About a month ago, I took the opportunity on a thursday night to try the Astoria favorite “The Sparrow.” Guy Fieri’s suggestion on triple D was the impetus - I was not cool enough to just find it. While the food was decent if not forgettable and not a bargain at all, the major takeaway from this place is the magnificent chatter I was able to over hear. Sitting three or so two-tops away from me were two average looking bougie chicks eating their truffle fries and shuffling arugula around their plates. They were well dressed, approximately 20-22 years of age and looked less than thrilled that this spot didn’t have designer quality air conditioning like we all had hoped it would. The steady breeze from outside carried the faint whisps of the beer garden and the din of the room remained at a comfortable buzz - yet through all of this and cutting like a knife I heard: “Yeah I’m pretty sure I peaked at one years old…”
Wait what? You peaked at toddler? Everything since then has been a mudslide of shit down your front lawn? First off who are you to say you have peaked at all? Peaking at one seems like a tough break to be honest. When we unpack this statement, is when shit really gets weird. So this girls best idea of life is being pampered, pooping on auto-pilot and not having responsibilities or the ability to verbalize her thoughts. Granted, that doesn’t seem so bad. However, if this girl peaked at one and is openly sharing this information with the whole pub - how shitty is her current living situation? Does she hate sex, alcohol, sleepovers and candy? Did she get to experience seeing The Lion King for the first time or a even a mediocre high school level performance of a Rogers and Hammerstein classic? I know everyone has their own music, but come on; The Beatles? Mozart? Biggie? Has she smoked a bowl and eaten a fucking clementine? I feel like this girl and her expectations reflect pretty accurately how disillusioned we can all be at times. While this girl may not have much in her future to look forward to, I only hope for her sake someone can get this bitch a hot krispy kreme donut. Maybe I put too much emphasis on food…
DO – Do try to help people as they navigate the Subway. It is very confusing and they do not need to think that every New Yorker is an asshole.
I once helped a couple of older gentleman as I was getting on the train to go home from work. Both of them were in the mid 40’s and looked to be old friends. One of them, a scotsman was an exciting mustachioed bellicose man, while his friend more slender was from the south. He kept commenting on how he loved “Chicago” and how he wanted a ‘coney.’ I showed him to the hot dog stand. They offered me a two dollar bill. I refused and let on my way. They now know we can be nice.
DO – Give them further directions from the Subway, make them easy to understand and explain that there will be people to help them along the way.
In assisting a young Argentine couple, I directed them to their train and how to catch the bus to Laguardia. As this is on my line it wasn’t so hard, but still they needed to be told where to stand and how to catch the bus. Make an effort so that these people don’t end up more lost from your shitty directions. Go the extra step.
DO – Recommend amazing NYC Places for them to see, eat and live.
I like to stick to personal favorites that are easily accessible. I will always ask first what they are interested in and then go from there. Stick to the basics; Pizza, Bagels, Dim Sum and Deli. There are plenty of restaurants, but sometimes snacks are more fun and where else can you get these kinds of treats.
DO – Explain to them what they are doing wrong if anything.
If they have every piece of material possession out and in their hands. Tell them thats not a good way to walk around the city.
DO – Lead them if possible.
Take them to the place they are going. Within reason. It will give them a great story, you will feel great and as long as you know more than them you should be okay.
DO NOT – Give them or accept money from them.
That’s when things get sticky.
DO NOT – Travel with them beyond their destination.
You may lead them to their next port of call but do not go any further? You don’t know everybody.
DO NOT – Bite their heads off for walking too slowly
Do not be outwardly rude to them, unless they warrant it.
DO NOT – Bitch about tourists, if you don’t live among them or don’t have to deal with them.
If you live in Bushwick or the UWS I am sure your views are much different than mine. I work in Times Square. The holidays are tough, but they aren’t terrible. It’s only a bit of a walk. Please you aren’t fighting with them for subway real estate. Let it go man.
DO NOT – Forget you were once a tourist, if even you have lived here your whole life.
You went to Madame Tussauds, the Empire State Building and maybe even the Statue of Liberty. All of those spots you revile were once what captivated you. Sure now you can boast about eating drinking at Death & Co., partying in Williamsburg or even brunching it up on the weekends at the Grey Dog. Don’t forget taking the drunk train back out to Long Island. Once you thought the shiny Disney-fied masses were amazing. Just because you know more, doesn’t mean you always knew it or that someone didn’t show you.
A few Friday nights ago, I got to check out a new movie about upstate New York. Now before you imagine Lake George or Niagra Falls – I would like you to think of that other part of upstate. A depressed and different space that of which time has sort of passed over. This being one of the primary themes of Derek Cianfrance’ new film “A Place Beyond the Pines.”
This movie combines Pulp Fiction and the Godfather into a compelling tale of family in America. The movie stars Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes in a moving trip-tic that takes you three generations of two parallel families as they grow. The acting at work here is incredible and Cooper’s portrayal of Avery Cross is a believable tragic hero searching for his spot in a world in the shadow of his father. Without giving too much away, two sons grow to realize their intertwined family history and these two boys steal the show. Dane Deehan and Emory Cohen are two rising stars who bring the final conclusion of this film to an amazing end. There is beautiful work done in the colorization and cinematography. For whatever reason, the scenes that take place in the nineties look warmer and are sepia toned, with plenty of easter eggs from your childhood to reminisce over.
I loved this film because of the integrity of the people on the screen. In upstate NY, the once powerful industrial complex and backbone of the economic powerhouse that is New York has all but dissipated. The GE factory that once employed some 50k in Schenectady, now barely counts 5k on their staff. The economic woes and hardship truly have left this city in a constant struggle for survival. In doing so this whole film can be seen as an example of the failure of the once prosperous American dream and how some will remain immune to its trials even if they are so intrenched within them. One may hope to escape, to make things right and to be righteous, but no matter how dirty your past can be, you can not hope to scrub everything. This film feels like a beautiful, if truly terrible car crash you get to watch in slow motion from several different angles. While it may drag a bit at times, the acting does enough to carry your enthusiasm. If you’ve driven through Schenectady New York on the thruway and have yet to stop by. Try it next time and you will love this movie.