Monday, June 21, 2010

Mermaid Parade in Coney Island 2010: Hot Rods and Perverts Galore

I had a Nathan's that came to 4.36 because of tax in Luna Park. Are you kidding?

I also went on the Wonder Wheel for the first time.

Wonder Wheel Operator: Did she tell you to go on the swinging cart?
Me: Stationary, stationary!
Girlfriend Who Totally Does Rollercoasters: NOoooo we have to go on the swinging one.
Wonder Wheel Operator: Hey man, listen to her, I've been listening to my wife for the last 37 years, best thing I ever did.
Me: Okay okay (apparently I speak in single word repeats)

I'm so not a rollercoaster/heights person. I had to clench so hard to prevent The Browning Version on that swinging pendulum of death and it was just a ferris wheel.

Coney Island is something of a shit show all the time. The train ride out there is one of my favorite parts actually; you get to see a little bit of Brooklyn life along the way, and what emphasizes that is I don't travel that far out often so the ride becomes a little more special and more observational than usual.

The last time I went to the Mermaid Parade it was probably 6 years ago. This year, it's bigger than ever, but I have a few things to nitpick. First, it's a very disorganized sort of hodge podge of a parade. Second, you end up getting trapped very easily on one side or the other, or even worse, trapped in one section of the boardwalk and you think you can get out but you hit a dead end.

But I digress. There are many colorful mermaids, and even more perverts, and a smattering of families, so it's your basic Mardi Gras for 12+ set. We got to take some pictures next to a few guest stars on To Catch a Predator who were spouting off some of the cheesiest lines I've ever heard at the mermaids. "Show us your fins" is a stupid saying dude.

Anywho, after backtracking a couple of stops to lovely Sheepshead Bay (I say godDAMN there's a Chinese buffet) and pigging out on Rendazzo's, we were in for the day and out for the night.

Here are some pictures we took in the same attitude since we couldn't get close enough.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Streets on Vanderbilt in Prospect Heights, Another Reason To Have A Pint

"It's the event of the season" I hear on the Dog the Bounty Hunter commercial as I type this. Wait we're back to Intervention.

While not the event of the season, and would go great if it went beyond June (but I'll take any excuse to do up Prospect Heights considering all the shit that will go down there over the next 5 years), Summer Streets on Vanderbilt Avenue (that's what the site says, maybe next year they'll pimp out the name a little more) is something I'd like to take part in, maybe the 27th. Don't mind the slightly awkward blog. Prospect Heights is good for it.

Basically you've got a strip of an underrated street that is open for the kids and adults and best of all, Soda Bar is up for some pints of the Vos all up in it. Now, Soda Bar can be inconsistent in the evenings but one thing's for sure, the backyard and sunny front part of the bar are always welcoming for afternoon refreshments.

This summer event will happen on June 20 and the 27th as mentioned previously.

The following has a nice cover by Face to Face too:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Alex and Simon from Real Housewives in BellTel Lofts to Eat, Drink And Be Hopeful

There are a couple things to note about this. First, the postcard has a slightly different time on the front versus the back, just sayin'. Nobody's fault, not a big deal certainly.

The most affable pair in the Real Housewives of NY, the McCord and van Kempen duo will be hosting this lovely event tomorrow June 8 from 6-10pm with quite a handful of samples from about 17 establishments just on the card alone (including Cake Bliss which is apparently a big deal and one Fizzy Lizzy, which I did grow to love at the IFC Center). The event is sponsored by the American Cancer Society, and apparently has existed in the past three years (I'm sure the 100 dollar late admission fee or 125 dollar VIP ticket fee will go to cancer research, but don't quote my silly little blog on that).

It brings me back to my original questions. Not to knock the event; it sounds lovely. Belltel always could use a little press and snazz among the competing buildings in the area. However, sizeable events like this one was never presenting to the building just as a heads up. It's nice to get a little notice if I was going to, you know, play ping pong or something. I remember the last time this happened, and the roof got trashed (although I'm sure Alex, the most composed of ze Housewives of NY, won't go cray cray) and you had about a gazillion complaints and total murder-as-a-crime-of-passion roid rage from the residents.

Second, where is this VIP area? I can think of some places the shindig could be held: roof, 2nd floor business suite, sales office, or lounge in the basement, unfinished garage (which would be hilarious). With the need for two spaces possibly, I wonder how they pull it off (or is the VIP just another name for "come slightly early").

Third, I can see a lot of nice people who don't know the area totally walking toward the BellTel through the Fulton Mall and some crazy dark alleys and being like "oh shit".

You can check out the full list of food and drink at the event website and also still get a ticket if you're interested (of the four people who read this I'm guessing zero).

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Eli "Paperboy" Reed @ Mercury Lounge 6.3.10

Photo from

It's time to dust off the Stax t-shirt. I went to see Eli "Paperboy" Reed (he got his nickname from an old hat of his) at the Mercury Lounge a few blocks away from the office on the early show bill at around 7:30. While not a sold out show, it was pretty packed for an early Thursday and I grabbed a couple of Circus Boy pints while waiting around for the show to begin. My girlfriend and I chatted with some of the AOL Music crew and EMI (Reed is currently on Capitol Records) and I was fairly excited seeing as how I hadn't had the pleasure of seeing an oldies throwback artist since my stretch of Pipettes shows or Camera Obscura (ok so maybe those weren't that long ago).

There are a lot of old school showman things about Reed (from Boston area) and his band the True Loves. Keyboard man doubling as MC, smiling drummer, muscular horn section, smooth bass player (sunglasses were the bonus), and Reed himself with a rockabilly haircut and suit-donning. Having a backing band like the True Loves makes you a contender because there are so many pieces that fit. The sound levels were all in check although they could have bumped up the saxaphones and other instruments as needed, but everyone was heard. Tight drumming and wild, shimmering guitar (he broke strings by the end, so you know he's not playin' around). Toward the end he took off his jacket, and the obvious pockets of sweat all over his purple shirt on this hot evening always makes a great statement. They are here to work us over with classic soul music. Does he hit you in the gut with every song? No. But hitting high points 4 or 5 times during the show is part of what soul is about; it's about a commanding presence instilling the righteousness of a higher being in ya. It's kind of like a really intense, goosebumps-inducing version of rinse and repeat.

There are many other things that I enjoyed about the show. The music, while people would say it's a derivative of classic soul that has been done better, is good but in a live setting it can be electric. It's the kind of music you really should experience live because the set up is so tried and true (which is part of why I love punk so much as well). Again, the fullness of the band shines and it's just so sweaty and not pristine and just pops so well. It's an old formula that still works beautifully no matter how much acts have evolved.

Reed's smiling, crooning, and screaming push the pace and makes the music something to root for. He's kind of like the young, boy-ish looking kid who could belt out tunes with his band on the corner on a hot summer day and would draw a crowd. That's the kind of heartfelt nature that you see on stage.

It's interesting that there is such strict devotion to his source music and influences, and there's a very pure feeling in the music even if it doesn't reach the top of the mountain with every tune. When they were on fire though and getting into call-and-response and shaking everything down, it was really a joy to watch and re-affirms that it's all about the live aspect to music, the sound coming from everywhere, the visual sweat, and little nuances that won't necessarily be found in a recording. I actually wouldn't have minded seeing a couple more covers to connect the audience even more and bridging the musical generations. However, I do understand that it's not about a revival, but about moving forward with a particular genre and making it new.

If you're interested Eli Paperboy Reed & The True Loves will be at The Bell House in Gowanus later this month on Saturday June 19.

Anywho, you can find his MySpace page filled with bio information and also a music video for "Come and Get It" from his new album of the same name which comes out in the US August 10 (already out in the UK, you know, where they understood soul probably as well as we did).

COME AND GET IT (Official Music Video)

Eli Paperboy Reed & The True Loves | MySpace Music Videos

Homeless + Movies On Laptop at Joralemon and Court

Walking home from PJ Hanley's on Court we passed by a homeless man with a shopping cart. In this shopping cart were blankets and other personal items, and the man was having a meal while watching a movie on a laptop. It was very interesting and I hope that he's able to upkeep the machine as he goes about his way. Makes you think, some people go through things like computers and TVs like it's whatever but the functional purpose in this context is much more.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Aeropostale - Fulton Mall Is Gettin' Down With The Whiteness

A place for my cargo shorts eh? Have the seeds been planted? Aeropostale was a third rate Hollister growing up, and Hollister is kind of what I hate about tame hang loose fashion for the suburban set. I say leave it all for the South Street Seaport crowd but they've decided to set up shop soon on Fulton and Elm. Brownstoner has the scoop and the photo to prove this most vanilla of neighbors.

I'm not sure what kind of presence it will have; because it's an obvious Old Navy like Abercrombie with all the shitty logos all over the place, could it go urban? I doubt it. Will that matter 5 years from now? Maybe not, because this plus H&M (which I do like to an extent) means we're getting a little more WASPy. I mean, look at the Aeropostale site. Perpetual state of backyard grassy knoll goodness. No grass in the Fulton Mall, and I'm assuming no coke either. I mean, what makes the Fulton Mall great is that some of the stores that you don't find in the usual suburb crapfest exist there and the particular apparel and products you can purchase. That and the fact that the mall is endlessly entertaining with religious yelling, stores that sell jewelry AND DVDs AND 6 pairs of sneakers.

I'm thinkin' late summer for a pedestrian opening and about as lame as this next song:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Our Ecstatic Neighbors at Toren Are So Ecstatic, Like, Totally

Curbed has a little ditty about a Toren microsite that has some truly useless video footage that would probably make me not consider the pristine, Transformers-looking building after a while just based on the level of obnoxiousness in some of the segments.

Not quite as inconvenient as the Oro, and now with a schmancy new grocery store coming soon which for all intensive purposes could bring more rats to an area already plagued by the construction on Willoughby, it's on the east side of Flatbush a couple blocks away from me and I've been hearing about it for years now. It's that big ass mirror coming out of the north side of Dekalb QBMR station.

Anywho, back to this microsite that someone thought was clever marketing but just not executed quite so well. The Curbed article points out the probable highlight, this woman Val who obviously isn't ready to see the bigger picture, and has a reader who suggests a drinking game out of it. Now after a while it would get stale, but if you need a quick reason (and plenty of shots) to pre-game before you go out to Perks or Kevin Barry's to get your groove on (or just stumble around Flatbush) it could be worth it.

My other favorite is "The Gym Equipment". There's nice equipment, but the video was taken pretty poorly, and if you're marketing this from a layman's perspective, the last thing I want is some woman not in workout clothes not knowing how to use the machines. Although anyone would probably balk at the weird looking cable stations.

Sure, it looks like a nice building. Just don't have cast offs from MTV's Made as your building reps.

Greenwood Heights - Underrated Brooklyn

I'm a pretty big fan of toiling around Greenwood Heights if nothing for the fact that it's the limbo between two more established neighborhoods (Park Slope/South Slope and Sunset Park) and if you have Time Warner you can visit their lovely Brooklyn office.

Besides having a couple of gems in Toby's and Living Room Lounge and some interesting blocks with fun real estate, there's the most prominent portion, Green-wood Cemetery. Check out Brownstoner's wonderful recap and several photo opportunities for you to peruse and picture yourself on a wonderful summer afternoon. A little piece of history learned makes summer that much more memorable because it adds to what is already a perfect little afternoon by building another story, another dimension to your little journey through an area that is still mostly untouched by new stuff.

I highly suggest if you're looking for something to do during the weekend you swing by sunset park and zig zag through several blocks of Greenwood Heights. For more info and tours, go to Particularly do anything Greenwood Heights related to the following tune: