Sunday, September 24, 2006

Overhead in NY

Sports fan on the southbound #6 train leaving the Bronx: Don't get me wrong, I love the Yankees. But I'm in love with the Mets.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

BriTunes 9/23

"Stephanie's Kitchen" by Jeremy Wallace
"You and I Both" by Jason Mraz
"Rollerskate Skinny" by the Old 97s

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Washington Heights

I had a chance to walk around Washington Heights the other day (after a visit to the must-see Cloisters). The area is a real gem. In particular, I loved the Hudson View Gardens. Built in the 1920s, it was the first major Tudor-style housing complex in Manhattan, and remains a beautiful stretch of architecture and greenery in the midst of the urban desert.

The commercial streets are vibrant and diverse. Inevitably, every neighborhood has its socio-economic divide (its 96th street so to speak) and up there it is Broadway. "Apartments are a lot cheaper on the east side of Broadway," said one real estate agent. And the east side of Broadway did have noticeably less flare and a lot more of those ugly discount department stores. But the human energy was still high, with neat little restaurants and eye-catching churches.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Urban Biker

I like the idea of biking on city streets. Except the cars are too fast and the trucks are too big. Few avenues have dedicated bikes lanes, and even there taxis are invariably parked in my way. And oh the dangers: 225 NYC bikers were killed between 1996 and 2005. No wonder I often feel like the only biker on Second Avenue who's not delivering pizza or Chinese.

This is not true closer to Central Park. Spandex-laden doctors with shimmering racing bikes seem to metasticize out of nowhere. It's as if there were secret bicycle bat caves along Fifth Avenue, spewing forth these men who like to shout "Hands on bars, please" and "Approaching on your right" with enough super-hero gusto that you almost hope they miss a curve and fly right into the Harlem Meer.

Monday, September 18, 2006

BriTunes 9/18

  • "Chinese Translation" by M. Ward

  • "Deja Vu (All Over Again)" by John Fogerty

  • "The Blues are Still Blue" by Belle and Sebastian
  • Kevin Baker's Dreamland (1999)

    Brilliantly researched work of historical fiction. Set in the year 1910: Tammany battles against the Reform movement, and sweatshops litter the Lower East Side. The freak shows of Coney Island are a not-so-funny satire on life ... and Sigmund Freud gets lost in Harlem?