« April 2006 | Main | June 2006 »

May 2006 Archives

May 1, 2006

Photo Essay: A Day Without Immigrants

Born in the USA
Originally uploaded by michaeljamespinto.
I have a new photo set up on Flickr from the "A Day Without Immigrants" demonstration that was held today:

Photo Essay: A Day Without Immigrants

When I see most photos of a demonstration in the press or on TV they always seem to focus on the fringe element (someone wearing a costume for example). Instead I wanted to capture what people were trying to say.

May 2, 2006

Clovis Press Closes Shop

Clovis Press Closes Shop Another bit of Williamsburg Brooklyn died on Sunday. While out for an enjoyable stroll on Bedford Anenue, I came across a "going out of business sale" for the Clovis Press Bookstore. This wonderful yet small and charming bookstore was like a local landmark for me on Bedford. You would never see a bookstore like this in Manhattan, and the shop is one of things that makes Williamsburg a special place to live (and one of the many reasons I moved). From what I understand their rent went up, and they had to close shop. Across the street a huge condo construction project is in the works too.

The above collage was created in Photoshop from two photos I took with my Treo Cellphone camera on Sunday April 30th, 2006

May 4, 2006

Taco Chulo: Brunchworthy!

Not too long ago I heard about Taco Chulo via my favorite local podcast "Live from the WB", and they seemed pretty impressed so I figured it would be worth a visit (and I wasn't let down).

The first thing that impressed me was the decor. The space has a nice open feeling to it and features some nice splashes of color, making it feel slightly upscale - but not so over the top that you don't feel at comfortable.

Next the food was a real pleasure to eat, and the menu had a nice wide range of choices. I also appreciated that fact that their menu was very vegetarian friendly, which makes a real difference for me. In my book you always get extra points when there are not one, but several items that a veggie can order - and Taco Chulo passes with flying colors.

Taco Chulo is the kind of place where you can go on your own or take a party of friends to hang out on a Sunday (did I mention they have a fully stocked bar?). The service was pretty fast and friendly, yet not too in your face which is very good if you're hanging out with friends. And last but not lest the pricing was very reasonable.

The Williamsburg Nerd rates Taco Chulo:

+ Bonus Points for being Veggie Friendly

Taco Chulo

318 Grand Street (btwn Havemeyer & Marcy)
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Phone 718-302-CHULO (2485)

May 5, 2006

Motorcyclist thrown off Williamsburg Bridge

I was walking home over the bridge tonight (around 10:30pm) when I noticed that there were helicopters searching the water. As I approached the center of the walkway I was informed by people standing by that there had ben an accident that caused a man to be thrown over the bridge. I also heard the unconfirmed rumor that the motorcycle was going the wrongway (but hard to tell if that was the case). As I walked further sadly I saw the motorcycle off to the side rail of the bridge in an upside down position, with cars parked around it (and plenty of police at hand). It's the type of accident that you can't even imagine.

Tonight I'm not seeing anything on the local news channels, but a Google news search turned up this news:

Motorcyclist thrown off Williamsburg Bridge
The body has been recovered

(Williamsburg- WABC, May 5, 2006) - Police tell Eyewitness News that a motorcycle was rear ended on the Williamsburg Bridge and the cyclist was thrown from his bike into the water. Police divers searched the water for the cyclist. And just before 11 p.m., they pulled a body from the water. As of late Thursday night, the Manhattan bound inner lane on the bridge was closed.

My heart goes out to tht poor motorcycle driver and everyone else involved in the accident, and I have to say that my hat goes off to the police who were on the scene searching in the dark waters by the bridge.

May 6, 2006

The Williamsburg Bridge in the Fog

The Williamsburg Bridge in the Fog One of the nicest benefits of living in Williamsburg is the Williamsburg Bridge. I work on Bleecker in Manhattan, so as the weather becomes nicer I love walking home across the bridge to go home to Brooklyn. It's even nice just to take a J train across the bridge, the views are amazing - that's one thing that the J line has over the L line. Photograph taken on April 30th, 2005.

May 10, 2006

Cowboy Hipster Havemeyer Loft Sale

Cowboy Hipsters at the Loft Sale Above: Collaged photographs from a yard sale near Havemeyer taken on Sunday April 30th, 2006. Someone with a loft had lost their lease (it may be the guy playing the guitar on the right) and put on a sidewalk sale. There was a somber yet slightly festive mood to the sale.

Music Items and a Tiki God
Above: Another collaged photo of various items for sale. You could tell by the items that the person had an interest in music and tiki gods.

Interview of Interest: Paul Kermizian

Paul Kermizian is a filmmaker - but he's also owner of Barcade, a cool bar near my apartment that is loaded with tons of old arcade video games (and quality beer too). There's a good interview with him at Gothamist:

Paul Kermizian, filmmaker and owner of Barcade

How did you and your partners come up with the idea for Barcade?
I think it probably comes from parties I used to have in my apartment. I had 4 arcade games – Tetris, Mappy, Zaxxon and a Ms.Pac Man/Pac Man combo. The games were wildly popular with my drunk friends, except for Mappy. No one remembers that game. Anyway, it just seemed like a good match.

It also seems that he's done a cool mini-photowebsite on how they put together the bar:

The Making of Barcade

Barcade is located at 388 Union Ave. in Brooklyn. Their first ever video game tournament is tomorrow night (Tuesday) from 6-9 PM.

May 11, 2006

Robots Running on Bedford

Robots on Bedford Being a fanboy at heart I was very happy to spot this robot themed street art on Bedford Avenue last weekend. Seeing thing like this make me happy that I live in Williamsburg! The street art was done to promote a gallery show which looks like fun:


The robots are sold at Cinders Gallery in Williamsburg:

... and on September 8th 2006 Rrobots will be at the Mccaig-Welles Gallery in Williamsburg:

Photographed on April 30, 2006 with my handy (but dated low tech) Treo Cellphone Camera.

Williamsburg 1 Britney 0

Just when you thought that this story had used up it's full 15 minutes of fame:

Spears Dumbfounded with Sculpture of Her Giving Birth

BROOKLYN, N.Y.- "In her first public comments about a supposedly pro-life sculpture of her naked and bearing a child, pop star Britney Spears says she is shocked by it. Normally the one doing the shocking at her concerts and in the headlines, the sculpture of Spears debuted at a local New York art gallery in late March", reported LifeNews.com. A nude Britney Spears on a bearskin rug while giving birth to her firstborn marks a 'first' for Pro-Life. Pop-star Britney Spears is the "ideal" model for Pro-Life and the subject of a dedication at Capla Kesting Fine Art in Brooklyn's Williamsburg gallery district, in what is proclaimed the first Pro-Life monument to birth, in April. "I think it's the most hysterical thing I've ever seen in my life," she told WENN. "My assistant and I were totally dumbfounded when we saw it. We couldn't believe somebody actually did this."

May 13, 2006

Everything Went Slanted

Everything Went Slanted There's a new show coming up at the Cinders Gallery called "Everything Went Slanted" which features work by an artist called "Sto" (sample of artwork above). The opening will be Friday May 19th, from 7pm - 11pm. And the gallery is located at:

Cinders Gallery
103 Havemeyer st. store#2 (btwn Hope and Grand)
Brooklyn, NY 11211

May 14, 2006

Hipsters vs. Yuppies

Hipsters vs. Yuppies I've been playing with the new Google Trends tool, so I tried Hipsters and Yuppies. I was pretty shocked to see how well the yuppies are doing, I guess money talks these days. But for now the hipsters are ahead!

Spring Computer Cleaning

Part of being the Williamsburg Nerd is having a love of computers and related hardware. So I've been cleaning up my studio and making my IT plans for the year to come. Like most people in my field (design and new media) 2002 was a real bad year - known as the great "dot.bomb", and at that point many folks in the industry lost their jobs due to the combo of:

1. The crash of dot.com companies in the stock market

2. The financial fallout of 9/11

3. Many jobs being sent offshore to places like India

So for me 2002 was a real marker of sorts, and it was a time NOT to buy new toys. So as I've replaced my software and hardware I'm always glad to see a bit of the past go. So I've realized that I'm now down to my last three surviving bits of pre-dot.bomb hardware. Some interesting insights on the survivors that are still humming along four years later:

3. My IBM Thinkpad laptop which I used for sales calls still works like a charm. The only reason I need to replace this is because it's running Windows 98, and it wouldn't be worth it to upgrade to Windows XP. But other than that it runs great! Well that and it looks sad if I pull out an ancient computer for a sales call. The machine is in prime condition - in fact you can sort of blame Microsoft for bloatware rather than IBM. I wonder if Lenovo will keep up the quality of the brand?

The replacement for my Thinkpad will be a 17" MacBook Pro. Even though all my favorite Mac software isn't ready for Intel I know a year from now it will be. I also know that I'll be able to give demos in Windows which makes it a real winner.

2. My Epson Photo 1280 printer. I'm going to replace this pretty soon, I think it's lasted this long due to light use and the fact that I baby it. I think my main problem with it is the lack of good CMYK proofing and speed. So my guess is that I'll be replacing this by Summer. I'll either replace it with another Epson, but I am thinking of looking at the HP line - which brings me to my all time winner:

1. My HP LaserJet 4000TN laser printer! I'm amazed because this printer dates from before the year 2000 - in fact it's been so long I forgot when exactly we got it. It still works like a charm and has survived three office moves to boot. What's amazing is that I've already replaced this printer, but since I never unplugged it and changed my printing defaults I'm still using it all the time. I may retire it at some point, but I have to admit I'd feel guilty if I didn't hand it off to someone else - it's much too worthy to be sitting in a landfill or to be recycled into parts.

Lessons I've learned:

1. Software drives the hardware market. These devices still work like a charm, but it's the fact that upgrading them to support the latest software doesn't pay.

2. Because Apple software is glued to the hardware, you'll always be buying new Apple hardware to support the cool new features in software.

3. If the hardware survives the first year without a real glitch, and if you take care of the hardware chances are good that it will last.

4. Brand names do count for something (sometimes).

5. If you want the hardware to last a long time, purchase at the top of the line.

6. Printers will always outlast computers.

May 15, 2006

Mr. Softee: The Nemesis of Diets

Mr. Softee It's that magic time of year when the ice cream trucks play their song. On every corner Mr. Softee is waiting to sell calorie packed goodies. This also always occurs at the very same time of year that you are wearing less, and thus more worried about those calories. So hard to win...

May 17, 2006

Planet Thailand opens up in Manhattan

Here are some highlights from the official press release:

PLANET THAILAND 212 or "PT212" as it will become known, is pleased to announce its official opening in New York City at the end of May 2006, after a decade of successful business in its first and original location in Williamsburg. Planet Thailand ranks #1 as Brooklyn's most popular Thai eatery and hotspot. The Manhattan outpost, PLANET THAILAND 212, is located at 30 West 24th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, New York 10010, standing apart as a distinct and colourful, new enterprise with a history, within the rapidly redeveloping, landmark environs of Madison Square Park and the Flatiron.

Paramount to the dining experience at PT212, will be affordable sushi and Thai delights in abundance. The PT212 menu is nicely edited with all-time (Pad) Thai and sushi favourites, but allows for the chef team's daily inventiveness via a daily-evolving "East Meets West" Specials Entrée Menu, and a dedicated sushi bar seating six.

Requisite exotic cocktails are served at a large concrete bar in artful glassware or a simple coconut shell, and may be enjoyed while listening to pleasant sounds of a live DJ spinning nightly, and at a tasteful decibel level. All elements of cuisine, comfort, style and function have been well conceived to serve the needs of the city's most discerning revellers.

Ventilation is state of the art, which can be a concern in any large Asian eatery, but here creates the perfect balance. The Bissazza-tiled, gold-leaf and chandeliered, unisex loo facilities are not to be missed, as they are conveniently located both up and downstairs.

It's funny, not being an insider I never quite looked for ventilation as being such an important factor - but I can see their point...

May 18, 2006

Barcade Beer Alert

Being a nerd I prefer the old school video games over the beer, but that said the beer is always great at Barcade:

This Friday Barcade we will be tapping some brews from the Southampton Publick House. On tap will be May Bock, Abbey Double, Belgian Golden, Foreign Extra Stout, Secret Ale and Old Herb Barleywine.

Barcade is located at 388 Union Ave. in Brooklyn.

The Great Brooklyn Hipster Civil War of 2006

I guess this should put an end to the stereotype that all Brooklyn hipsters are alike:

Brooklyn Civil War: It’s North vs. South, Ratner Against Ledger

John Flansburgh, of the band They Might Be Giants, was on the phone. "I have mixed emotions about 'fabulous' Williamsburg," said Mr. Flansburgh, 47, who has lived in that neighborhood for over 20 years, watching as bars and boutiques began to choke Bedford Ave. "It’s quickly becoming a life-size replica of St. Marks Place, and honestly, I’ve never wanted to live on St. Marks Place."

I loved They Might Be Giants back in the 90s, but someone needs to tell Flansburgh that the music types are now living out by Bushwick. And a "St. Marks Place" slag! How low can ya go? But the article goes on:

None of the elite streaming out of Manhattan and over the pretty bridge to the mirror world on the other side want to live on St. Marks Place. But what do they want exactly? Brooklyn isn't a united front. The North Brooklyn of do-it-yourself fashion and vinyl siding (Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Bushwick) just feels separate from brownstone South Brooklyn (from Fort Greene to Park Slope). South Brooklyn is rich and pretty; North is rougher-edged and moody. "I’m firmly committed to the notion that there’s an unbridgeable divide," said a 27-year-old Bushwick resident, who explained that he even feels this way about "literary-minded, quasi-hipsters" like himself who live in the nether regions of the Hills and Slopes and Heights. "I’ve always felt deeply uncomfortable in Park Slope. And for everything that’s hateable about Williamsburg, I have this feeling that they’re my people."

South Brooklyn is more rich and pretty than North Brooklyn?! That's like saying Coke and Pepsi are very different. But then the article has this other nasty little jem:

While the North sees the South as moneyed squares, the South frowns on the North as poseurs—intellectual lightweights. "In Williamsburg, everyone's kind of illiterate. Relatively," said Christian, a 29-year-old Williamsburg transplant who moved there from Park Slope and regrets it. "One time I was on the L train, and the girl sitting next to me was reading Women in Love, and I said, 'That's good—have you read The Rainbow?' And she said, 'No, this is my first Lawrence—is it all so deep and philosophical?’ And I was like, 'Yeah … it's literature.'" On another occasion, he said, "I met a very bright and literate girl in Williamsburg, and we immediately started having a conversation about James Wood. It turned out she lived in Park Slope."

But the article goes on to make the point that there's more to being a hipster than being well read:

"No question about it—it's hipper," said Michael Brooks, 30, over the phone, of North Brooklyn. He's a project manager with the Developers Group, the company that's bringing high-rise condos to the McCarren Park area. "If there's a hipness meter, Carroll Gardens is not on the same end of the scale as Williamsburg," he continued. "There's a lifestyle in Williamsburg. It's become a place that people want to identify themselves with, being in a place that feels like everything is happening. It's just a moment—there's a moment in Williamsburg right now."

...of course having a real estate developer tout your hipster qualities may be a sort of proof that you aren't that hip.

Toby is a J Train Man!

The latest Live from the WB podcast is out and it's a must download episode. Rewinding a bit: For those of you who don't know "Live from the WB" is a Williamsburg Brooklyn specific podcast, it's also one of the better podcasts that I've come across.

I was impressed to find out in this latest episode that Toby (who is one of the hosts - seen on the photo at the right) doesn't live to far from where I live - which makes him a "J Train Man" - which in fact increases his hipster rating over mere L train riders.

Other highlights from the episode are:

- It seems the Clovis Press bookstore won't re-open
- The Glenwood Hotel at 339 Broadway will be opening an internet cafe on the ground floor (this makes me happy since it's not that far from my apartment)
- The Williamsburg Savings Bank will become condos
- And there's a rumor that Starbucks is coming to Williamsburg on Broadway, but I'm sort of surprised that this happened already...

May 20, 2006

Williamsburg Artist: Kristy Lynn

Below: Cocoon by Kristy Lynn, ink, pencil on paper,12" x 16"

Cocoon by Kristy Lynn, ink, pencil on paper,12
It's amazing some of things that you'll find in life by pure chance. About two weekends ago I was wanderng around Williamsburg, not seeing anything in the galleries that impressed me so I headed to Bedford Avenue. At one of the street corners there was a couple selling the usual odds and ends like paperback books and old records. But I was then surprised to spot some amazing miniature paintings that were quite well done. These little gems sort reminded me of Paul Klee meets Williamsburg.

The artist ws standing by her work so I got her card, which linked to her website. Her name is Kristy Lynn, and her work is well worth checking out. I hope she has a proper exhibit of her work in the near future, but until then you can go to her portfolio website:


May 21, 2006

Clovis Press: An Inside Story

On my Flickr page someone posted some interesting inside information on the closing of Clovis Press. I hate to admit it, but maybe this isn't yet another case of landlord greed in Williamsburg. In fact it seems some of the folks who worked there tried to buy the store out before it went down. Here's a link from a related blog entry:

The end of Clovis Press

I dunno what I felt. Slight shock. Disappointment. But mainly anger. Anger at the owner, NOT anger at the landlord. When Aaron, Angela and I worked at Clovis Books, things were great. Great for the store, which we ran well. Great for us, because we ran a store we loved (even though we didn't make any money). Great for the owner, who watched her profits increase, and got three managers for the price of three peons.

May 23, 2006

Wooden Water Tanks from Williamsburg

I had no idea that the factory that made most of the wooden water tanks in NYC has their factory right here in Williamsburg:

Brooklyn Week: Rosenwach Wood Water Tanks Help Shape The City Skyline

They're a signature part of the city skyline, and even in the 21st century, wood water tanks still have a unique and necessary job here, providing water to millions of homes. The Rosenwach family has put its stamp on the city since the late 19th century.

“The tank is an icon of the city. You can almost consider it to be a flag,” says Rosenwach Tank President Andy Rosenwach. “It has so much local color in a city of glass and stone.” And it's locally made. The Rosenwach Tank Company's factory is in Williamsburg.

May 24, 2006

Tattered Wall in East Village

There's always some wonderful abstract art to be found in urban decay! This was photographed with my Treo cellphone earlier this year.

Just Cuz Yer in a Band Doesn't Mean yer a God

Some of the most funny - but often true to the heart - reading can be found from time to time in the Craig's List rants and raves section. This little gem is a great little slice of the hipster lifestyle:

just cuz yer in a band doesn't mean yer a god

grow some balls and join the human race. i don't give a shit about how much you claim to care about me. you are in love with yourself and are a total jackass.

just cuz you can play some instruments and get up at some dive bar in front of a crowd of 10 does not make you john fucking lennon. hell, you couldn't even be ringo starr. and remember: just cuz you have an audience doesn't mean they are listening to you. they are just at the wrong place at the wrong time.

and if you get some random girl to come home with you, don't make out with her til you get her in the sack cuz you are the worst kisser i've ever had. you bring new meaning to the phrase sucking face. and don't turn on the lights if yer naked cuz goddamn...you really need to shave, and i don't mean your face.

i am so glad we are no longer together. you are going to end up a bald, overweight, hairy, broke, miserable guy stuck on a dream that you'll never get. and by that point i'll have completly forgotten you.

May 26, 2006

Scram Kid!

Below is a collection of two unfriendly photos taken in Williamsburg, Brooklyn earlier this year. Willaimsburg isn't quite Soho yet (but is quickly getting there in parts) so there are a number of very anti-people signs that you'll see in front of vacant lots. But I guess for now I'll be happy that they aren't putting up 40 story buildings on those empty bits of land:

About May 2006

This page contains all entries posted to The Williamsburg Nerd in May 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2006 is the previous archive.

June 2006 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.33