cold winter

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It’s been a cold one.

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I’ve likely mentioned it before, but this is my favorite alley in Philly. I recently saw some construction happening on the south end though, which is a little disconcerting — the wilderness feel of the block might evaporate one day.

031614_06For some reason, this felt akin to “FREE CANDY” on the side of a 70s van with no windows?

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Whenever I pass this old bar in Olde Kensington, I feel like it would be the perfect location to fight out the zombie apocalypse. Excessive bars over the tiny windows on the ground floor, and plywood over the second floor windows — it looks like it’s already survived one war at some point.

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inmates running the prison

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The intersection of Atlantic and Third Avenues in Brooklyn. Snow’s hit the Eastern Corridor a few times in the past few weeks, though it’s always business as usual.

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Parking lot near the Gowanus Canal.

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Marta (on the right) and friends take a moment to play cards in the basement space of China One in the East Village. As a kick-off to fashion week, there was a secret party in the cavernous labyrinth downstairs (and yes, one would think that caverns and labyrinths are somewhat mutually exclusive, but the space managed to feel like both).  The music for the evening was quite an impressive mix of old Indonesian, Cambodian and other Asian pop, possibly from the 1960s, similar to Thailand’s Shadow Music I may have mentioned before.  The promoters were kind enough to post the entire playlist here. Absolutely worth the time the ~273MB download takes, top notch.

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The snow back in Greenwood Heights. Jenn poses next to our late-night, 5-foot creation.  In Brooklyn fashion, the snowman had been decapitated by the next day.

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If you’re considering moving to Brooklyn, or are already here but are looking for a different apartment, I highly recommend living within walking distance of the great Prospect Park. Snow & ice has a transformative quality on landscapes in general, but especially so in this park. Jenn and I traversed a good amount of the land on Valentine’s Day, this past Sunday, and saw improved snowboarding slopes cutting between trees in secluded areas and many small ice castles & partial igloos. Trails felt so quiet and remote it certainly was another one of those moments where you find yourself thinking “there’s no way I’m in New York right now.”

While it seems to be the norm for New Yorkers to seek out and crave those fleeting moments of city disguise, I’m reminded of similar thoughts I’ve had in different towns.  One example: in the small town of Bridgewater, Virginia, there’s a modest residential area of homes lining some of the smaller hills/mountains that lead up to the Dry River, and overlook the ancient Bridgewater Parade Grounds. My brother and I used to spend weeks in the area during the summer when we were back in elementary school, wandering around, finding small caves, building dams in creeks, among other things.  But back to the point: there was one street, I’m not positive of the name; it was en-route from our grandparent’s house near the peak of the hill (and surrounded by large evergreens), and Wildwood Park. The street lead off to the right (what seemed like north) as we headed (via bike or walking) to the park, and it climbed upwards and to the left (which would be northwest), and was flanked by a handful of homes possibly built between 1950 and 1975. For some reason I always had a feeling of being in Denmark.  I still have not have the opportunity to visit Denmark, and I imagine I knew even less about the country at that point in life, and yet: I was positive I was experiencing the spirit of Denmark, a temporary vision, if nothing else. The visual/mental association remains, sometimes surfacing in dreams (albeit, not in the past few years), though I can’t find an explanation.

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The walls have eyes in the Atlantic-Pacific subway station, in downtown Brooklyn.

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Miss Pacman in Metropolitan, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. When Brad visits from Seattle, Jenn, and I always find ourselves at Fette Sau and Metropolitan, inevitably. Always good times.

dinner party season

Winter hit last week in South Slope, or SoSlo.  I’m always drawn to burning oil drums, especially in snow.

My siblings were kind enough to fly into town for some holiday cheer.  Clay, from Atlanta, via Charlotte, NC, and Hillary from Bangkok via Hong Kong.


Inside the Brooklyn Museum. I hadn’t seen a large portion of their permanent collection, as it turns out.  I think I always ended up finding my way to the cat mummies and then running out of time, previously.


My brother took my bike out for a spin.  I rode my backup bike (the Christmas tree one from the other week), and we rode down through the industrial parks of Sunset Park near the waterfront to Bay Ridge, and practiced riding on ice at the pier near Owl’s Head Park.

Hot tea over at Zaytoons in Prospect Park (which seems superior to the Carroll Gardens and Murder Ave. locations) on Saturday for lunch.

•Winter in New York does seem to be a time for parties, comfort food, hot drinks, and even catching up on some reading during the few spare moments.  I just started reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and, just 60 pages into it, the book’s sparse landscapes filled with approachable philosophical discussions are definitely compelling.


Leonard Street in Greenpoint.  Shot from the roof of D.Lish & B.Davis’ apartment, during their Christmas/Hanukkah party.   A good turnout, including Hans, Bethany, Gene (in from Barcelona), Yoost, Erin, Sylvia, Moses, Ellen, and some others.  Excellent homemade beef stew (with horseradish sour cream) and potato leek soup.  Later, we moved things to Europa a few blocks away.  If you haven’t been, it’s completely Euro-trashed out upstairs.  Mullets all around, really terrible, loud dance music.  I can’t really recommend it to anyone, however there are lots of super thin Polish and Russian girls there.

Cory and Holly also threw a great dinner party, the following day, at their place down in the Kensington area.  Jenn, Clay, and I joined Moses, Hans, and a few others for some incredible homemade shepherd’s pie and some great salad, and an assortment of meads.

• Additionally, while my siblings were still in town, Jenn and I took them to a few other bars and restaurants: Chip Shop, Otto’s Shrunken Head (for Danish Folk night), Pianos, Lil Pig, Bar Toto, and some others.  It’s great to be with family over the holidays.