Archive for July, 2014

No Pinot for me thanks….

Posted in 'MURCA!, Makin' moves, NYC State of mind I be with tags , on July 28, 2014 by robdc

Have I mentioned that I love New York? If not, then, I’m sure that I’ll get around to it eventually.  I’ve been back in the Big Apple for a number of reasons but as always, cultural progression appears to be the most pressing matter. As the mood has continued, we have managed to get a great deal accomplished while never being in a hurry. Beyond hitting absolutely every eatery we had set out for ourselves this trip had 2 particular highlights. Other than the fantastic company…

M worked her magic and we managed to get our hands on tickets to Shakespeare in the park without spending a single second in line. This years show had John Lithgow and Annette Bening in the production and they did a truly awe inspiring job. As a second super luck out moment we got to see The Book of Mormon which, until now, was prohibitively priced.

IMG_4843[1]The show caught us almost completely off guard. Not that I know what the hell we were really expecting, but it wasn’t that. The musical numbers were perfectly choreographed and the acting was spot on. All in all the show was hilarious, I laughed to tears on at least 3 occasions.  That being said, if you lack thick skin or are particularly sensitive to the concepts of the Mormon faith, African American heritage or, shit anything else, bad language also included, you really shouldn’t watch this show. It amazed us both that it has been so popular with how positively insulting the nature of the whole performance is. That being said, everyone on earth should watch this and stop taking themselves so seriously.

The MET also had some particularly alluring exhibits that we were dying to check out but, personally, the Edo period exhibit was the star for me. I got to see, with mine on eyes, the single wood block painting that had occupied more desktop backgrounds on more computers for more time in my life than any other. Here is the masterpiece:

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There were also some very interesting exhibits on calligraphy and early Asian character composition.

IMG_4829[1]Of course no trip to NY would be complete without crossing the paths of some of my favorite people and oldest friends. Over the years, for some reasons I will never quite comprehend, a handful of my best friends have independently migrated to NY and I have had the pleasure of seeing them when I run through town. 

On the first night of ruckus I was looking to hang out with Sergio (http://latintafresca.wordpress.com) but when I met up with him in Park Slope, Brooklyn I had no way of knowing that Marco (http://marcovergel.wordpress.com) and Fabien, also from Miami, would be here to get down with the get down. We wandered around the local cocktail lounges for a few hours and rode a place or two till last call then in the end had a fantastic time, as far as I can remember.

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Then, round two was to meet up with Dee and Rich, some other Miami ex-pats who I can’t normally spend more than a few minutes around without expelling a drink or two through my nostrils. We did a similar set of rounds, running around Brooklyn taking shots and splitting bills until I had to leave, an action that I have little recollection of. One thing I can assure you of is that was spent %90 of the time laughing, that remaining %10 completely filled with attempts at straight faced set ups to some high impact punch lines, so basically all laughing.

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Great friends and amazing times but in the end I owe this great feeling I have while leaving NY to M, she made it all worth doing and I might owe her a bit for that.

Cojelo!

Robo

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A Harlem (visiting) Globetrotter

Posted in Makin' moves, NYC State of mind I be with tags , on July 9, 2014 by robdc

This trip to NY was unlike any before it. I was able to see some things that had been eluding me in my past visits, and as always the food was a main attraction. Unfortunately this style of visit didn’t really allow for much photography but I would like to write down the places we went so that I don’t forget.

My initial spot on the lower west side was positively spacious by Manhattan standards with a nice skylight and a little yard which we did get to enjoy on one of the more pleasant evenings.

IMG_4758[1]Although the early restaurants were delicious like UVA, I have to focus on the highlights. We found a reverse gentrified steak house in Harlem where we were definitely the minority and were sat in the back but that didn’t at all hinder the quality of the food. The place is called Ricardo’s steak house and it was the stuff of dreams, try the beef stroganoff.

We managed to see (some of) the fireworks off the Brooklyn bridge where I managed to meet up with Dee and by complete coincidence Lazer was in town so we partied a bit.

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After a nice conveyor belt sushi meal at EAST, we went directly across the street to Grace where the music was on point and the lack of other patrons put smiles on our faces. Also, they had a pretty damn good cocktail menu.

IMG_4778[1]The next night was probably one of the high points of the trip for me, personally, as we discovered a new place and it immediately opened it’s arms and welcomed us in. We arrived at Bondurants and found the ambiance exactly what we were looking for. There were high seats against the wide open doors, the whole street facing side of the establishment was open which made for a very pleasant breeze flowing through the front of the house. After midnight some of the bar staff from surrounding establishments started to roll in (a good sign) and we all struck up conversations about all sorts of garbage. As last call drew closer it became apparent that our bartender was more than just a bartender and as the shots and conversation poured on, my suspicions were confirmed, she was the owner.  After lots more jokes and laughs she introduced me to their house shot, an interesting mix of flavors, almost like Jäger but more mild and with a citrus note. I was instantly hooked.

IMG_4783[1]The mandatory stop at Go! Go! Curry! and here I sit at the Newark airport waiting for my flight to Miami. This trip certainly had its fair share of surprises and I have to say that I’m beyond happy I came. Here is a closing shot of the Empire state building from the Monarch rooftop bar taken after a few hours of karaoke.

IMG_4786[1]Thanks for everything M, I had a great time and I’ll be back soon.

Cojelo,

Robbie

Cougar machine…

Posted in 'MURCA!, Makin' moves with tags , , , on July 2, 2014 by robdc

The plan was, go to Denver to see a show. Then I figured; “Why just go to Denver? If you’re already going to be hitting the road, might as well see some of the people you love on the way.” So I took off a bit early and headed to DC. Then I found out that the band playing in Denver was of no interest to me, so I canceled that part of the trip and decided to head back to NY, but first thing’s first… DC and the awesomeness that ensued there.

Brando had organized a tubing trip in Shenandoah and this was way more thorough than anything we ever did back in the Ville. There were busses and the organizers gave you different tubes to fit your needs. You got a cooler? They have cooler tubes for you. Need some string? They got you covered. It was very well done and Brando, Natalia, Claudia and I were pumped to hit the river. 

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The float down took about 3 hours and the water temperature was perfect. When we got to the bottom there was a bus waiting to take us back to our car. The drive from Shenandoah was pleasantly American, hills and farm houses and such, and on the way home we hit some local BBQ spot where I had the most heavenly biscuits with sausage gravy.

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The next day we had a 4 or 5 hour dim sum and bottomless cocktail brunch at Zengo in Chinatown then headed to the National Portrait Gallery.

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The portraits were great and there were some very interesting pop art and modern performer sections but the crown jewels (mostly because they were totally unexpected) were the Nam June Paik installations. Paik was introduced to me as a teenager by my Father and on one of my birthdays he gave me “the worlds of Nam June Paik” a book which I treasure to this very day.

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(as always, my watermark does not imply that I created or have any rights pertaining to these works of art, just the pictures of them)

The next day Brando and I set out to try and get some things accomplished, but those plans were dashed so we wound up at a quaint Irish pub called “Shenanigans” to watch the Germany world cup game. We tried to pace ourselves at the beginning, but considering that we were 2 of the 5 patrons in the bar, we quickly built a rapport with the bartenders. After several rounds of shots and swapping bar stories, one of the bartenders asked “Have you ever been Iced?” To which I replied “no” because in several years of bartending and skillful Icing nonsense, I had actually managed to evade being a victim of the foolish act… He responded by slamming a Smirnoff Ice on the bar………

IMG_4747He got me.

The next day Brando had arranged for us to get some behind the scenes access to the US Capitol building which I was pretty excited about. His cousin is an agent with the Capitol police department and was able to get us into some spots that transients aren’t usually allowed to see. It did not disappoint and I think we owe them a pretty big debt for allowing us to move around such an important space so freely.

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These are the old Congress chambers, notice the polite placement of the spittoons.

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These are the original Chambers of the Supreme Court Judges.

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Then we went out to the balcony outside of the present Congressional meeting room, they took our phones and cameras away in the actual room where the president gives the state of the union addresses and stuff, but it was pretty insane being in there. Apparently some Puerto Rican activists shot the place up a few years back and some of the furniture still has bullet holes which was interesting. But check out the view from where our laws get made:

IMG_0196_tonemappedNot too shabby.

Our last stop on the Capitol tour was the underground train system, there are several automated trains but what really astounded me was this archaic mode of transportation that required an attendant and moved all of 200 feet. A sidewalk would have been much better suited for the task.

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We got to ride the little guy to both of it’s destinations which took all of 2.7 minutes.

We then moved on to watch America’s first world cup match of the quarter finals vs. Belgium, there was a damn serious turn out and I was feeling the patriotism here in our nations Capitol.

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Unfortunately we lost but the Segermeisters and I did manage to pull a 2nd place finish at Wonderland trivia so I leave DC with a smile on my face.

Once again, another successful visit to DC, thanks entirely to Brando and Natalia. Thanks guys, can’t wait to party with you again in a couple of months for your “wedding.”

Cojelo!

Robo

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