Tag Archives: Brooklyn

A Guide to New York City in the Summertime

By Zach

Hey there, Gator acolytes. I’m sorry to have abandoned you for these summer months, but I am not without valid reasons. Foremost on a list that includes items like “drank beer in bed and watched Batman instead of writing” lies a legitimate excuse: I live in New York. Look past the cooking street garbage and knife-wielding psychopaths — it’s the center of world urbanity! There are things to do here.

Let’s go over seven of them.

1) Go to Prospect Park and watch the sports players

Prospect Park on a nice Saturday is more littered with wholesome family goodness than an episode of the Cosby Show. Young parents holding hands, puppies cuddling with toddlers in strollers, all that shit. But it also serves as a venue for sports games played by people who enjoy playing sports.

Volleyball is one of my favorites. It’s played by two subsets of people, the first being guys who played volleyball in high school and the second being friends of that guy who he coaxed off of their picnic blankets. It is the least egalitarian of pickup sports – lots of people have played basketball and soccer before, so you generally see more parity on New York’s asphalt courts and turf fields. By contrast, volleyball draws a mix of Kerri Walsh wannabes and overweight, ponderous 5’8″ men. Lots of mismatches lead to lots of misplaced intensity on one side of the net and lots of apathy on the other. Trust me, very entertaining.

Cricket is also fun if only for its exoticism. I wasn’t exactly sprinting out to recess in elementary school to bowl a few wickets, and I’ve never played it or watched it on TV, but I enjoy watching the West Indians (?) play in the park. There are a number of older guys, probably in their 60s at least, who join in. Either West Indians aren’t ageist, or they’re just trying to emulate the Knicks.

2) Drink on a roof

My mountain-climbing, wood-chopping, forest-dwelling 2009 self pities the 2012 me that gets excited to receive a text containing the words “roof party in Crown Heights.”

3) Hang out with the mole people

Recently, my friend and I were sitting on a bench in Cooper Square, deservedly one of Manhattan’s less-known public plazas, when we noticed some hubbub to our left.

Now, as a good journalist, I’m always on the lookout for hubbub. I swiftly investigated. The commotion came from a drum circle comprising several hobos, a number of trash bags filled with their belongings, what looked like a campfire, and a sleeping, possibly dead dog. (RIP Union Square pit bull.)

I’ve lived in New York long enough to know my grades of hobo. First you have your basic homeless people, not yet indoctrinated on street decorum. They’re on the streets because they’re down on their luck and don’t have a support system (Democratic view) or because they’re lazy food stamp-pilfering drug addicts (Republican view).

Then you have the bums – hobos who just don’t care. They’ll poop on a subway platform during rush hour, for all you and your horrified children care.

Finally, you have your mole people, who literally live in the sewers. I strongly suspect that in Cooper Square, we were watching such persons. And that brings me to my disgusting sub-anecdote: three of them were leaving and stopped right near the bench where my friend and I sat. One forgot something and put his bag down a couple feet from ours while he ran to fetch whatever it was. Another bent down to pick up the bag, and the third mole person cautioned: “Don’t touch that. He’s got body lice.”

IN NEW YORKKKK, CONCRETE JUNGLE WHERE DREAMS ARE MAAAADE OFFFFF

4) Play soccer in a park

New York’s soccer subculture is shockingly resilient throughout the winter months, but everyone comes out to play in the summer. Beware several dangers, though: one, there’s a Hispanic family barbecuing right behind the goalmouth; two, there’s a plump man in a wife-beater who’s kicking everybody; and three, turf-induced staph infections.

Note also that with field space at a premium, New York is not the most welcoming city when it comes to pickup soccer. New people and late arrivals are treated like Mitt Romney at a rap concert. Expect plenty of staring followed by awkward avoidance of eye contact.

5) See a movie

New York, while not legendary for its cinematic tradition, offers what my pig-farming uncle might say is a shit-ton of movie theaters. Yeah, prices aren’t cheap, but I’d opine that Christian Bale raspily barking “Justice” is worth 14 dollars alone. Same goes for Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones pretending to masturbate a chapstick tube.

6) Go buy new suits

Guys, it’s hot out there. There’s no reason to sit at home, crank the A/C and rack up your electricity bill when you can just go rack up someone else’s.

If you’re not in the movie mood, and/or you’d like something tangible to show for your money, why not go buy new suits? I don’t know about you, but it’s the only thing that gets me more excited than buying an orange mocha frappuccino. So that’s what I did yesterday.

What I discovered: Suits are expensive. You have to drop at least four or five hundred dollars if you don’t want the other wedding guests congratulating you on your successful parole hearing. There’s lots of options, too – cummerbund or no cummerbund is the greatest style question of our time. Then you have to decide on your vest style, measure your calves to ensure the ideal fit for your garters, and determine the appropriate level of garishness for your pocket square. Decisions decisions.

I didn’t buy a new suit. But I’m still planning on it once that shifty Men’s Wearhouse salesman guarantees me that his product will make me look the way I’ve long suspected it will.

7) Go to a German beer hall

A German beer hall just opened on the end of my block in Brooklyn. Alcoholism awaits.

Disappointingly, the bartenders aren’t German, nor are the barmaids particularly busty. And they do not seem to appreciate wiener schnitzel jokes or fake German accents to quite the same degree that I do. Those sad creatures.

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The Hipster Avengers: A Screenplay

THE HIPSTER AVENGERS

A Gator Don’t Play No Shit Production

Written by Zach and inspired by Taylor’s drunken sermons

1. EXT. GREENPOINT, BROOKLYN – DUSK

Slow zoom on a lonely warehouse rooftop, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in the background. A masked figure materializes in the shot, crouched at the building’s edge, gazing over the city streets. As the camera draws nearer, we see that he’s shrouded in tight, form-fitting flannel. Closer. We see a moustache. Then, his purple Tye-dye t-shirt, adorned with several wolves howling at the moon. In the distance, we hear a woman scream.

Unnamed Superhero

Huskily, he utters four words.

“Justice will be allotted.”

With that, he leaps onto a unicycle, pedaling furiously and popping into the air over the next roof. Before he disappears, his plaid-caped figure and aluminum, one-wheeled steed are framed against the sunset. He drops from sight.

2. ROLL CREDITS

Credits roll with a random indie-pop song in the background (lute and ukulele will be prominent). Cue hazy 30mm footage of several normal children playing in a variety of settings, only to demonstrate a unique superpower. For one child, this will be knitting 50 scarves in under a minute. For another, writing half of a screenplay for a preschool puppet show, only to decide that they’d rather focus on fingerpainting for the time being. For another, preternatural graphic design abilities.

3. BACK TO GREENPOINT

A young woman wearing jorts and a beret has just exited a coffee shop tearfully. She’s talking on the phone, and we learn that she’d left after arguing with her boyfriend, who discovered that the Korean characters inside the heart-shaped tattoo on her back stand for “Bobby,” her ex. Her boyfriend comes out yelling that he just unfollowed her on Instagram, and then he hops on his electric moped and zips off.

Suddenly, two men walk around the corner. One’s wearing a DARE T-shirt, the other a wife-beater and corduroy pants. They grin wickedly.

Evil Hipster #1 (DARE shirt)

“Hey there purrty. Your tongue piercing sure fires MY kiln.”

Evil Hipster #2 (corduroy shorts)

“Could be the High Life talking, but I’d like to climb YOUR hills on my fixed-gear bike.”

They reach for her.

Helpless female hipster

Screams.

We hear a rattling, and the trio glance up at the warehouse rooftops. There are shadows everywhere – we see the flash of a wheel between two alleys, hear the whoosh of a cape. Then, a can of Four Loko comes flying out of nowhere, knocking the first evil hipster out but leaving the helpless female hipster unscathed. The second one, realizing his peril, makes for his bike, but the pedals are five feet off the ground and he struggles to mount.

Unnamed Superhero

Off-camera, huskily: “That’s not a bike lane.”

Our caped crusader unicycles into frame, leaping off. In one motion he throws a fanny pack, which wraps itself around the evil hipster’s neck, and he and his bicycle careen over the curb and through the window of a nearby gastropub. The electric celloist inside the establishment continues his music, all the more audible now. Our superhero goes over to the stricken damsel, offering her his flannel cape to wipe away the tears.

Helpless female hipster

“Who ARE you?”

Unnamed Superhero

Twirls moustache, looks coolly into the distance. Huskily:

“You’ve probably never heard of me.”

Hops on unicycle, flies away. 

 ________________________________________

A note from Zach:

I know that making jokes about hipsters is about as fresh as making jokes about people who make jokes about hating Nickelback, but I couldn’t resist this one. I was pondering taking it in a different direction, where our hero can’t be bothered to rescue people who are in mainstream predicaments (Timmy fell down a well at a Black Eyed Peas concert!), but perhaps we’ll save that for a new Avenger in our next installment.

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What I’ve Been Doing While Not Posting

By Anthony

Well if you haven’t noticed, I’m just going to come right out and say it: I’ve been posting with the regularity of a grass-fed hippie on calcium pills. For my triumphant return, I thought I’d fill you, the avid reader, in on all the glorious things that I’ve been doing to occupy my time away from the keyboard on which I should be mashing out comedic genius.

And speaking of Occupy, that brings me to my first time suck. Occupy Wall Street is back, if you didn’t know. They are planning a ‘general strike’ May 1st and to plan for it they’ve tagged just about every square inch of Buschwick and Williamsburg with the Sharpies their moms got them for Christmas last year.

But ugly graffiti aside, I thought it was time I jumped on the bandwagon. Who knows, maybe this time we’ll leave the annoying drums behind and actually manage a competent and engaging protest.

Until then, as the newest member, I get stuck with some gross tasks — like washing all the recycled feminine products. By using hemp, and reusing it, (again and again)  we show the corporate dogs at Tampax that we don’t need them or their fancy wing features and bright colors.

I’m also the resident vulture shoo’er. Since it smells so rank in the grounds, sometimes the older members pass away with out anyone noticing. Until the vultures come, at least, and that’s where I come in. Both thankless jobs with long hours.

I’ve also picked up a part time job at the Artisanal Pencil Sharpening Factory as an “Eraser Breaker-In-er.” Pay is lousy but the networking is great. Just in case I ever want to become a head sharpener.

Getting to work takes significantly longer now, too. The L “bane-of-my-existence” train has killed more people this year than the Hundred Years’ War. I now avoid it entirely and walk to work. Which is easier some mornings than others. Like when I wake up in a Chinatown alley after drinking all night.

I’ve also been practicing my women’s self-defense (though not in the way that you’re assuming) after being punched in the face by a girl on St. Patrick’s Day. More on that another time, maybe.

Lastly, living in Brooklyn has instilled in me an appreciation of absolutely nothing. Basically, if it exists then I want nothing to do with it. So that means I do nothing worthwhile, really.

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Comin’ Straight Outta Bushwick: 1.21 Gigawatts

 

Note from Zach – This is a project a couple of my friends have been working on. It’s a pretty cool idea, so support the cause and check out 1.21 Gigawatts when it hits a newsstand/iPad near you!

The Magazine

1.21 Gigawatts is a bi-monthly arts and music magazine based in Brooklyn, NY made by a group of Brooklyn based artists. It’s a full size, 32 page, full color magazine. We are focusing mainly on the New York music and art scene. Every issue includes a free downloadable playlist as well as an original piece of artwork in each copy.

We are also creating two separate digital versions of each issue. One in basic PDF format and another specifically made for the iBooks app on iPad and iPhone. The iBooks version will feature a totally different design than the print version including extensive photo and art galleries as well as videos.

Our core staff all met while interning at PAPER Magazine, and after being inspired by what we saw and learned at the magazine we decided to create a publication that covered our scene and community. We have also picked up other staff members along the way including filmmakers, fashion students, etc.

Our first issue will include articles on Oberhofer, Bear in Heaven, The Yellow Dogs, Life Size Maps and artwork from our whole staff as well as a few other New York artists.

We have already started compiling content for the first two issues of the magazine. Now all we need to make this magazine a reality is your help.

How You Can Help

The biggest thing you can do to help is back our project financially. ($) We have tons of rewards at many different levels. Ranging from $5 all the way up to $1000 which gets you a subscription and an illustrated portrait of yourself on the back cover of the first issue. ALL reward levels will come with a sticker.

You can also help by spreading the word through facebook, twitter, tumblr, blogs, and other forms of social media. Spreading the word of our magazine is as important as backing it. Not only do we want to raise the money to make this, but we also want to get as many people excited for it as possible.

Kickstarter works on an all or nothing basis. If we fail to meet our goal of $9000 we don’t get any of the money. That’s why it’s really important that you share this campaign with your friends and family.

$900 down, $8100 to go!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dannykrug/121-gigawatts-magazine

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Differences Between Canton and Brooklyn: The Bar Scene

The trap I've set outside my local Brooklyn bar.

By Zach

Volume One of My New Series, Differences Between Canton and Brooklyn

If you’re not familiar, Canton is a small town in upstate New York. It’s a real salt-of-the earth hamlet, the kind of town that has more hardware stores than restaurants, more methamphetamine than cocaine, and more Confederate flags than Obama bumper stickers. In Canton, babies are born early and frequently.

Canton is also where I went to college for four years. And besides a three-month ziplining stint in New Hampshire, it’s the last place I lived before I moved to New York. I thought it might be a useful exercise to compare Canton and my new home, Brooklyn, if only for purely selfish contemplative purposes. I plan on doing this in a series of posts; stay tuned (shouldn’t we replace this antiquated radio-themed cliche with a more modern one, like “keep refreshing”?) for future analysis of Canton’s nightclub scene and Brooklyn’s dairy farms.

Considering the content and presumed readership of this blog, I believe alcohol is a reasonable place to start this breakdown. I’ve discovered, through methodical weekly research, that Brooklyn has more bars than Canton. I haven’t visited every bar in Brooklyn, because four dollar PBRs are a completely unsustainable means of inebriation, but I’ve certainly been to more than three, which is Canton’s grand total. Let’s run down the slate of Canton bars, shall we?

First, there’s Dave’s. I think that’s the name of it; I’ve never been inside. It was one of those typical small college-town locals’ bars where, if a student, say a dude on the lacrosse team, were to enter wearing, say, a Ralph Lauren polo under a vest, a backwards trucker hat, and boat shoes, he would soon find himself outside the premises, shaking shards of plate glass out of his hair. Dave’s was frequented by men with high cholesterol who snowmobile on weekends; the WASPs of St. Lawrence were not welcome there.

Then there was the Hoot Owl, a hockey-themed dive bar. The Hoot was a good place. It had cheap beer and was just hygienic enough that you didn’t have to shower after spending an hour there. The Hoot met my minimum requirements for an alcohol-dispersing establishment.

And then there was the glory that was the Tick Tock. The Tick Tock had it all — a dance floor populated by kids sweating like they were in the Sahara, an old speaker system blasting out top-40 hits and cheesy 80s music, a popcorn machine. The lighting consisted solely of flashing disco balls; the refreshments, of overflowing beers that inevitably ended up in the nearest girl’s hair. And the urination! People urinated everywhere. In the sinks, on the walls, on the bar itself. It was a great place.

Brooklyn’s bars are different, and by that I mean there are approximately six more horn-rimmed glasses to be found per cubic meter of bar space, and about four times as many winter hats unnecessarily sported in moderate or warm indoor temperatures. I believe that the average Brooklyn pub has approximately eight hundred beers on tap, and each bartender can tell you the precise number of hops that went into each one. For bartenders in Brooklyn need to know these things; all white borough residents require intimate knowledge of their beer’s distilling process prior to its consumption. This has been my experience, at least.

I also noticed, to my dismay, that in Brooklyn bars there is significantly less making out. Also, the girls look French (how the fuck are berets back in style?) and the guys look less masculine than me. If you don’t know me personally, just picture a slightly better looking (I’d like to think) but more shamefully endowed Klitz from The Girl Next Door. I’ve also been compared, very charitably my girlfriend tells me, to Ashton Kutcher — by both the lady who used to cut my hair in New Hampshire and by a woman selling me a hot dog at Madison Square Garden. So yeah, I’m not exactly a Neesonian hulk of masculinity. But I’m still looking forward to my first bar fight against the next wool-pantsed, non-prescription glasses-wearing, porter-sipping indie musician who steps up on me while I’m waiting on my Genesee Cream Ale.*

Keep refreshing for the next part in this series.

 

 

*I’m just kidding. I drink microbrews like everyone else.

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A Boot, A Whiskey, Her Parents and a Cab to Brooklyn.

By Anthony

I found myself laying in the middle of the street one evening. It was Flatbush, to be exact, in north Brooklyn, and I also found the entire contents of my pockets spread out around me. There wasn’t any visible blood, but I feel like there must have been. I later discovered a medium-sized cut on the back of my head.

A Common Boot Drinking Mechanism

What I did next was quite simple, compared to the questionably interesting (namely drunken) events that led me to this predicament. I gathered my things quickly to avoid the cab driver now exiting his vehicle a few yards down the road, assured the onlookers (it was 3 am, so there were few) that I was, in fact, okay, and then I ran home as fast as I could with out falling over in my possibly very concussed state.

How I ended up there was not surprising, especially for those who know me. After work, the evening started amicably enough at the local office bar. O’Riley’s, for those who don’t know, has a reputation of starting slowly but often ending aggressively. This night would be a case study. Upon finishing our platter and watching a colleague attempt to best a ‘Das Boot,’ (It wasn’t me, I promise) we decided to stay for an extra round. This, of course, turned into two or three. Or maybe four or five.

Eventually, one member of our party got an invitation to drink at a hotel bar on 55th street. Things devolved quickly at this point. We began consuming heavy amounts of very powerful spirits, and this led to a number of drunk texts (lucky you if you got one).

After the last one of these, my time frame for the night disappears. What happened next is merely speculation till the reports come in, and hopefully they never do. But I do recall that I was asked politely to leave the bar with my current mistress for disturbing the other patrons. We did oblige. I found myself in a cab. Things were going well until I looked up to discover I was in the Bronx (not a good place to look up and find yourself in).

Some Powerful Spirits like Those in Question

But anyway, we were at her house. I informed her that I would be coming upstairs, assuming she had a basic sense of decorum. She then decided to inform me that her parents were home and that it wasn’t a good idea. I, as politely as possible, refrained from strangling her for bringing me all the way out there, then politely asked the driver to bring me back home as quickly as possible.

$40 later I was in front of my building. I handed him a wad of cash and headed for the cab door. He locked it and sped away with me inside. He wouldn’t be fooled, this one. I then swiped my card, and went for the door again. Again, he sped away. I didn’t ‘Accept payment, ‘ though this time it was not on purpose.

Now, I was consciously doing my best to adequately pay this man his money owed. But remember, I was under the spell of some very serious spirits and had lost much of my higher reasoning. At this point I felt confident that the payment had gone through and began yelling at him to turn around. He refused. I got nervous and yelled louder. He said something but I couldn’t understand him or hear him and I panicked. I went for the door. He locked it, I started pulling on it fast. I finally got the door open; he yelled something but I didn’t listen and I went for it. I jumped. Fell, rather.

It’s not as easy as it looks in the movies. It’s even harder drunk. I blew it and.landed on my feet. The force felled me backwards and had me land flat on the back my head. And as I mentioner earlier, everything came out of my pockets, which was a surprising twist I hadn’t really banked on. I found my way home, though I can’t say safely considering all that had happened. I remember seriously fearing falling asleep, afraid that I might not wake up. I did however get to sleep shortly afterward and indeed woke up, but it was quite late. I was late for work. Oh yea, this all happened on a Wednesday…

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