Saturday, October 16, 2010

M180 Boogie

It's been a little over a year since I last updated this blog, and the only activity that anyone would have noticed has been the occasional squeal from the bottom of the Ambit Energy pyramid. There have been a few reasons for this. The Atlantic Yards saga moved into phase about which I could not ethically comment, and then beyond that I had much less to contribute anyway. I stand in awe that Mr. Oder is still on fire.

Once I acquired offspring I stopped going out much, and the few gigs I went to could be reviewed just as economically on twitter. Under my real name. Despite the fact at least four or five very fun bars and restaurants opened up near me, I didn't really have the enthusiasm to review any of them (For what it's worth, here's my take on Fornino Park Slope: "Please end your quixotic grilled pizza crusade. La Villa can't be paying you that much to eschew tasty Neapolitan crusts.")

In any case. I've moved. To hereabouts. And will have to stop being accustomed to instant, plentiful stimulation. Books will be read. Records will be savoured, just as soon as the next consignment from All That Is Heavy arrives. This is an area that doesn't do renewal, or gentrification, or any real estate greed at all really. If you would like to build an arena there, I'm sure you could find the space pretty easily, and you wouldn't excite much resentment, so long as you left the mighty Iron be.

It might make a good subject for a blog, though I will probably need to settle a lot longer before I put pixel to screen. I'd sound a little too condescending or wistful for now. Or alternatively, I could set up a pirate radio station - blasting the latest rock sounds I'd picked up on the East Coast to the hungry natives. "It's been done", you say? There's the internet, you say? Don't you have automobiles, washing machines, modems and other symbols of a sick society to procure? True. All true.

Anyhow, Gothamist is gone from my RSS feed. At some point No Land Grab will be too. I'll be left with a grab bag of doom metal and finance feeds, and my perspective on life will be the poorer for it. Or I'll get heavily into animal-raising or furniture restoration.

A few weeks before I left I went on a lone bar crawl of the five boroughs. Before you criticise me for embarking on what was essentially a day-long, transit-heavy schlep with fairly minimal boozing beyond that contractually required to visit an open-air drinking establishment in each borough, you need to realise that it was a day-long, transit-heavy schlep with fairly minimal boozing beyond that contractually required to visit an open-air drinking establishment in each borough. I don't think I have any friends that like to spend three hours on the Lexington line, or an hour on the G train replacement bus.

But the bars weren't really the point. The idea was to get a half-decent cross section of the New York I was leaving behind. I don't think I really went through it like rock. I always erred on the side of the picturesque. From the walk through Pelham Bay Park from the 6 train to the Reef Fish Bar on City Island, through to the cheeky pint at Stone Street's Ulysses on Manhattan, then via the Staten Island Ferry to the World-flattening Killmeyers, I took my fill of the view from sundry buses, subways and ferries.

From there it was pretty much all downhill. The nearest bar I could find to the S79 bus stop was so bad I decided that I would have to tack on another Brooklyn bar to the end of my trip, and the R train and G train were tantrumming so badly I took a good couple of hours to make it to the Bohemian-Beer-Garden-goes-Disney called Studio Square. I finished at Mission Dolores, one of those places I'd have called a local four years ago, but it didn't feel right. Too many youngsters.

When it comes down to it, there's only ever been one bar I felt truly comfortable walking into on my own, or somewhat inebriated, or both, and that was Freddy's (The link has automatic sound. But Freddy's can do what the hell it likes, K?). When I started work on this post late last year (gives you an idea of where blogging stands in my list of priorities right now), Freddy's did not exist in any form.

Since then, not only has it opened up in a new location in Sunset Park/South Slope/Greenwood Heights, but I've been back to New York and had a chance to visit. And it's wonderful. Even at 3am in the morning and not that busy. It was nice to hear the staff talk about how they were going to bed down in the community, and grapple with what to do when there's not a built-in fan-base of starry-eyed hipsters nearby. All of these issues are important, and it's not often that a bar's management has to sit down and think about its role in quite such an abstract fashion. In any case, I wish them well.