Archive for April, 2008

Dreaming through the worm hole

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21, 2008 by wally426

21-04-2008  Brooklyn, NY

Rachmaninov’s E flat allegreto blares in the distance, the buildings along Prospect Park West stretch miles into the sky, the sidewalk becomes a maze of huge fissures and boulders. After an hour of dodging sticky mountains of used chewing gum and roaches the size of elephants, I reach the refuge of Prospect park’s bright green pastures. Wading through the serrated blades of grass reminds me of the jungles in Belize, mountains of decaying plant matter line the crooked pathways. Eventually, I find the protection I’m looking for, the mouth of an abandoned wormhole invites me in. Luckily, the light on my key chain has shrunk with me, it serves as perfect illumination for the huge cavernous walls coated with slime. I walk in hesitantly, my boots crunch the dried mounds of dirt left behind by its creator, sound bounces down the hole. Above me I can hear the rumbles of  bike treads on the paths, runners heavy feet, muffled barks of dogs in the meadow, all echoing through the hollow shafts of the giant cavern of slime and brittle earth. Somewhere deep inside the hole, Chopin’s Mazurka plays. I am not alone. After walking for what seems like miles, the distant piano becomes more distinct, the notes are sharp, their echoes slowly fade towards the entrance. Along with the delicate keys comes a flickering light from a source other than mine, and a rancid smell that causes me to recoil and wretch. Curiosity propels my feet forward. The hole slopes downward and to the left, whatever is making the sound is around the turn. I quietly peek around the corner, my shirt wrapped tight around my face in a vain attempt to filter the putrid odor. The hole opens up into a gargantuan cathedral, candles highlight pillars of dirt that hang like stalactites from the ceiling. The reverberations from the pneumatic player piano shake the walls and dust flies everywhere. At the far end of the cavern I discover the source of the foul smell, an enormous dead cricket laying on its side. The cricket is completely mangled. Parts have been hacked off and eaten by the cathedral’s sole resident, the great emancipator himself, Abraham Lincoln. He sits at a table consuming a large heaping plate of decomposed cricket legs. His head jerks up when he realizes someone has entered this secret space. Abe looks much as he did in text book pictures.. a smug grin, Amish-like facial hair, dead pan stare and black top hat resting on the side of the small wooden table. Even though no words have been exchanged, I know from his stare that his intentions aren’t benign. I turn and run. The last thing I see is Lincoln throwing the table to the side and giving chase. My feet churn as fast as possible, but every time I look back, his large black silhouette keeps gaining ground. All I can hear is the sound of the piano gradually fading and his footsteps pounding the ground right behind me. I can see the light at the end of the hole, if I make it out he he won’t be able to find me in the grass. Suddenly I hear a large grunt and skid behind me, the lanky old man must have tripped on one of the mounds! I step out into the blue light of day, eyes wide with adrenaline and fear, stitches racking my diaphragm as I gasp for air. After catching my breath, I make my way out of the meadow. Looking up at the buildings, they slowly regain their proper dimensions. The shrinking sensation fades with the echoes of Chopin’s piano and steam from Abe Lincoln’s death breath. I walk back to the apartment and collapse on my couch… with dirt from the wormhole still clinging steadfastly to the bottom of my boots.

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Buck and a Quarter

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2008 by wally426

    14-04-2008  Brooklyn, NY

This weekend brought about some of the most glorious weather so far this year. The air had a different smell to it, one that reaked of long grass, apple blossoms, and slowly baking concrete. You could hear life slowly coming back to the city, out from the cold damp caves and into the light. What better way to experience the break from hibernation than a nice walk through the city with my sister, Melanie. For a fifteen year-old kid, she really has her head screwed on tighter than a new jar of jelly. Thinking of what I was like at that age, she’s light years ahead on the maturity front. I also found out her boyfriend, Jeff, was coming along for the walk. It would be a prefect opportunity to grill him and put him through the ringer. We strolled over the Carroll street bridge, had some pizza on Court Street, poked around the heights as I bored them with tales from days of yore. One thing they both hadn’t done was walk across the Brooklyn bridge. As I’d yet to walk my favorite expanse this year, the weather and company couldn’t have been better. On May 24th, 2008, the Brooklyn bridge will be celebrating its 125th anniversary. I wonder what the best way to celebrate this milestone would be? Obviously a walk across will be necessary, followed up by some libations in a DUMBO haunt afterwards. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know. 

I poked around google today reading up about the history of the bridge and found this account from an eyewitness as the sun set over the city on May 24th, 1883:

As the sun went down the scene from the bridge was beautiful. It had been a perfect day. Up and down on either side of New York the bright blue water lay gently rippling, while to the south it merged into the great bay and disappeared toward the sea. The vast cities spread away on both sides. Beyond rolled the hilly country until it was lost in the mists of the sky. All up and down the harbor, the shipping, piers and buildings were still gaily decorated. On the housetops of both Brooklyn and New York were multitudes of people.

 

The great buildings in New York loomed up black as ink against the brilliant background of the sky. The New York bridge pier looked somber and gloomy as night. But in Brooklyn, the blaze of the dying sun bathed everything gold. The great building looked like burnished brass… In the west, the sun sent its last tribute to the bridge in a series of great bars of golden light that shot up fan-like into the blue sky. Gradually the gold melted away, leaving the heavens cloudless. The sky was a light blue in the west, but grew darker as it rose, until it sank behind Brooklyn in a deep-sea blue.

 

Slowly the extremities of the twin cities began to grow indistinct. The towers of Brooklyn lost their golden hue. They seemed to sink slowly into the city itself. In New York, the outlines of the huge buildings became wavering and indistinct.

 

Then one by one, the series of electric lights on the bridge leaped up until the chain was made from Brooklyn to New York. Dot by dot, flashes of electric light sprang up in the upper part of New York. The two great burners at Madison and Union Squares flared up, and the dome of the Post Office in New York set a circlet of diamonds out against the relief of the sky. The streets of the two cities sparkled into life like the jets on a limitless theatrical chandelier, and the windows of the houses popped into notice hundreds at a time. Long strings of lanterns were run over the rigging of the shipping in the harbor, and red and green port and starboard lights seemed numberless. The steamers sped on the water, leaving long ripples of white foam, which glistened in the light like silver.

 

Mi Lugar Especial

Posted in Uncategorized on April 3, 2008 by wally426

Old Sh!t

03-04-2008  Brooklyn, NY

It’s been three weeks since I closed on the apartment in Park Slope, settling in was one of the easiest things I’ve ever experienced. After over twelve years of absence from my beloved borough, I finally felt at home with my surroundings. All the years of collecting mirrors, chairs, pictures, a functioning Dumont television from 1954, and hand-woven Persian rugs, all my antiques (or as Victor loves to call it… “old sh!t”)… finally has a permanent home in which to exist and be displayed to all who choose to visit my humble abode. Apartment 3D isn’t big, a little under 400 square feet (somewhat normal by New York’s shoebox standards), but it’s more than enough room. Who needs more than one room to hang out in anyway??? The building was built in 1952, made with the same solid concrete schematic as most city schools of the immediate post-war era. If one were to give a good shout, it would sound like a whisper in the surrounding apartments. In the apartment building where I grew up, there was a constant symphony of shouts and screams echoing all over the marble hallways. Whether it was the mother and daughter arguing downstairs in 3C or the spoiled children in 1D throwing temper tantrums, everyone’s business was revealed to an eavesdropping ear if your door was open a tad. At 130 8th Avenue, all is silent. The apartment has a funny smell too. It’s a perfect blend of burnt wood, rose petals and mildewy old books. The old wooden parquet floors have a beautiful warm glow to them, filled with over half a century of nicks, dings and scratches. The kitchen sink and stove are original, made of solid steel that looks as new as the day they were installed. The pink (yeah, pink… what?) tiles with floral patterns are still firmly cemented in the bathroom. One thing’s for sure, the place has character. It’s a little slice in heaven that happens to be situated in the greatest place on Earth.

Evil Mogwai topples city!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 2, 2008 by wally426

D-Sizzle

02-04-2008  New York, NY

I saw a one legged-man on my run yesterday. He hobbled around on his crutches in the driving rain, picking through people’s rubbish and adding bottles to his black garbage bag. He looked up as I passed and our glances caught, with one squinted eye he smiled at me. It was a strange moment, if only because the last thing I would have expected from this bedraggled old man was a smile. The rest of the run was flooded with comparisons of this man’s attitude to that of Julia Allison’s. This wreched human being was featured in the Times’ city section last Sunday. The article, called channeling Carrie, detailed Allison’s rise to fame as a gossip columnist for various shallow publications and *cringing* her likeness to Carrie Analbumcover (the fictitious relationship columnist of Sex and the city). The fact that one of my favorite periodicals even published this story made me upset, let alone that they glorify this wannabe’s exploits in a three-page spread. From the article:

         She was a variation on a timeless literary character, the young female making her way in the big city, on her own financially and forced to rely her wits… The city has become such an expensive playground that much of what Carrie and her friends took for granted — a Manhattan apartment, taxis for any trip longer than a half-dozen blocks, dinner at the newest four-star restaurants — is no longer easily in reach of a young woman on a budget, much less a young woman on a writer’s budget… As the author of both a blog and articles for Time Out New York, Ms. Allison may be among the best-known sex columnists of her generation, yet unlike Carrie, she has trouble earning her living that way. Her basic income, which she says is in the six figures, comes largely from her job as an editor-at-large for the gossip tabloid The Star… Most of her peers, especially those without roommates or help from parents, have long since left for Brooklyn and Queens…

I suppose those snippets speak for themselves. This girl is a direct byproduct of the Sex and the Cityepidemic that has swept and ruined the character of the city. Yes, this place has always been dynamic, constantly changing with the ebb and flow of all fads and financial crises… but it’s always been a place where people needed to be on their toes. New York has been a city of thinkers, workers and idealists. They’ve put their sweat and blood into its blackened cornerstones, these people have seen the city as something larger than themselves. Now there seem to be an influx of Carrie Spitzerswallows. This woman’s character has revolutionized the perception of those who live outside of the city in such a negative and false light. Sure, there are upper East side socialites who parade down 5th avenue with thoughts of life in terms of shopping and finding a man to support them, but even they see the city as something that’s larger than them. In this case, Allison is anything but a young woman being forced to “rely on wits”!! These little “Carries” strut with a new air of arrogance through the Village, thinking they are the city, but can’t see beyond their shoe collections. The only benefits they bring can be seen in the pockets of slumlords and shady developers with a wanton disregard of city landmarks. I asked myself what Julia Allison has that the one-legged bottle collector didn’t? The answer was simple. Nothing.  

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