Last week was an introduction. New job, new apartment, new city, new adventures. This week I attempted to make good on my self-made promise…
My first real adventure – Fort Totten. Built to defend NYC during the civil war, it was never completed and instead served a variety of later purposes including its modern incarnation as home to the New York Fire Department. Otherwise I strolled the snowy roadways and snapped photos of the largely antebellum era park structures.
Before heading home, I purchased plants for my office and taro buns from the local Korean H-Mart. Lychee drink!
Later that evening, I visited Williamsburg. It’s clearly popular…trendy and recalls, to my mind, the vibrant mixed-use neighborhoods of Jane Jacobs. I couldn’t personally imagine living somewhere like that – a wonderful panoply of smell and sound too endless to imagine – but it makes for lovely place to visit. Bit like an old public square really…soon followed by the digestive walk home.
In this particular case we visited Sweet Chick, a chicken and waffles joint. I’ve never eaten that particular cultural lifting but it’s surprisingly effective. The waffles are predictably given the à la carte treatment with associated batters and butters, but it’s really the chicken that make the meal. These were crispy and moist which made the waffle more like a sweet breeding and the combination, and culmination, quite satisfying.
Today’s adventure was of the cultural variety. With a prompt 10am departure, and after weaving beneath the 31st street subway tracks French Connection style, we found parking and walked the remaining distance to the Museum of the Moving Image.
The subject matter is largely the art, science, and magic of film, and like any good film it was made immensely better by tight editing, a narrow theme, and a reasonable viewing time. The exhibits variously cover the history of film, hair/make up, stage design also advertising, promotion, sound recording etc. It doesn’t force itself to be exhaustive and wisely contents itself with a few evocative samples (makeup of Mrs.Doubtfire for example) before moving on.
The current marquee exhibit is Martin Scorsese. It occurred to me as I wandered through that I’m not as familiar with his films as I thought. I’ve seen Goodfellas, The Departed, Wolf of Wall Street, and parts of Raging Bull and Taxi Driver. The storyboards were probably the most striking example of craft for me…something I should maybe consider if I ever decide to write more fiction.
In any case, the best exhibit in the entire place is a recording booth where you dub over the lines of famous actors/actresses. On one level it’s technically very impressive to near instantly match my voice with that of someone onscreen. On the other, I really feel like I brought something to the role of Sugar Cane…
Lunch followed at Saffron just a few blocks away. It had that same quiet echo every Indian place seems to share but also warm naan, subtly sweet bismati rice, and a well balanced chicken korma.
If happiness is a short list than New York is hell. Since moving here it’s grown unmanageably long but I’ve obviously been hitting the list with vigor.
Following lunch, we glanced over the map and identified Roosevelt island as geographically distinct enough to warrant a visit.
At the north half is lighthouse park. The parking lot is unpaved, feral cats live in abundance nearby, and the signage fails to say what or why exactly anything is there. (Later learned most everything old was either a hospital or prison.)
On the other, gentrified, end of the island is Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms park. A fitting destination for Presidents Day, it’s actually quite charming and has an excellent view of Manhattan. The trees aren’t in bloom obviously so it might be worth a second look but considering the state of our current politics, it’s a pleasant reminder of presidential greatness and a national vision sadly never quite attained but inspiring nonetheless.
Earlier in the week I visited a few other restaurants:
Golden Crest – Jamaican restaurant near union ville. Like seemingly ever Caribbean restaurant, it’s rather dark inside and I felt decidedly out of place rolling in wearing a tie, but the curry chicken and rice and peas was everything I wanted it to be.
Michael Anthonys – Haven’t tried their Buffalo Chicken pizza yet, but it looks a bit like what I miss from Rocco’s upstate. In the mean time, I suspect it’s nothing like “New York Pizza” (Too many toppings), but no complaints for lunch.
White Castle – I first say the place while visiting the library last week. I technically have been a White Castle previously, sometime in middle or high school on the way back from a fish store in Paramus with my parents, but I recollect nothing and decided i needed to again experience that particular mixture of pop culture fast food. I can’t say I’m likely to do so ever again – it’s perfectly average – but the staff were endearingly sincere for working at a throwaway stoner joke.
Next weekend I’m in Montreal!