Category Archives: New York

Noguchi Redox²

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Red Cube, Isamu Noguchi, 1968
140 Broadway, Manhattan

As an addendum to our previous post related to Japanpal Isamu Noguchi, note the giant Red Cube that adorns the plaza in front of the HSBC building downtown in Manhattan’s Financial District.  It’s Noguchi’s own and it’s huge, much bigger than the Astor Place cube, although it doesn’t rotate. Regardless, it’s large and in charge. A refreshing counterpoint to the Japanese tendency to celebrate the phallus.

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Japantown redux

To follow up on the Japan trip and punch one of the few remaining holes on our NYC cultural sights and sounds pilgrimage ticket, it was off to the Isamu Noguchi Museum in old Astoria town to cavort with abstract sculptures and shapes in the medium of stone.

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Little Isamu Noguchi was an American born half-Japanese who moved back to Japan as a child then moved back to the US, then trained in Paris, and then returned to the US and the Big Apple to haunt the LES art scene for years…although always remaining a true internationalist. This shows in his work, which is unique, different. Perhaps a man without a country, and yet a man with a voice. Regardless, the abstract shapes and designs are up for interpretation and it is up you, humble reader, to decide.

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The Isamu Noguchi Museum is located in the hamlet of Astoria, at the crossroads of 33rd and 10th. The most direct route is to take the sky tram to Roosevelt Island and walk across the bridge to Astorie. Admission is a scant ten kopeks and appears to be worth it.

Addendum: To top off the NYC JapanXperience, be sure to stop by Japadog, which dishes up hot dogs Japanstyle, all slathered up in kim-chi and shit. Pricey for hot dogs, but the dogs are top quality and it’s all located in what used to be Noguchi’s original studio in the East Village. Show your admission stub from the museum for %10 off and free mochi ball.

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Bonus tip: Socrates sculpture park is located right across the street from the Noguchi museum in old Astoriatown. It’s a nice diversion and filled with strange and terrible sculptures, friendly cats and dogs, and is rumored to be a favorite haunt of manchild fans and patrons. Enjoy!

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¡Chicha Libre!

Chicha: 

“Chicha is a term used in some regions of South and Central America for several varieties of fermented and non-fermented beverages, many derived from maize,[1] including corn beer known as chicha de jora and non-alcoholic beverages such as chicha morada. Chichas can also be made from manioc root (also called yuca or cassava), grapeapple or various other fruits. Chicha may also be corn juice beer.”

-Wikipedia

What with all the talk of beard transplants and the (some-say) DeBlasio funded ultra right-wing hipster death squads roaming the streets of Williamsburg and Bushwick in the pre-dawn hours of the feathered night, one might forgive a body for relegating old New York to the back of the line when it comes to being on the forefront of culture. Is New York really dead?

Eh, who knows?

It’s none of our business really anyway and we’re just trying to scrape by. The squandering of one’s precious, saved and hard-earned kopeks on things like beer and a night on the town is no longer taken lightly. Indeed, we’d been meaning to check out Chicha Libre for some time now…they used to have a little blurb about them in the Village Voice, describing their style as, “psychedelic…cumbia fermented in Peru’s Amazonian rainforests during the ’70s.” Righteous stuff man and little Chicha Libre did not dissapoint. Rumor has it that they play bar Barbès every Monday at 9:30pm. So check them out if you’re into checking out things like that and care to soak up some weird, choice tunes while surfing the wave of gentrification and wondering if indeed old New York is dead.

Chicha Libre
www.chichalibre.com/

@ Barbes Mondays 9:30 pm
376 9th St.
Park Slope, Brooklyn
(347) 422 0248

Someday a real rain will come and wash all the bearded scum off the streets..

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P1030626<——- lil’ Richie making real Chicha from mashed yucca in the high Amazon.

And not to forget our sacred sampling of chicha from the Peruvian highlands!
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…so many moons ago

The Little City or “I can see my brownstone from here!”

Courtesy QMA

Courtesy QMA

Way out east, somewhere within the hinterlands of old Queens, lie the rusting remnants of a forgotten age, all windswept and cold and alone on the outskirts of  New York City. Left to time and their own puerile devices, the relics of the great Worlds Fair are still out there for all to see, baring their concrete souls to God and everyone and even a few chosen Latinos picnicking and playing soccer.  Hungover and bored and anxious to check off our NYC must sees list before once again striking out for the great beyond, a rainy Sunday afternoon was spent trekking out to Flushing Meadows Corona Park all the way from South Brooklyn, riding the rails and ending up on old lucky number 7. Get off at Mets-Willets Point and it’s a long walk to the Queens Museum of Art, you can’t miss it because it’s right next to the giant steel globe, iconic New York folks and one wonders when it will be torn down.

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Unisphere Stats:

  • Iconic remnant of the 1964-1965 World’s Fair
  • Built by US Steel as a symbol of world peace
  • Dedicated to “Man’s Achievements on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe”
  • Weighs 800 thousand pounds
  • 140 feet high and 120 feet in diameter
  • the foundation of the Unisphere is made of pressure treated wood and reaches 100 feet to the bedrock below
  • has feelings

That’s all well and good and anyone who’s anyone and anyone who knows Craig Mack knows the Unishpere brotha, but what you don’t know you’re about to know. Remnants of the old Worlds Fair abound in the park, the big spaceship things from Men in Black and of course the Unisphere, but tucked away within the Queens Museum of Art is one of old New York’s best kept secrets: a giant scale model of the entire city of New York. The Panorama of the City of New York was first constructed way back when for the World’s Fair and is one of the sparkling gems of New York’s great museum network. Entonces, fuck MoMA and the Guggenheim and their exorbitant fees, the Queens Museum has this thing and it’s pay-what-you-wish. Of course the rest of the museum is alright; I seem to remember some Georgia O’keefe somethings or others and they had a really good installation with hundreds of creepy papier mâché puppets…also there were some old wastrels dispensing delicious homemade bread samples with an olive oil and garlic paste that were a delicious delight but the only real reason to come out here is for the Panorama. It’s Americana in the Big Apple baby and it earns the Silverboy stamp of approval. Pictures cannot do it justice and the Panorama is best seen in person…

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There are even little planes that run on little guy-wires taking off and landing at Fiorello LaGuardia airport.

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Like I said, truly a gem that should be seen to be appreciated. The Panorama was totally overhauled in 1992 with all existing buildings and public works soldered in. Various updates throughout the years have brought the Panorama more or less up to date. For the curious, note that the twin towers remain, and a body can just about make them out in the pic above. Rumor has it they will be imploded and then replaced with the new Freedom tower when it is finally finished.

“…the Panorama had to be accurate, with the initial contract demanding less than one percent margin of error between reality and the “world’s largest scale model.” Comprising an area of 9,335 square feet and built to a scale of 1:1200 where one inch equals 100 feet, the Panorama is a metropolis in miniature. Each of the city’s 895,000 buildings constructed prior to 1992 and every street, park and some 100 bridges are represented and assembled onto 273 individual sections comprising the 320 square miles of New York City. In this miraculously scaled cityscape, the borough of Manhattan measures a seemingly vast 70 x 15 feet and the Empire State Building is a towering 15 inches tall while the Statue of Liberty is only 1-7/8 inches in height. Long Island and New Jersey peek onto the model as black shadowy masses to the east and west.” – QMA Website

And there you have it, Long Island and New Jersey perfectly represented as the black shadowy masses that they are. Note that buildings and apartments are up for purchase, with all proceeds going towards their care and maintenance. Units can be purchased here: !. Remember that it is better to own than to rent and that squatter’s rights do not apply. See you at the Panorama bitches, stompin’ around like Godzillo.

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IMages courtesy QMA

IMages courtesy QMA

#responsibledads

Phillipe Seymore Hoffman

1937 – 2014

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Rare as it is, some nights do in fact start off with good intentions. It was supposed 2 be an evening of quiet conversation with discussion of the changing of times, of politics…of DeBlasio’s new New York; all framed within one of New York’s charming speakeasies: the Burp Castle, low down on the Lower East Side or somesuch, slinging out ample quantities of expensive craft beers and free pommes frittes. Look sometimes these things sound good, and they really should be, but there are some places we just don’t belong. They say that you’re not a true New Yorker until you break dawn on the streets, nude and chained to the giant cube at Astor Place, condemned for all eternity to push it around and around and around; like some new Conan or strange Sisyphus.

Eh, truth be told it was a quiet night spent in lower Manhattan purgatory. The Burp Castle was a wash; they ran out of fries, and thus we tucked in at the Tuck Shop, an Australian meat pie factory on 1st and First. Lively discussion with the Scottish pieman would lead to more rounds and dashing in and out to relieve oneself on a metal storage container or somesuch, positioned such as to allow for nonchalant street urination. It also had a handpainted memorial to what looked like Phillip Seymour Hoffman on it. Man, even on a slow night, one designed for quiet conversation and contemplation, a body still ends up soaking Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s face, neck, and chest with streams of piss. RIP, bro.

The Burp Castle: I actually like the Fart Burp Castle, but it’s souring on me as of late. It’s alright I guess but I can’t really swing this place all that often when two beers plus tip results in the loss of $20. Ambiance is choice, with dark woodwork and beautiful murals adorning the walls. The murals are cool and all but they don’t fit the reality of the place. I kind of wish I was inside of them instead of this joint, with it’s pasty bespectacled bourgeois clientele. There are no nude nymphs at the Burp Castle. A good bar to enjoy a book in but there’s not enough light to read, so it’s a good bar to sit and enjoy your beer. It should be noted that the schtick here it that you’re not supposed to raise your voice above a whisper, with the bartender letting out a ‘shhhhh’ should the din grow too loud. They also advertise free pommes frittes (french fries) at certain times of the day and moon, although when I went the place was packed and the fries were gone in about 20 minutes…although after that everyone left.

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The Tuck Shop: An Australian eatery located at the nexus of the Universe, 1st and 1st in the Village or LES or whatever it calls itself. Little meat pies and sausage thingies are delicious indeed. A cool place, unique. The pieman is from Scotland and his assistant Hector is from Honduras. A strange combination that makes winning pies. They also serve beers here, in the bottle. One has a choice of 3 delightful Australian beers that are not Fosters and not that bad. Expect good banter from the Scottsman and be sure to mention Archi Gemmill’s classic strike for a free round of suds. Curious patrons often note the controversial outdoor urinal, a hand painted mural of Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Life and Death in New York City

Dear Silverboy,

I did what you said, that thing with the lemons, and I almost got arrested. Why did you say that?

Anyway, if I was to run away and hide, where no one could eva find me, to what corner of the globe should I go? I know you’re a lad of the world and such, and a celebrated lonesome adventurer…that’s why I’m asking you, so where should I go? To which continent or direction should I cast my thoughts and glances, for I truly do not want to be found.

-Tana Janowitz from the Bronx

Dear Tana,

Thanks for taking the time to write to me. It depends what you’re running from. Remember that you can’t run away from yourself and that cops aren’t that smart. You only need an associates degree to be one. Also, I think a lot of people fantasize about the big run away, dreaming of exotic locales like southern Patagonia or the taiga wastes of the barren lands, but the truth is that one could live out the rest of their life is relative obscurity toiling away somewhere in the hinterlands of Queens or the Bronx. You might only need to move a few blocks away and delete your facebook account. No one will ever find you. You don’t even need to get a haircut. And what makes you think that anyone will even come looking for you?

-Silverbro

While we’re on the topic of the great run away, why not explore some of NYC’s lesser locales(?), places where one might go to get away from the bustle and the hustle of the Times Square crowd. Keep in mind that nothing is unknown here in the Big Apple but a body can still beat a path to get off the beaten path…but be sure to dust your tracks and leave no trace lest the Hipsters invade and destroy the last vestiges of old New York.

Hmmm…I wonder an artist’s loft goes for these days in Brownsville Centre?

A favorite place of ours here at Silverboy is Floyd Bennet Field, deep in South Brooklyn and all the way at the end of Flatbush Avenue. It’s not unknown in the least, and it remains empty for the most part, although hipsters are well aware of its existence. Get in while the getting is good and secure your squat in one of the numerous abandoned buildings that dot what remains of NYC’s first municipal airport. So much open space. We’ve been here before: :-0

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Right across the street from Floyd Benetton Field is Dead Horse Bay, still a relative unknown and a weird place in it’s own right. Somewhere back in the mists of time this whole area used to be a horse smelting plant where, in the days of horse and buggy whip, all of NYC’s dead horse carcasses would be shipped for rendering into glue or sausages or dog food or somesuch. Fragments of old horse vertebrae push up through the sand here and there and the place retains an eery air. Add to this the fact that the site also used to play host to a landfill albeit decommissioned and capped, until the cap burst. Old garbage is everywhere, jutting out at weird angles and leeching into the bay. It’s not as gross as it sounds though and the garbage, because it is old, retains an interesting element. Vintage. A body feels like a scientist as it pokes around looking through the window of time searching for that perfect and intact 80 year old blue glass bottle to take home as a souvenir or to smash to bits on the rocks. I just wanted to destroy something beatiful…

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Stay tuned America!

A Boy Grows in Brooklyn: Tales from the Brooklyn Museum

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Life and blogs can’t all just be wistful dreaming of Patagonia as the TL1000s superbike cools beneath one’s window  in Flatbush…ticking softly. We’ve been meaning to check out the Brooklyn Museum for some time now, situated as it is betwixt our worktime haunts  and the crumbling Victorian manse in which our rented room and bed is kept (but not made! (ha!)). A great attractiveness of the Brooklyn Museum lies in the fact that it’s stuffed with art and that it’s free, well, suggested donation which means it is basically free. The MET is like this still and it’s one of the reasons why we love it so. Seriously, the Guggenheim, MoMA, and the fucking Whitney are like $18  just to enter. Looking at art should be free and the Guggenheim should be paying me half the time to look at their shitty installments. Rumors swirl, as Josh at work says that the Museum of Natural History X is no longer pay-what-you-can. Bullshit methinks with its fiberglass whale and shitty, scabies ridden dioramas (Fuck you Ben Stiller…atorrante!). Well…regardless the Brooklyn Museum is alright, empty and quiet on a late Thursday afternoon. Incidentally, this is the only time this place is open late, a good thing for working boys and girls.

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Yea, so the museum is housed in a pretty nice building, a tasteful mix of new and old. Elegant. Airy. There’s a small sculpture garden near the entrance, full of nude busts of Balzac if that’s your thing and a nice point-counterpoint to the crappy modern art (hunks of multicolored plastic and shit) that’s strewn throughout the building. Yea, so it’s like a little MET. Cool. There’s even some mummies on display and a pretty substantial collection of Egyptian artistry. Add to that some Babylonian friezes and the BK Museum is golden.

FxCam_1369351071673Why not check out the collections of retro silverware and art deco alarm clocks and the like in the living storage area upstairs. But, before you do make sure to say hello to Bicycle Boy, crown jewel of the Brooklyn Museum, reigning supreme on the top floor like a level-boss. This creepy little mascot of Louis Simon’s turn of the century Greenpoint motorcycle and bicycle shop was built to lure customers within like an angler fish. Back in his glory daze his legs would move and pedal the bicycle and a lightbulb glowed within his wooden skull, illuminating the hollow and and brightening his glass eyes with a dull red life. Legend has it the Bicycle Boy comes alive at night, roaming the halls of Brooklyn’s own MET and sometimes out the doors and into the night, eyes ablaze!

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Brooklyn Museum: Trade Sign (Boy Riding Bicycle)

Bonus:  Book reviews for Gentleboys: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Possibly the most wistful book I’ve ever deigned to read. nevertheless A Tree Grows in Brooklyn has earned its place in American literary history and wears its classification as a modern classic without apology. A bit pulpy, dainty, and ladylike Tree reads well and quick; a fun read really with scenes of olden-tyme Brooklyn as seen through the eyes of a little girl making for a nice counterpoint-point to the usual shit I read. We could all have one of these books about growing up in whatever place it was that we did. A Stump Grows in Levittown Under a Mailbox? A coming of age tale set in America’s first suburb? Bah, screw it! You know that shit doesn’t end well. We’ll pitch it as a collection of prose and poems  about growing up playing soccer and nintendo in the godless suburbs, and then all the way up to the present day and sleepless night spent wandering down Flatbush Ave naked and alone, a loaded revolver in one hand and an ice cold St. Ides in the other…

R2D2 ridin’ on the BQ
like to see a girl in her underwear see through
A train plain Jane giving me a migraine
move from the front now to the back brain!
Bike bike we like rails on the penny
On the Belt now doing 120!