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Showing posts with the label Brooklyn

Brooklyn Pizza Odyssey

Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story of that man skilled in all ways of devouring pizza. Toppings or none, any pie spread before him, soon to be done.


The journey begins across the Brooklyn Bridge with the steely eye of John Augustus Roebling cast upon ye merry band of travelers as ancient souls swim among the caissons still searching for the allusive bedrock never found.


Under the bridge downtown lies Grimaldi's whose line stretches out like the famous suspension bridge and whose savory mozzarella and thin crust beckons like the sirens' song along the block where the beautiful Cameron Diaz once traipsed with the solemnity of Penelope herself. You sit and order a pie hot out of the coal brick oven and you're filled with a sense of promise and good cheer.


From there, the wind blows out to Midwood and Di Fara, where another crowd gathers as the old man painstakingly puts together his pies grabbing basil from a pot on the windowsill and drenching his masterpiece in…

I Hate Valentine's Day Films in Brooklyn

For two weeks this summer our neighborhood was transformed into a movie set once again as Nia Vardalos and John Corbett of My Big Fat Greek Wedding were seen daily on Prospect Park West shooting scenes for their upcoming movie, I Hate Valentine's Day.

Production began at Terrace Bagels, a neighborhood standby that stayed open to the public so that I was able to get my morning coffee with the minor inconvenience of having to step over a power cord. The next day, however, after picking up my dry cleaning, I nearly tripped over a boom when Nia came storming down the sidewalk shouting reasons why she hated Valentine's when I realized the bum I had taken for granted on my way in was actually an actor.

Up close, Nia was thin and reaping the benefit of her professional hair and make-up and I wondered how I might look if a team tended to my appearance with such care, surely better than the usual cross between Charlie Brown and Bob Dylan, who, as it happens, will be performing at Prosp…

Brooklyn’s Best Burger, Maybe New York City’s Best Burger, Can Be Found at The Dram Shop Bar

As May is indeed the month of the hamburger, it’s the time of year when a man must ask himself, where do I go for the best burger in town? To me, the Burger Joint in Le Parker Meriden and Corner Bistro in the West Village spring to mind, then off course there’s the surf shop Island Burger in Hell’s Kitchen.

I dare not argue or presuppose what ingredients are required to make the best burger, rather I rely on one simple rule: If it tastes good, it usually is. And the tastiest I’ve had in a while was at The Dram Shop Bar in Park Slope, Brooklyn, located on 9th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.

The bar is elegant and high-minded with a pool table located in back, a shuffleboard on the side, TVs and lights fixed appropriately, so they’re easily found, but not in your way and music that is familiar and new and in a word, cool.

The Dram Shop Bar has a selection of good, not obvious, beers on tap with fine whiskeys and vodkas decorating a bar, whose mirror the mighty Jack Nicholson could p…

Miles From Wicklow

Damp spirits from damp weather, then sunshine appears like the shamrock at St. Patrick's feet. Sad pipers at funeral procession for fallen brothers march down Fifth Avenue's invisible green line, sure-footed like the Fightin' 69th. Somber mood venerated by Nancy O'Dell's propagation of our proud species.

In Brooklyn, blond hair like gold at the bottom of a prospector's pan shines upon a milky wool sweater beside red hair battling a green scarf for supremacy in the glare of almighty Farrell's. My Ireland wells up ... writers, fighters, igniters of warmth beneath the threatening clouds.

Bills and cigar reviews take precedence, put off from exhausting travel through the Tuscon desert to the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame where The Clash speak to me as do the broad shoulders of Jimi Hendrix and the sublime philosophy of Roger Waters.

Years past spent on parade route and Emerald Society pier party, but this year brings a slow start til U2 rattles and hums the r…

Sushi Cooked in Brooklyn Blaze

Sushi Yama in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn caught fire this frost bit February morning.

It happened around 2 a.m., sirens, one after the other, blared down Prospect Park West to the block between where Al Pacino screamed "Attica!" in Dog Day Afternoon and Jack Nicholson took Helen Hunt for rolls in As Good As It Gets.

The hot flames seemed inviting to those gathered outside in the frigid air as NYC's Bravest contained them as quickly as a Mario Batali flambe. But the choking smoke was a harsh rebuke as it filled the street seeping into one's clothes like an offensive department store spray.







At least five engine and ladder companies responded to the alarm with a swarm of EMTs in tow. The street shined like Times Square with search beams and flashing lights ricocheting off the buildings in the cold, dark night. A start contrast to this afternoon, where the broken glass and ashes were all that was left of the proprietor's hopes and dreams.





As far as I know, no one was …

Open Mic

After not playing out for nearly a decade, I decided to go down to the open mic at Bar Four last night.

I have many romantic memories of this dimly lit lounge in Park Slope, only a few blocks from where I live. Among them is winding up there at the end of a neighborhood pub crawl, knowing it would stay open past four a.m. in spite of its moniker.

While the ambiance is still in tact, the addition of the stage has not only changed its landscape, it has heightened its vibe. One might say it feels like Williamsburg in the South Slope, but without an air of pretension, which is why I thought I'd give it a shot.

The place was crawling with talented musicians and I wondered if I was in over my head. I already made the mistake of eating a burrito beforehand and although it was tasty, it made me gassy, which is never a smart move prior to having microphones pointed at you. Of course ordering a beer to calm my nerves didn't help.

One of the musicians who played before me ripped off some…

Bugs Bug Me

Bugs, bugs everywhere! They have descended on the city like a tempest, a jihad against exposed flesh. Where are the seagulls? These lazy pigeons ain't doing shit.

These pests are spawning faster than gremlins in a bathtub, even at the office where I work. It's unsettling when they land on the computer screen as nonchalantly as they did the black and white TV I watched growing up. They're in the bathrooms, the hallways, and the elevators. I got bit on the back of the thigh and on the Achilles tendon this morning. Vicious thugs -- it's hard to scratch the Achilles.

One would expect bugs to be in the park, but the other day this one landed on my shoulder and it was as big as a squirrel. I can't believe the darn thing didn't think I'd notice it, but I did and then I freaked out in front of these kids who were on a nearby nature expedition.

Is Hitchcock having fun with us? Is this some new-fangled terrorist plot? Where did all these bugs come from? Canada? How …

The Strokes

The Commute

I was standing center aisle on the subway, one hand on the pole, the other propping up my book, when this guy started yelling at the woman sitting next to him.

"Bitch, you better shut the fuck up; you don't know me; I'm sitting here, reading my book, I'll fucking hurt you; you don't understand, I'll fucking hurt you; I don't care if you're a woman; you gonna talk shit and you don't even know me."

I looked up from my book and the guy was flashing a mouthful of gold teeth in this girl's face. There was another lady to his left, who had a concealed dog in her purse that started barking.

"Ah, shit, now I'm making the dog cry; you don't know what kind of serious shit I'm capable of; you don't know who I am, let's keep it that way."

We pull into Jay Street where I cross the platform and make my connection. A mariachi was picking the guitar all precise and singing with his gal. When they were done, he wen…

Nude

Acid flashback to Buffalo, I'm partying with hipsters, noticing nude photos strung out on the way to the bathroom down the hall. Meredith the photographer catches me staring at one, a side-view of a model holding a bicycle tire like an aureole around her naked torso, conjuring the image of a hula-hoop. I tell her about my fascination with tires and she presents it to me as a gift.


Eight years later in Brooklyn, I find the image in a forgotten stack and put it on the wall. I ask my girlfriend if she wants to see it, but she's distracted by the TV. Later in bed, I can feel the weight of her frustration. She doesn't like the portrait. I defend its artistic merit, but she doesn't want to hear it.

The next day, I'm in the locker room at the gym and there's a fat old naked man sitting on a bench like a centurion at a Roman bath. There are other white-haired, decrepit things prancing around the locker room without towels. I never see them in the gym lifting weights or…