Archive for October, 2009

How the Gotham Gators get down!

Posted in NYC State of mind I be on October 13, 2009 by robdc

I won’t lie, my first impressions of how this was going to go weren’t great. As we arrived at the setting for the fiasco, a bar called the Town Tavern, the whole thing was already falling apart. Brandon had called ahead and made “reservations” but when we arrived the employees didn’t seem to have much of an idea of how this worked even though they have apparently been doing this every Saturday since the season started.

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When we tried to sit in tables labeled “all tables reserved for registered UF fans” we were told that they were for people from out of town, to which we replied “we are from out of town” this didn’t seem to help much. By the time everything got figured out it appeared that the tables were only for people who made super secret reservations which entitled them to both be in the bar and have a table. But if we hurried upstairs we might get a spot at the bar. We ran upstairs and our reward… a single stool for the 4 of us… I was already predicting my departure by half time (as any friend of mine knows I’m not particularly fond of spectator sports but I do have a soft spot for the Gators) this wasn’t turning out the way I was expecting.

But, as these things go, we had paid $25 for free drafts and free shots at every gator touch down, so I hung around.  And after finding that those free drafts applied to ANY draft in the bar, Guinness included… I was ok. We sat, we watched, we cheered we drank, long story short, we wound up with 4 stools at that bar and damn did we start having a good time. To tell you the complete truth, it kinda felt like being back in the Ville for a bit. Here’s a shot of Manhattan’s Gator fans.

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Over 250 in attendance at this one event according to the visibly frazzled door girl, and that’s pretty impressive. We got down pretty seriously, and these people were not screwing around, they knew the stats and the players, hell they knew about what was going on on campus, these were devoted fans and just as loud and drunk as they are in Gainesville. Here’s a couple of shots of us post realization of awesomeness.

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The “free shots” weren’t so much shots as much as the bartender chick jumping up on the bar with some concoction and pouring it down the gullet of any willing drunk, needless to say we doubled up whenever possible, considering we only scored one touchdown we only got one shot so we abused it. Well actually when we won she did it again and didn’t seem to care how many turns any one person took, so yea, we took a few.

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she didn’t exactly have the best aim… Long story short, we ended up having a phenomenal time.

Next up were bars, oh so many bars… Since we already had a bit of a head start it didn’t take long to get into party mode. Everybody bought “raybands” in Chinatown and decided this was the time to bust them out.

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When all that fun was said and done, we needed a late night snack before calling it a night, so where did we go? One of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite snack stops in Manhattan, Gray’s Papaya!

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Now this is nothing fancy, basically a hot dog shop that makes papaya smoothies but there is something special about this place. The recession special basically made it $3 for 2 hot dogs and that’s not all. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t eat onions, but they have this crazy sweet onion sauce here that they soak the hot dogs in and it was completely amazing, I couldn’t resist it. I had 1 plain hot dog then took a bite of Kearas with the onion sauce and ordered 2 more fully loaded, they were criminal in how good they tasted.

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It was around 3 or 4 in the morning and I wasn’t quite done for the night so Keara and I went back out to time square to see what its like with less people. It was… interesting, not abandoned by any stretch of the imagination, but now the people walking around were mostly freaks, we saw a couple of spidermans a batman or two and the cops are allowed to smoke on the job, one had a cigar.

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Well, I think that about does it for now, I’ll be back soon with more from the rest of the trip.

Cojelo,

Robbie

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Street Art, performed and otherwise…

Posted in NYC State of mind I be on October 13, 2009 by robdc

How could I possibly come to NY and not talk about the art, sure I went to the MET but this isn’t about that sort of art, it’s about the type of art that has always made NY a bigger city then Miami, even though its less then 1/2 the size. Its about the streets and what people do with and on them. I couldn’t help but keep staring at all the art everywhere, god only knows how old some of it was. As I left LaGuardia in my nice clothes (in case I got bumped up to first class {I didn’t}) and speaking and laughing wildly with the shuttle driver, I am completely sure that the already unnerved passengers were not settled any by the fact that the only thing that seemed to pull my interest away from conversation was any graffiti that passed us by. Its what made my generation take to street art in the first place, (admittedly I was never any good as an artist) New York city and its great artists of the dark. Here though I saw a new side, yes there was plenty of spray paint on concrete and brick but the more interesting pieces weren’t burners or giant collaborative crew walls, it was the pre arranged art and the performance art. Here are a couple of examples, part cut and paste part stencil part free hand can I thought they were dope:

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Stencils alone played a large part in what I saw in NY but the really entertaining ones were multi stencil arrangements that went in sequence or worked together to say something like this one:

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As I said performance art was a big part of the whole experience too, some of it may have just been people trying to keep themselves entertained but it was still pretty fun to watch. Here is an example, this guy was selling photographs, the he had presumably taken, but to pass the time as people didn’t buy them he was hitting milk cartons (think middle school cafeteria) with a golf club into a garbage can that was about 35 feet from him.

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As you can see from the picture in the foreground the photoraphs he was selling weren’t exactly G rated.

If the art wasn’t on the walls or being performed, it was being sold, and there was plenty of good art being sold on the streets for premium prices along side the junk. Here’s a picture I snapped of one of my favorites by some weirdo.

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I call this artist a weirdo because when I offered my compliments to his art I was directed to a large, denim adorned black man with a cowboy hat holding the reigns of a show dog that was about as large as a small donkey. He was , in fact, a weirdo.

That’s it for art, but next up is our run in with the Gotham Gators and how the viewing of the UF vs LSU game went in Manhattan.

Coje lo con take it easy,

Rob

Well, look what the Katz dragged in…

Posted in NYC State of mind I be on October 13, 2009 by robdc

I can’t believe I left some stuff out of my little rant on Chinatown but apparently someone there shares my views on marriage:

IMG_1912 I was debating for a solid 10 minutes whether or not to buy this shirt and cracking jokes about poor bastards who are getting married young before I realized that Brandon and Natalia are engaged… oops. No problem though, they are pretty used to me making fun of just about everything, including them, so it wasn’t really an issue.

Next we were off to one of the highlights of our trip, Katz deli. I was expecting a place with a door and seats where some surly waitress would take our order in some colorful New York way and bring us our smorgasbord of deliciousness. I was wrong.

Here’s how it went, Katz deli is on New York’s NFT list of places (as is advertised in stickers and plaques all over the restaurant) NFT as stated on the stickers, stands for Not For Tourists but can easily slip to No Fucking Tourists and Never Fucking Tourists. I’m not sure if it was the reason tourists don’t come here or implemented to keep them (us) out but the process of getting your food at this place was dizzying.

You walk into a crowd (70+) of people and are handed a ticket, no information is given to you about this ticket or its worth but we were lucky enough to hear someone say “don’t lose the fucking ticket” to their child as we came in.

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Then you are herded into another crowd in front of butcher style counters with sneeze guards and men with knives. We stood there blank faced for a few minutes until what looked like a security guard, but ended up being the most helpful person in the place, yelled “EVERY CUTTER HAS A LINE LINE UP AT THE CUTTERS!!”. Line up at the cutters we did. The pastrami is the golden ticket here but I was in the mood for brisket. It should be mentioned that the promise at this fine establishment is that every sandwich has at very least 1lb of meat in it, they didn’t fail us. The “cutter” that I got was a very entertaining fellow, he asked what I wanted and congratulated me on not going with the status quo, “It’s not always about the pastrami, good call buddy” he said, followed shortly by a small cut of pastrami on a plate in front of me and the words “Not trying to change your mind but you wouldn’t want to have left here without having some”, Jesus Christ on a pogo stick he was right. The pastrami was cut from heavens own pigs and seasoned with love, an orphans love. But, I am too stubborn for my own good and stuck with the brisket. It too was beyond delicious (but not as good as the pastrami) and they definitely fulfilled their promise of at least 1 lb of meat.

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Those potato pancakes were nothing to scoff at either, this food was fit for Zeus or Buddha himself, whichever floats your boat. Here is a shot of the iconic storefront, complete with NY’s finest right outside.

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Ok, I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I seem to be rambling on these posts about NY, I have so much more to say about today but this one is already a bit long so I’ll cut it at this point and reserve my next set of run-ons for another post.

Cojelo,

Robbie

Let the great pig-out begin!

Posted in NYC State of mind I be on October 13, 2009 by robdc

Brandon has really been proving himself an asset so far this trip and because of it we blindly follow his suggestions on where to go and eat. Where normally we would have a “we’ll see what we find along the way” sort of attitude about eating, Brandon has obviously been doing a great deal of research and preparation for this trip and our first stop today was definitely proof of that. It’s called Doughnut Plant, and according to the menu this is no god damned Dunking Doughnuts!IMG_1904

Here are the specials for today:

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The complete menu was breathtaking, everything from double chocolate glazed deliciousness to apple cinnamon doughnuts with actual grandmas apple skin bits in the glaze. I had the tres leches doughnut which actually had tres leches running through the center of the entire scrumptious little morsel. We pigged out for a bit and then we were on our way.

Now that our bellies were full we were ready to take on Chinatown! or were we?

Yes, we were. For as much as I’ve heard people badmouthing TV it has actually prepared me pretty well for most of the exotic lands I’ve visited up until now and Chinatown was no exception. The people were crammed onto Canal streets sidewalks but for the most part this is where all the “legit” storefronts were, and who wants that. We found that ducking down smaller side streets yielded the best deals and the shop (or suitcase) owners who were most willing to bring the prices down on their wares. We made some truly phenomenal purchases (which I won’t discuss in detail lest I out any of my friend’s new fake designer items) and the haggling is something my mom had been training me for since I was just a kid. This place is alive and screaming, it flashes every item you do and don’t want in your face then yells at you to buy it. I saw some poor woman so flustered by the in your face attitude of one of the salesmen that she nearly had a panic attack and bowled people out of her way as she ran out of his tiny shop. I immediately went right into that shop and purchased a pair of sunglasses from that same man, almost as a congratulation that he is so successful in either selling things or scaring the crap out of people. Here’s a couple of shots, one of the view down Canal street and another of a funny store front that Natalia found:

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I think I’ll leave it there for now, but there’s much more to come in a bit.

Cojelo,

Rob

Doing the same ‘ol same ‘ol

Posted in NYC State of mind I be on October 12, 2009 by robdc

Running around Manhattan seriously tires you out. But at the end of the day a stop at a familiar bar always seems to set things right. Our view from the hotel isn’t quite as spectacular as I hoped it would be but only 2 blocks away we have this:

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As expected there are all sorts of interesting things to see around this bastion of entertainment and the people make up a large part of that, I have seen some insane things around here since I arrived. I can only assume that the tiny landmass of this island and its absurdly high population are what cause it to be this petri dish of odd goings on. Please don’t take me wrong, I love this place and the people make it what it is, here’s an example:

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After our run in with the black fat dark night who called Brandon “a young John Travolta” we headed for the west village where I was promised we could find a place that would make me feel at home… Here’s how we did:

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Does that look familiar to anyone? No its not salty dog, its the Peculier Pub, a place in NY that reminds me of my favorite bar back home. This was still early on in the trip so I think I’ll stop there for now, I’ll probably get the rest done on the plane.

Cojelo,

Robbie

Welcome to NY where we will take your cameras but give you your guns back…

Posted in NYC State of mind I be on October 9, 2009 by robdc

I don’t want anyone to think that I wasn’t prepared for this trip but holy crap I don’t think I was completely prepared for this trip… Fun started early like midnight last night early when I found out I was bumped from my 8am flight which means my only option was a 6am flight. After the drive south this was not good news but what are you gonna do? So we arrive at LaGuardia and I begin my hunt for a means to Manhattan, keeping in mind that I am now a solid 4 hours ahead of any of my travel companions. But as luck would have it I found a shuttle driver who spoke only spanish and seemed to be fed up with his non spanish speaking passengers. With cabs into town costing over $40 the $14 shuttle ride sounded like a great idea… and it was. The Shuttle driver was Ecuadorian and his name was Ramon, since traffic was so bad Ramon and I got to know each other pretty well and I got the weird sense that the other passengers all felt that we were trying to kidnap them or something. He pointed out things about the city as we passed that I would have never been privy to and I will forever be in his debt for that. From there I checked in to the hotel and dropped off my bag, walked around a whole bunch until the rain “forced” me into a really nice pub called the Blaggard. I waited there for an hour or two and then Brandon and Natalia showed up, we quickly regrouped and headed to NBC headquarters for a tour, we didn’t have much info on this tour but were hopeful. IMG_1881 IMG_1882

So, we didn’t know what to expect but these pages seriously look like everything 30Rock has pushed on us about Kenneth. I don’t watch nightly news but seeing the sets and equipment was pretty cool, also, they were recording a show with some chick I had never heard of in the set right next to us, we were in the background looking touristyish. The next thing we saw was honestly pretty damn cool, they took us to the SNL set and they were actually rehersing a bit. I am not kidding here, Keenan, Andy Samburg, Drew Barymore (who is the host this week) and the new girl who said F$@k last week on SNL were all on stage about 35 feet from us rehearsing their lines, not that I was star struck but that was pretty cool. Everything after that was cheesy “magic of TV” type stuff so its not really worth mentioning.

After that we hit up the Nintendo store which was what you’d expect, logs of Nintendo stuff and video game promos. IMG_1883

There were actually some really interesting old school systems on display, of course next to plenty of merchandise.

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We then went to another bar called “The Perfect Pint” where we stayed for probably too long, and decided that it would probably be a good idea to head back to the hotel and wait for Keara to show up. So thats where we are now, waiting for the last of our group to show up. But, on our way back we saw this…

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That’s right, its a Ferris wheel inside a god damned toy store… WHAT?! well yea, that’s half way through day 1, I’m going to take a nap.

Cojelo con take it easy,

Robbie

NYC state of mind I be…

Posted in NYC State of mind I be on October 8, 2009 by robdc

Tonight I leave for NY, not a particularly long trip but a trip I’ve been waiting a long time for none the less. For once we have an actual itinerary, which is odd, but since we’ve only got a few days in Manhattan we needed to plan everything out if we wanted to see all the important stuff (by important I mean drenched in alcohol). I hope to have lots of pictures and recounts of zany antics in the coming days but for now I’m going to use this as a publicly viewable packing list that I can check from anywhere later, since I’m pretty sure I’ll be packing on the run.

nix-

cameras

batteries and chargers

gaming

laptop (make sure live writer is set up for the new format

HDD filled with tv shows and movies

clothes-

fancy stuffs for the plane and possibly a dinner or two

cold weather stuff

usual outing clothes for a week

pretty sure that should do it, next post should be from NY.

Cojelo con take it easy,

Rob

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