I’ve been in New York for seven months now and it’s true what they say about staying in your Burrough and never venturing off. When I first landed, I was like a fat kid at a bakery; I wanted to touch everything that New York had to offer. Overtime though, I became set in my ways and the thought that these sites and wonders would always be there began to sit in the back of my mind. Currently, there’s a three-mile radius that I spend the majority of my life in. If I do venture off, it is out necessity. I go to Manhattan because my job is there. I visit Queens because my girlfriend lives there. I have no need for a Long Island or for a Bronx. In all seriousness, why would I want to go anywhere but Brooklyn? Yeah, I know. It doesn’t make sense to me either, but it happened today and it was a pleasant surprise.
I had to venture off to Harlem to see my tax lady because it is that season again. Since it was my day off, I decided this was a perfect time to get back to my
tourist taurist-y self. I can say with much assurance that Harlem is the next best place compared to Brooklyn. To all you non-new Yorkers out there, Harlem is not one of the five Burroughs. It is a subsidiary of Manhattan, much like a Soho or a Greenwich, but at a much larger scale. The diversity of the city is breathtaking. Of course you’ve got Spanish Harlem and a high Asian population, but there’s also an elevated level of Africans that call Harlem home. The importance of this last fact correlates with my sudden urge for West African food. I’ve been deprived of any home cooking since I’ve been in New York so the ability to eat white rice with peanut soup was a blessing from the heavens. I raise my hands to the sky with thanksgivings.
I tried to take a few photos of this touched-by-an-angel culinary experience, but sadly my camera didn’t have an SD card, so I was shooting blanks.
I plan on taking more trips to see Harlem. It has a bad rap for being dangerous and I don’t want to be naive and say its not due to one visit, but I’m a fan of culture and Harlem represent the melting pot that that New York so famously represents.
It’s always nice to reconnect with old friends. Friends that you think would be long forgotten due to the challenges of becoming a “grown up”. I, on the other hand, have been lucky with the people that I consider to be more than just acquaintances. They all have a similar “down to earth” quality that ensures me that even though I may not talk to them everyday or every week—like I would like to— I know we can always easily reconnect when need be.
My friend and fellow Georgia State alum, Briyonah, visited New York to celebrate her birthday and I had the pleasure of meeting her twin sister Briyyah as we broke bread in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The original plan was to meet at Clinton St. Baking Company and dine into their delicious menu of pancakes and omelets, but just like most things in life plans change.
It was all for the best though. We ended up dining at the Essex Restaurant, which is a few blocks away from the Delancey St./Essex St. stop on the F train. I advise making a stop there for their brunch special for one reason and one reason only: drinks. Their brunch special included the option of three bloody mary’s, screwdrivers or mimosas. Drinks aside, the food was good too, especially the sausage patties even though I had originally wanted to dive into some of their apple sausages that they had inconveniently ran out of—DO BETTER, ESSEX! The best part of the brunch was being able to meet up with an old friend and spend hours talking about everything and nothing at the same time.
There are two types of music listeners in the world. There are those who eat up everything that said music blog is crushing on and then there are those who are anti-hypebeasts and purposely go out of their way to dislike anything that is seen as “in” and then there’s me. I float aimlessly around the middle. I frequently check music websites like Pitchfork and Stereogum to confirm my already impeccable taste in music– I’m kidding, slightly–but ever so often I may have a void in my musical heart. That does not mean that I am going to start panting for any album that Pitchfork deems worthy to review as higher than an 8.0, which is the reason why I’ve never listened to Danny Brown and only know how to spell Ty Segall because you don’t see names like that everywhere.
There are times where I beat myself up for being so stubborn to join the hypebeast bandwagon. A current example is with Beach House’s new album Bloom. I am in no way new to the sounds of Beach House. I’m a big fan of their last album Teen Dream because it helped me fall asleep with ease, which I swear is a compliment. I’ve known that their new album Bloom has been released for a while, but was hesitant on listening to it because I didn’t want to ruin a good thing. I already had a great album with Teen Dream that I could listen to continuously and would take me to my own dream world. What if this Bloom album is terrible and ruins my relationship with their previous album so much that I never want to listen to them again?
No, I’m not over reacting.
These are thoughts that go through my head.
One day at work though, I couldn’t help but enjoy a song that one of my co-workers were playing through the office speakers. Two taps of my iPhone and a few second later Shazaam verified that it was in fact “The Hours” by Beach House that had just satisfied my musical thirst.
Five hours later– because I couldn’t just leave work– I got on my computer and started downloading it. I was happily disappointed that Bloom didn’t compare to Teen Dream’s lullaby music. I could listen to the full album fully awake!
Although, I’m in love with every single track on the album, the stand out song has to be “New Year”. The angelic harmonies in the beginning fused with the repetitive staccato chords puts the listener into a trance until the beat drops and the vision becomes clear. “All I wanted comes in colors, vanish everyday,” sings lead singer Victoria Legrand. Repetition is the tool used that makes each chord progression seem brand new, yet gives the listener a déjà vu moment.
I don’t want to spoil the rest of the album for you, but Bloom surpasses Teen Dream by leaps and bounds. Sonically, the sound doesn’t waver, but it hits harder than any of their previous entries.
Don’t believe the hype. Central Park is not the best park in New York. It’s not. It’s nice. No one can deny that, but
ProspeKt Prospect Park gives the dainty Manhattan park a run for its money.
I woke up Saturday morning with the spirit of discovery, so I mounted my bike and started peddling in the direction of what I heard was Prospect Park. Previously, I would travel to Central Park by train to do any form of exercise. There’s something about living in this concrete jungle of New York that begs for any form of nature and Central Park—at the time—filled that void.
Before I had even arrived to my destination, my eyes darted in every direction absorbing the scenery that surrounded me. Riding down Easter Pkwy, I passed the Brooklyn Museum—which I promised myself would be my next adventure—and the Brooklyn Public Library, which looks like a gem in itself.
Before reaching the park, there is this arch that transports your mind to Paris’ Arc de Triomphe. The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch was built between the years of 1889-92 in honor to union soldiers who fought in the civil war. It is absolutely stunning and there is a fountain a few feet in front of the arch that showcases the Greek gods in all their glory. While I was exploring the area, the cutest little girl started posing for me, so of course I obliged her and took a couple of shots.
There was another surprise that awaited me when I started to enter the park. There was an outdoors farmer’s market sponsored by GrowNYC.com. Food as far as the eye could see. My stomach started to give me a high five as I went around “taste-testing” all of the free samples that were around.
The discovery of Prospect Park was an awakening for me. I felt that I had started become an unimpressed New Yorker who just stayed in his five mile radius, but this gave me the passion to explore more.
“When you get what you want, but not what you need.” These famous words came from lips of England’s most-loved-to-hate band: Coldplay. Although it is unlikely that Chris Martin was the first to come up with this idea, the lyrics stands for itself. Have you every desperately wanted something so bad and then when it happens, you inform God that He might have made a mistake?
Well it happens to me all the time. One instance occurred due to my love affair with snow. I hated my former place of residence in Georgia because the southern state observed only three seasons: summer, kind of chilly and pre-summer. You know what that does to someone who is accustomed to four seasons? It makes them nuts.
In Georgia, it was always warm and my biggest pet peeve is not having the weather match up to the current holiday or calendar system. For instance, Christmas is a time to frolic in the snow and build carrot nosed snowmen. You should not able to wear a t-shirt outside during the winter season, but Atlanta has a mind of its own. That is why making the move to New York was crucial in order for me to get back to the seasons.
When I arrived in New York in July, summer was all around the tri-state area. Then October hit and it started to get a bit chilly, but unfortunately due to Sandy, fall was all but forgotten and winter quickly rushed its head in. A couple of days after Sandy struck; the heavens unleashed the snow it was holding on and had it blanket every nook and cranny that our city had to offer.
“Blanket” is such a sweet term though. A better verb may be rape. Yeah, we’re going to stick with R word for this one. One second it is beautiful and then the next you can’t see the corner shop down the road.
In my room, I am quickly gathering every single heavy article of clothing and putting it on in order to explore our new winter wonderland. At first, it was amazing. It was everything I could hope and dream for. Snow as far as the eye could see, but when I went to my car, I saw that the snow had decided to build a community of housing, a few inches thick all over my car.
I was able to wipe my car clean with my forearm, but at this point the cold had over taken my body, but being the stubborn person I am I decided to continue trucking and explore. I had walked for about 20 minutes with snot running down my noes; snow in my boots and fingers turning numb before it hit me. I hate the cold. I hate the winter season. I only like the snow part of it all, everything else is just a consolation prize.