder (the singer from Pearl Jam), and songs by Marvin Gaye, Neil Young and Sly & The Family Stone.

It was a bit girly (so it might not be Tom's cup of tea), but there are parts that reminded me of the Alchemist, and there were lots of times through-out the film that made me remember that I suppose we are doing some traveling right now, we're experiencing new cultures and new countries and exploring places we've never been to before - just because it's not Thailand or India doesn't make it any less adventurous. Although the beaches in Thailand look a bit nicer than the beaches here!

Cookies n Cream...

I saw this van in SoHo on Saturday afternoon, unfortunately there were no cookies or cream to be seen, but it was selling t-shirts and vinyl toys. I love the old style ice cream vans that they have over here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bedstuy Brass...

Last night, just as we were about to sit down and watch a film, we heard a lovely sound coming from outside. We pulled up the blind, looked out the window and saw that the sounds were coming from across the road, outside the church...

A brass quartet were practicing a song before the church service - it was brilliant.

I ran downstairs to take a little video, you can see some passers-by stopping to enjoy the music. From what I could see, the people playing looked like teenagers, not really something you'd expect Brooklyn teenagers to be doing in the evening, it was so refreshing to see people playing classical instruments in Bedstuy rather than swaggering down the street listening to Hipperdy Hop.

New York is ALWAYS surprising me.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Oh Mister Sandman...

I know I've put a lot of these pictures up on the blog, but whenever he's out in Union Square, the sandman never fails to make me stop and look at what he's up to. This was from yesterday afternoon and he was out again this afternoon. He's a busy man.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Jacob Riis Park...

On Saturday morning(ish) we went on a little adventure to the beach. We wanted to go somewhere other than Coney Island for a change, so we ventured to Queens and went to Jacob Riis Park.

It took about 90 minutes and we had to take two buses to get there, but it was great fun - far more interesting that getting the subway, the buses went through bits of Brooklyn that we'd not seen before and probably never would have seen otherwise.

I've only just found out that Jacob Riis is actually in Queens, I always thought Queens was above Brooklyn, and Jacob Riis is below Coney Island, but it turns out Queens is pretty big!

The beach was lovely, it was busy but not too busy and it was quieter than Coney Island, but the area was no where near as interesting to explore as Coney Island. There's an old baths houses on the waterfront, which I thought had been renovated but it was all shut up. There was also a lovely old clock from Jacob Riis's hayday (not sure when that was though...?).

Unlike Coney Island, there aren't many places to get yummy food at Jacob Riis, but we managed to sniff out a buger stand so all was not lost - and we had a little icecream just before we went back too.

There seemed to be a lot of action up in the air on Saturday, there must have been 4 or 5 different planes flying past, all with different banners trailing behind them, there was also some advertising in the sky clouds - just like when we were in Las Vegas and they were writing in the sky using puffs of cloud.

A police helicopter was flying backwards and forwards throughout the afternoon, at one point it came really low and close to the beach, all the umbrellas were flicked out of the sand by the wind and people were frantically chasing after their massive parasols. I'm not sure if the police were looking for someone or not...
There were also a lot of rather bold seaguls who were dive-bombing picnics that had been left unattended momentarily, it reminded me of being in Jersey and hearing the seagulls every morning... pesky birds.

It was a rather splendid day at the seaside, a very relaxing Saturday in the sun (and we didn't get sunburnt this time... well, not as much anyway!). There's a few beaches near Jacob Riis, they're all part of the Rockaways, so next time it's a lovely weekend I think we might go and explore some of the other beaches - there's one called Breezy Point which sounds rather nice.

Big Screening For Little People...

On Friday evening we went over to the Hudson River to Pier 46 where the Riverflicks series were doing an outdoor screening of BIG!

Just like last year, every Wednesday there's a showing of a film for grown ups and every Friday there's a showing of a film for little people. We'd not been along to any this year so far, and they finish next week so it was great that we were able to go along on such a perfect evening.

We arrived fairly early so we laid our blanket out on the fake-grass along with lots of other families with their picnics and chairs.

It was an absolutely beautiful evening and the Jersey skyline looked really lovely as the sun set behind the buildings...

It was a lovely atmosphere and it was great to see Big actually in New York, seeing the FAO Schwartz piano scene and knowing that I'd actually played on the piano with Tom (although we didn't quite manage chopsticks that well).

It was a really lovely evening.

Sunset Over Jersey...

On a summery Friday evening.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hiro Again...

We were walking past the Hiro Ballroom on Friday evening and noticed the fantastic slidy door at the entrace...

It makes a rather good background for fun photos.

He's in Fashion...

I'm going to go and get some skin tight shots and tassled boots tomorrow!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Gordon Bennett!

When Abi and I were mooching around Atlantic Avenue we saw some amazing robots for sale in the junk shop that we found. The little robots had been built using all sorts of weird and wonderful bits and pieces, and being set amongst the other items of furniture and junk they look right at home.

They're all built by Gordon Bennett at the Bennett Robot Works and are some sale around in various places around Brooklyn, I think we might have seen one at the Brooklyn Flea a couple of months ago.

There are LOADS of them on the Bennett Robot Works website (here) - they all have very individual looks and personalities - they're absolutely fantastic!

This particular one was in the shop at the back - I love his camera for a head. They all reminded me a bit of Wall•E, I can imagine they all come to life when the shop's closed...