August 11, 2010

1LOVE: Brooklyn

Not sure why there’s so much Williamsburg because he lives in Fort Greene…

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July 14, 2010

Dinner: Captain Lawrence St. Vincent's Dubbel Edition

Despite the ever-impending thunderstorms lurking in the troposphere of late, I decided that I needed to at least get out of the house with a short ride to Brooklyn Beer & Soda (as well as a stop at Greene Grape Provisions). I’d already settled on dinner based on leftover pork belly from the 4th: a hearty bacon mushroom orzo with a bit of smoky earthiness.


The beer pairing was a gametime decision: it was between a summer-y hefeweizen (Weihenstephaner or Ayinger’s Bräu-Weisse) and Captain Lawrence St. Vincent’s Dubbel, which called my name from BBS’s ample, well-stocked shelving.


Suffice it to say that I was very pleased with the darker brew: St. Vincent’s slight tartness, opened up with a brilliant, fruity (in a good way) maltiness that complemented the sweet richness of the meal perfectly.


At risk of sounding too proud, the photo probably doesn’t do the dish justice—I was going for overarching porkiness, so I caramelized the shallots and garlic (always!) in bacon and the last of my pork fat, not to mention drippings in the orzo. Mushrooms and reserved pork belly went in later as the pasta neared al dente completion. I seasoned the sautée and the orzo with a little S&P, plus a bit of basil, nutmeg, garlic powder and red pepper flakes in the latter.


Naturally, I topped it off with parmesan romano. Sans other courses—a simple Caesar to start would have sealed the deal—I ended up with a slightly oversized portion, though I was rather pleased with the meal on the whole. In fact, a cigarette (alongside the final delicious glass of St. Vincent’s) made for a curiously fitting dessert.


Most of this was consumed on the 4th, but I saved a good bit for myself...

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April 18, 2010

Yr City's a Sucker


Last week, the NYC media was abuzz about New York Magazine‘s recent report on our great city’s most livable neighborhoods, a “quantitative index of the 50 most satisfying places to live,” complete with an interactive neighborhood ranking feature. Statistician Nate Silver of  weighted and rated each neighborhood against a dozen criteria, from practical concerns like affordability, transit and schools to a full range of cultural factors (Silver explains in more detail on his own blog).

via Very Small Array

Semi-relevant humorous graphic via Very Small Array

Park Slope takes first, followed by the Lower East Side and (surprise?) Sunnyside, Queens. My own ‘hood, Fort Greene, is 18th, representing a purportedly objective improvement over my previous home in Williamsburg (20th), though adjacent neighborhoods such as Prospect Heights and Greenpoint (which apparently did not lose points for prevalent vinyl siding) place ninth and fifth, respectively. The fact that half of the top ten is within the two miles east of my current home is an obvious testament to the city’s density—a 30-minute walk (or 5-minute bike ride) in any direction takes me across up to five distinct neighborhoods—while the disparity in ranking suggests that even adjacent blocks may be worlds apart.


Conversely, I find that ethnographic data is perhaps more telling than the pseudo-scientific approach. While it’s hard to draw grand conclusions from a 5,000-person poll (conducted in conjunction with Silver’s number-crunching), I tend to think that these pithy gems constitute a more accurate snapshot of present-day New York than the algorithmic approach. (There are too many fun facts to list here; I recommend viewing it for yourself.)

In any case, the content and information design is well-executed, though I wish gave the option to view full articles as a single page (and, similarly, view all of the comments at once as well). Technical issues aside, I’m impressed with the depth and breadth of the content: as a conscientious urbanite, I am fascinated by both the social and cultural dynamics of city life and the concept of conurbation.

Lots of words with no images: Read the rest of this entry »

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March 9, 2010

Time Lapse Brooklyn

Maybe it’s just because it’s my hood and I’m a sucker for time-lapse, but I enjoy Tracy Collinsvideos of the Prospect Heights / Fort Greene / Atlantic Pacific area.

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March 2, 2010

Hasidic Holiday

This Young Hasid demonstrates a finer command of irony than most neck-tattooed hipster. Plenty more at Vice.

Plenty more at Vice.

This past Sunday was Purim, a Jewish holiday that includes costumes. If you’ve spent any amount of time in northwest Brooklyn, you’ve probably encountered pockets of Hasidic Jews, predominantly in the area between the Williamsburg Bridge and Flushing Ave (where the above photo was most certainly snapped).

It’s hard to deny the stark contrast between the deeply conservative culture of Hasidic Judaism and the flippant liberalism of the Hipster Nation, yet both subcultures, at their core, are characterized by a strong sense of exclusivity and ideology.

I’ll stop short of an intrinsically misguided attempt at insight into the sociological significance of gentrification, religion and cultural identity; honestly, I just thought that it was a funny picture, especially for those of you who have been fortunate enough to have visited the mean streets of South Williamsburg. The Young Hasid apparently has a finer command of irony than many a neck-tattooed twenty-something bartender.


Picture from a Purim ad, via Hipsters and Hassids

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February 12, 2010


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