Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dancing in the Dark

I am from New Jersey.  Therefore, the fact that I am a Bruce Springsteen fan will not cause anyone to fall off their chair in surprise.  But (hold onto those horses, now), I was not *actually* a fan until a few years ago when I finally allowed myself to listen without covered ears (I’m nothing if not incredibly dramatic).  My frousins (friend cousins – where have YOU been?!) and I went to a concert in October 2009 in NJ and it was amayyyyyzing.  I have seen the B Street Band perform in Hoboken a few times, sometimes even without a fight breaking out at the bar behind me.  Also, I am proud to announce that some frousins and I are going to go see The Boss again together on Good Friday at Madison Square Garden. 

So anyway, on Monday night, one of the frousins, Emmy Poo, asked if I wanted to accompany her to a performance of a different Bruce cover band, “Fire without a Spark: Emma and Andy Cover Springsteen."  I don’t read e-mails properly and didn’t realize until we were walking to Mercury Lounge (217 E Houston) that Emma and Andy have both been on Broadway and then I got pretty excited about how they would be performing the hits in a different way than what we are used to.  The B Street Band pretty much plays all the songs as if they *are* the E Street Band, so I thought that this concert could be an interesting change and I started right then and there saying prayers that Emma and Andy would perform Thunder Road.  

Mercury Lounge is a small concert venue with live music every night, most nights with an early show and a late show.  I had actually been to this venue before but didn’t realize it until I walked in.  I went on a strange night that started in Murray Hill for Happy Hour with a friend from home and ended in a recording studio near my guitar class studio at four in the morning with friends of hers who I had just met.  Don’t worry, I got home safe and sound, and up early enough to see the pillow fight in Union Square the next day. 

Emily and I were there for the early show which was good because I have become an old lady as of late, and something ending before 10 sounded really nice to me.  A band called Fran Sancisco opened up and played 5 or 6 original songs.  They were pretty good at the music part although there was one song I could have fast-forwarded through, but were lacking on witty banter between the songs, which they did call out that they were bad at, so I suppose I can forgive them.  Turns out two of the band members are also actors/singers in American Idiot and I should probably also forgive them for being in a Green Day musical, but I’m just not there yet.

After Fran Sancisco (should I start calling NY Yew Nork?), Emma and Andy came on and blew us away.  Legit-ly (which I have just declared a word).  Emma Hunton is currently in Rent and Andy Mientus is currently in Carrie, both off-Broadway, and their voices and talent are incredible.  They slowed it down, sped it up, made it work.  Check out these videos and swoon along with us - my prayers came true on video #3.

Emily and I were *really* hoping Bruce would make a surprise appearance since my spies tell me he was at 30 Rock on Monday, but we did not see him anywhere.  But it almost didn’t matter, we had a great time watching Emma & Andy and we will see the real Boss in just over a month, when I am allowed to drink soda again.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Get More NYC | "I Lego N.Y."

If you haven't read any of Christoph Niemann's "Abstract Sunday" blogs for the NY Times, do yourself a huge favor here.  You may have recently heard of Niemann because he sketched his way through the NY marathon in the fall, "26.2 Miles, 46 Sketches" (also read about MY watching of the NY marathon, here).  But what I really wanted to share with you today is Niemann's entry on building NYC with his sons' Legos, entitled "I Lego N.Y."  I was just thinking about some of my favorite things I've found about NYC on the interweb, and this blog entry is definitely toward the top of the list.  To read the full entry, click this guy.  To see some of my favorite pictures (all credited to Niemann of course), scroll down and enjoy!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Funny Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day, readers!  I thought today would be the perfect day to showcase some quotes about one of my greatest loves, New York City, courtesy of “1001 Greatest Things Ever Said About New York” which I just bought at a small bookshop in the West Village.

“Every true New Yorker believes with all his heart that when a New 
Yorker is tired of New York, he is tired of life.” 
~ Robert Moses ~

“I’ve always loved New York.  It just never loved me back.” 
~ James Edwards, a homeless man ~

“This city’s got the right name – New York.  Nothing ever gets old around here.” 
~ Ralph Stephenson ~

“Genius on every corner.” 
~ John Guare ~

“I love New York because within its borders you can travel the world.”
~ Dennis Gonzalez ~

“New York is like heroin to the soul.” 
~ Nina Kurtz ~


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

This City was Built on Rock

A few weeks ago, after a fabulous brunch at Cornelia Street Cafe, a  subway ride uptown, and a walk across Central Park, Ravi, Kristyn, John, and I walked up to the Museum of the City of New York on 103rd and Fifth.  

The main exhibit that I wanted to see was The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811 - 2011, about how the city planners came up with the plan for the grid and executed upon the plan, open until April 15th.  The content of The Greatest Grid is awesome, but the way that the museum set it up just does not work.  The exhibit is set up to resemble a grid itself, which makes sense creatively, but not logistically.  There is no clear pathway and people are wandering around without direction.  Also because of the design, it's confusing as the exhibit can jump from the 1800s to the 2000s back to the 1900s.  But, as I said, what's *in* the exhibit is pretty awesome.  The collection includes hand-drawn maps, surveyor reports, ownership records, park designs, and cool photos like this that show huge rock formations next to townhouses uptown:

Other exhibits include:
  • Police Work, with photos from Leonard Freed, who photographed the NYPD in action during the 1970s (until March 18th)
  • New York Interiors: Furnishings for the Empire City, rooms set up with furniture and decor from different decades of rich people
  • Timescapes: A Multimedia Portrait of New York, an awesome 22-minute film that tells the history of the city from when it was purchased for $24 from the Native Americans to its expansion into the boroughs, the creation of the grid, transportation systems, the history of immigration, and into today.
My favorite part of the museum was definitely The Unfinished Grid: Design Speculations for Manhattan, an exhibit where urban planners and architects tried to imagine "The Next Manhattan", accounting for environmental & technological changes along with the obvious issue of 'where are we going to fit all these people!?'.  It really helped me visualize what the city will be like when I'm mayor in a couple decades.  Check out these ideas:

I don't really get this one, but somehow building another layer on top of the current layer of buildings

Building a HUGE tower in the middle of Central Park (no thanks)

Building *over* all the intersections in the city with buildings and/or ferris wheels

Building out into the Hudson and East Rivers with cute new neighborhood names like HellSea!

Another view of the build-out into the rivers

I would recommend this museum more to residents of the city than to first-time visitors as I think MCNY requires an already appreciated knowledge and passion for New York.  And you all know I have that knowledge and passion.  Vote for me in 2033.  For realz.

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