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Posts Tagged ‘At World’s End’

 

If you haven’t been by Coney Island yet, you better get on down. Astroland is set to close in September.

Despite the recent alterations in the plans, it’s pretty much accepted that all the grimy ole amusement feel will be cleaned off and polished. Rockabilly kids probably will be replaced by people with time shares, the old facades torn down, hot dog stands replaced by restaurants, freak shows replaced by concerts…

So I say take the F train down, enjoy the atmosphere, play in the glassy sand, take the bumper cars for a drive, build sand castles, see some freaks, go to a burlesque show, and play some skee ball, ride your favorite ride till you’re dizzy…because who knows what the next Coney Island will bring.

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I heard lots about David Bowie’s High Line festival, certainly. But I didn’t actually know what High Line is – where the money from the hip, hot, exciting events was going.

The High Line is a 1.5 mile elevated railway that runs along the West Side of Manhattan.

highline1.jpg

Isn’t it pretty?

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It will be made into a public park.

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I’d like to see it for myself.

Here’s a map of where it actually lies in Manhattan.

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“The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can’t do…For example, I can let you drown, but I can’t bring this ship into Tortuga all by me onesies, savvy? So, can you sail under the command of a pirate, or can you not?”

The immortal words quoted above were uttered by all of our favorite pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow, in all of our favorite pirate movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, a.k.a. Pirates 1. In this scene, Captain Jack is trying to explain to Will Turner, nascent pirate, the essential truth of piratehood: you can only trust a pirate to do what’s in his own best interest in the moment without regard to promises, alliances, or interpersonal relationships.

Like me, some of you may have watched Pirates 3 this weekend. Also like me, some others may have read a few reviews about the film. Many of the reviews I read (I only read one) pointed to a real shitshow of conflicting plot lines which made the movie virtually impenetrable for the mind of a grown person. I totally agree with this claim, but I still think this was the best of the three Pirates movies. I think the real problem is the general public’s inability to deal with the intricacies of pirate culture.

At World’s End featured more alliance-switching than a bunch of gypsies playing Risk. There were three or four general sides – two competing pirate factions, the Navy and then an occasional personal grouping (like lovers, or people trying to lift curses, etc.). So that’s already kind of confusing. As the story progresses, the pirate factions join and separate, individuals make pacts with the Navy or another pirates, and then all of those promises are repeatedly broken, repaired and then rended again. It’s zany!

But this is not a symptom of poor story telling. It is simply art imitating pirate life. As I mentioned earlier, a pirate can only ensure acting in his own best interest. There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s just how pirates are. And clearly the pirate scholars who wrote this movie, or at least provided consulting services, were trying to express this cultural phenomenon. And if it confused you, well, I guess that just makes you a bad pirate.

Savvy?

Pirates trying to out-pirate each other.

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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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I’ve recently adopted a Tuesday evening tradition. Well, it’s only been two times now, so maybe it’s more of a Tuesday evening coincidence. It’s something in the spirit of Mardi Gras – revolting hedonism on a Tuesday. This event, which I like to call “Shotdogs,” has everything but the girls gone wild.

The evening starts out at Welcome to the Johnsons, a perfectly divey bar in the Lower East Side in Manhattan (yuck, I know). I’ve been going to this bar for several years now and was something of a regular when I lived in that hood. I was there for the summer when fruit flies had infested the limes and so there was always a fine film of bugs and bug-parts on every drink you ordered. That was when I developed an irrational fear of bar fruit. I’ve witnessed the replacement of the toilet that was once so covered in band stickers, you could hardly tell what you were supposed to do with it. The new one is collecting its own piss stained collection. I’ve been there for brawls between guys who look like they fell out of a Ramones show thirty years ago – replete with blood trickling from their self-pierced safety pin earring holes. Anyway, as pleasant as all that sounds, there is one reason above all that I have been a Welcome to the Johnsons fan for so long: $2 drinks during happy hour (from when you wake up till 9 PM). You must not tell anyone about this. It’s a secret.

At Welcome to the Johnsons, the drinking begins. First, $2 whiskey and gingers. Then the shots. Last night we did a Red Headed Slut, followed by the bartender’s own concoction, Dr. Nut. Then we continue on with the regular drinks. All the while, the conversation gracefully flits from one topic to the other, weaving in nearby patrons and their opinions of The Flaming Lips, March Madness, olive juice, etc.

cupcackeeIn order for the Shotdog participants to remain reasonable, we all have to eat dinner. Dinner is hotdogs from Dash. In my case, vegetarian chili dogs. In other cases, processed meat monstrosities, choked with bacon, Fritos and other wonderful things. But that’s not all. Then come the chips and salsa from Festival Mexican Restaurant (outside of which, some guy drunkenly peed behind a Pathfinder while everyone in the bar watched with horror and glee) and then cupcakes (including one for the bartender) from Sugar Sweet Sunshine. Please keep in mind, I skipped the gym to partake in this madness.

By 9:00, we are all sufficiently bloated and return home to watch American Idol while we mainline salad and try to rehydrate.

Now, I don’t know if this particular evening’s activities can be approximated in our borough. I have a feeling that it is possible, but only in Williamsburg, where girls in leggings and guys in hoodies are a dime a dozen. The real issue here is that while the people at Johnsons and the people in Williamsburg are all disgusting hipsters, the ones at Johnsons are much skeezier. In my mind, this goes a long way. So, until an absurdly underpriced dive bar and an absurdly overpriced hot dog vendor move into my current hood, I think I’ll just keep hitting up the L.E.S for my shotdog fix.

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Dear RK,

I don’t know how to tell you this, but you are mired in a prejudice so thick and vile, you may never find your way out. The yellow trains are not slow. I mean, no more slow than any of the other trains – all of which travel at the speed and with the agility of a toddler. The F train is no prize, my friend.

However, you did make a good point regarding the above-ground stops. I love those. But you know what’s better than chugging along past the Kentile sign at Smith & 9th? Crossing the East River on the N and Q trains (also on the B & D trains that I use to get to work). You can look north and see the charming waterfront-industrial scene or you can look south (my choice) and see the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, the big shiny Financial District buildings, boats, dead bodies…it’s like a little bit of heaven! All the while, your F train is creeping along underground like so many giant, seething rats.

Seething rats.

f-train.jpg = rat.jpg

A simile.

Earlier:
Subway (Debate) Series
Subway (Debate) Series: Rebuttal

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Interesting choice in route, the 4th and 9th R/M to Union Square over the F to 14th Street. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you had a few valuable words of wisdom there, Friend. However, I do know better, so now I must annihilate you and your arguments.

First off, I must state that the R and M trains are, how you say, pieces of shit. And don’t you dare deny this, Friend. Don’t you (fucking) dare. You and I both know that even at their fastest, I could run alongside both trains and beat either one to the next station. And this is coming from someone with a weak respiratory system, strained left shoulder, and bad knees. Maybe you enjoy riding those graffiti’d subway tracks at such a slow pace you’re able to read every crude comment written on those black, tarred walls. But I, personally, enjoy feeling as though I am in an actual moving vehicle, not a carriage being pulled by a Gypsy Horse in the mid to late 1600’s. But perhaps you have an old soul, which would explain your penchant for slow moving cars, similar to how an 88 year old likes to drive 13 mph on a 65 mph highway. In which case, then yeah, the R or M trains might be a wiser choice.

I, however, am young at heart. I, like most humans, prefer my trains to be fast. I like to feel a steady flow of vibrations below my feet, and getting to work on time.

I’d also like to address the fact that the 4th and 9th Street F stop is above ground. And correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t you once state, and I think pretty recently, that, “Without the Canal, the F train would not make its two glorious above-ground stops at Smith & 9th and 4th Avenue. Think of all those people who wouldn’t be able to send text messages, check their voice mail and make annoying phone calls while commuting with 6000 other people in a single train car.” Oh, hey look what I found. Your exact quote. So, interesting. You choose the shitty, stank, underground R/M, over the oh-so glorious above-ground F stop. Two timer.

Now, I know you’re probably going to come back at me with, “but one rides the R/M for no more than three stops.” Well, I have news for you, the N train moves just as slowly as the R. It skips stops, yes. However, it is so incredibly jam-packed in the morning that the actual weight of the train permits it to drive only at a negative pace. -12 mph, if you’re looking for a rough figure. It is literally, torture.

Convenience is also key here. The F train is a straight shot to 14th Street. No transfers necessary. This means, if you, or I, or anyone else is lucky enough to find an open seat right off the bat, well all I can say is, Zzzzzzz. That means you get to take a nap. And sleep my friend, is a precious, precious thing.

Lastly, if you’re going by old adages, how about this one. N stands for Never; R stands for Rarely.

Love,
RK

PS I bet you didn’t expect any of your previous arguments to nip you in the butt.

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