Tag Archive: New York


mta

Today while clicking around the internet, I found a site called 100 Improvements to the New York City Subway. I read through it (and you should too) and I agree with some of his ideas (solar panels on outdoor stations, train positions, and notifications on platforms, among others). Of course, some of his ideas are stupid or impractical or both (Subway USB power, I’m looking at you), but what are you going to do, right?

It got me thinking of how I would improve the subway experience. And I think I have some pretty good ideas.

  1. Arrest the panflute guy. – Honestly, does it got more annoying than the fucking panflute guy? He’s so fucking earnest. When they arrest him, they should smash his panflute and break his fingers so he cannot make another one.
  2. Publicly shame any dude who sits with his legs spread wide open on a subway car. – We get it, asshole. You have huge balls and have to keep your legs spread wide open so your balls have a seat of their own. But guess what? Your balls aren’t that big. Close your legs. If someone is caught doing this, the MTA should post embarrassing photos of them all over the train so they get their egos deflated. In the off chance your balls ARE that huge go to a god damned doctor already.
  3. Record the “meaningful” conversations of people on the L train. – And then send the tapes to them when they are A) sober or B) over 30. Not as publicly embarrassing as the balls-guys, but potentially more life-crushing.
  4. Ban paint buckets. – No one ever went into a crowded subway station and thought, You know what would be super pleasant right now? Some shit head playing drums on a bunch of buckets REALLY LOUDLY. Stop it.
  5. Install anti-dance devices. – Your show sucks, kid.
  6. Take away Ralphie’s newpapers. – Any longtime L rider will recognize Ralphie, the son of a bitch who’s “just trying to sell newspapers to get back on his feet”. Well, he’s been trying to get back on his feet the exact same way for at least 10 years and he hasn’t seemed to have made any real progress. We see through your elaborate ruse, Ralphie. No one is convinced. Give it a rest, you miserable junkie fuck.
  7. Kick out the stress test Scientologists. – Yeah, I am stressed out and you trying to foist your hokey pseudo-religion/cult on me isn’t helping. Ditto for all the other religious panhandlers in the subway tunnels.
  8. Pay the saxophone alien guy a million dollars. – Sorry. I love that guy. What a brilliant asshole.

There are a few ideas. What do you think could help improve the subway experience?

Quinciple.com

quinciple header

Do you live in 10023, 10069, 10014, or 10013?

Do you love farm fresh food, but you are too damn busy (or, admit it, lazy) to get yourself to the farmers’ market?

Do you struggle with trying new things because you are overwhelmed with all the choices?

Then, my dear reader, Quinciple might be your jam. What is Quinciple, you ask? A tremendous question, friend! Let me quote them at you.

Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 4.07.36 PM

Ok, well that doesn’t really tell us how it works, does it?

Quinciple works in three, easy steps.

  1. Join! – Easy, ya dingus. Join, give them your address, and pay 49.90 per week. Simple!
  2. Get! – Your box of curated groceries is delivered to you on Thursday nights by a cargo tricycle. Seriously. Hip AND environmentally responsible!
  3. Taste! – Eat your lovely, locally sourced, organic produce. To make it easier in the case that you are not really sure what to do with one of the box’s contents, you’ll get some recipes and tips included. I was going to make a joke about not knowing how to use some esoteric thing in this month’s box, but there’s nothing in it that I couldn’t think of a at least a few uses for, so there you go. Produce you don’t have to be scared of!

quinciple cards

You are no doubt wondering why I am using my time here on The Black Laser to shill for something that seems totally unrelated to my usual topics of (one-sided) discussion. Full disclosure: Kate, one of the cofounders, is a friend and Sarah, my prewife, is working with them as outreach director promoting the hell out of the fledgling company.

Honestly, I think that leaves me in a perfect place to recommend the company to people. I believe in Quinciple, not just as a business, but as a concept and a set of values. Because that’s what it is, deep down. Ostensibly, it is a service akin to a CSA, but delivered and curated. Really though, Quinciple is an extension of what Kate and Markus value about food: getting high quality products from people they trust and sharing the food with customers in an environmentally responsible fashion. It is, in a lot of ways, diametrically opposed to the Monsanto-style, anonymous megafarm that has dominated US agriculture and food production since after the second World War. And I think that’s great. Besides, Kate has impeccable taste; there are few people I would trust as much to surprise me with some incredible food thingie as her.

And that’s what you get with a curated box: surprises! Who doesn’t like good surprises? No one. Well, maybe someone, but screw that guy, right?

I think people were excited about the samples at the launch party.

I think people were excited about the samples at the launch party.

If you care about how and what you eat, and if you care about how your food is made and where it comes from, then check out Quinciple. I think you’ll be pleased.

And if you are outside their currently limited delivery range, have faith. They will be expanding over the next year to deliver to folks all over this fine city. Which means you. And me. Since I don’t live in 10023, 10069, 10014, or 10013.

We are getting a box this week. Look forward to a write up and some photos of us enjoying the hell out of it.

Girl Walk // All Day

I have an interesting relationship with dance. As a thing to do, I love it. Unabashedly so. If you and I have not gone dancing together, we should, because it’s fucking awesome and fun and great exercise and all that shit. As an art form, I’ve never really been able to get into it, particularly with interpretive dance. I just don’t get it at all. I’ve tried, oh lord how I’ve tried, but it’s just not for me. Anyone out there willing to prove me wrong? I’d be happy to learn.

Girl Walk // All Day is a preview of a film that combines my love of dancing with a presentation of dance on the State Island ferry and terminal and the music of Girl Talk

Here’s what the creators say about it.

What is Girl Walk // All Day?

We’re making an epic, 71-minute dance music video set to All Day, the new album by mash-up musician Girl Talk (aka Gregg Gillis). The idea behind Girl Walk // All Day emerged from our desire to expand the boundaries around the idea of the traditional music video, which usually spans the length of a single track. This album-length piece will feature a talented group of dancers across a range of public and private spaces around New York City, turning the city’s sidewalks and obstacles into part of an evolving improvisational dance routine.

The piece will be available for free online in short, serialized segments and we also plan to screen the full-length film in public spaces, and at festivals, concerts, parties, and beyond, inspiring an interactive viewing experience that will evolve into a series of dance parties around the globe.

I’m totally in love with it. It is just great. I only wish I could be one of the dancers. I feel confident that I could do this. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this little preview of what is going to become a 70 minute film so much that I nearly sent them funds on their kickstarter project. The only reason I didn’t is because they’re already at double their goal with 38 days left for donations.

Check this shit out. I can’t wait to see the finished thing. If you feel compelled, kick them a few bucks. I might end up doing so.

If you haven’t heard, New Yorkers were supposed to get blasted with yet another massive snow storm that was going to lock down the world and destroy families and kill all children under 6 and freeze reservoirs and slaughter puppies and coat everything we know and love in a mile high sheet of ice. Except we didn’t. All we got was a couple of days of my most hated euphemism, the dread “wintry mix” which is a pleasant way of saying “freezing fucking rain and slush and huge murky poisonous puddles and ice and slipping and broken wrists.”

Where New Yorkers didn’t get completely ass fucked by mother nature, the central part of the US did. Fucked big time. There’s a cloud (seen in the photo above) covering ONE THIRD of the United States. Holy shit balls. That’s a wicked huge cloud, as they would say in the parlance of New England which is, incidentally, not covered by the cloud.

Another part of the image above that I like so much is how the state lines are clearly visible from space, as if tattooed on the landscape by some inescapable alien (or divine, perhaps Freddie Mercury) force. Who knew you could see state lines from space?! Astronauts probably, but not me. Fucking astronauts and their dehydrated food.

Get more info on the storm (you know, with like actual science) here: HuffPo: U.S. Snowstorm Seen From Space: Wild Weather Captured By NASA (PHOTOS)

Also:

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“WE DON’T NEED NO MOON CHEESE BABIES!!!!”

…and why I spend so little time at home.

Why stay home when New York holds so many myriad adventures for the uninhibited? Tonight, for example, I should probably go home and chill out after being out last night until quarter to six, but is that going to happen? Not fucking likely. I would like to go to the Ghostly International party tonight at Public Assembly. Or maybe Big Freedia round 4 at Santos? Anyone want to go dancing? Or maybe I’ll just strike out solo and have an adventure that no one will ever know about. Who knows? The night is young and I have the will.

Link to the original Do.

Last week, a couple of old friends of mine came to visit me here in New York for a week and a bit. Here’s an incomplete list of the things we did while they were here.

  • Went to see Landmine Marathon and Salome.
  • Shopped at the farmers’ market.
  • Made dinner and drank wine.
  • Saw Heartless Bastards at Bowery Ballroom.
  • Imitated my sister Tullia.
  • Danced to the DJ stylings of The Roots’ ?uestlove at Brooklyn Bowl.
  • Looked at art in the Guggenheim.
  • Wandered through a healthy portion of Central Park.
  • Ate at one of my favorite diners by Columbus Circle.
  • Danced until delirious to 60s Soul Music.
  • Watched an entire season of The Simpsons.
  • Roasted a chicken.
  • Drove to Vermont.
  • Swam.
  • Fished.
  • Sent a bunch of logs to hell.
  • Ate the biggest marshmallows I’ve ever seen.
  • Drove back from Vermont.
  • Ate ate DuMont, which I love to no end.
  • Wandered through lower Manhattan until the girls’ feet hurt.
  • Bought delightful mugs at Fishs Eddy.
  • Watched the sun set over the East River and drank wine.
  • Sprinkled the week with bacon, egg, and cheeses.
  • Had an awesome time.

Really, it was the best trip ever. This summer has been so rad so far I might explode.

We were pretty busy and I didn’t really take as many photos as I’d have liked, but therein is the trade off. Do I spend time taking photos a few feet back from the action, or do I neglect the photos in order to be part of the game. In this case, the latter won out, so you only get 67 photos of the time they were here. Not too bad, but not a whole lot, either.

Here’s a link to the gallery.

Here is a quick selection of some of my favorites.

My prime-lens-only tear continues. After the disappointment I experienced with my old 50 f/1.8 in Telluride, I went out and had an impulsive moment and purchased the 50 f/1.4. Pocketbook lighter, I have to say I am not upset with the purchase. It brings that focal length up to par with my 28 and 85 in terms of handling, making it a much more useful and friendly place to work. Not only that, but if you manage to nail the focus at f/1.4, it looks great. The 50 accounts for 53 of the 67 photos in the set. To me it is obvious which ones are not the 50, but see if you can tell.

Anyway, I love the compositional restriction afforded by the prime lenses. No, that’s not exactly right. I love that there is no noodling about with zoom to make me miss a moment. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: primes rule. There is a time and place for zoom lenses certainly, like when your movement will be restricted or when you’re shooting a party and you need to be able to cover all sorts of focal lengths quickly. But for the type of photography I do mostly, primes are really nice. First, they’re faster than their zoom equivalents. Second, they’re less expensive. Third, they’re lighter. What’s not to like about that? So you can’t zoom between 28 and 135 mm. So what? Any zoom with that great of a range that is affordable is a piece of junk. Limits encourage creativity.

Truthfully, I’m not sure I’d think this way if I hadn’t spent so much time shooting with zoom lenses, first the Tamrom 28-75, and then the Canon 24-105. The Tamron is long gone, and the Canon gathers dust in the drawer. Who needs it?

Literature and Luck

Tonight, on the train home from work, the man standing next to me was scratching his scratchers and reading this gem.

Awesome. I love New York. It is so great.

Dear America,

New York City has been holding out on you.

I’m not talking about musical theatre or the nightlife or whatever things people come to New York from all over the country to experience. No, I’m talking about what might be the single greatest beer in the entire history of the universe, Sixpoint’s Righteous Rye. Never before has a beer so tasty, so dangerous, exerted such pressure on me to drink it. It makes most other craft beers seem like the cans of Hamm’s sitting in your trunk while you’re at summer school when you’re 16.

Brooklyn Brewery? I love you, but no.

Dogfishhead? No!

Smuttynose? How I adore your IPA, but, still, no.

Europe? Your dogged adherence to tradition is commendable, but no.

Asia? Not in a million years.

Africa? South America? Australia? No! No!! No!!!

And while I would love to recommend that you fine folks around the country go to your local purveyor of fine beers and purchase a six pack of this mighty beast of a drink, you cannot. Sixpoint does not bottle beer. You can only get it on draught. It’s even difficult to find sometimes in Manhattan, but it waits for me like a patient friend when I come home to Brooklyn. Always there. Always happy to see me.

Sixpoint, you have brightened my life with the Righteous Rye and I thank you for it.

To the rest of America, when you’re in town on vacation, take a break from the tourist crap, take the subway across the East River, find yourself a nice little bar, and get a Sixpoint. You will thank me for it.

Check out their site: Sixpoint Craft Ales