Tag Archives: nyc

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

Radio Gods Unite!: Review of Chez le Chef NYC

A recent NYC meet-up with former Radio God and hooligan crony DJ Jared led us into the esteemed company of Chef Frederic and his little corner of hell somewhere in the alcohol soaked Apple. The evening started out well enough, with the author toasting his pal (such being their first hurrah together since the DJ’s entrance into his 28th year) to eternal life over expensive beers at Gingerman, and to both their credit, ended well and with a story to tell the boys n’ girls at home of a run-in with a mustachioed chef. Also, no one ended up in jail or bleeding. After leaving Gingerman and drinking our fill at other neighboring bars little Jared’s tummy started rumbling and the offer of a birthday feast of the DJ’s choosing was put on the table by this guy right here.

But, where would he choose? Something decadent? Something fancy? A simple man with simple tastes, the DJ’s eye caught a glimpse of something resembling a restaurant touting German-fare across the street immediately after the free-meal gauntlet was thrown. Drawing closer, the fact that it was completely empty was noted while checking the menu taped to the door. It was also noted that a cartoonish chef with a huge white mustache that curled up under his chef’s hat was beckoning us to come inside. Not one to pass up free tickets to the theater of the macabre, both your author and DJ Jared succumbed. Entering the restaurant, we both noted that there were photos and yellowed newspaper clippings of the eccentric chef plastered to every inch of Chez le Chef’s two floors. We were seated upstairs and ordered up a round of shitty German beers that I’ve never heard of and have already forgotten. Sipping beers and supping on some bread we took in our surroundings. Everything about Chez le Chef resembled my grandma’s house: all the furniture is exactly the same, nothing really matches, and there are a lot of fake plants. On every table there is a little teddybear clutching an I Love You heart jammed into a glass. There are cheap clocks and other shit on the walls that made us suspect that Frederic actually lives there. The lighting is weird and everything is jammed together. There are cheap knick-knacks everywhere. I was loving this, however the eccentric luster of Chef Frederic wore off fairly quickly as he presents as a genuinely creepy individual. There is a passive aggressive quality to Frederic’s soft-spoken tone and the way he looks at you belies a flawed individual who’s eccentricity is likely the result of mental illness. At Frederic’s suggestion, Jared and I both ordered the Hungarian goulash. Clinking glasses before diving in, a remembrance was dreamt of that dreamy time in Montreal when we dined on the most perfect of Polish meals. Would it be the same magical type of dish? Eh, it was alright I suppose. Fine by my standards, but know that I am no Marlo (the foodie voice of our generation). Jared was nonplussed, and considered his goulash to be somewhat ghoulish and watery. The true delight came at dinner’s end when we were billed $130 for said fare, as Frederic had added a mandatory tax and tip to our $77 bill.

Perfectly normal thing to do.

Paying no mind, the author and the DJ scuttled into the night to slam ever more beers and file the memory of chef Frederic away under lock and key. We’ll bring him out for a laugh next time we’re dining at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Chez le Chef

127 Lexington Ave # A
New York, NY 10016
(212) 685-1888