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Archive for the ‘R train’ Category

Earlier this week, Brooklyn Skeptic posted an alert to the greater Brooklyn community regarding the presence of fascists at one of our favorite local drinking establishments, The Gowanus Yacht Club. Apparently, our journalistic standards here are not really up-to-snuff, but we have the great fortune of a GYC staff member to set the record straight on a variety of topics. In an email (creepily sent to my Flickr account…), the unnamed staff member gives us a well-deserved reaming. Sorry, GYC. We were just being jerks. The text of the email after the cut.

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Just a quick note on Faan, a pan-Asian restaurant on Smith Street. It’s an adorable place with a semi-outdoor seating area, decorated with plants, lanterns and other things dangling from its glass ceiling. Walking by, it looks welcoming and pretty, just like you would want from a pan-Asian restaurant on Smith Street. And while the food was mediocre, the waitstaff surly, and the Silk Panties (a beverage) incredibly strong, there was something special about this place: It featured brazen Brooklyn love on its beer menu.

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On Tuesday night, like many other Tuesday nights, I went to the Gowanus Yacht Club, one of my very favorite bars in Brooklyn. Expecting another delightful evening quaffing brewskies under the stars, I was shocked to discover that the bar had, in fact, been infiltrated by fascists. At first, I wasn’t sure. Obviously the fascists weren’t hanging around bragging about their totalitarian ways. No, no. They appeared to be the regular bartenders, but there was a tension in the air that could only be attributed to an absolutist power structure that had enveloped the establishment.

My proof:

1. Upon seating ourselves at a rickety table (which rocked and caused my beer to spill on more than one occasion), my companion and I realized that there was no longer any table service. I looked plaintively at the (former) waiter, hoping he would bring me beer just like he had in the past. But no. As I battled my way up to the beer-to-cup staging area, he leaned on the bar and laughed. In most bars, this is ordinary and acceptable. Not so with the GYC. Generally, it is so crowded that walking through the place with a beer in hand is simply something that must be left to professionals.

2. There were no paper towels in the bathroom. Again, something that can be overlooked in a normal bar. But the GYC only recently installed a bathroom, which is in a fake room made of drywall taped to whatever used to be in that basement. I mean, you wash your hands in a utility sink and squirt soap from a ketchup bottle. Seriously. Under these conditions, paper towels are essential.

3. They have recently created a “smoking section” in a bar that is literally without walls or a ceiling. When I walked in, there was a big crowd in the front area of the bar. This is, at best, uncommon on a Tuesday evening. As I pushed through the throngs, I realized there were plenty of tables and chairs a little farther back. I silently wondered why they didn’t just go sit down. But then I figured it out. On several occasions, a few poor souls tried to light cigarettes in the completely unmarked, arbitrary no-smoking zone. Upon the first flick of the Bic, the surly non-waiter would march up, and yell something like “Dude! DUDE! You can’t smoke there! It’s a no smoking section!” At this point, the offender would calmly get up, walk three feet away, and continue smoking. All those who remained in the fantasy non-smoking section, glanced quizzically at each other while continuing to die from second had smoke because there are no walls in this tiny, tiny bar.

Only a fascist would have let this happen to the GYC. Where’s Churchill when you need him?

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Gowanus Yacht Club: Unburdened by walls, and completely overrun with fascists.

Photo: Slice

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This Sunday, a handful of Skeptics traipsed merrily through 5th Avenue Street Fair in Park Slope, Brooklyn. And as it turns out, we were not the only ones there. Looking down the Avenue from the top of the Slope, you could see it was packed for about a mile. The whole thing made me feel a little gay for Brooklyn. Here are some of my favorite parts of the fair:

1. Open Container Laws Be Damned

The fair gave a new meaning to al fresco drinking – of which we all know I’m the biggest fan. Nearly every bar was selling some beers, of both the generic and fantastic variety, on tap out of coolers in the middle of the street. You could get a plastic cup of beer or a frozen margarita from Mezcal and stumble around drunkenly, fondling pashminas and mozzarepas, for the rest of the day.

2. Kids Are So Predictable

At exactly 4:00, all of the children at the fair (roughly 2 million from the preliminary count) began to cry as their sugar highs wore off and they started to feel the effects of missing nap time. One child noted, “oh look – balloons,” in an uncharacteristically sarcastic manner.

3. Dancing Ladies

There were quite a few bands playing along the way, but there was one that stood out above all others: The Burlesque Alliance. This is an 11-or-so-piece band that was playing some kind of music with which I am not familiar enough to know the genre’s name. They had like horns or whatever. But more importantly, they had a lady who wore a tiny USO-style getup, dancing on the side of the stage. She was just awesome.

I was first introduced to the concept of go-go dancers at street fairs last summer at the Atlantic Avenue Street Fair. I didn’t like them as much. It seemed more exploitative in some way. Pizappas found this band a tad exploitative too. And I can understand that. I guess. But I’ll still going to their show at Southpaw on May 26.

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The NY Times discusses one of current society’s most hated, gluten.  I find this article thought provoking as it goes through and lists the (apparently) many nays of the protein.  (Who knew?)  I’d like to share with you some of the most interesting points/truths exposed by the Times. 

“There is no question that eating gluten aggravates celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients.” (Nay, especially since I am convinced I might currently be suffering from this disease.)

“Brandi Walzer, a 29-year-old cartographer in Savannah, Ga., loves bread, not to mention pizza and beer. But she tries to avoid them, because they contain gluten — a substance she says upsets her stomach, aggravates her arthritis and touches off depression.”  (Nay.)

“[Gluten] is responsible for a variety of ills, from skin eruptions to infertility to anxiety to gas.”  (Um, nay.)

“To be sure, whole wheat and other cereal grains that contain gluten can be hard to digest. (Nay.) The bran and germ components tend to pass through the alimentary canal intact, which is why they are often prescribed as a sort of natural broom to relieve constipation (Nay?)— and why they can also cause gas and diarrhea.” (Hmmm, yeah, nay.)

“Gluten is relatively new to the human diet, as wheat cultivation began only some 10,000 years ago. Now it is ubiquitous, not only in processed foods (including salad dressings, ice cream and peanut butter) but even in the adhesives on envelopes as well as in lipsticks and lotions.”(Whoa- yay for fascinating factor, but nay for possibly ingesting carbs from licking an envelope.)

Despite what this piece argues, I, personally, am a fan of gluten.  Obviously not because of its health benefits, since as it turns out, eating gluten can lead to almost every problematic health issue just shy of death.  But because gluten is the key ingredient for a crispy bread and deliciously textured pasta.  We, the American people, need it.  Our (my) taste buds have adapted to accept only the most indigestible food products our (my) bodies can handle.  And as of right now, we (I) am okay with that.  Though, I suppose if consuming this particular protein will set off “a variety of ills” to “erupt” within my holy sacred (body), perhaps this article should be taken more seriously.  Or, maybe I (and most likely the rest of Brooklyn Skeptic) will ignore these facts altogether and drink as much beer as humanly possible. 

 (Breakfast of Champions)

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The Gowanus Lounge told me that Brooklyn Brewery might move into Smith & 5th!

I once made the trek out to the industrial boneyard that is W-burg to celebrate a fellow blogger’s b-day at the Brewery, and it was great. The only bad part was getting there. And getting back.

Yay beer gardens! I’m thirsty.

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I went to this bar on three separate occasions this weekend. And I bet I’m not the only one. Brooklyn is a great place when it comes to patios. Walking down Court Street for example, there are a number of bars to choose from that offer a nice, relaxing outdoor space. Even the Dunkin’ Donuts has a pretty terrace where the three customers I’ve ever seen eating there can enjoy their pastries. I’ve walked by that Dunkin’ Donuts with Manhattanites, and their heads almost explode. There is such a lack of nice patios in Manhattan, that the idea of giving some up to a Dunkin’ Donuts is mind-boggling. But in Brooklyn, that’s just the way it is.

Gowanus Yacht Club is a bar that is open from the late spring until around Halloween. Located on Smith and President right next to the Carroll stop on the subway, GYC is a small outdoor patio that can probably seat about 40 or 50 people, and is incredibly laid- back. It’s not really a club, and there are no yachts to be seen. Instead, it’s a group of wobbly, colorful tables, parasols, and cheap drinks. The beer selection is quite impressive (ask a waiter – he’ll go on for minutes), and they also offer hot dogs, burgers and the occasional pulled pork entrees.

Pros: Cheap-ish drinks, a drunk but oddly behaved clientele, a friendly and attentive wait-staff, nicotine-friendly environment, bar plays full albums of both new and classic rock, cheap hot dogs.

Cons: Only one bathroom, tight quarters, sometimes tough to get a table, neighborhood kids throwing rocks inside from the street, the grill has been taken away after complaints from neighbors (don’t bring up P.J. Hanley’s ribs around these guys), beer prices are slightly up from last year.

All in all this bar is pretty magnificent. I have the feeling that they’re going to challenge the suspension of their grill, hopefully improving the food situation. In terms of kids throwing rocks inside the bar, one bartender told us his intention of using a bottle of Ballantine as a weapon if they ever come back. That makes me feel safe.

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