Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ghettofab sushi arrives fresh off the boat on Fulton Street

I'll be eating from this gem sometime soon folks. Conveniently located around the B,Q,R,2,3,4,5 trains at either Dekalb or Nevins, something called the Metro King is opening it's doors and greeting customers with some sushi and an Asian salad bar which I'm sure means "mandarin" oranges and "crispy noodles" and thick accents.

This place reminds me of this sushi/chinese lunch buffet joint on the other Fulton Street in Manhattan that I used to frequent when I was at NYU living in the money district. Metro King looks like it's going to be straight money.

Anywho, the below picture says it all, from the Downtown Brooklyn Facebook fan page which you'll want to frequent:

Metro King Sushi and Asian Salad Bar opens on Fulton Street

Located at 538 Fulton Street, Metro King offerssushi and an excellent Asian Salad Bar.Bring your Value Cardand get10% off an order of $10.00 or more.

Visit theirother location in Downtown Brooklyn called Metro Food Court at 14-16 Nevins Street.

Please welcome theirnewest locationin Downtown Brooklyn!

It's an NYU World, We Just Live In It

According to The NY Times, NYU (of which the KCB is a graduate of the Tisch School of the Arts, where people have a lot of "tischues" ok that wasn't that lame) is probably going to get renamed New York City because it's about to take over everything.

When I was at NYU, there was already a big backlash against the school from the community in Greenwich Village, let alone adjunct professors, security guards, and most of the real local bars in the area. Over the next 20 years the projection of increased size by 40% is pretty huge; violet was never my FAVORITE color, and I still have deep rooted hatred for the NYU American Studies department (but that is a whole 'nother story which I may one day try to explain).

What I don't understand is the whole Governor's Island thing; it was kind of a pain (for a spoiled student at least) to get from the Financial District up to campus, why would anyone want to either live or schlep to class on secluded island? I guess if they make it the utopia the renderings make it look out to be, you could make a case for it. But then you know some science experiment is gonna go wrong and it's Nelson DeMille's Plum Island all over again. I really enjoy that novel for some reason.

Anywho, DoBro (yah brah) is about to get a facelift and NYU just has to be in on it. Merging with Polytech is one thing, but if they plan to expand and turn Jay Street into something like Commonwealth is in Boston, well whoop dee doo we got ourselves a ripe, real college campus smack next to the Fulton Mall.

The article also states that John Sexton, the butt of most in-jokes at the university was taking calls from a satellite campus in Qatar. WTF? When was it that colleges were in one place anymore? We're not DeVry, we're called New York University.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bar Spotlight - Moonshine

317 Columbia Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Any time I'm heading out to Strong Island with my girlfriend, it seems that as we pass the entrance ramp to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel I always out of the corner of my eye see this mysterious bar (actually 2) situated neatly on Columbia next to a business called Futronics and a guitar shop.

I still haven't been to the other bar on the corner, and nothing against that but I just haven't gotten past the greatness that is Moonshine. With the neon sign towering above (well not really towering), every time we passed by in the car my need to go there consumed me until we just had to go.

The first time I went, there were 5 people at the bar and nobody else. You may think that's dead, but hey it's a Sunday evening and well, everyone was in good spirits. You can get a bucket of 4 PBRs for 7 bucks and lounge around with the digital jukebox or the old cigarette vending machine. This is the kind of bar that can't really do any wrong, and you won't find such a great combination often. It's a relaxing time, and you know you're in for a regular night when you see 3 of the same people in the bar each time you go, not including the bartender.

What I really wanted to give up was the pop culture trivia night (there's one on Wednesday) appropriately titled, Smartass: Brooklyn where you'll drink yourself silly and make about 6 new friends along the way. Live music lives here occasionally as well, sometimes bringing in an older crowd that's wise to the young shennanigans I pull.

Photo below from Village Voice:
You can actually take that bulldog in the window out for a walk, but the statue bulldog on the left is actually from The Empire Strikes Back, unfortunately his scene was left on the cutting room floor.

Again, it's one of those bars where you hear The Weight by The Band, and you're like, this is home, this is how local is done.

Speaking of the recent Village Voice article on 10 best bars in Brooklyn, Moonshine is fine as a runner up, but some of the stuff on the list is debatable; Irish Haven is a true one of a kind while stuff like Brooklyn Social (I think it's overrated) and Spuyten is sort of a cliched number one pick.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Brooklyn Eagle to 370 Jay Street: You Ugly

Photo courtesy of Brownstoner.

Some numbers are indeed crunched in the Eagle's report on 370 Jay Street as a not so heralded point of conversation and central hub above the Jay St. - Borough Hall stop. I guess it's vacated but nobody has done anything with it and the article focuses on since the rest of downtown is trying to get in step (although you really won't notice for a while still, example Willoughby and Duffield), this MTA building should do something with it's life. It's like the one friend who doesn't get his act together.

The Eagle reports several opinions that are positive on how to turn around the building and the space would be ideal for firms and agencies that are heavy in DUMBO currently but could stand to go one stop further and check it out.

It all goes toward the MTA who has the dibs on this structure and who as we all know needs some funds. The F train wasn't even running this past Saturday evening. Lamesauce.

In a larger sense, what is downtown really going to look like? What is it moving toward? Geo-wise, it's like a sandwiched neighborhood (if you call it that) having access to all trains without really having a core space. Would it become the next DUMBO as buildings like 370 Jay are bred into a higher scale of business and use? Do I really like DUMBO? Sure, with the exception that it really doesn't have a busy, working sense; I still want my neighborhood to have bodegas and stuff. On top of that, with BAM buying out space in the Forte condos and the Atlantic Yards project finally kicking off, just what exactly is this going to turn into?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tour - Bringing Back Fantasies of TMNT II

The KCB mustered up a Sunday afternoon to take the Atlantic Avenue tunnel tour. A couple of awesome things beforehand though; first, I went to the Willoughby 99 cents store and 4 AA batteries and two flashlights cost $3.23, which I thought was pretty good.

As I lined up outside of the confusion that is Trader Joe's, the line got really long. Two things about this tour that could prove inconvenient; if you're the last one down or up from the manhole, it's a long wait. A very long wait. Not that being down in the tunnel is more visually stimulating.

Once you're down there, you're greeted by a portly fellow by the name of Bob Diamond who is jovial, kindly asks you to watch your step, and whatnot. You figure out that the man is THE man who re-found this place. Everyone gathers in the dark with flashlights whizzing around the ceiling. By this point you're already an hour into the wait.

For many, this story could get tiresome. But for me, Bob Diamond gave a wonderful, sprawling monologue that lasted 3 stops along the tunnel and went from the construction of the subway tunnel through the ramifications in history of it to his personal story. He's told it so many times, and tells the story with humor and an assurance. It's like his calling, a unique historical artifact that he alone has such a great knowledge about.

What's even more awesome is there's stuff yet to be discovered; Bob is trying to unearth, literally, a legend: that there is a full size train behind the end of the tunnel (east end) and possibly more important things within that train.

If you have bad knees, ankles, or feet, this tour might not be for you; the ground is hard and the cold humidity makes spending an hour and a half in dampness feel a bit much. I was drawn to the story though; there's not much to see otherwise; it's really the feeling of standing in the tunnel. It's kind of like the part in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze where the turtles find a hidden subway station with several train cars and furnishings and whatnot. There's no furnishings here, but Bob's voice will carry you through a unique piece of Brooklyn history, and you'll be glad you went.

Who doesn't like going down a manhole anyway? The tour is 15 dollars cash. Make reservations (groups are large but they only take a certain number when they do the tour) and come early so you can get in and out quick.

Ninja, ninja, RAP ninja, ninja, RAP:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Titus Andronicus and Parts and Labor at Bowery Ballroom 3.6.10: A Tale of Awesome Drumming

How fucking awesome was this show? Too bad for you, resident film critic Chris Cabin, but you missed greatness.

Billed as a CD release party but since that term sounds like a 7th grade circle jerk, we'll just call it an awesome concert with two awesome bands (sorry first openers, didn't get to check it, I was running through Lost on the Roku (parentheses within parentheses: Roku is the greatest thing ever) because I'm a noob and I need to catch up before the series finale) which made for an awesome time.

Parts and Labor and then Titus Andronicus were so good as a one-two punch, my whiskey soda actually tasted better during their sets.

Parts and Labor is a band that fuses what is be weighty and excellent electronic melodies and modern punk rock into sonic crunches; each song is propelled by some very, very heavy drumming. I don't think I've heard a rock drummer able to get a bigger, rumbling sound out of their set in a long time. Of course, Bowery has great sound but this was insane, the guy was a machine. Tom toms can be powerful pieces to the overall feel of the music and this band had it so right, moving with an unwavering speed that was perfect for shuffling your feet. The one problem was the vocals were a bit on the quiet end for the bass player. The keyboard and almost pushy use of non-guitar sounds was invigorating; you weren't watching a chi chi indie band, but a band that believes in their sound and looks comfortable. The music is pretty simple when you strip it down, but the melodies are very strong and they are able to dress up the songs with a lot of power. They just feel contemporary and it's really interesting to listen to them.

Great sound continued when Titus took the stage; the drums sounded like you were listening to a studio cut. In my review of their new album The Monitor (which officially releases tomorrow), I praised just about everything. Their concert left me with an even better appreciation for their epic songs; it's just really awesome to hear live. During "Four Score and Seven":

"When they see the kind of person you really are,
You won't be laughing so hard, no
you won't be laughing so hard, no
you won't be laughing, you won't be LAUGHING, no
you won't be laughing so haaaaaaaaaaard..."

and then the lead singer shouting, "I WAS BORN TO DIE JUST LIKE A MAN"...

...was cathartic; it was just so damn righteous.

Should I say something like, "Titus Andronicus is like an American version of The Pogues"? I mean I could, but then I guess the Dropkick Murphys would get jealous...

I don't know. I mean after seeing this band, they seem like they have a lot going for them and under all the yelling the music is very accessible and appealing. When I think about stuff going on in rock music I know there are plenty of fresh bands out there, but when you get down to it, there's only so much room on your iPod (or whatever you use). So you think, well goddamn, we need a big band(s) whose music can be a shining example of how to really rock. I'm always looking for that even though I never can keep up with the latest bands or anything. I've found it in Titus Andronicus.

I should also really start a "this is me typing as I'm dozing off to sleep" entries. I woke up and I was like what the hell was I writing.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Time Out New York Issue Does One Thing Right, One Thing Lackluster

The recent Time Out New York issue with the "best movie theaters in the city" feature gets one thing right and one thing wrong.

Let's start with the right: at least listing Funayama in the print edition and also honoring it in the online feature for "best all you can eat deals". Funayama has been my favorite sushi place for about 7 years now; you won't be able to convince me otherwise that it's the best combo of price and quality. Chinese run but undeniably fresh fish, coupled with the huge portions (bigger isn't necessarily better, but in this case, go for it) makes for a great time. Their menu is cheap and their spicy mayo has yet to be matched. In fact, since many of the sushi restaurants are Chinese or Korean run in the city, it's time the good ones get their due. Funayama infiltrates my dreams.

I just hope that it doesn't get too crowded and trendy; Frank and the gang there I think would rather keep it simple. For the Time Out feature, go here, and for the official site, go here.

Speaking of sushi though, I can't always make it to Funayama. For my best bet, and there are plenty of options in my area of downtown Brooklyn; if you're new to the area I would suggest Kyoto and the two places on Montague; there's also a cheap option in Iro Sushi, a fairly new joint on a bare block on Columbia; it's the kind of place you have to root for as a small business even though it's not the best (but certainly for the price serviceable).

Here's what the Time Out issue doesn't explore in-depth enough: the movie theater feature. They profile a handful, several of them multiple times, and mention only one or two out of the way gems (best for Bollywood and they list a multiplex just because there's Indian food in the area?). They go through some fringe series (which is fine, but there are more) and an ok where-to-get-dinner-before-or-after-movie kind of section. A part of movie theater experiences is the convenience of location, especially for many non-drivers in the city. I agree that the Court Street UA 12 theater is rowdy (which can be hilarious or annoying, depending on the film) but I'm not sure if it's really the best comparison to a grindhouse experience.

I just think they left some out, and that's really the only bone to pick I have with it. What about the Pavilion theater by Prospect Park? What about the big Astoria UA Kaufman theater? Cobble Hill's hilarious intro theme? Fringe theaters and societies like the Kings County Cinema Society? Come on Time Out.

Since Time Out doesn't seem to know it's theaters enough to really dig deep, the KCB takes some time with T.I.:

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Hipster Mom Rikey Ska? Awwwwwriiiiiight

Now I'm not saying The Hipster Mom likes ska. Who does besides me and 7 people in Williamsburg? But she enlightened me on an amazing old Yo Gabba Gabba vid that includes some good ole' moonstompin'.

Today's entry in The Hipster Mom's first Show Off Show down is a friend of my girlfriend's and I figured I'd throw in a little extra love right here on the KCB. Ladies and gents, commence bla ba dee wacka heart melting:

One day she's going to realize giraffes are much bigger and totally unattainable as a pet. Not smiling anymore, ha!

It's well known that with this little one and my Banana In The Tailpipe colleague's baby Wally, Bensonhurst is really the way to go with kids. By well known I mean 100 out of 100 Bensonhurst newborns are due for greatness a la Saturday Night Fever. The good version. The rated R version.