zoo in central park

• Went to the Central Park Zoo with Ginny and Nadya – it was a lot bigger and better than I was expecting. They had an aviary, seals, polar bears, penguins, bats, red pandas…

• Also caught some of the “Read in the Park” in Bryant Park – over 150 authors came to read selections from their books, have signing sessions, and hold Q&A discussions. The Polish Parade going through midtown was winding down at the same time the Read was winding down, around 5:30-6ish.

matthew and andrew go to white castle

• The long anticipated sequel to your favorite recent teen movie is now out: Matthew and Andrew go to White Castle! And, it’s true: the burgers are small, it is still normal fast food… and yet, it was still magical somehow. Kind of like London-style – those jokers still speak English, but it’s kinda odd, unlike other fast food places (and maybe the whole castle theming is playing into that), but its as if you just discovered Wendy’s yesterday or something.

• Happy birthday, Tashia! Hold it down in ATL.

hasn’t changed since 1983

• Astoria’s own Noguchi Museum proved to be one of those zen garden places with essentially a bunch of slightly carved rocks (mounted at weird angles) on display. Oh well – I should have figured that the name sounded Japanese.

• Roosevelt Island kinda has weird vibes: this place where you get that feeling that everyone is looking at you, thinking: “what the f*ck is he doing waving a camera around,” and you’re sitting there thinking: “what the f*ck are people doing living on this island that has small grocery stores that haven’t changed since 1983?”

axe about me

• The turnout at the opening for the AIGA: NY 50 Books / 50 Covers seemed pretty large. It was definitely packed in their space, and they ran out of wine fairly quickly. Some interesting Russian children’s books from the 1920s-1940s were included as a side exhibit.

• While heading over to Chat ‘n Chew near Union Square, they were filming a movie on the sidewalk, not allowing people to walk in certain areas. It was the same place that Matt saw Heather Graham a day or two earlier – according to IMDB, she’s in production or post-production with at least two projects…

introduction to the cemetery district

• Price of unleaded, regular gasoline in Queens: $2.99

How much the price of gas affects me: $none

• Ate at a really great authentic Greek place over near the Ditmars Station here in Astoria. Luckily they had some English translations on the menu – its tough to master the Greek alphabet in less than two weeks. Pretty good place – open windows out onto the street. I had Lamb Souvlaki in a pita – and they give you some interesting dessert thing with all meals, it seems – kinda this “spice cake means the consistency of grits” stuff, that is in small triangles, similar in size to baklava.

• There’s this industrial section of Queens down near the border with Brooklyn (where the Queens UPS hub is located, just south of that kinda Indian area), where trucks passing each other honk their horns in odd patterns, kinda like morse code. Kinda weird. [PS: thanks to the SportsEndeavors crew for sending those catalogs!]

indie rock in brooklyn

• Checked out the Brooklyn Responds show down near Prospect Park at a venue called Southpaw in Brooklyn with Laura – good times: some bands that stuck out “Harlem Shakes” (with a track called “Sickos”), and “They Might be Giants.” I didn’t heard “Istanbul” by them, but they did play some other good stuff. The host guy was kinda tearin’ it up between sets with an effects machine – where he’d beatbox into the mic, record it, then have it loop, while he sung/rapped over it, and incorporated other sounds… it was pretty funny stuff as well.

• Food-related comment of the day: I highly recommend “The Original Yonah Schimmel Knishery” over on East Houston (137 E. Houston, between 1st and 2nd Avenues, to be exact). It was recommended to me by a former coworker (thanks, Dennis), and it’s the first authentic Jewish restaurant I’ve been to. I didn’t even know what a knish was, but they are pretty decent (and super cheap). I understand they’ve been serving up kosher food since 1910 or so…

• Keep on keepin’ on.

you’ve got some pretty lips, boy

• Met some fellow designers during the AIGA trip over to Coney Island – a girl who lives in Jersey, a guy that just moved from Ohio, an AIGA: NY staff member, and one of the AIGA: NY board members. We met one of the people associated with the hand-painted sign revitalization projects going on down there, over the past few years – saw many of the signs, as well as viewed the ridiculously detailed mural by the subway station, which was created by a group of South American street artists.

• At a bar (called Ruby’s) on the boardwalk out that way, a bunch of white bikers with tons of tattoos were getting pretty belligerant. They were shoving each other (this is broad daylight, 4PM or so), and picking up barstools. The bartenders yelled at them a few times, but it didn’t seem to stop them much. At one point, one chased another out onto the boardwalk in a heated confrontation, but surprisingly, an actual punch wasn’t thrown. I found out from one of them that he had just gotten married earlier in the day, and they were celebrating. I don’t think I’ve been in a bar that questionable before.

• True, the Coney Island freak show isn’t what it was in the Roaring Twenties, but it does still exist. And now, I can say I’ve seen it. People standing on nails and swords, extremely tattooed people, snake handlers, people with electrical powers, sword swallowers…