So I have found the perfect time to enjoy a cigar. No sadly we are not allowed to smoke on our balconies as I don’t want to be a bad neighbor. The Cigar Inn is still on lock-down but thankfully is now open for Take-Away orders. I have been relegated to smoking on the street.
This perfect time is in the morning as the grocery deliveries are coming in to Brooklyn Fare and the traffic on the sidewalk is pretty much quiet. Sadly we don’t get to see any Walk-O-Shame’s but the owners of the dogs pretty much have adapted to the “I don’t give a F” and will wear whatever I want when walking their dogs.
Hope everyone had a great 3 day weekend. Hope that everyone still has all 10 fingers and 10 toes. Saw a lot of stupid people on Tik Tok and posting on Instagram. Do we need to call your mommas and grand mommas on you?
Anyway we stayed in didn’t do jack shit. Kinda like we do all the time. I hung some pictures and smoke some cigars but that was pretty much it.
Here are some pictures of the past weekend and week.
Have a good week folks and please wear a mask and if you can “stay inside”
So on a team call this week one of our teammates voiced concern about how safe it was in Manhattan and how were we to get work safely from say Penn Station. I was not here at the time but I heard that Times Square back in the day was something else with the prostitutes, drug dealers and rock/cup guys. I really didn’t know what this person was getting at then it dawned on me. This person must watch the news and of course there haven’t been any stories about how thing in New York have rebounded. Not that we are watching the news anyway but we can see on Instagram posts how things are going back to normal in NYC.
I assured this person that things are back to Normal (can we really say that now?) and that the boards are off the buildings. Now we only have to worry about are Murder Hornets, a Dust Cloud and oh yeah COVID-19.
Anyway here are some pictures I took this week and shared with the team.
There is a common misconception about the neighborhoods here in York. People think that these neighborhoods are huge when some can only be a city block.
UES, UWS, FiDi, SoHo, these are all well known neighborhoods on Manhattan. When I would tell people I lived in the UES which is true but we were actually living in the Lennox Hill neighborhood. Do you actually know where this in Manhattan? So I kept it simple.
When we moved to Downtown Brooklyn it was the same. Where our address was if I walked across the street I was in Boerum Hill, I cross Flatbush and I was in Fort Greene, two blocks away and I was in Cobble Hill.
So here in Manhattan we have the same neighborhood shrinkage. The Diamond District is only a long block long. The Flower District is maybe a short block long. Little Italy is basically one street now.
So when we landed on W37th we were between 9th and 10th avenues. The Leasing agent said we were in Midtown West. That is technically right but if I walk a block West I am in Hudson Yards. I walk one block East and I am the Garment District. The Fire Station that is behind our building boasts they are Hell’s Kitchen’s Finest. Then if I walk 5 South I am in Chelsea.
So Maria, what is it? Where the Hell Do we Live and in what neighborhood?
Moving Day! Man I would rather take one to the Cods with a Louisville Slugger than do this. But we have already given the new place on 37th St some money and the movers are inbound in 2 about hours Let’s Do It!
So in 5 years we have moved 3 times. Crap there are people I know who haven’t moved 3 times in 50 years. If there is a good thing about moving intra New York is that a tiny part of it breaks off and becomes a part of you. My former DSM of mine was amazed how many New Yorkers I knew in the short time we lived here. I mean its no secret that we are friendly people, and friendly people gravitate to the same.
What sucks that with us moving back to Manhattan is that we won’t see some friends that we have met since living here on Schermerhorn and Nevins. Let me explain.
You have all heard of the normal cast of characters, Asian Fireman, Mr. 3 First Names, Lady Barrister, ect but when we lived in the UES we met a wonderful soul named BikinisareForever. She was the purveyor of spirits for us and we became friends. When we moved to Brooklyn we would make it a point to go see her from time to time. At Christmas she went to a new bar and we were making plans to go see her again then March 13th happened. During this Pandemic we really have kind of bonded with Bikinis. She is now Reader #22 of this worthless dribble and since we are now both on the west side we are planning a social distancing trip to the park.
So Meet Stephanie. She is the owner of Wright & Goebel Wine and Spirits and a great person. She always loves it when I bring in Maya to get abused and skidded across the concrete floor to her. As expected she is top notch at making wine selections because we all know Geranium isn’t a fan of butter chardonnays. She has an evolving selection so she teaches me something each time I come in. Actually a lot of the time it was “I am cooking this and she would say.” “You drink this.”
Stephanie was always asking when Geranium was going to be in town, you could tell she cared about the both of us. She also was always leaning her head out the door saying hello when we walked by. Lately during all of this we have really connected and when things clear up, we are having a drink together.
So (and I just realized there is a vicious pattern forming) now meet Brendan who owns The Commissioner. We first met him with the Murphranks as they found this bar and loved it and we were still living in the UES. What was remarkable is that Brendan can remember people’s names from the first go round. Sure enough when we came in to look at apartments we got Lady Lawyer to meet us here and damned if he didn’t remember our names.
Took my mother when she was in town 2 years ago for some dinner and sure enough he remembered my name and was as hospitable as ever. For those of you wondering The Commissioner is modeled after Whisky Tavern in Chinatown (Think Bardog but without the smoke) and its a great place.
But what makes The Commissioner a place where you want to visit is that Brendan and the staff make you feel like family. From little kids in the neighborhood to the NFL diehard fans we all got along. People make the establishment and Brendan gets that and that’s why we are going to miss our regular Sunday visits. But we will be back.
Thankfully both Stephanie and Brendan’s businesses are still going in this crazy times but I make it a point to frequent them because well, they are both are good damn people.
Yep, like I said Stephanie and Brendan, it’ not good bye. It’s Till Next Time. Thank you both for making Brooklyn a better place and for being good friends to Geranium and I. Ok and Maya too!
Mixed emotions this week folks. My friend San Pedro Scoop spoke about the roller coaster of emotions. We felt them here this week too. We celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. We got to go into the city and see our new apartment. I spoke with a former colleague and caught up with him on what he is doing.
Ok, enough words folks. Here are the pictures of the week.
Have a good weekend. Be Safe, Be patient and wear your damn mask.
So at the young age of 50 I have decided to go back to school. No, I am not going to follow in the footsteps of Geranium and get my MBA from NYU. I am going way back to the 7th grade. You see I found a really good teacher and he teaches me history every morning.
Some of you have been asking me why I am not posting this week and have even abandoned Cindy with the jokes. I don’t really have much material as we are a week away from our move and nobody wants to see boxes. We have postponed our trips to see Brendan at the Commissioner in an effort to stay safe and right now isn’t the time to be venturing out.
The reason I have stopped with FB is that the toxicity on this is over the top there. When exactly did a platform that we were originally playing Farmville/Mob Wars and poking people turn into the largest misinformation vehicle? Anyway I gave it up the other day and found that my mental health improved greatly. Tic Tock is where it is at now.
So let me tell you about my new History Teacher. 6’9″ IV teaches at one of the schools in Memphis. He must have been doing this thing where he would on his zoom calls give historical information about the current date and then go through the famous birthdays to end with his student’s birthdays. School ended last week in Memphis so since he is still quarantining at home with his wife and two boys he moved this daily practice over to Instagram.
I caught the first of June “Day in history” and what 6’9″ IV said touched me deeply. He spoke about what was going on in the world with Racial Injustice and he mentioned his most favorite quote from Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird”
6’9″ IV then mentioned that right now is the time to stop & listen and put ourselves in other peoples shoes. We are all quick to give our opinion but we should stop, listen and educate ourselves. I don’t have the answers nor do I think that anyone has, but I am willing to listen. I am willing to try to comprehend what someone else is going through and together try to figure out how to make it better.
Not going to lie one bit – There are some deep scars forming here in New York but we can start the healing while things are still smoldering. The first thing starts with using those two ears more than that one mouth and being kind to someone else.
So now each day when 6’9″ IV posts a new Day in History/Birthday’s he is also going to post resources that you can read, watch or listen to learn more. This is to help people understand the experiences that African Americans and this country. That is what I am going to start doing. Till then you will see me on Instagram.
So that’s it folks.
And thank you to Will for allowing me to post what you are doing. Sorry to put you on the spot but you are a fantastic teacher. Those current and past students are so lucky to have you. And by the way I hated History with a passion!
To my dozen readers of this dribble – If you would like to know 6’9″ IV’s Instagram address message me and I can give it to you. It’s some good stuff.
Last week I was on a call with my peers who also sell double decker tour bus tickets to the tourists. The question was posed as to what we were doing over the Memorial Day Holiday. Not a lot of fun adventurous plans given the current environment but we are trying. AC(Not Wharton) informed us that she will be taking a maiden voyage with the smoker that she got her husband. She was asking for suggestions so brother S(squared) said that I should help her. Of course I would, I actually live for this kind of shit since I don’t have a grill of my own now.
AC(Not Wharton) and I had a quick conversation on Friday on the items that she needed to get prior the cook. We spoke about technique and how to prep the meat. It should be mentioned that AC(Not Wharton) practices Kosher Dietary with her family. I am always enthralled with other religions so it was interesting learning how the food had to be prepared. We were able to add some traditional BBQ Techniques and keep her still in the good graces with Temple. She and I agreed on Sunday and I told her to call me if she had questions.
So for you folks who don’t know how to smoke meat it can be intimidating. Add to that it being your first time using a smoker that has a layer of dust it’s daunting. I mean this can be down right frightening because you have put yourself out there and you can’t just paddle back in. Day of the cook AC(Not Wharton) calls me scared that she has already messed up because she didn’t dilute the Pineapple Juice marinade. It was here that I informed her that Rule Number one for Pitmasters; “Pitmasters never make mistakes, everything we do is calculated, planned, and or modified at the last minute if needed.” There is another golden rule that Brother Guido (a fellow teammate) says but it didn’t really apply here “Get them Drunk and Stall, Stall, Stall!
We get the wood chips on the hot coals, the Brisket on the smoker and we start checking hourly. Things are going well but I can get the sense that AC was feeling that smoking meat should be a on a time table like you cook in the oven. Here we learned another lesson on that you have to be subtle and always be reactive. No cook is the same. We get a two hours into the smoke and we are nearing the time to pull them off (a little early but that is fine, this smoker doesn’t have a bottom daisy wheel damper) and we wrap it in foil. As expected, we have to add more charcoal and we get the brisket singing in the foil.
I ended up going to the Commissioner to say hello to Brendan but AC(Not Wharton) sends me the pic of the finished product. What I like most about this was her feedback, she gets it.
“I didn’t Season it so well.” (we can also talk about injecting too)
“Tasted a little over seasoned.” (we can work on that, we can keep it simple and season it on the back end)
“Not a fan of the thin layer of Mustard to put on the brisket before we season it.” (Disclaimer to AC – I do that for Pork Ribs and I may have gotten that wrong. I don’t really cook Brisket like the Asian Fireman or Myron Mixon) We can use oil or the residual juice.
Wants to get a less lean Brisket next time. (We need to talk to the Asian Fireman on that)
Hey, I was pumped that she was happy with it. To cook a dish that you are unfamiliar with is hard. To prepare the dish on a cooking apparatus that you have never used before – That pretty incredible. But to do this and your teacher is in Brooklyn when you are on the island of Long…Get the F out of here!
What can I say, us New Yorkers are pretty resourceful and can pretty much do everything. Personally I can’t wait to come out and hang with AC(Not Wharton) and we do some whole chickens beer can style or Burnt Ends. Oh Burnt Ends are the Bees Knees! You are ok if I smoke a couple dozen cigars in your back yard right?
So Congrats AC(Not Wharton) we smoked a Brisket and didn’t burn up your backyard.
Welcome to your new addiction.
Just make sure we do this in the summer because that sucker is going to be a beast getting it to temp in the winter.
Oh and AC(Not Wharton) you have to name your smoker now. Its a Pitmaster Tradition.
Yeah, talk about some crazy stuff but hey, we have already paddled out on the surfboard some 4 3/4 years ago when we moved here. Why not keep the dream alive.
Back Story – When we got the offer and made the decision to move up here almost 5 years ago we sought council from The Murphranks. They both told us that we needed to prioritize the following items;
Be as Close to Public Transportation (Subway, Bus, Regional Lite Rail)
Avoid at all costs any type of a Pre-War Walk Up
I am sure there are more but I those two have burned some good Brain Cells in the short time we have been living here.
First Apartment on First Avenue was a dream now looking back. It was part of the Hospital so we didn’t have to hunt for a place to live and it was another stress item we didn’t have to worry about. It was perfect except for the fact that I had to walk about 15 minutes to and from each day to get the 6 Train at 68/Lexington. I did this for about 17 months and let me tell you it sucked. That all changed when the Q Train opened up on January 1, 2017. Ironically we ran into ole Andrew that morning but I digress.
First Apartment had the following things that we were growing accustomed to and it because a priority;
Doorman Building – Not so much to open your door but to know that if the front door didn’t shut behind another resident meant it was a safety/security issue.
Package Room – This is a HUGE problem when people BC (Before Covid-19) would have to have signatures on deliveries. People in the Package Room would sign for our shit
Elevator Banks that would accommodate the number of residents.
Closeness to a Grocery Store – Right Across the Street
Closeness to bars – This isn’t so much of a good thing.
Laundry in Building – Who wants to schlep stuff
So when Geranium and I decided to move from the UES place we looked at a couple of places or more areas. We decided on Downtown Brooklyn for a couple of reasons as once again our priorities were changing. She was going to be on the road more so I needed more amenities to keep my sanity. I mean we looked at Fidi (No Grocery Store), Battery Park City (bitch of a walk to one subway line) and Murray Hill (I wasn’t a fan for some reason)
What our new priorities were included;
Ability to have someone swing by and get keys from the front desk to walk the Monkey Heads and leave keys for our cousin.
Subway Options – I had over 16 different lines I could choose from to get into the city.
Needed an Outdoor space or place for me to go work in the building.
Exercise and Possible instructed classes that we could join.
Washer/Dryer in Unit – Well that is now a bonus
Roof Terrace and Grilling Pavilions
Closeness to Murphranks (yeah we kind of like drinking with you)
Ease of getting to all 3 airports for Geranium. She can actually get to EWR, JFK, LGA in about an hour from our location.
Bomb Dot Com View of Manhattan – Full disclosure – I signed the lease on this joint before Geranium did because it had a killer view of the Empire State and Manhattan.
Then COVID-19 Hit in early March.
So our lease is up in July and the leasing company wanted to know if we wanted to sign a 1 year or 2 year lease. Of course with a nice little additional percentage on the lease. I am not one to shit on people but they wouldn’t let us go month to month so we are off like a Prom Dress. Just so we are clear – the Front Desk and Maintenance Staff – we love each and everyone of you. But the management/ownership company not so much.
So what are our new Priorities and what priority is now been relegated to the bottom of the list you ask? God Bless Geranium because she found us a place on West 39th Between 9/10 Avenues I think in 2 days. The location is considered Midtown West/Hudson Yards as it is nestled north of Chelsea, South of Hells Kitchen and West of The Garment District.
So here are our New COVID-19 priorities now and what doesn’t really matter so much now;
Outdoor space – No, it is not so that I can smoke cigars, I don’t think they are allowed on balconies anyway. We need to air out and get sun.
Smaller Building/Less Floors/Footprint – They only allow 2 people in our elevator now. We have 3 elevators dedicated to floors 30 – 55 and you do the math. Oh and there are times when the door opens I can see the fear in people’s eyes when I want to enter with Maya. Current wait time is about 10 minutes during peak times. And on the day I am writing this elevator #3 is down….again.
Neighborhood Residential Density Footprint – Where we are in Downtown Brooklyn we have tiny sidewalks. We also have tons of residential high rises and the Brownstones from Boerum Hill. Sadly we have to give up the sidewalks to the kids. Where we are going according to Mr. 3 First Names is very quiet.
Washer/Dryer in Suite – Absolutely now!
Grocery Store/Pharmacy Nearby – We live above the same grocery store I visit once a week 4 blocks away. Haven’t figured out where the CVS is but I am happy about the closness of my grocery store. Having it across the street in the UES was paramount.
Not a Priority at this Time (For obvious reasons)
Closeness to the Subways – That’s a big ole nope. The friggin NYSE told their members that they would not be allowed to take public transportation if they were going to be on the floor until a vaccine is created. The New York Stock Exchange folks…..
Amenities/Common Space – Yeah why am I going to pay 3% more at our current place to not use it?
Nearby Bars/Restaurants – We ain’t going anywhere for a while folks. And any New Yorker is stupid to think we are going back to what it was before. At least till we get some type of handle on this virus.
Commute to the office – I am actually now the only rep for the Double Decker Bus Company who lives closest to our office at 37 and 7th Avenue. I ain’t going there….
Close to stuff – We are not too far from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden now. Like we will there anytime soon.
I know I rambled but actually I have some folks who are also in the same boat as us and I wanted to verbalize how priorities have shifted for us. We are very excited for this new place. So is Maya, she is so over having to pee at 16 Sycamore Park. Also her boyfriend George is gone because our current building did her mom dirty too..