A Gift to You!

I am still attempting to figure out a good way to get video to the blog without taking up all of the space on my wordpress account, and making sure it looks good! So if you have to bear with me through these tests you might as well be awed by the Tears for Fears in all their splendid glory.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Rockin’ and Rooftops

Life is trucking along as usual out here on our little island, but I thought I would take the time to put up a little blog on the smaller stuff that keeps us ticking.  Shannon has been immersed in her classes and work, leaving very little time for anything but working hard and eating pastries, not all together a bad existence.  I am focusing on making the final

Shan headed to class.

preparations for our new store in Brooklyn, and attempting to keep our East Village location running smooth, rarely an easy task.  Our days seem to be pretty full lately, and unfortunately Shannon and I rarely overlap for any significant amount of time.  Hopefully as we adapt to our completely different schedules we will be able to carve out some semblance of routine.  I have officially come to regret my first really big mess up out here, missing Tears For Fears in concert.  Yes, the most rockingness band ever to take stage was playing on our back porch a few nights ago, but Addie, Shan, and I found out too late and were unable to procure tickets to what could only be described as heaven.  Here are some of the activities I have been distracting myself with to deal with the mourning of missing such a potentially life altering event…

Brooklyn: The home of a new Crif Dogs, and possibly a new home for us!  Our good friend Tanner has been trying to get us out to Brooklyn for months, but due to the fact that it would require us to leave our island as well as have to spend a whole 3 minutes on a subway train meant that we couldn’t be bothered.  What is Brooklyn when compared to Manhattan anyways?  Well after some arm twisting we finally zipped under the East River in a tube, and popped out into what can only be described as a neighborhood.  Yes, as it turns out the people who live in Brooklyn prefer to enjoy a quieter, cleaner, and more normal existence, or in other words: everything I am ready to regain.  The East Village is a wonderful place, but after spending some time wandering the quieter streets of Brooklyn I think I am ready to have a little more peace and quiet in my life!  While this decision is nowhere close to being made, it is something that Shan and I are currently mulling over.  One of the highlights of our morning out there was a coffee shop called Blue Bottle.  Apparently already very popular on the west coast, there is one location in Williamsburg that is roasting its own coffee and is an amazing retreat from the hot bustle of the summer city streets.  They use some kind of drop system that I hadn’t seen before, but beyond however it works, it looks really cool.

One of the big draws to live in certain buildings in the city is a rooftop garden or deck area.  Many of our friends who live around the city have beautiful decks and lookouts from their own roof.  Usually they are furnished with decking, tables, chairs, bbq’s, gardens… etc, and provide the perfect place to relax and socialize on warm summer nights.  Thanks to some adventurous friends we had over at the apartment the other night we have recently discovered that we have access to our own roof, and unfortunately while it is not furnished for comfort, it does provide a pretty neat view of our neighborhood.  After everyone had been up there for awhile it became official, we will undertake the task of creating a rooftop lounge.  Here is why:

Empire State Building


Our Neighborhood

Tanner Walle is a man of opportunity.  Spur of the moment he decided to take up a club owner on the offer to play a one man acoustic show in the Lower East Side last night.  Due to the timing and advanced notice, none, the crowd was slightly limited, but the performance was absolutely spot on.  As it always seems to work out the clip that recorded the sound the best looked the worst… but which would you prefer better looking or better sounding?  I went for better sounding.  Check it out here.

Sometimes it is all about the journey.

Sometimes you just have to step back and laugh about the situation.  Example: Say you were going to go to a cabin for the night, some place just outside of the city, just to take a few breaths of fresh air.  You make all the arrangements (car, food, wine) and then you get up early in the morning and hit the road. As you are driving you finally receive the directions to the cabin, and low and behold you are not 1 hour away, but 6 more hours away.  6! Tanner, Jackie, Shan, and I ended up near Canada (not hyperbole) 7 hours away from the city.  As it turns out the Adirondacks are extremely beautiful, and we now have seen much of the very green upstate New York area.  Luckily the drive was extremely scenic, because there were 7 hours of it watch go by.

Ok, beyond the fiasco of not being anywhere close to where we thought it was, the trip was actually quite nice, here is how the story goes:

After being cooped up on our island for so long we decided it was time to go and get some fresh air in our lungs.  Tanner and I spent some time finding an available cabin to rent out for just one night, we would have loved to spend more time away but between all of our schedules there was only 1 night to be found mutually free.  We located a quaint cabin in the Catskills, so we thought, which was an easy 2 hours away.  Early out there, enjoy the morning, afternoon, and evening, and then get quickly back into the city the next day.  Well it didn’t actually work out that way, but at least we still got an adventure out of it.

Mimnaugh, the name of our trusty Mazda 3 hatchback.  This little guy came to us from the people at Zipcar!  He was actually a real joy to drive, and after not being behind the steering wheel for over 8 months now it was extremely refreshing to cruise the open roads.  I had a really good time driving.

The Olympic Cafe, the first stop on our journey out to the cabin was for breakfast.  Fortunately we found a lovely little town centered around what could only be described as the world’s most ultimate diner.  I do not give it this rating for the amenities, appearance, or location, but rather for the meal that was presented to us.  Tanner and I of course had to order the signature dish of the diner ‘The Olympic’ which even after the disclaimer from our waitress blew our minds.  Brought to us on 2 plates per person was a feast fit only for gold medalists: 3 Pancakes, Slab of Ham, 2 links of sausage, 3 pieces of bacon, 3 scrambled eggs, 4 toast wedges, and hash browns.  I tried to take a picture of it, but there is not a camera capable of taking a picture of that scale.   After our bypasses at the attached emergency room, we continued on our journey north.

After what seemed an infinite amount of miles, we finally pulled up to the cabin, and even though it was already 6 pm, it was clear that the trip had been worth it.  Perched on the edge of a serene pond nestled into thick forest, the cabin was picturesque.  From the wrap around porch to the fire pit, everything was exactly how it should be.  We wasted no time getting settled in cracking a beer within 10 seconds of stepping out of the car.  We quickly pulled out the chips, salsa, and canoe for an unparalleled combo.  The lake was a wonderful warm temperature with water so clear you could see the bottom even at it’s deepest.  We spent the evening canoeing across the miniature lake.

The rest of the night was spent around the campfire cooking, enjoying wine, and watching the meteor shower.  Enjoying simply being away from the city.  It was nice to actually put on a long sleeve shirt and jeans.  It was obvious by the next morning how badly we needed to get out of the city.

The next morning we were back in the car by 7:45 AM and headed back towards the city.  All and all it turned out to be a supreme fiasco, and a lovely getaway.  Visual Description:

East Village Hostel

Since moving to New York our humble abode has played the role of hostel to many of our friends.  Whether it is the bedroom that is now split down the middle for long term visitors, or the pullout couch, or when we really start to overflow the air mattress, we always have visitors to show around the city.  While it does usually mean that the living room looks like a war zone will blown up suitcases and deconstructed couches, it also means we have a house full of lovely guests.

Having guests means a couple of things: We get to make a visit to all of our favorite bars, restaurants, shops, neighborhoods, haunts… etc; we get to cook some lovelier meals then we would for just ourselves; we stay up way past our bedtime; and by the end we all need another whole week to recover.

Robby and Margaret came to town all last week! Finally we were able to host Robert Henry Nelson in the Big Apple.  Every morning Robby was up and out the door exploring the city with Dan, from the tip of downtown to the upper reaches of the park, and anywhere in between the two rivers.  It is great to be able to show someone everything you have been talking about to them, there is finally a level of understanding reached where everything makes more sense, “Ah, so that’s what you were talking about.”  Of course in NY there are a lot of touristy things to do, but ultimately it is the simple life of the


East Village that we like to show off the most.  All of our favorite places exist right on our doorstep, and as usual the nights I most enjoyed with our guests happened right on our block.  Simple things like strolling over to the rivers to take in some fresh air and enjoy the lit up skyline, or meandering down to Terroir to say hi to Tanner, these are the things that I am proud to show off to visitors.   Of course we also had to hit up our places of employment, but luckily that involves either wonderful vegan food at Pure Food and Wine, or incredible libations at Death & Co and PDT.  It is great to have such wonderful places to take our friends to when they get, especially knowing that everyone we work with bends over backwards for not only us, but our friends.  Dan, Robby, and I were lucky enough to have a night of debauchery planned out for us by Jim Meehan at some of Manhattans premier and exclusive bars.

All in all we had a wonderful time with Robby and Margaret visiting us out here.  Hopefully we can twist Robby’s arm enough so that next time his stay will be quite a bit longer.

Here are some of the highlights:

The bridges around Manhattan are incredible structures.  Every time I cross one, or even glimpse one off in the distance, it impresses me.  So Robby, Marg, Ad, and I decided to hike out to the middle of the Williamsburg Bridge in order to catch a view of the city.  It amazes me more people don’t fall off of the bridges/drive off considering the way people drive in NY.

Taking in some sights at the East River