Thursday, June 30, 2005

Punk 4 Life

The BBC's Radio 1 recently broadcasted a show that covered the 20 most punk people. A couple questions: What is with the Brits continual obsession about Bill Hicks? And who's Eric Cantona?

I haven't called myself punk for about 20 yrs, so I don't know from punk, but how do people consider themselves PUNK almost 30 years later??

That said, I do love seeing kids with tons of attitude strut around Manhattan in black lipstick, torn shirts and combat boots. And I'd MUCH rather someone spout the punk ethos than take on the bizzaro-world Republican bent that some teenagers do today. Rebel already!

UPDATE: Eric Cantona = famous Man U soccer player

Friday, June 24, 2005

Here is New York

With so many questions running through my head this week, triggered by yet another impending departure of a dear friend from NYC, I couldn't have read a more appropriate essay than this 7,500 classic by E.B. White. Recommended to me by the always illuminating Signe, I'm a little surprised that it's never crossed my radar before.
Written in the summer of 1948, it contains some sharp insights consistent to this day. Fifty-five years later or no, the hassles and glorious rewards of New York never seem to change:
"Every facility is inadequate--the hospitals and schools and playgrounds are overcrowded, the express highways are feverish, the unimproved highways and bridges are bottlenecks; there is not enough air and not enough light, and there is usually too much heat or too little. But the city makes up for its hazards and deficiencies by supplying its citizens with massive doses of a supplementary vitamin--the sense of belonging to something unique, cosmopolitan, mighty and unparalleled."
Really nice stuff. And especially perfect for the recent days of reflection ("Now WHY do I live here again and WHY is this what I'm calling home when everything is a CONSTANT STRUGGLE???") that have popped up. Thanks for the reminder, Andy.

Close to Home:An American Album

I read this week about a exhibit that showed over the winter at the Getty Museums in LA of found photographs - you know, discarded old family photos found in thrift stores, on the street, tucked inside of a library book or whathaveyou. I've had to sift long and always impatiently through boxes of photos to find the elusive Grails of family photos. But when you get a good one -- man, what stories you can concoct in your brain about the people in the photo, and this one moment in their lives that was so important as to be recorded on film.

Here's links to the book and the exhibit (now closed)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Eatin' Out - AQ Cafe

58 Park Avenue at 38th Street
Open M-Sat, 10-5

Located inside Scandinavia House and operated by parent restaurant Aquavit, this open, bright, and sparsely-designed cafe has become one of my favorite places for lunch. Specializing in Swedish cuisine, lunch options range from a Grilled Scandinavian Shrimp sandwich ($8.75) to Swedish Meatballs ($9.50) to several salmon-based options. The Smorgasbord plate ($9.00) offers an assortment of 6 to 8 Scandinavian dishes that includes herring, gravlax and meatballs. All entrees and grilled sandwiches are served with a side of salad, bread and/or potato chips with a pungently memorable mayonnaise-based dip. Working my way through the menu over the past few months, I have yet to hit on a bad dish.

Although the wait to get your food can sometimes be up to 15 minutes (plates are made to order) it's great place to sit for an hour, read the paper and enjoy a unique yet not-too-expensive lunch.

The Best Belmont Ever

Or at least, the best Belmont I ever attended. As it was the first time in 4 years without the possibility of a Triple Crown winner (War Emblem, Funny Cide and Smarty Jones being the losers), the attendance was down and we found Belmont Day to be completely and gorgeously civilized. Sunny day, no lines at the windows, no lines for the LIRR trains, less yahoos, and the much trumpeted "no outside alcohol" policy new for 2005 was easily transgressed.

Seeing Afleet Alex dominate the rest of the admittedly weak 3-year-old field was a treat, too. After that travesty of a Derby, where Giacomo staggered to a win on what now seems to be sheer chance, I loved seeing a tough, deserving horse take the next two races of the Triple Crown. He's definitely the real deal, a powerhouse who will be exciting to watch into his four year old campaign next year. With the retirement of super horse Ghostzapper, Afleet Alex is the horse to watch as "the best" over the next few months.

As much as I want to see a Triple Crown winner in my lifetime, if it means crowds of 63,000 vs. crowds of 120,000, I am all for no horse ever doing it again. And ending our night in Irish bars in Woodside after sloshing out of the LIRR was an amusing finish to the day.

Thumbs up to the 2005 Belmont.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Start of Birthday Week

Decreed: Birthday week for everyone should begin the day before their birthday, and last through the following week. Also, one should also not have to work on the day their mother went into labor to bring their sorry ass into the world

Thus, MY birthday week begins today and will end on the 20th. Get in line for gift-giving and dinner outings pronto!!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Eatin' Out - Black Pearl

Back of Julep, 14 Ave A btw 1/2

Remember this: For $14.95, you can get a whole 1 1/4 pound lobster and perfectly crispy french fries. On Tuesdays only.

Black Pearl is a fish-shack style restaurant in the back of the divey bar Julep, on Ave A near the corner of Houston. Serving pan roasts, lobster rolls, ceviche, fried oysters, lobster pot pie, plus a variety of other fried-seafood-on-a-roll type entrees, the only thing I had eyes for the lobster special. It was just about perfect. Sit on the back patio on a warm day, get there in time for the 2 for 1 beer before 7:30, and think about how Montauk has nothing on the East Village.