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

Hot, Haught, Hawt.

Yesterday was a hot, humid, and wet hint of what summer may be like in New York.  As it turns out, when it gets hot here it feels like walking through a swimming pool everywhere you go.  I am not concerned about it, but it is going to take some adjusting, and the purchase of an air conditioner.  We made the most of the day by heading out to a new restaurant to try out their brunch, and ended up hitting a little place down the street from us called the Brindle Room, which serves a killer brunch menu.

Heart attack on a plate.

Embarrassingly we both had: Buttermilk Biscuits with bacon and a poached egg covered in sausage gravy.  Yes it was as delicious and awful as it sounds.  We both Vowed to never again speak of this encounter, and to never eat such a pile again.  Just the yogurt parfait for us next time.  all in all though it was a great edition to our brunch locations.

After brunch we headed out into the world to walk off our plate of death and get some errands done.  Shannon headed to Whole Foods and I ended up going to get some fresh herbs to grow at home, and then to the gym.  One of the things Shan and I are trying to incorporate into our lives a little better is trying to eat local.  One of the biggest assets to this endeavor is the little farmers market that happens every weekend at the park near our house! There is always a good selection of veggies, fruits, meats, honey, plants…. etc.  We even signed up to use only renewable wind energy here at the market.  The fact that it is also closer than any grocery store is also extremely convenient.  Yesterday I headed down to the market on a mission to find some good house plants.  Both Shannon and I love having some green plants in the house, and the few we have bought already seem to be doing pretty well, so I went out to get a few more and ended up with some good herbs.  Hopefully these little guys will be flavoring our dishes in no time!

Peppermint, Lavender, Sage.

After spending the afternoon running errands we headed over to Jamie and Willow’s for an early evening bbq on their back deck.  We took over some veggies in foil packets, cajun shrimp skewers, and a six pack of Stone IPA, and met up with a group of friends to unwind in the oppressive humid heat.

One of the cool things about New York is each block of buildings is hollow in the middle.  So on almost every block is a hidden courtyard.  This is where you find the community gardens, the back porches at restaurants, and of course the back decks at apartment buildings.  Our apartment building of course doesn’t have one, although the space needed is there (currently just a slab of concrete).

The Deck, and Tom staring intently at his Rum Punch.

Jamie and Willow have a beautiful open wooden deck with tons of furniture, huge umbrellas, and most importantly a grill.  It is nice to have such a secluded hideaway when you are stuck in the middle of such a dense city, someplace to really kick back and relax.  Anyways, we had a blast with a bunch of friends lounging from afternoon into night, drinking beer and Willow’s incredible rum punch, eating chips, guac, and shrimp.  I hope this is the theme of the summer.  Here are some of the pictures from the rest of the night.  Highlighted among them are a couple of us looking… special…. trying to play Jamie’s favorite picture game: Shaky Face.  As the name explains, you shake your face as fast as possible to get the least attractive result.  Enjoy.

Grill Master Flex.


Shaky Face.......

And into the night...

Uber Domination.

Booze on First does it again!  Our 10-3 victory over Kick Ya’ Ballz puts this unstoppable force at 2-0-0 on the season.  With the momentum from the two previous wins propelling them through the season BoF might as well accept their champions trophy now.

If you didn’t grasp it from the previous statement, we did have a kickball game last night.  As usual we first met at Destination for a few pints to get is into the kickballing mode, after that we wandered down to the lower east side to get our kick on!  The games are no longer than 45 minutes, and generally are an easy going time with a bunch of young guys and gals having a goofy time.  It is always and interesting vibe when the game first starts as both teams try to feel out if the other team is in it for the fun or the glory, if the pitcher rolls a kickable fun ball or flaming destroyer of all hope pitch, and if the general vibe on the field is “heck yes recess rules,” or “I am going to take out three of their players and take home the gold medal.”  Obviously anyone who knows us understands that we are out there to have a great time, we are only coincidentally really good, and we seem to have really good relations with everyone we play.  After the game both teams make their way up to the sponsor bar for pitchers of beer.  Last night after the game Tanner, Shannon, and I enjoyed a quick beer out with the team and then split off towards some other spots for a more relaxed bite to eat and a quick beer.  After eating some hot dogs at Crif Dogs, we meandered over to Hearth for a celebratory glass of champagne (thank you Tanner) and toasted to our ever glorious victory, recalling our triumphs on the field, and dreaming of our future conquests.  Kickball rules.

Other than our adventures on blacktop Shannon and I have been trying to keep it very low key.  Mainly we spend our time at the gym, at a local concert, cooking at home, drinking the cheapest pints we can get our hands on, and of course snapping off a trillion pictures.  Shannon has officially applied to culinary school, which won’t start for some time, but that is looming off in the distance.  We are preparing to usher in our new room mates soon!  I still can’t find my iPod which is driving me insane.  I used it at home one night, set it down, and then couldn’t find it the next morning.  I don’t know where it could have gone which I haven’t already torn to shreds… but the search will continue.  I hope everyone out there is having a good week! -The Willey

Shannon at the hair mechanic.

Everything is getting green!


They found this toaster... in a suitcase... on the sidewalk... they were thrilled.