Thursday, June 30, 2005

uh, gross...

must have been the drugs, but i didn't notice it raining that hard last night... yet we have reports of:

-a "boil water" advisory which makes me feel just like i'm back at home in the developing world.

-a destroyed basement floor rug that's going to cost $1500 to tear up, forget about replace.

-a car that drowned in 4' of water last night when the drainage pipe next to the parking lot burst. 4'. thats like, 48". which, in case you're keeping track, is only slightly less high than the olsen twins stacked atop each other.

again, anyone with a free digital camera? so much more fun!

snide lit hounds

will appreciate bad librarian. mr. wennermark is a brilliant writer and art critic who lives in baltimore for some unfathomable reason. he said it was something to do with the cost of living, but i think he just likes trashcan fires.
mr. wennermark makes me feel inadequate. he lived in syria before i did and chinatown ahead of me. he's got a masters, keeps up with his art, and adroitly wields lit crit like a sharpened saber. while i encourage you to read of him, i hope he doesn't find me.

a little recogniton please

Chinatown gets shat on again. In this map from nyc bloggers we notice something is missing. Like our train. Locate the Grand Street stop? They list it as shuttle service. I hate to break it to my 4/5/6 centric-Manhattanites, but the Grand Street Shuttle is only a 'shuttle' if you take it from Broadway-Lafayette. The rest of the time, it is a full fledged B/D train that runs both ways, not just downtown, and continues south-easterly all the way to Brighton Beach (B) and Coney Island (D).
So why the hate? Do we just not recognize it as more than a shuttle because it's a 15 minute ride across to Brooklyn and well into the other borough before it's first stop? Is this too far for Manhattan? So they pretend our train doesn't exist pass Grand Street? I call bullshit. Especially because the grey S circle is just really uninspired.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

scrubbin' bubbles!

did you know they power wash the subways while we sleep?

my old roommates moved up to the upper east side this spring, in search of cheaper rents. they now consider themselves, laughingly, to be at the head of the trend, and giggle at how behind i am, still lurking on the boundaries of the LES like that kid sitting in the second circle around the lunch table in middle school, lunchbox balanced on her lap.

they and i know that they are not actually part of a trend, which we have determined was actually just the result of a Post writer noticing a black guy on the UES and deciding that the floodgates had oppened. they are instead just broke-ass girls scraping by on the meager livings of an assistant and a cocktail waitress, in a back of building railroad-style fifth floor walk up a good half mile from the nearest subway. in fact, the map in the back of cabs actually says they live in spanish harlem, which is how they refer to it in the company of everyone but their parents, who, for the peace of mind of all concerned, believe they live over a police precinct and next to a nunnery.

because i don't have a television or internet access down in chinoistown, thanks to outdated building standards and the ghastly lack of civilization of my neighbors (who could bear to live without E! or Fox News at home- really!) i occasionally find myself craving some mass market entertainment. this has started recently, since i powered through those copies of Cyberotica and Lolita my subletter left behind. I know what judgements you are forming, but people, please, it's Nabokov. It's literature.

when the urge to go get my fill of brangelina and on demand music videos hit, i usually head on up to the Upsaida and spend an evening on the couch in the company of their AC and the only small dog i've ever not wanted to kick across the room. last night was one of those nights, replete with mac & cheese and a will smith vehicle that made the meatpacking district look like new yorkers sometimes go out there.

while my old roommates and i live almost precisely aligned with one and other as the crow flies, the distinct lack of a second avenue subway means that the five miles between our respective closets actually blossems to seven, as we walk up and over and over and down and all that. last night was one of those nights, where i left their place at midnight and plodded southwest to the subway. it was a steamy night, and i was carrying groceries i'd bought spontaneously out of the sheer excitement of being in an proper grocery store. the ice cream melted before i got on the train and fed the gaping mouth of a trash can instead.

i waited for 20 minutes for the 4/6, which changes from express to local at grand central on late nights as it moves out of the wasteland that is midtown. i then waited another 25 minutes on the oppressive BDFV track waiting for my grand street shuttle, avoiding the crazy bum who kept lighting up a blunt and putting it out on the bench. when i finally got home, an hour and a half after i left, i ran into workers powerwashing the subway. the water was an inch deep and smelled of fish guts. it was beyond a delight in my flipflops and dragging jean hems. it did however reassure me to know that the filth that greeted me this morning was fresh filth, none of this used or stale nonsense.

in reading up on subway powerwashing- resources being scarcer than you'd expect, shockingly- i've discovered it isn't that frequent an occurance. would it be wrong of me to wonder if my subway stop is just flat out nastier than other locations? is this the one thing chinatown gets special treatment for? cause we're dirty?

Monday, June 27, 2005

menace in grand central

just getting back from a weekend in the country, stumbling through the station today at 7:55 on my way to the office, i almost, almost, did a doubletake when i walked by a trashcan in the middle of the hall, with a large blue metal box sitting on the floor next to it. the fact that someone left their box unattended was not that shocking, although i was a bit surprised to note that the legions of army reserve guys with the big ass motherfucking guns hadn't hauled out that bombsquad machine. you know, this one.

no, what made me almost fall off my heels was the wires snaking out of the box, up the side of the can, and into its yawning maw. that to me looked a little suspicious. i considered finding a police officer or an MTA employee, but at that point i only had five minutes to get to work. i mean, i think my supervisor would have forgiven me, had the box proven to be a dirty bomb or something. then again, as i thought about it some more, he probably would have just laughed at me for acting like such a tourist. besides, i figured, as much as i love GCT, i work far enough away that unless it was a pretty intense blast, i'd be okay. i mean...

actually, as i kept walking, i saw these crazy looking metal multi-pronged things dangling from nylon webbing over all the major arches in the terminal. i figured then it must be some sort of test. but of what? i queried those knowledgeable folks over at curbed, but if they don't deliver, i'm calling the terminal myself.

anyone want to buy me a digital camera? it really would make this so much more interesting.

Friday, June 24, 2005

back in the spotlight

holy shit! no sooner do i see him in the flesh then he pops back up on the radar... not that Radar. no, but Central Village has spotted him, and TOTC is there to tell us all about it.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

one-half nelson, sans his laidie

yesterday i found myself in grand central, something that happens quite often these days, given my newfound proximity and undying fondness for large municipal buildings. however, on this particular visit i was escorting my young suburban brother to get him back on a train to the motherland, and given the relative lateness of the hour, he was hungry. i promised him expensive bourgeoisie food in the forms of fresh foccacia, artisnal cheese, heirloom tomatoes and succulent salmon over at the GCT market.
as we fought our way through the crowds of commuters, tods bags flying in the rush and brooks brothers suits rumpled in the heat, all for the sake of finding lil' bro some creme fraiche to eat with his seven grain handed kneaded bread, i saw him.

one-half nelson.

(photo stolen from tale of two cities.)

yes, there he was, responding with heavily lidded eyes to a customer obviously befuddled by his enormous 70's era glasses. having been born and raised in the CT, there is nothing i know better than the incomprehensibility of such attire and grooming to a connecticut career woman. she kept repeating something about a pound of colombian beans roasted french style with a hint of sumerian and he, resplendent in bowl cut and wrist cuffs, nodded as though drugged.

i stopped, stared, pulled my brother aside and elbowed him in the side as a warning to remain silent. shh, don't look now, but that's... that's... one-half nelson. the king of hip- or something. my brother was shocked, horrified, fascinated and amazed. he leaned over and whispered... "katie, i can't wait to move to new york." i patted him on the head and reassured him that his time too would come.

at this obvious gawking one-half stirred and looked up. there i was, dressed like any other office drone, bag of murray's cheese in hand. i knew he thought i was staring, admiring or aghast, at his hair, his piercings, his glasses likely stolen from my grandmother. he would have had no way of knowing how much deeper our encounter truly ran.


funny things from the guys at work magazine (hey jim!) to keep you entertained while you um... work.

lake map of manhattan

the lake map of manhattan

which some people might remember as being vaguely familiar to the gastronomic subway map of nyc in the new yorker a while back. (not online, alas...)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


for me. and if you do, we can go drink everything in the minibar and vomit over the railing on unsupecting hipsters... come on, who can think of anything in the world they'd rather do than make a hipster go pay for drycleaning? awesome, awesome.

go vote now- early and often!

#9, decaf & fester. (i hate that they put it all in caps)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

thanks to curbed for pointing me in this direction, but since i did promise to focus on my nabe (vote for me!) as well as i could, given i don't speak the language and i don't have a camera...

this is an interesting story about the change in chinatown over the past 5 years, and the cavalier attitude the city has taken towards protecting the quality of life of some of it's most disenfranchised residents. thanks to the surviellance players for this one.

and here's a map! pleased as punch to know that on my drunken strolls home from barrio chino, i am amply protected by not one, not two, but 9 cameras. all on a three block spin.

Friday, June 17, 2005

ah yes...

man... how familiar does this sound.

after a run of, count 'em- 5 internships in the past 2 years, i am happy to announce i will be done! done! done! after this summer.

just in case you're keeping score, it has been

*1 paid - cushy summer job with a BigBank where i worked on making labels match for their contract binders. wow, in retrospect, that was a lot of money. too bad i was young, naive, new to the city, and blew it all at B-Bar and the Park. please don't spread that around.

*1 metro card stipend - per semester, a monthly rate (love how shiesty they were) that exactly paid for the trips i made to the office. that's right folks. bastards wouldn't even give me a monthly pass. and you know what? i still haven't recieved one of the two semesters reimbursement. from december. i don't care even if they are a not for profit. i've seen their membership fees.

*and 1 bait and switch - so what if we told you $15/hour, 8 hour days in the meeting, you're totally gonna love $400 a week- taxed, natch - 9.5 hour days! i long for the days of the BigBank and the 8:45 start. forget the money. just let me sleep. i don't deal with your london clients anyway.

oh and the rest? don't make me giggle. they paid in hugs and rainbows.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

i'm sorry lee, but you suck

my favorite bitter brooklyner is back at it again, ruining perfectly good places by writing lousy articles and committing the crime of shallow observation. lee is an acquaintance of mine from the good old days, but unlike some other actual successful writers, lee pretty much blows.

lee loves to write puff pieces where he talks about how pretty the middle east is, how the people are just so nice! and believe is or not, those cities can be quite civilized, my god, they even have decent wine! he and his cat holed up in cairo around the corner from me and his dour face was enough to bring down any party. to quote a former roommate when questioned about his time with lee: "that's true, i was friends with him. but then i realized he was unconscionably objectable, so i stopped."

perhaps another reason i dislike lee is personal. i mean, yes, i could toss off reviews of elissar in my sleep, but come on, that is hardly the best of the damascene scene. maybe if his arabic was a little more polished it would help him navigate those cities he loves to play imperialist in just a bit better. anyway, personal. anyone who shacks up with this character (and hack) is bound to be unloved.

briefly: JG was a roommate. he skipped on the rent, sat on the back porch smoking marlboro reds and where his presence helped get the little twelve year old girl who lived on the roof next door beaten every time she went into his line of sight, having the effect of confining her to the dark plywood structure. he verbally abused, then assaulted our wonderful, kind housekeeper chazly, who then was perfectly right in leaving us, sorrowfully, yet making the very valid point he couldn't work in a house where he wasn't respected. all over jason misplacing a piece of paper with a phone number and then flying into a rage when chazly couldn't find it.

jason was summarily evicted from our residence following that incident, but we took a week getting the locks changed and i woke up one morning to find him in the house, claiming he'd forgotten things. he left empty handed. this of course didn't stop him from interfering in our lives.

he flew to damascus to 'do a story' which was never published. he was supposed to meet my boyfriend who was living there at the time, but my old flame, who liked jg about as much as an enema, stood him up. so jg got my ex's number, called him and told him i was slutting around with some tourist back in cairo. lies, lies, lies. luckily the boy was a sweetheart and didn't believe a word out of the scumbucket's mouth.

anyone who lives with someone like that... not only can the man not write with an ounce of style or panache, but you know what your mother said about the company you keep.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

lebanon update

new postings on the situation and elections in lebanon here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

free music (in long island)

come and get it...

tonight the pixies, interpol, and lcd soundsystem are playing at Jones Beach for summer stage. how about a cooler of beer, a ride on the LIRR and an evening on the beach, shaking your ass to the best music since the pixies? i mean, uh... right, they reunited! sorry, lame joke.

see you there.

Monday, June 13, 2005

i win!

well not quite. but i'm a finalist!

so go vote for me. because i love curbed and it's fine editor lock... and by golly, they seem to be throwing a little love at me!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

belmont bust

the 137th belmont stakes!

last year it was a day not to be remembered. er, literally. d.l. hueghly, jungle juice, mimosas at dawn, a very disappointing turn by smarty jones, brooks brothers hobnobbing with harley davidson, a broken beer pong table and a ride home in the bowels of a limousine. ah, good times.

this year, in an effort to recoup last years losses, belmont went alcohol free. even the LIRR had signs out... NO ALCH TODAY ON TRAINS TO BELMONT... scrolling across the platform. didn't stop us from hiding the champage under jackets each time the conductor went by, but it should have been an indication of the turn the day would take.

by the time we arrived at belmont, around 12:30, we'd missed the first race. we bet on the next two, won a bit, lost a bit. there was some preposterous mixing and matching of yellows and pinks, a few overly eager nautically inspired belts, and at least 3 fedoras. in our cooler citcle alone. we had triplets, high heels, adirondack chairs, and a cooler of precut subway style sandwiches. what more could one ask for?

how about not $7.50 miller lites. because that is like, totally a downer, sir. yes sir. no sir. please don't arrest our darker friends sir. and then they walked away with our beer. we thought we were being sneaky, they thought we were committing a crime. i personally thought officer simon should lay off the roids.

the beer gone, and the grain alcohol punch tasting suspiciously like kool-aid kosher for twelve year olds, the charm wore off fast. after one of us lost $105 on 7 consecutive races, and the sky opened up, it was time to head back to the LIRR. i don't know what belmont was thinking outlawing booze.

attendance was down over 30% this year. serves 'em right. we're not going back. and we'd so hoped it would be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. for shame.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

poverty and the pretty girl

the best thing about living in chinoistown? the incredible proximity to my favorite bar. tucked behind a ratty pink awning and distinguished only by it's unusual lack of giant black garbage bags out front, happy ending is the best thing since that other place we used to go to was totally overrun by jersey trash. actually, happy ending is kinda not so good on weekends, but that could be the preponderence of the shark-suited stylings of the (i'm not saying they are for certain, but you know, they do look like they're packing when they walk around like that) fuk ching.

yes, yes, i know, talking about an interesting bar is a surefire way of making it into the damascus spring, over before it began. and yes, yes, i'm also aware that name-checking the bar now is just passe. but i just love that i live approximately one block from free drinks every tuesday night. it's brilliant. especially since these days i make less than $8.50 an hour churning out reports on the middle east that probably not a single soul reads. (Like fun things on why the Syrian VP resigned, or enlightening commentary about Lebanese assassinations.) it's a damn good thing i'm just that pretty that i can skip into a bar and get my drinks paid for. even if it is my boyfriend doing it. haha! sucker.

poverty is a vicious thing. on my overinflated salary of $400 a week (pre-tax folks, lets not get jealous) i shell out $700 a month in rent, to share a one bedroom with my best friend. she makes her money doing this, which is amazing to drop on someone in a bar, but not really the best way to find yourself drinking crystal at marquee. where i would actually want to stick that skipole in my eye. more on eye gouging and pro-skiing later.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Fresh off my month on the couch and newly settled into yet another part time job, I've got a bit too much free time, ambition, and material to sit around refreshing gawker all day. so, given the interesting location of my new hood, and the relative dearth of knowledge about it, why not blabber away? i figure if my stuff (anonymous reader point #4) is good enough to pass through the iron-editing of Lock, then why not give it a stab? other people love their nabes, even when it makes no sense to anyone else. which is why i'm giving this a shot: because my nabe doesn't have any love for me.