Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lennon on the Moog

I just love this shot of John Lennon playing the Moog at Abbey Road. It dates back to 1969 and that's the back of George Harrison's head to the right. Notice the burning ciggie in between his fingers.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Goodbye to ol' rusty red

My bike got stolen last week.

I couldn't believe it. I was worried about it because I never leave it out over night. But I can be a bit neurotic sometimes so I thought I was concerned over nothing. But then I approached the spot where I left it and saw nothing. No sign of my bike. Not even the broken lock on the ground. They took everything.

Our story began on Long Island, 1988. I wanted a light-weight 10-speed, because that's what everyone else had. But my mom had read recently that the future was in mountain bikes. And my parents were the ones paying for it. Luckily, these were the early days of mountain bikes, and they were still relatively light weight with thin frames and raised handle-bars. The brand? Panasonic. This was something I was at first embarrassed about, since Panasonic was a Japanese electronics company.....what did they know about bikes? But eventually I became proud of this unique instrument. It had 15 gears (of which I used about 3) and I switched the thick, treaded tires with the smoother road models. I used it all through middle school and high school to get to friends houses and explore the wooded areas of the north shore.

I eventually brought my bike to college with me and used it to get around campus and town. I remember my first roommate, a self-proclaimed redneck from Virginia named, no joke, Vern, borrowed it without asking while there was no air in the tires. The rims were bent and I had to replace them.

There was one time when I was riding up a steep hill and came upon a small crowd on my path; two girls and an old man hobbling up the same hill as me. I tried to circumvent the pedestrians by veering off the path on to the grass but lost my traction and crashed right into the old-timer! Oh the horror! The poor old man was knocked to the ground and the girls just stared at me in disbelief. Probably the most embarrassing cycling moment of my life. I gave up the bike for a few years when I got a car. The bike was red, the car was white. I zipped around my neighborhoods in my manual, running on unleaded, not looking back.

By the time I moved to nyc the bike once again made sense. From the east village, to brooklyn, to north and south, hudson to east river, I pedaled around on my trusty, rusty red Panasonic. I even wrote a song called Bicycle Girls and used my bike for sound effects. Recently, I started to ride to work on occasion and added a rack to the back wheel to carry my stuff. It felt great to wake up early and commute from brooklyn, across the bridge, through downtown, up the hudson bike the time I arrived at the office I already felt like a had a full and satisfying day.

After 22 years, ol' rusty red is gone. But not forgotten. I've heard getting your bike stolen in nyc is a rite-of-passage. I guess it's true. And now I know how it feels. When I first discovered the empty sidewalk where my bike had been I just sat there and stared off into space for about 5 minutes. But I'm not the type to sit around. I reported it to the local precinct and the next day shopped around and found a replacement. A beautiful blue vintage recycled bike single speed with brand new components built by Brooklyn Bike and Board. It's a new age.

And my cycling days continue...

Colt 45 / 45

One of my favorite drinks in the college days was the Colt 45 /45. Most malt liquor drinks come in 40oz bottles, but not the get an extra 5 ounces just to have a better ring to the name! On Sunday nights my friend Eric and I would pick up a couple 45's each and watch the Night Rider marathons on TV. I could almost finish two!!! Phew.

I think it cost about $2.00 and fit perfectly in a little brown bag. A good, cheap buzz. My youthful stomach could handle it just fine. Malt liquor is beer, but with a higher alcohol content and made with malted barley. It also mixes in more inexpensive supplements like corn, rice and sugar. Not the healthiest drink, admittedly.

And of course it had the coolest commercials featuring the smooth operator, Billy Dee Williams.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Brooklyn Rooftops

One of the things I love most about Brooklyn is hanging out on her rooftops. What a perfectly appropriate thing to do in the summer, don't you think? The views are spectacular...even if they're not, it's always good to get a different perspective on things. And whether you're 20 feet up or 50 feet up you get a better idea of what it'd be like if you were much, much taller. There's also a sense of danger and defiance. It's usually somewhere you don't really belong, but the landlord turns the other way and gives you free reign.

There are so many interesting roofs to explore too. Just down the street from me is Rooftop Farms...a whole farm, with veggies and chickens! I've volunteered there a few times just because it was a fun thing to do on a Sunday morning.
Rooftop parties are guaranteed to be a good time. The party could be lame in any other circumstance, but put it on a roof and BAM! fun times for all. A popular Brooklyn tradition was the 4th of July rooftop parties....from which we would gaze up at the exploding skies in awe and wonder. However, these have since stopped happening as now they take place in New Jersey and us tax-payers on the other side of Manhattan I guess can just go to hell. Or get drunk in the basement.

Here are some pics of recent rooftop events I have attended in Brooklyn....
This was a party hosted by a young German woman I just met the week before at Union Pool. She was so outgoing and friendly she invited me and a few friends over to her and her boyfriend's roof in the Navy Yard. I love the Navy Yard area....all industrial and mysterious. The party was small but the company was good and the roof was spectacular.

The next party was an art event hosted by the Humble Arts Foundation that one of my friends participated in. It was called Manual Transmission which involved the collaboration of 10 artists using 35mm film to project slides, played in tandem with the others on a series of screens, manually operated. Music was playing and the weather was perfect.

I hope to get another few rooftops in before the end of the summer. The one on top of my building is pretty special too, just a block from the East River with amazing Manhattan views.