Day: July 12, 2009

Williamsburg Hipster Soul Food and Fishing Quest

Still on Saturday folks!

After the WhitneyKids event I ran home to try to cobble together some pseudo-hipster outfit to head into Williamsburg.  My friend Chris’ band, Morningbell, was playing at a bar that night and I was going to meet Phil for dinner.  As most of your know I own absolutely nothing even remotely hipster so I settled for a low-cut black dress, a scarf, and a lot of black eyeliner.  Sometimes you just have to Macguyver an outfit, folks.

This was my first journey into Williamsburg, which was more or less what I expected though I thought i’d see more hipsters, honestly.  I did hit Bedford Avenue just as a public artwalk was closing, so I saw some decent attempts at street are and one really ridiculous attempt at performance art which involved the cutting of a weave.  Seriously.





I’d gotten to Williamsburg a little early, and so wandered up and down browsing the area.  I saw a cool robot mural, and an extremely odd assortment of junk in a garden.



Phil and I connected and headed to Egg, a trendy Brooklyn restaurant and one of the first establishments to kick off Williamsburg’s Southern/down home food revival.  Egg, as you can imagine, does breakfast all day (which I love) but they also have other Southern classics.  We were a little gluttonous. We ordered a chicken liver pate plate to share, which was absolutely delicious and came with really fresh mustard and caramelized onions.  Just, amazing, moussey, delicious chicken liver pate.  For dinner I had an omelette with broiled tomatoes and a biscuit the size of my head.  The biscuit was moist and buttery, one of the best I’ve ever had, with some sort of a fruit preserve on the side.  Phil had eggs sunny side up with hash browns–more like a nice crispy potato ball with much pepper and seasonings–and some five-grain bread from Amy’s Bread.  He also had a broiled grapefruit with mint, which was extremely fresh and fruity.  Egg does simple foods fresh and well, and we both left extremely full and extremely pleased.

Chicken Liver Pate
Chicken Liver Pate
Phil's dish and grapefruit.
Phil's dish and grapefruit.
My omelet and giant biscuit.
My omelet and giant biscuit.
A close-up of Phil's food.
A close-up of Phil's food.

Phil and I had some time to kill before Morningbell played, so we decided to try and find the waterfront.  We walked up North 5th Street and ultimately hit the 5th Street pier, which heads out into the East River and offers lovely views of the Manhattan skyline.  Unfortunately it was extremely hazy and overcast, so the pictures are not as excellent as they could have been.  However, the Manhattan skyline is pretty impressive on its own, so there you go.



While on the pier we saw a man fishing in the East River.  He had four poles set up against the end of the pier.  One of the bells on one of the poles started ringing while we were on the pier.  The man waged a gargantuan battle against fish, and the fish lost.  The man had caught a fish.  A giant fish.  And he planned to eat it, I believe.  I think he is going to catch mercury poisoning.



Don't eat the fish, y'all.
Don't eat the fish, y'all.

Phil and I decided we’d seen enough of the East River at this point, and so decided to head back toward Bedford and to the bar where Chris would be playing.  Which will be another post!  I just cannot include dead fish and awesome music in the same post, though evidently I can include dead fish and delicious home style food.  Whatever, I do what I want.

WhitneyKids Punk Rock!

Saturday I volunteered at a family day program at the Whitney in conjunction with the Dan Graham exhibit.  The program was WhitneyKids Punk Rock!  Dan Graham doesn’t really believe in the typical art-talk lecture visitor programs, and so the Whitney has tried to incorporate that philosophy into the programs accompanying the exhibit.

WhitneyKids Punk Rock! incorporated many aspects: family tours of the galleries, a viewing room showing Dan Graham’s favorite animated films (primarily the brilliant works of Hayao Miyazaki), and activities such as comic-book making, an interactive drum set, and temporary rock-and-roll tattoos.  The punk rock band Japanther, out of Brooklyn, also played a set in the courtyard.  Japanther is one of the many bands with whom Dan Graham has worked.  While they played a BMX biker performed tricks on a ramp and around the space in front of the band.  Graham is really interested in popular spaces and designing for said spaces, and has drawn designs for skate parks and other similar areas, so that’s where the BMX bike fit.




I was working the check-out desk, which primarily consisted of bribing museum goers to sign up for the Whitney’s mailing list via the gifts of rocking sun glasses with lime green side frames and free family passes.  All the volunteers received a Japanther t-shirt, a pair of said sunglasses, and the joy/amusement of watching small children dart around the museum and react to a punk rock concert.  The parents were all rocking out to the tunes of Japanther.  The kids, not so much:



Iris, the other intern working check out, and I were the keepers of gold: those sunglasses were a hot commodity.  Luckily the Whitney had ordered an excess of sunglasses so we were able to give them to kids, interns, security guards who wanted them for their grandchildren, etc.  We also traded sunglasses for righteous rock-and-roll tattoos.



My tattoo, as you can see, went to eleven.

The event was pretty entertaining.  Iris and I were never really extremely busy, so we were able to watch some of the band’s set and to wander around the rest of the museum to see the other activities.  I had to pull myself from the film screening room: they were showing Spirited Away, one of my favorite films.  There was also an ice cream truck parked by the museum (Japanther once made a music video called “Rock and Roll Ice Cream”) and from said truck I secured a frozen strawberry mochi ball.  Win.

The event took up most of my early afternoon but, again, I got some merch, and it was fun to see the parents having a good time with the children.  Get the children interested in art early, I say!  Most of the parents seemed genuinely pleased to receive a family pass; hopefully more parents will be encouraged to introduce their kids to modern and contemporary art

B’nai Jeshurun

Family week continued on Friday when my aunt, uncle, and one of my cousins came to town.  I joined them at Friday night Shabbath services at B’nai Jeshurun, a Conservative congregation on the Upper West Side.


The service was a bit more enthusiastic than the usual services I attend.  Firstly, there was a guitar and drum session–very unusual for a Conservative congregation.  Still, it gave the music a nice, flamenco-y feel, which I suppose was appropriate considering the head Rabbi and Cantor are Argentinian.  At one point during the service everyone began to dance.  Additionally, there was this extremely bizarre congregant in the back who was behaving in a manner more consistant with caricatures of evangelical Christians.  He was an older man, with long, frizzy hair pulled back into a low pony tail.  He spent the entire service in the back of the sanctuary, dancing and jumping and hopping around and at one point standing on hsi toes with his arms outstretched toward the sky.  An ecstatic smile was plastered on his face the entire time.  I’m glad he was having a great time, but honestly his behavior was a little bit distracting/hilarious.  Whatever, to each their own.

After services we headed to the apartment of my aunt’s friend.  The friend and her family live on the Upper West Side and are Modern Orthodox.  I am always amazed to see how people live in this city; I suppose if it is all you know then you wouldn’t give cramming five people into a relatively small apartment another thought, but I know it would take me a lot of time to get used to the typically living situation in this city.  My sublet is awesome–firstly, no roommates, and secondly, even though it is a studio it is a fairly spacious studio, and the high ceilings give the studio the appearance of extreme roominess.  Anyhow, it had been awhile since I’d had a home-cooked meal, so I have minimal complaints.

I will get caught up on the remainder of the weekend later tonight.  Look forward to numerous pictures and other sundry descriptions.