Pretend To Be A Tourist Day

20140718_153800As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m a New Yorker through and through. I’ve lived in Queens in the same familiar house all of my life. When I was little, my parents would take me and my brother into the city to see Broadway plays and while I loved the plays, I think I was enamored with the skyscrapers and bustling crowds even more. Unfortunately for me however, our visits came to an end after we discovered that trips into the city gave my mother headaches. She would get a headache on every single single trip. And I do mean every. single. trip.

As fate would have it though, I ended up attending high school in the city. Now you would think that my constant exposure to Manhattan would somehow lessen the charm that it had over me but I must report that this was simply not true. I’m pretty sure my biggest fantasy in high school was just doing all of the stereotypical New York tourist things just for the fun of it. However, those tourist activities are normally very expensive and I was more than content to just be in the city hanging out with friends rather than being swindled blind like the poor unsuspecting tourists that don’t know any better. 20140718_125005 All this being said, you can imagine how happy I was when I was finally able to fulfill my dream of pretending to be a tourist for the day. It all started last Friday with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, followed by a lunch at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, and ending with a stroll through Dumbo, Brooklyn. The weather, may I just say, was absolutely beautiful. The sun was shining and it was a wonderfully warm day – not too hot so that you might want to drag yourself to the nearest body of water and throw yourself in just to cool down. The walk over the Brooklyn Bridge was quite nice. Every now and then, my friend Claudia and I, would stop to take pictures (and selfies) and enjoy a bit of the view along the way. The pedestrian walkway was pretty crowded with people – it was a mix of New Yorkers who had the same idea that we did, New Yorkers who were in a rush to get somewhere (which I don’t really understand – if it’s that urgent take public transportation), and the real tourists who were in awe of everything around them and would frequently stop to take pictures. I was surprised to see, even though I probably should not have been, to see a lot of street vendors lining the way selling their wares and artwork. There were a few of them selling almost identical work in close proximity – to those vendors I can only wish luck. 20140718_130123 Towards the end of our walk on the bridge, we were graced by the presence of a group of university guys walking almost directly on our tails. If we had come to a sudden stop they would have most definitely bumped into us without being able to stop themselves. I felt that I must mention them in this post because they seemed very much a part of our experience after having been so close to us that there were times that I heard their loud, obnoxious conversation over our own. I wish these obnoxious youth well in their endeavors. One can only hope that they learn sometime in the future what a respectable walking distance is.

Excuse my finger at the top left...

Excuse my finger at the top left…

Once of the bridge, Claudia and I made our way over to Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. Grimaldi’s, for those who are unfamiliar, stake claim to the coveted ‘Best Pizza in the City’ and can be found in many a New York City guidebook under ‘Places to Visit’. We soon learned that Grimaldi’s does not serve slices and only takes cash. Yup. If you want to eat at Grimaldi’s you better be hungry for an entire pie. And you better have the cash to pay for it. Anyway, being the famous little pizzeria that it is, there was a line of people extending down the sidewalk waiting for their table (because they also do not take reservations). Claudia and I almost left because we were hungry and there were other places that didn’t have a line extending down the sidewalk but we stuck it out like troopers just to catch a taste of “New York City’s Best Pizza’. And why do they call themselves the best pizzeria in NY? Because each pizza is made in a coal oven which apparently does something for the crust or something (Admittedly, I don’t really care what they make it in…as long as it tastes good). And so the verdict: the pizza was alright. Not mind-blowing like all the reviews boast. I feel like I’ve had better pizza in other places. Grimaldi’s pizza was certainly not bad – it was great – but it was also not the best pizza I’ve ever had. I do encourage people to get on over there though for the experience. The atmosphere of the restaurant and the quick service makes the trip worth your while. 20140718_132807 20140718_142605<img
Bellies full, Claudia and I head over to some park with a great view the NYC skyline where there were a line of folks waiting for the NY ferry. Everything about the park was gorgeous although I was a little put off by the fact that they were selling ice cream for $4 a scoop. That’s so unreasonable! Let’s suffice it to say that I did not get any ice cream that day. Even though I really, really wanted to. I can’t remember the name of the park (curse my memory!) but if you ever come across it or think you can find it based on the clues in this post please note that they do not allow dogs or furniture on their lawns. That’s right. Leave your sofas at home. 20140718_151004 20140718_151151
Anyway, the day ended with a nice stroll around Dumbo, Brooklyn where there were a lot of nice expensive looking eateries and small shops around. On the particular day we went there was a Come Out and Play Festival that some people were setting up for and I do believe it was basically an event where adults could play like little children. We did not attend because I had to head home but we were able to watch some employees make a fool out of themselves while they worked.
So that was my ‘Pretend to be a tourist Day’! It was great, and relatively inexpensive might I add. I now feel inclined to have more days like this. It’s strangely refreshing to be a tourist in your own city. Maybe next I’ll hop on a boat to the Statue of Liberty, who knows? Catch up with me next Thursday to see what happens next!

Brothers Hypnotic in the Park

2014-03-17-BrothersHypnoticHello Everyone and a happy Thursday to you! I’m a little pressed for time today because I have to work an extra day this week but I wanted to pass along a great event if you are in NYC and enjoy film and music. Maysles Cinema is hosting an event later tonight (7/17) at the Jackie Robinson Park Bandshell in Harlem and it will include music from DJ Laylo followed by a showing of a documentary called Brothers Hypnotic about the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, their beginnings and their career while maintaining their maintaining and showing the world their unique style of music. It’s a beautiful day today here in the city so if you have the time please come out for what should be a good time. And did I mention it’s free! I’ll include the flyer below so take a look at that for all the details. Well that’s all for now, gotta run. Catch you next Thursday!

Things I’ve Seen

3862382389_680d67017a_oHas anyone seen anything interesting lately? It’s always a dull week when nothing exciting, interesting or strange catches your eye. That’s why I’m always on the look-out – it adds a little spice to my life and a little chuckle to my buckle (<-not an actual phrase, sorry). Here’s my list of interesting/strange things that I’ve seen this week! I wish it was longer but it will suffice…
1. Gimme Shelter (Albert and David Maysles, 1970)

So I was working through my list of Maysles documentaries and finally got the chance to sit down and watch Gimme Shelter. Gimme Shelter is a documentary about the Rolling Stones as they work their way into giving a free concert at the Alamont Speedway. The first thing I really enjoyed about the film were the shots that Albert and David (the directors) employed. The documentary switches between footage of a concert The Rolling Stones did at Madison Square Garden, shots of the band in the recording studio, shots of the process of preparing for the Alamont free concert, but more interestingly, footage of Mick and Charlie reacting to the footage that we are also seeing. It was great how the film switched between the actual footage and then that same footage on a second screen that the band was watching. The second thing I enjoyed was just watching the band members themselves and how they reacted to certain things and how they reacted with each other. I think I have a new interest in Mick Jagger and a strange fascination with Charlie Watts.
2. Cracked Actor (Alan Yentob, 1974)

After watching Gimme Shelter I decided to watch another music documentary to see the difference in style between the two films. Cracked Actor is a BBC Tv documentary about David Bowie. The documentary mainly flitted between footage of Bowie’s concerts and then interviews that were done in limousines or backstage and the like. With this documentary I was just really focused on David Bowie’s character. In the film he describes the creation of his different stage personas and how they are all a part of him – different facets of the same person. He also goes into why he had to kill off his alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, as a result of the fame. In general, David Bowie came off as a very straaaaange character. Sometimes he would make absolutely no sense and other times I would be so interested with what he was saying and his little mannerisms even though I still would not understand what he was getting at. I don’t really blame myself for not understanding though, because he was famously addicted to cocaine at the time and the film really shows off his delicate mental state.

3. A Friend!

This one’s not a film, surprise, surprise! Yesterday I had the chance to see a friend that I haven’t seen in a long while. She goes to school overseas so I obviously don’t get to see her during the year and she was held back a bit this summer because she got an awesome internship over there (that made me insanely jealous) which delayed her return flight home. She came and visited me at work and we went out for lunch. Nothing fancy, just Subway but it was awesome because it’s really great to see someone in person instead of just messaging all the time. She made my day yesterday!
And for a bonus I’m including something that I saw this week that I wish I didn’t…

4. A Funky Haired Man

On my way to work on Tuesday I saw a man with a long ponytail on the bus. I thought to myself  ‘wow, his ponytail is so long and luscious’. But then he had to go ruin it by sitting directly in front of where I was sitting on the bus. It was then that I saw with great detail what I previously thought was “long and luscious”. I could see bits of dirt and dust littered throughout the ponytail and there was even a portion that was stuck together by some unidentified substance. But it did not stop there. Unfortunately, it got worse when I saw a little white tick looking bug crawl out of the depths of his ponytail and continue up the length of his hair. I watched on in horror as I started to get the chills and started to feel itchy all over. For the remainder of the ride I felt like things were crawling all over me and I wanted nothing more than to throw myself into the shower. I kept myself as far away from that man as I possibly could but even now when I think about how close I was to him I cant help but shudder.
And that ends all the note-worthy things that I’ve seen this week! There are others that I’ll probably remember later but whatever. Don’t forget to catch up with me next Thursday!

Independence Weekend Eve

Red-White-and-Blue-Ice-Pops-My-RecipesHello everyone and a happy fourth of July weekend eve to you! As I am a firm believer in having an enjoyable time on the gifted days off, I am not going to do much in the ways of a post so that you all can go off and enjoy life. As usual though, I will leave you with a beloved Youtube video. This song is an all American favorite and so appropriate, i’d say, for the coming weekend! Cheers and a Happy 4th! Sorry to all the non-Americans but hey the weekend is coming up and you can still enjoy yourself then! Catch you next Thursday, I’m going to look up how to make a potato salad (I’m inept in the kitchen)

Albert Maysles The Legend

Albert-MayslesHello everyone and Happy Thursday! I have some good news this fine day…I have a job! It’s at a documentary center in the city and it has the best possible environment that anyone could ask for. The people here are all exceptionally nice and the vibe is so chill that I don’t have to bother with business casual. You have no idea how happy it makes me to just wear a t-shirt and shorts when the weather is heating up as it is. As an aside, a coworker informed me that this summer will be an extremely hot one and this absolutely terrifies me.

In honor of getting a job at a documentary film center, I want to turn the focus of today’s post to a very prolific documentary filmmaker, Albert Maysles. Albert was born in 1926 and actually started out teaching psychology at university before turning to filmmaking. I had the amazing opportunity to sit in on a talk that he gave in which he talked a little about his work and the differences between shooting celebrities and the normal folk. He does not include people who do not want to be filmed in his documentaries and is adamant about creating a bond with his subjects and filming them as they are instead of creating a narrated version of themselves. Albert truly humanizes his subjects’ experiences and stories.
Among his most notable films are Salesman, Grey GardensGimme Shelter, and The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit, but let me be the first to tell you that that he has countless others. At 87 Albert is still filming diligently. He is currently working on a film about train travel…yes I know, Albert is a legend. He has won so many awards for his work including two Emmys. Watching him is so inspiring because he truly is such a wealth of information and crazy cool stories, yet so humble.
So if you all have time please check out some of Albert’s work. I, myself, will be watching Salesman this weekend and I’ll let you know what  I think. As an aside, Salesman tells the story of four  door-to-door Bible salesmen who struggle to sell their wares despite their target audience being religious church-goers.
So if you have seen or will see an Maysles original leave a comment below and tell me what you thought or which movie you’re going to see! Catch you next Thursday!


I’m on the move

4756905580_0123426fe2_bI know technically I’m a day late but to be fair I just got home from the airport and everything that I wrote below was written on Thursday. Yeah… the airport Wi-Fi was not being my friend. Anyway, here goes:


Hello everyone! I have had a very busy week (yet still very enjoyable) and do not have the time to write out one of my usual posts. As I write this I am sitting in the airport working with some slow internet connection on my phone. In any case please enjoy this video (I’m not sure if it’s real or not, you decide) of stupidity at its best and catch me next week Thursday when I get my internet back.

*Those who are weak of stomach maybe shouldn’t watch?*

The Fault in Our Stars: Transition from Book To Movie

MV5BMjA4NzkxNzc5Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzQ3OTMxMTE@._V1_SX640_SY720_My senior year of high school, I joined a book club. I had been skirting around joining for a good year at that point, and finally decided to just get it over with. I’d like to say that I read a lot of amazing books, but unfortunately that was not the case due to a lot of the younger members wanting only to read bad Young Adult novels. However, there were a couple diamonds in the rough, and I’m happy to report that John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars was among them.
If you haven’t read the book then you still have probably heard that The Fault in Our Stars has been made into major motion picture. In fact, it is now at the top of the box office trumping Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow and bringing in a whopping 48M dollars debut weekend. And why? Two reasons. The book has a huge cult following. And so does John Green. John Green picked up a lot of new admirers with The Fault in our Stars (from now on I will refer to it as TFIOS), but he already had a huge following before that. Not only a popular author, but a popular YouTuber, John Green vlogs weekly with his brother Hank Green. He is also co-founder of DFTBA (Don’t Forget To Be Awesome) and has a huge and intense following on that front who call themselves nerdfighters.
However, even without all this, I’m sure tons of people would have still shown up to the debut weekend of TFIOS. And that is because the story is beautiful. The story is not about cancer. It is about two teenagers who fall in love, but also just happen to have cancer. So having read the book and enjoyed it, I went to see the movie yesterday. I steeled myself for the worse – the movie is very emotional and while I tend not to cry during movies, I knew there was a large chance it might happen this time – and went with a friend.

What I will say is this: TFIOS went through a very nice and clean transformation from book to movie. There were multiple times when I recognized lines that I remembered reading in the book being proclaimed on the screen, and I was very happy that the movie really captured the essence of the book. That being said, the movie is not a word for word copy of the book – there are a few differences. The main difference, and the only one I will discuss here, is that the movie focuses primarily on Augustus and Hazel’s relationship while glossing over or skipping completely ‘less important’ ones. In the novel there is mention that Hazel went to school before she got too sick to continue and it was there that she made a friend who she kept in contact with through the start of the book. This character served as a link between Hazel’s past and the boring and monotonous life she led before she met Augustus, and really brought out Hazel’s dissatisfaction with her situation at the beginning of the novel. This was omitted in the movie. Also omitted, and surprisingly so might I add, was mention of Augustus’ previous relationship with a girl who died due to a similar type of cancer as Hazel. In fact, the reason why Augustus is initially interested in Hazel is because she reminds him of his girlfriend who passed away.
A Fault In Our Stars
Anyway, my point is, the movie is not a word for word copy of the book. If you read the book you would probably notice it but for those who haven’t, it doesn’t detract from the movie at all. The emphasis on the main relationship is what makes the series of events that occur so compelling.

And I have to say, I’m really disappointed in myself for not crying. There were times during the quieter moments that I felt myself tear up due to the poignancy of the scene but I never came outright and bawled. That being said, I’ve heard of a lot of people crying during this movie so if you haven’t gone and are planning to go, be prepared for the waterworks.

Well, that’s it for today, I hope you enjoyed. If you haven’t seen TFIOS, please go see it, and if you’re not a movie-goer read the book – it’s an awesome story. I’m including my favorite song that played during the movie so please enjoy and catch up with me next Thursday!