smoking in NYC

Scenes from West 37th

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.

This dude comes in every day raising hell because people park in front of his active driveway. I keep telling Viktor that I will keep it clear if he lets me store my shit in his warehouse.
The bright Murals are the supports for the overpass. There is also a NJT staging area for the Port Authority.
95 degrees today and we have a Midtown Uniform Wearer!
So when I see people walking on the sidewalk because I am not wearing a mask (kinda hard to smoke with a mask on) I give them the courtesy of going into the street to let them pass. Especially the older folks, you can see it in their eyes that they are cognizant that you are not wearing a mask.
I stand a lot over here between the parked cars and the street. So far nobody has accused me of casing cars.
Speaking of Cars, My man here spends like 30 minutes each day cleaning the rims and getting it ‘tight’ for his drive.
Mother Efffer where you going to hit golf balls?
Parking gets interesting when all the vendors show up at the same time.
Wonder why I have to stay 25 feet away from him? Note he is blocking the Driveway. Hope that Viktor doesn’t show up anytime soon.

Have a good weekend.

Brisket 101 Virtual Training with AC(Not Wharton)

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?

On her list of things she needed to get was a fire extinguisher. She didn’t have one so I told her to have some Flour handy in case we had a grease fire.
This is Battalion 9 in Manhattan that I am hoping I only ever get to see when they are getting provisions at my new Grocery Store.
I have Never Seen one of these before.
AC – Get you one of those Oven Thermometers next time you are at the store. You and I gauging the temp with the “How long can you hold your hand by the rack” needs to improve. I suspect that sucker went hot way too quickly but you and I recovered well.
Love the Bark (the dark crust) on that
You got some smoke ring in there. Like I told AC(Not Wharton) on text. The first one is in the books. So we learn what we like and what we don’t like and we do it again.
I am open on Sunday by the way…..
Yeah I boast that I am not on a BBQ Team but I am grooming AC for WCBCC.
Not sure how we can do that with Shabbat but we can figure something out.
So AC(Not Wharton) BACK STORY ON YOUR BLOG NAME – AC Wharton was a former Mayor of Memphis and I am having writers block coming up with your Blog nickname.

When I was down in Belize one year I organized a BBQ Sauce Contest all via a Message Board. I had one of the owner’s of a Bed and Breakfast get me some whole Chickens and I borrowed her Grill that is an old Butane Tank. We did Beer Can Butt Chicken. When the other owner and partner asked me if I had ever done this before I admitted to her –
Nope, I was flying by the seat of my pants. Thankfully it turned out great.

The faces were courtesy of Shuffles.

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.

I am proud of our Sunday Cooking project.

Lets Take One of The Worst Things Imaginable – Moving! But Let’s Do That Shit in NYC During A Pandemic

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..

Back to the isle of Manhattan!

Layout of the new place. Trust me when I say that we have already figured out how to maximize space
Rule Number One – Never buy for the new place but I got my eye on you there Boo!
Never in a million years….
Already head of the game getting boxes.
Now in the top 5 important items.
When we saw him at the Second Avenue Subway opening.
I like the job that Andrew is doing in response to COVID-19 and being the father figure that we need.
I do love that his own brother called him out with that “Double Barrel Shotgun Mounted on the front of his face!” We need to laugh folks.

More to come, more to come.

Would You Walk a Mile For A Camel?

Or better yet would you stand your ass out in a driving rainstorm with Monsoon/Nor Easter winds?

But First let me post a picture of Maya.

I get scolded if I don’t post a picture of Maya on each blog post.

So where we live in Downtown Brooklyn/Boerum Hill it has a Heavy Density of Residential homes and high rise apartments. Of those residents we have tons of kids and small children. The Playgrounds are closed for obvious reasons so parents are taking kids to parks and let them burn off some steam. They also let their kids run/ride scooters on the side walks.

Oh and the idiot Mayor we have what does he do to help alleviate this? His ass hasn’t closed off any of the streets but that is another subject at a later time. EDIT – he announced on Friday he is going to do this. With this and given the tightness of our sidewalks it prevents us from going outside much. I think I have said it a bunch of times but I can count on one hand the number of times I have visited a store/market/pharmacy in 30 days. I try to go on off times, not the weekends of course, but when it is say early morning or mid day.

So on Thursday after I took a conference call I was feeling a bit weepy. Oh come on admit it that we all have fears about this shit. It was raining and I just needed to get outside so I thought of a great idea. It has been 50 days since I was having a cigar at the Cigar Inn on 2nd Avenue. I figured that now during a driving rainstorm was the perfect time to go smoke a stick. I mean the kids won’t be out in this shit.

So I put on my Memphis in May Rain Gear, Got my fancy Umbrella, clipped off a Perdomo Torpedo and away I went downstairs. Trevor our building Concierge looked at me like I was crazy for going outside during all of this. Hell maybe I am crazy, maybe you are crazy too. I stood over by the closed 16 Sycamore Playground as there is a indention and I can stand without obstructing anyone walking by and braved the wind and rain.

Had a good Ash going till the Winds kicked up.
And don’t send me any cigars, I have a humidor full of them from when I went to Mexico in early February. (God that seems like forever ago!)

But First let’s take a selfie when it wasn’t raining.
It was good chatting with Tay-Tay while I was getting pummeled.
Trevor wanted to take a picture of me while I was standing out there but you couldn’t see me from where he was working.
But of course we have a Wind Advisory while some jackass is smoking a cigar.

So what are you doing differently in the middle of a Global Pandemic? Smoking a cigar in the middle of the rainstorm wasn’t on my list.

Random Pictures on a (Insert Your Favorite Day) of the Week

I told you that I am getting a little stale, thanks to some of you who have submitted those COVID-19 Life Hacks.

Maya is wondering when these two are going to leave and let her do her Secret Single Behavior! S/O to L(squared)S!
Jersey Singer nailed this one when he sent it to me. I still am giggling!
If Rambo goes missing……. And Shout out to Otter for making it PG-13
Editors Note – she approved this pic as I always try to respect the privacy of those who are short like me. (Oh I am getting called something)
It really wasn’t shorts weather but I am tired of wearing Jeans/Track pants
I told the person I sent this to that I promise I wasn’t sending a picture of my Junk. I mean we are friends but we aren’t that good of friends yet. This person is also a closeted Prepster.

I hope you had a laugh at my expense.

Smoked Meats in Glenside PA

After returning from the Redneck Rivera we have had a full weekend schedule pending. The first weekend since our return had us heading over to Philly for a Memphis Style BBQ. Geranium being the world jet setter was in Seattle for work so she decided to fly the red eye straight into Philly and I would take Amtrak over to Philly. Since I already booked our travel I invited LJZ since her husband is enjoying summer school.

Due to some prior commitments the majority of the BBQ Team would not be able to attend so Pepe called in the “B Team” meaning SK and I would be the substitute pit masters. Other than a pork roll incident we managed to put out some good food for the group.

Since we got there so early into Philly I left LJZ to go see her friends and I headed on the regional train to Pepe’s house.
We really should have brought this up to the cooking pad but it got things going for us Saturday Morning.
Now this is a smoker!
We (well not so much me or SK) burned some of this.
SK’s lovely wife made sure that the guests were good and ‘hydrated’ and kept cool with frozen drinks.
Is this a Kids Drink or a Uncle Robo Drink?
Every time I looked up there was another protein to smoke or cook. Thanks to Pepe’s buddy for helping out.
Oh the Shame (She obviously is not from the south) I told LJZ’s friend that I was going to put this picture on my worthless dribble of a blog. I even put it as the featured picture too!
We had a good time and I didn’t do a repeat of 2 years ago in Glenside when someone slipped me a Mickey.

All in all the B Team did a good job and it was a hit. Appreciate Pepe and D3 for letting us stay the night and we will be back.

Pictures of the Week from the Redneck Rivera.

So we will finish the week with some final pictures from our week down in the Redneck Rivera. Like I said, we had a blast and we look forward to next years trip. I figure by then maybe Knuckleheads #1 & #2 will be able to fetch Uncle Robo and Uncle RJ some cold pops! Captain can you start teaching the kids how to make Painkillers for next year.

Returning from the day on the beach. Notice the Cigar in my left hand. That was Cigar #22 for the week.
“Mom, we are tired of posing, Uncle Robo can we act a fool?”
“Go Ahead Kids! Fly that Freak Flag!”
Thank God we ordered the Small Drinks!
Happy 4th of July!
Need a bottle of Tito’s and a Dildo? We have found the place for you!
4 Toe Heads having dinner! I miss them!
I also miss this Bushwacker too!
Maya had a good Vacation too!
Hate to tell everyone but Knucklehead #2 took Daddy to school on the tabletop games!

Next week we will return to normal NYC Shenanigans. One should always get out of the city for a couple of days. We had fun with all of these jokers.

Pictures of The Week

Had a great week. That was until Geranium decided to shame my ass on having a slight salt addition. This weekend will be brief as she has to leave on Sunday for Seattle. However next Saturday we are going to the Red Neck Rivera.

YOU SHUT YOUR WHORE MOUTH WHEN TALKING ABOUT MY SALT COLLECTION! (Thankfully she doesn’t read this worthless dribble) In all seriousness I laughed my ass off. So I buy salt. At least I don’t buy cigars…..er oh well.
The Dog hid after that spirited arguement
Speaking of Cigars
The heat wasn’t like it was in the South but the Humidity was high AF!
Played some Dominoes last weekend.

By the way did you go buy Rebecca Coutant’s book yet?

Have a good weekend, if it is nice today we may be in the UES atop the Met Museum.

We Made it to Friday and we didn’t have to kill anyone….Yet!

This is what Trevor, front desk concierge, and I say each Friday while I am taking Monkey Head Maya out for her morning pee in the park. This week was a fun one. I survived circling the sun 49 trips and am now gearing up for a helluva 50th! Geranium and I went for drinks with some of my clients and tonight we are going to meet the Hot Tub “Wet Bandit” who is in town. Saturday is up in the air and Sunday we are going to see Lightbulb and the Asian Fireman.

Here are some pics from the past couple of weeks. I know I have been remiss on posting this but I have been busy.

Hey Country – You recall this building? The Former Flat Hotel!
I think it is a requirement if you are going to have a dive bar you have to have Christmas Tree Lighting.
This Joint reminded me of The Subway Inn on 2nd Avenue.
We will be back in Hudson to have a proper drink here again!
Goodbye Old Couch, we had to part with it to make room for some other stuff.
Glad to know the Fyre Festival dude (who I believe is still in prison) is running another scam.
I am a bad New Yorker if I didn’t at least post one pic from the St. Patrick Day Post Band Party.
Thanks to Stone, Vivian and Della for a great weekend upstate.
First Outside Cigar I was able to smoke.
She is a little shit but she is our little shit!

Have a good weekend!

Snow In New York

We had some snow a couple of weeks back that took me by surprise. Actually that isn’t true, it took everyone by surprise. What was supposed to be a light dusting actually turned into about 6 inches in the city and over a foot upstate and in Westchester & Rockland Counties. Mary Louise was out of town in Japan (recall this POST) so it was me and the dog. I learned something about the loss of Monkey Head Maddy when it snows. Maddy didn’t really care about snow and would plow through it with reckless abandon and Maya would follow her steps. It appears that Maya is a fancy girl and does’t like snow on her undercarriage. 

I can’t really blame her but my dumbass was wearing probably the worst shoes next to flip flops when all of the snow hit. Rubber soled driving shoes. Yep my commute back to Downtown Brooklyn was wet sock filled.  The snow wasn’t just bad on my subway commute. My boss took her over 7 hours to get home and one of my work co-horts took 4 hours getting home. Thankfully the snow was melted by Friday morning and Flights got back to normal by Saturday for Mary Louise’s arrival home. 

Taken about 3:00PM
Taken about 4:30PM and you can see the snow is on the roads now. 
My shoes are already moist (don’t you just love that word) and I have a substantial snow storm to trek home in. I might as well enjoy my Cigar from my current perch. 
Thanks a Lot Uber. Way to Stick it to the folks. This is normally a $30.00 cab ride home. 
Beware of the Slushy Water. I had to George Costanza Jump to clear this. 
Like a Beacon in the Harbor My Favorite Store Was Open. I didn’t really need anything but you can bet your sweet ass I bought something.
No idea that what she is in for
Where is that White Dog when I need her. This sucks! 
Make a Deal with you. I promise not to pee in the house if you promise not to bring my ass down here again. 

Trust me when I hear that they forecast snow my ass will be wearing correct shoes.