Wednesday, 7 August 2013

My favourite street in NYC - East 7th

I don't know if everyone in New York has a favourite street, but I certainly do. If I find myself with no plans I will almost certainly partake in the walk I am about to describe.

Now, I will cheat a little bit at the start, because you have to get to East 7th Street from somewhere, so my starting point is Other Music on East 4th Street. Other Music is my favourite record store in the city, it's pretty small and personable and has a great selection, they also put on some free shows during the year which are always fantastic (I've seen Barry Adamson, Lee Ranaldo, Nude Beach, Dum Dum Girls and Chelsea Light Moving). 

From Other Music, we're just a few blocks away from East 7th, which begins at Cooper Square. At 41 E.7th we have our first stop, Burp Castle, "The Temple of Beer Worship", which has a fine selection of beer (kriek or framboise on tap? Yes please) and the quirk of being a "shoosh" bar where the bartenders will shoosh people that are too loud, it means it doesn't get so loud that you have to shout. It's quite refreshing to be in a relaxed, conversation-friendly bar.

The next stop is Abraco, and I can't stress this enough, a cup of drip-coffee from here might just be my favourite thing in the whole world. I will make plans around being able to get here, I wish it had longer opening hours (closes at 6pm) but then again maybe it's a good thing I can usually only go there at weekends.  

Right around the corner on 1st ave is Kim's Video and Music Store, it's much larger than Other Music and while it probably has a similar amount of music it does boast quite the arsenal of DVD/blu-ray. Bonus points for being the only place I've seen a copy of Titicut Follies for sale, I haven't bought it and still haven't seen it but it has been on my wish-list for some time, maybe one day I'll be brave enough to pick it up (as an additional cheat, you could walk up to St Mark's Place and look at 96-98 St Marks Place, the building used for the cover of Led Zepellin's Physical Graffiti). 

The section of East 7th between 1st Ave and Ave A is a food mecca. You have Luke's Lobster and Caracas next door to each other (though I prefer the Caracas in Williamsburg as it's more relaxed and has more room, whilst New Hampshire has spoiled lobster rolls for me a little bit as they are so damn good there, but Luke's does the job here in NYC). 

A spectacular arepa
Alternatively, you can walk along to Porchetta where you can purchase an exquisite pork sandwich. 

Have a sweet craving? Look no further than Big Gay Ice Cream, there's always a line outside at the weekends but you'll soon be slathering away at a salty pimp or other soft-serve wonders. 

Find a bench to enjoy your treat(s) at Tompkins Square Park, whilst also taking note of the Joe Strummer Wall on the corner of E.7th/Avenue A. 

Finally, after walking through the park and hitting Avenue B, take a look to your right and enter the best bar in the city, Manitoba's (recently featured in my No Shit! series). 

My perfect day includes a combination of the above (with a compulsory inclusion of Other Music and Abraco). The total walking distance from Other Music to Manitoba's is less than 1 mile, is there anywhere else in the city that can rival such perfection in so few blocks?

Here's a google map link for directions.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

No Shit! An occasional series: No.4 - Smith and Mills

So far we have plundered the depths of depravity within the city, but it's time to go a bit more upmarket in the form of Smith and Mills' offering. A converted elevator shaft, this steampunk-tinged bog offers a delightful decor.

The crown jewel is the flip-down sink, despite the fact the taps are a bit clumsy.

The sliding door is next to the bar so hopefully the chatter outside is loud enough so that your stream isn't heard too much by the other patrons!

As for the bar itself, it's a tiny little restaurant in Tribeca located at 71 North Moore street, and speaking of streams, nerdy readers may well recognise the street name, which is also home to Hook & Ladder 8, the fire station used in the Ghostbusters movies.

Some idiot is ruining the picture...

In all honesty I went to the restaurant because I wanted to check out the toilet (this probably says a lot about me)... but they do make a nice Old Fashioned although it will set you back $14 (I enjoyed the drink then left). The food smelled good but the portions looked a bit on the small side from what I could see, it's not really the kind of place I would come to usually, I don't belong with the suits and yuppies. You'll get better bang for your buck elsewhere but for a quirky detour it's worth checking out.

Score on the floor...
Venue: 5
Character: 9
Functionality: 7
Hygiene: 7

Total: 28

My Social List: Where It's At

I've started writing a series on My Social List, a website dedicated to events in New York. Where It's At aims to review as many concert venues as possible, I go to a lot of shows and while many reviews concentrate on the music, not much takes into account the setting, the quirks of being at a gig, etc. 

If you live in New York, the site is great, it can even sync up with your Facebook, Twitter and Last.FM pages and then alert you when your favourite bands are in town. They are more comprehensive in their coverage than OhMyRockness and Brooklyn Vegan (though both sites are still helpful) as well as putting on events themselves, check it out!

I have so far written 4 pieces (Death By Audio, Cake Shop, Mercury Lounge and Shea Stadium), and you can keep up with them via this link.