Last night on our way home we noticed a new edition to the Union Square statue collection, Mr. Andy Warhol...
The base is solid stone and the statue it's self is super shiny metal, it looks like it's been made out of silver, but it has a slightly gold tinge to it... I tapped it and it sounds hollow, so it might be fibre glass.
Up close the statue looks a little more like Jarvis Cocker, or C3-PO with a wig on...
So now, at one end of Union Square there's a statue of Ghandi in a shawl with a walking stick, and at the opposite end there's Andy Warhol with a Bloomingdales bag and a camera around his neck.
I'm not sure if the statue's perminant or not, but it's been put up in because Andy Warhol's screenprinting studio used to on Union Square! I had no idea of that little fact until this morning - it's not bad having a design studio round the corner from where some his masterpieces were created!
Last night Abi, Ben and I headed to a bar called Coco66 in Greenpoint (in Brooklyn) to see Jon Burgerman's 'band', Anxieteam.
Anxieteam is Jon Burgerman and his artist friend (from Germany?), they're both artists and they decided to form a band. I say 'band', they're more of a performance art piece, playing songs based on things that make them anxious.
Usually they do live drawings when they're playing their songs, but last night they were just singing (or talking rhythmically over electronic beats).
I have to say that I'm not a fan of performance art really, and unfortunately last night didn't really change my mind - but it was interesting and it was good to see Greenpoint. It looks like there are some nice places to go out there.
Coco66 used to be a little chocolate shop, hence the Coco bit (and it's number 66 on the road) - but it didn't look like there were than many original features left. Just down the road there was a restaurant called the Pencil Factory... I wonder if that used to be a pencil factory?
It was another great New York experience though, seeing some arty performance in a tiny bar, late on a Sunday night in Brooklyn. I'm glad we went, but I have a horrible feeling that due to the fact that there weren't many people there, Jon Burgerman would have probably been able to see us leave before the end... Oh well!
Last night we had our Open House event at work. It wasn't quite the great success Andrew and Eliot had been hoping for, and it was more the small turn-out everyone was expecting, but it was good fun all the same.
We had bought far too much wine and over ordered on the scotch eggs, but those who did turn up seemed to have a nice time.
The Jon Burgerman colouring in session was a great success.
Through out the night Ben and I were taking a few photos, Ben put this little collage together this morning (he cleverly managed to make it look like quite a few people came!)...
Work was a bit quite today, half the folks from the New York office were off on holiday, and our three visitors from Arkansas and Leeds left at lunch time, so it was veeery quiet this afternoon. So quiet infact that I was able to take one of our 'F*ck-off Fridays'.
We each have six F-O-Fridays to take per year, we're supposed to work 40 hours between Monday morning and 1pm on Friday, if we do we can go home (as long as it's all planned in). I hadn't booked mine in (and I hadn't wored 40 hours this week), but because it's been very busy recently and we were so quiet this afternoon, Ben suggested I 'f*cked off!'... so I did!
Jon Burgerman came to visit us again in the studio today, but this time it was to work.
We'd comissioned Jon to do a big canvas for our Open House tomorrow night, the idea being that he would do a black outline piece on the canvas and then during the night people will colour in the sections.
The brief was pretty loose, do whatever you want but base it around New York and try and get some of the elements from our new logo in there...
He said he didn't really want to be bothered whilst he was drawing, but he let us take a few photos while he was doing it. It was great to be able to pop in and out and see the piece in progress...
He got some brilliant little elements in there, like a subway, the Statue of Liberty, a police man with his donut, someone wearing a Yankees cap, it was brilliant...
I think we all liked it in black and white, and we quite tempted to keep it that way. Luckily we took some photos of it before it started being coloured in (I think we might get a print made for our apartment!)
I was looking at some design blogs this morning and stumbled upon this video all about mural painters in New York. It's all about the dying art of painted billboards and inparticular the Sky High Murals company in Brooklyn (I posted a picture of their office wall a couple of weeks ago)...
Last night we went up onto the roof to look at the 'Super Moon' that we'd heard so much about.
We thought it'd be lovely to be looking at the same moon as everyone at home, and the roof was a great place to see it.
I have to admit, the moon wasn't quite as big and I thought it'd be (it didn't really look that different), but it was amazingly bright compared to the normal moon.
One side the roof had a good view of the moon, and on the other side we had this beautiful view...
It's a bit of long way away, but it's so lovely being able to see Manhattan from our roof, it was a really clear night so you could see all the lights brightly (the camera in my phone didn't really do it justice). It's great that we can just walk up to the roof and look out on Manhattan - it's got a rather calming effect on me.
Last night, after our cheese burgers from Katz's, we went to see The Bombay Bicycle Club play at the Mercury Lounge.
I'd been to the Mercury Lounge once before, it was the first venue I went to see a gig at in New York. It's a great little place that only holds a couple of hundred people (maybe less), so it feels really intimate and you get to see the whites of the band's eyes no matter where you stand.
The Bombay Bicycle Club are from the UK (Oxford I think?) and a few years ago won a competition called 'Road to V' where they were the opening act at the V Festival, so it's funny to think that they were probably playing when Tom and went to the festival, and now they're playing in a little club in New York.
They were actually playing two shows in a row last night, both at the Mercury Lounge - luckily we had tickets for the first show, the early show (which meant we got home by 9.30pm!), we arrived in time to hear a couple of songs by the support band Jonquil (also from Oxford), who were fantastic.
Here's a little video of the Bombay Bicycle Club playing 'Always Like This'...
They sounded absolutely amazing - they were so tight and all really great musicians - they were far more engergetic than I thought they'd be too, everyone was dancing around in the crowd.
Seeing live music is always a fantastic experience, and seeing bands play in New York seems to feel extra special. We both had so much fun. It was such a great night, with Katz's and the gig - as far as Monday's go, it was bloody brilliant!
Last night we visited another New York landmark - Katz's Deli!
Katz's Deli is a typical New Yorky deli, selling huge pastrami sandwiches, burgers, philly cheesecakes and salamis - it's been around for blummin' ages but was made even more famous when Harry met Sally there for a cup of coffee, and everyone wanted what she was having!
There's even a sign right above the very seats that Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan sat in during the scene...
As you walk in to Katz's you get given a little ticket like this...
Then you walk over to a section of the long counter which was seperated into sections for burgers, or sandwiches, or soup, or salami - then when you order to hand your ticket over and they write the price on the back...
Then you go and sit down, enjoy your greasy burger and then hand the ticket in when you leave and pay on your way out. I was, as you can imagine, very tempted to try and keep the ticket as a souvenir, but in the entrance there's a little sign that informs customers that there is a minimum fine of $50.00 for not returning the ticket! $50 MINIMUM!
Even though it was 6.30pm on a Monday night, it was reeeeeally busy...
It was full of lots of different people, from tourists to proper New Yorkers who looked liked they must go there every week for a pastrami sandwich.
The walls were crammed full of photos of famous people who've dined there, Bill Clinton, Barbara Streissand, Mayor Bloomberg, and lots of other people that I didn't recognise. It won't be long and there'll be a photo of Abi and me on the wall.
As well as all the photos there were lots of great neon signs and some really old looking signs on the wall, there were a lot of them that said 'Send a salami to your boy in the army' which I assumed was something the Katz's did during World War II, but as we left we noticed that you're still able to send a salami to the troops!
They had a whole big salami section!
It was a great experience, and I'm really glad we finally got to go - we've both said we'd go back and get a big pastrami sandwich or something. The great thing is it's right next door to the Mercury Lounge which is a fantastic gig venue, which leads me very nicely to my next entry...
Well, what a coincidence - after talking about Juniors cheesecake yesterday, I ended up going there for brunch today!
James (a friend of Steve in Leeds) lives just a few minutes away from Juniors (just a couple of train stops away from us), so I met up with him for some eggs benedict this morning/afternoon. I'd been wanting to go to Juniors ever since I was told about it not long after I first arrived - so it was nice to finally get round to going.
It feels very old fashioned inside, but in a good way and it was full of all sorts of different, fascinating New Yorky people - I could have quite happily have sat in there all day watching all the people come and go.
Their cheesecakes did look good, but if I'm going to sample the supposed 'best cheesecake in New York' I need the expert by my side - so I have no doubt that Abi and will be trying their cheesecake out before long!
We were out and about, exploring more of Manhattan yesterday afternoon - and whilst strolling around we came across a small gallery and book shop called Clic.
I was drawn in my this huge photo of a Boombox in the window...
The gallery was just one long room, with lots of pictures crammed on the walls and on shevles. On one side they had huge beautiful black and white portraits of people from all around...
A lot of the photographs are by Lyle Owerko - the portraits and the Boomboxes were all by him.
On the opposite side of the wall to the Boomboxes were some floating shelves with large black and white shots of lots a famous rock and roll stars. They all had a New York theme to them.
There was a really nice photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono standing outside the Dakota building, it was bit eery thinking about it - and I'm sure that's what makes the photo special. They had lots of great ones, some of the Ramones and The Clash, some of Sid and Nancy, they were great - but blummin' pricey... $2000 each!
They had lots of great books too, some of them we've already got - like I Am Plastic Too (thank you Tom!) and the 180 Degree South book (thank you Abi!), but they had some really interesting ones about New York. One was called 'Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York' all about the little individually owned shops that are vanishing from New York. This reminded me of a little project that I've been meaning to do - I've been wanting to take lots of photos of the shops near us in Brooklyn, epsecially in the Jewish area, because the shop fronts are so interesting... so watch this space for those photos.
Another book they had was called 'Street View' (I think) that was lots of black and white shots around New York - each photo was dated, and Abi flicked through and found a shot that was taken on her birthday - it was of people playing Basketball in Bedstuy! Maybe it was the courts just down the road from our apartment? What a coincidence.
It was another great little discovery, and completely unexpected. Yesterday turned out to be a pretty brilliant day of little discoveries.
Just across from the pasting was this ad - you can see the guys on the pulley painting it on the wall! It's really amazing how they paint the ads on the walls rather than paste posters up - it must be quite a skill to be able to paint like that.
A couple of months ago we watch a programme on the Food Network that attempted to put an end to the continuing arguement - 'Who makes the best cheesecake in New York?' It came down to a feud between Juniors (in Brooklyn) and Eileen's (in Manhattan).
The winner was Juniors. Their dense baked cheesecake with sponge (?!) base won the judge's heart and tummy. But after watching the programme we both liked the look of Eileen's.
So this afternoon, we decided to go and see what all the fuss is about...
Eileen's is a tiny little shop on the edge of Tribeca, on the way to the Manhattan Bridge. There were only 3 tables inside, and a couple of bar stools, and a tiny little counter full with beautiful little individual sized cheesecakes of all sorts of flavours...
Eileen was there (we remebered what she looked like from the programme), she must have been making a fresh batch of delicious cakes. They were so light and so tasty. There was a certain young lady sitting opposite me who definitely enjoyed them...
We had a plain and a strawberry cheesecake... I say 'we' - Abi let me try some.
We've not tried Juniors (yet!) but Eileen's cakes are going to be veeeery hard to beat.
Yesterday, on a lovely warm evening after work, we decided to take a walk up through Manhattan.
The plan was to just walk a few blocks and get the train uptown, but before we knew it we'd walked over 30 blocks - there was just so much to see and so much New Yorkyness to take in.
The orignal plan was (obviously) based on food, we were going to go up by the Pod Hotel to Wild Ginger and have some duck, but on our walk we stumbled across a place called Bill's Bar and Burger - the name sounded promising so we went for a closer look. It was pretty busy and looked good, and we quickly checked some reviews on our phones and they all seem positive so we gave it a try.
The burgers were delicious - up there with some of the better ones we've tried, and they were some of (if not) the most reasonably priced ones too. I went for the classic cheese burger (with bacon) and Abi had the Mexican burger (Pico De Gallio and Guacamole)... Mmmmmm Mmmm!
Abi also had a veeeeery interesting cocktail, it had Jalapenos in it. When the waitress brought our drinks I thought I could smell really strong, old tabacco (like someone who smokes 50 a day but doesn't change their clothes), at first I thought it was the waitress, and then she left and smell hung around so I thought it might have been the barman and he'd made all the glasses smell... but then we realised it was Abi's cocktail!!!
We both had a couple of sips and decided that any drink that smells like an ash-tray isn't really the right drink to have. I think it was my nose being over sensitive, but the Jalapenos smelt weird. So - my advice would be, don't order Jalapeno cocktails.
Luckily, the waitress noticed that Abi hadn't touched her drink and offered to get her something else - apparently the Jalapeno drink is a bit of a Marmite, you either love it of hate it...
Smokey cocktails aside, Bill's was a brilliant Burger place - and cheap too!
I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to go for a walk after work and to see all the things we see. I miss being able to walk in the countryside in Bakewell, and I miss being able to walk along the beach in Jersey, but for now - being able to walk up 5th Avenue in New York to clear our heads is pretty bloody amazing.
Sometimes the commute to work in the morning isn't a problem, sometimes we can time it all perfectly and when the train Gods are smiling down on us we can make it into work within 20 minutes.
Today though, today wasn't one of those times...
First of all, the G train was absolutely packed. The G train is usually busy, but there's usually space between each person - not today.
Then when we got the the L train we finally managed to get up the stairs to the platform only to be met by te scene in the photo. It was awful. The platform was full, the trains were full, and the trains were running slowly.
When we finally managed to get on to an L train it decided that it would miss out Union Square station. So not only was it packed like a sardine can, and not only was it delayed, but it was also missing out the stop that EVERYONE gets off at.
Good job it's a Friday eh!
Anyway - moan over now. It's Friday, it's 5 o'clock. It's the weekend!
As I seem to be spending rather a lot of time here recently, I thought I show you some pictures of where I work...
We're not quite finished with it yet, but most of the pictures are up now and there are only a few more bits of furniture to get now.
Here's the welcoming committee as your come through our door...
And here's our conference room (furniture selected by yours truly)...
Here's our little recreational area (we've got the Wii and the projector hooked up in the back meeting room, but we never really use it)...
And here are some clocks what I made...
Hopefully, once we've got all the finishing touches sorted we're going to get someone in to take some photos (unless I work out how to use the fancy work camera), so I can show you some better images. But I thought you might like to see where I spend my days colouring in.