Friday, August 29, 2008

Staten Island Yankees vs. Tri-City Valley Cats, Richmond County Bank Ballpark, Staten Island, with Dagfinn and Mika.

And fireworks, too.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Audubon Center, Prospect Park, Brooklyn with Alicia, Evan, and Annie.

Our guide and boat pilot. I can't remember what his name was, but he was cool.

Randomly, Annie finds a birdwatching book that a co-worker of hers wrote back in the 70s.

Nice boat.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Red Bull New York vs. Houston Dynamo, Giants Stadium, Jersey.

3-0 victory!

By the way, have I mentioned that Eileen is getting married? (And then moving to California, but anyway.) And to think that I was actually there the day that she and Coast Guard Mike met. In fact, I think Emily, Jimmy, Kathleen, and Jay may all have been there as well. Which I guess just makes it that much cooler when Eileen calls me up randomly to tell me to join them all for impromptu drinks at O'Flaherty's.

Congratulations, Eileen!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Happy birthday, Spano!

The night begins at Limerick in Flatiron.

Followed by a trip down to Noho to see Charlito's Fringe Festival midnight variety show...

...where all kinds of craziness is to be had.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Steinhof, Park Slope, Brooklyn with Mika, Alicia, Dagfinn and Mark for $3 beer and $6 goulash, then a new(?) bar called Ellis, for extended happy hour. And darts.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

As you may know (especially if you live in the area), today marks the five year anniversary (YES, FIVE YEARS) of the big Northeast Blackout. Or, as it’s known around here, the night where literally everyone in the city hung out with their neighbors getting drunk and randomly hooking-up – EVERYONE BUT MIKE.

Yes, that’s right. I don’t know what it is exactly that got everyone in the mood to party, when all I want to do is get home. Get home and hide.

My recollection of that (un)fateful night begins at work. Sometime in the late afternoon, I’m sitting at my desk doing desk things when the 50YOV happens by to put something away, and asks me if I’d noticed the funny buzzing-type noises coming from the lights in the Compack shelving behind me. I had noticed, in fact, but didn’t think much of it, as the lights were old and the shelves were always making funny noises. Of course, not five minutes after that, everything goes dark.

Sadly, for all the evacuation drills we’ve had (and all the groaning and eye-rolling that go along with them), the truth is that really nobody knows what the fuck we’re supposed to do in these situations. I (along with the rest of the building) walk down all the endless stairs to the lobby level (I’m on the 30th floor), exit the building, and go to the corner of the courtyard where I swore we’d been told that we all had to meet, and…nobody. I mean, there’s everybody, but nobody who I’d been told that I had to report to (my supervisor, my floor “safety director”, nobody I even recognized). So I sit down and wait.

One of my colleagues eventually makes an appearance, the one that nobody really likes (she doesn’t work here anymore), and I’m sure she’s just being nice and it's all perfectly innocent, but no, I don't want to go home with you to Staten Island -- STOP ASKING. She finally leaves, but for some reason, some sense of loyalty to the firm or whatever, I keep waiting for other people to show up. Finally, more as a lark than anything else, I take out my enormous cell phone (enormous, even for five years ago) and call upstairs. Amazingly, they pick up. Yes, they’re still upstairs. Yes, they’re still working. No, no one has said anything about leaving the building. Yes, they’re just going to keep on working up there until regular quitting time. And lastly, who the hell told me to leave the building?

Luckily, I’m able to make the case that I probably shouldn’t walk up 30 flights of stairs just to keep myself busy for 20 minutes (with the computers down, I’d be lucky to find that much busywork anyway) only to walk all the back down again, not that the fire department would even let me, probably, so I’m told to just go home.

Coincidentally, this is also the first night of that year’s New York Korean Film Festival, which was to have been marked by a huge industry blow-out at…well, the actual name of the place is “Space Untitled”, in Soho (I don’t think it’s there anymore), but because there’s a sign over the door that says “espresso bar,” in that uniquely Korean (and vaguely churchy) way of naming something based on the very first thing we see – my brothers and I still have a big laugh at the time we were at someone’s wedding and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” was introduced to the gathered dearly beloved as “Wise Men Say” – everyone in the group only ever refers to the place as “Espresso Bar”. Anyway, I knew that there was no way that the party is going on now, but I figure I’ll just swing by, seeing as it’s vaguely on my way home (though when you’re on the very southern tip of Manhattan and trying to get up to the east 70s, basically every point between now and there is “on the way”). You know, just in case.

The crowd of people walking up Broadway is pretty incredible. Even more incredible is that, as I get into Soho, I actually see people stopping to look at the little tables of necklaces and sock monkeys and stuff people have set up on the sidewalks. Yes, folks, this isn’t a city-wide blackout, it’s just a Sunday afternoon. Pardon me for interrupting your shopping. (Not that I really was in a rush to get anywhere, but anyway).

I get to the bar, and believe it or not, there they all are – almost the entire group, plus (if memory serves) Ju Gyeong-jung, the director of one of our big tentpole features for that year, A Little Monk. Everyone's relieved that he’s taking it all with good humor (lucky we didn’t get Kim Ki-duk after all), and we all just sit around on the couches, sort of waiting to see if people just, you know, show up. Of course, nobody does, and after an hour or so we decide to just go up to Ju’s hotel in K-Town to hang out and (possibly) spend the night. As we’re packing our things up, the guy with the car, that one little runty, sweaty guy who’s name I can’t remember, tells me that there isn’t room in his car for everyone, and since I actually live the closest (everyone else is in Flushing or Jersey, and at that point I think we had one or two guys who lived way up by Columbia), that I’m in no uncertain terms being expected to “volunteer” to not go with the rest of them. Fine with me, I just want to get home anyway, but I would have appreciated the ride.

It takes me three hours to walk from Broadway and Houston to 1st Ave. and E. 70th. Impossible, you say? That walk should have taken me at the very most a hair over an hour if that, you say? Ever been to Times Square in the rain? That’s pretty much how fast people were walking, all the way uptown. Keep in mind that there are throngs, THRONGS of people. Plus, it’s about 90 degrees out. And unbelievably, there are still cars and buses out on the road. I’ll never forget this one crazy woman, somewhere up near the UN, walking in the middle of the road (everyone was – it was unavoidable), and maybe a car had honked at her or something, I missed that, but she’s just standing there, screaming over and over again, “THERE’S NOWHERE TO GO! THERE’S NOWHERE TO GO!” Just over and over again. She might still be there, for all I know.

By now it’s around 10, and the citywide party is in full-swing. And not just the delis giving out free ice cream, either. Restaurants, bars, stoops, corners, curbs, everyone just drinking, laughing, holding each other whilst laughing and drinking. I swear, even places that would have been closed that day or at that hour reopened their doors especially just to get in on the fun. I suddenly feel incredibly lonely, but…what can I do, just sit down, grab a beer, and start talking to people? But that’s exactly what everyone else did (right?), why not me? I put my head down and just keep walking. Just 16 more blocks. 10. 5. 2. 1. Home at last.

The first thing I do is take about an hour-long shower, ice cold. Then, for some reason, I read Doug TenNapel’s Creature Tech by candlelight. I don’t remember why. I guess I just had it laying around. It’s a fun book that I like a lot, though the end does rub me the wrong way somewhat (the implication that this girl was unloveable as a cripple, and therefore had to be “fixed” before she was deemed worthy?…let’s save this discussion for a future blog). I’m exhausted, my feet hurt, I’m so incredibly, totally alone. I shut my eyes, try to block out the sirens, laughter, singing, hooking up outside my open window, and try to get some sleep.

The city apparently gets power back in phases over the course of the next morning (and few days), neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block. Mine is back by late morning. The Village (where the Festival is having its screenings) gets theirs in the early afternoon, in plenty of time before the first screenings of the day, though of course nobody knows that so nobody comes down to the theater for said screenings, and thousands of dollars are lost (thousands? Hundreds. Hundreds? Dozens. Dozens of dollars are lost).

Sometime in the late afternoon someone makes a run to the Cosi around the corner and gets bunch of chicken sandwiches, which leads to the worst case of food poisoning I’ve ever had, before or since.

Sandwich aside, I guess it could have been worse. A friend in Chelsea doesn’t get his power back until days later, and in his particular building that means no running water, either, though a picture of him taking a shower in a park fountain actually makes the front page of Yahoo! News, and he may have even gotten a couple dates out of it.

So, that’s a personal recollection of that crazy August night from me, the (at the time) loneliest boy in all of New York City. Has anything changed in the last five years? I certainly have many more (and better) friends, and friends of friends, than I did, and more importantly I now live just down the road from my office and walk to and from work every day. If something as big as the blackout were to happen again, not only would I be partying, we’d probably all be back at mine.

Which leads to maybe the most important discovery I’ve made about life in NYC, and possibly everywhere: if it’s been too long since you’ve been invited to a party, just send out a bunch of emails and throw one of your own.

And for all you haters out there, :p

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lauren Pritchard at Rockwood Music Hall, Lower East Side.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Saturday, part 3.

Saturday, part 2.