A New Home for 2014

It’s the end of 2013. I hope it was a good year for you. I’m moving. Not leaving New York. Moving Lost in NYC. My goal is to make this my overall travel site and you can find me at TrevinTravels.com. Because I’m Trevin and I like to travel. Lost in NYC will still be a part, but I plan on incorporating new and old pictures from the past and moving into the future. So check it out now, because I put up a new post and bookmark it and come see me. I’ll be bringing in video footage to go with this too so check out Trevintravels.com and spread the word.

Thanks and Happy 2014!

Trevin

I’m Really Really Not Dead

OK, I know if you were a faithful reader of my blog, you realized I slacked off over the last year. That’s right, my last post was in December 2012. It’s December 2013!

But the good news is, I’m coming back real soon. I swear. I have a newly dedicated domain name, and I’m in the process of setting it up. I will be moving my Lost in NYC archives over and begin building my travel blog. Don’t worry, I’m still in New York. But I’ll be visiting new places domestic and international, along with posting pictures and stories from past adventures.

We have so much catching up to do. Stay tuned…

If You Can’t Find It In Chinatown

I have an iPhone 5. I pre-ordered the phone when they were first released. I didn’t receive my phone for 3 weeks after that. After my first exciting week of being douchy new iPhone guy, I dropped it on the tile bathroom floor of my work and shattered the glass face.

This was the day before Hurricane Sandy closed the subways and the MTA was already practicing their emergency train route. As I mentioned in a previous posting, the J train ran to Hewes stop in Brooklyn and then everyone had to exit and take the shuttle bus across the Williamsburg bridge to Manhattan. That Saturday morning was chaotic because the entire eight train cars had to exit one set of stairs from the platform, exit the turnstiles and emergency exit, grab a ticket from an MTA worker, exit another set of stairs to street level, walk about a block and a half past the line we were all searching for the end of, then turn around and slowly work our way back to the shuttle buses lined up to drive us to Manhattan.

In hindsight, it was the MTA knowing they needed to shut down the rail system ahead of the approaching storm. I had no idea this was happening, and it was a rude awakening when I was just trying to get to work. When I showed up forty minutes late I was flustered by the trip and I hurriedly changed into my work clothes in the cramped bathroom. I went to put my brand new, slick aluminum, way thinner than my previous iPhone 3, practically a credit card in my hand, did I mention brand new mutherfuckin iPhone 5 into my backpack and it slipped right out my hand, face down on the tile. I knew I was fucked. I picked up my phone and the face was trashed. I can still use it. But I can barely read what I’m texting and my thumb is being carved into sandpaper.

I’ve been trying to find a replacement screen but nobody has one that will fit the iPhone 5. Everyone is telling me places to check out, but when you go to Chinatown and they tell you they don’t have it, where can you go?
This is where fake Rolexes, cheap noodles, and first run movies on DVD for a dollar live. If you can’t find it in Chinatown then you’re screwed.

So yes, I feel like a douchebag for buying a new iPhone and breaking it a week later, I didn’t even have time to buy a case, and no I didn’t take the insurance. I didn’t need it for 2 and a half years with my previous phone. I had a month to change my mind after I ordered the phone. Only problem was I waited for three weeks to get the phone from Apple and then UPS, and then I had the phone for just over a week when…well you know. Where October was a great month, November has been mediocre in comparison, even if the hurricane and the broken phone happened at the end of October, the hangover lasted through November. I left out the disappointing part of my college football team waiting until late November to lose their first game of the year, and eliminate themselves from playing for a national championship. That added to my foul mood.

Kind of like last year, I had a great birthday in Vegas with friends and family in October then came back to find out I was getting laid off at work. I spent November contemplating the future and ended up moving to New York. So I’m saying that happened for a reason. I’m not sure breaking my iPhone will make me a better person, unless that means I stare at it less in pubic. Here’s to a better December and hopefully the world isn’t about to end, but I will rant more about that next time.

Apocalypse Soon

It’s been the longest stretch without a post since I’ve started this blog. October was going to be a huge month, I had so many ideas, but it all just fizzled away. What happened?

Like Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, or a very fat Marlon Brando in Francis Ford Coppola’s epic war movie, I went up river and I’ve gone native. What started out as mere observation turned into infiltration and participation. No longer am I amazed at things I see on a daily basis. Life continues to be exciting, but maybe I don’t have as many novel things to report on as I once did. Of course there may be other factors, such as a lazy approach to daily writing which was due to the many distractions that have occurred in the last month, and possibly a bit of self censorship because I can’t tell you about every little detail that happens. Here’s what I will tell you:

I met a Swiss traveler who is touring the U.S. and we hit it off. She managed to stick around New York for a while and we had lots of fun around the city at various bars, restaurants, and occasional tourist sites. At one point we were at a deli in SoHo at 4am with Lindsay Lohan, who I didn’t pay attention to enough to recognize, but my Swiss friend and the guy working the counter swear that it was her.

Another night we went to a concert at Webster Hall sponsored by Jameson that was called Pettyfest. It was musicians playing covers of Tom Petty songs. While I didn’t recognize everyone that played, they were all from established bands, and it was a reminder that Tom Petty has written lots of great songs. The best part was that we had been listening to the Strokes a lot together and I had introduced her to Portlandia to show what my hometown is like from a comical viewpoint. So when Fred Armison of SNL and Portlandia fame got up to play drums and then Fabrizio Moretti of the Strokes did the same, we were very excited. In fact, she admitted she and her friends had all had a crush on Fabrizio and made sure to get pictures to send to them.

All in all not bad for a free concert and free Jameson.

But now, I’m waiting for the storm of the century, or some such disaster to strike. My Swiss friend went to DC and she’s there with friends, waiting for the same. The subways were closed yesterday evening, so I missed what is generally a very profitable night of work at my restaurant, and today I’m not working again. Honestly, I’m a little disappointed, I prefer to take off from work when it’s planned. I’m trying to occupy my time with some movies and finally writing another post for the blog. The wind is howling outside, but the real storm is still somewhere offshore. I have food, beer, Jameson, movies, and a book for when the power goes out, which in all likelihood will happen at night when reading will be impossible, so I hope I’m drunk enough to just sleep through all of it.

My Portland friends and I had a running list of things you need for the Apocalypse, since the whole Mayan thing has been gaining steam. Sure there’s always those emergency preparedness kits they tell you about in the media, but our list was things you don’t think you need until they’re gone. The problem is, people usually think things will come back to normal right away, and generally they do. But when you look at what happened with hurricane Katrina, or when ice storms take down all the power lines, or ridiculous amounts of snow fall in a region like the Pacific Northwest as it did in 2008 and transportation ground to a halt and store shelves were empty for weeks, that’s when things start to get weird.

It’s good to have a network of people to rely on, who can help you out when you run out of supplies, or help you raid and loot other groups of people that have lots of supplies. Think of the Road Warrior and that crazy gang that Mel Gibson took on. Dressing in leather, wearing modified football pads and having a mohawk also looks cool and helps with the intimidation factor. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have much of a gang out here.

So here’s my impromptu list and remember, this is speaking in case of a purely hypothetical emergency, post law and order scenario.

1. Guns and ammo.

I’m not talking about the magazine, I’m talking the real thing. I know what you’re saying. Guns are bad. Guns hurt people. Yes they do. Just remember what Clint Eastwood said before he started talking to empty chairs: “There are two kinds of people in this world my friend, those with guns, and those who dig. You my friend, dig.”

It’s part of my American heritage, the wild west, if it’s me or you, well I’m choosing me. So don’t come busting down my door to rob me.

2. Drugs.

Legal, illegal, I don’t care. Drugs can be considered medicine, therapy, a way to pass the time. Even if you don’t use them, someone else may want them so it’s a good item for trade.

3. Booze.

Once again something to pass the time. Remember all the people looting cases of beer during Katrina? That’s why you better be able to protect your stash from the needy and the greedy. And whiskey is helpful if you need to remove a bullet or an arrowhead with a dull rusty knife blade. Just like in those old Western movies, sterilize the blade, give a drink to the patient, pour some on the wound, a little for the doctor…

4. Lipstick and Makeup.

This suggestion came from my friend Jenn, who pointed out that women still will want to look good. And guys, just like drugs, just because you may not use them doesn’t mean that someone else won’t covet them enough to trade for something you value.

5. Tampons.

Once again, I have to give credit to Jenn on this too. I don’t think I need to elaborate on the value of having happy women.

6. Candy.

One more from Jenn, who pointed out that living on ramen, insects, and forest berries will get old pretty fast. Good to have something for your sweet tooth.

7. Wet wipes.

Hygiene is important, and if clean water becomes scarce and hot showers become a luxury, these could come in pretty handy.

8. Condoms.

When your iPhone no longer works and the internet’s down and Netflix stops delivering, there’s still that old fashioned form of entertainment that never goes out of style. There’s always baby booms 9 months after disasters, but if you’re not ready to repopulate the earth Post Apocalypse and want to stay STD free while fleeing across the country to a safe zone away from the zombies, make Trojan Man your right hand man. Or use your right hand, man.

This list is not all inclusive and can always be tailored to suit your own personal tastes, but feel free to use it as your guide for survival, because not only is your physical health important, but your mental health is too.

Meanwhile, I’ll be waiting here for the worst and I’ll post some pictures if anything exciting happens in the ‘hood.

 

And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street

This is the title of my all time favorite Dr. Seuss book. As a kid, I had an extensive collection of the good Doctor’s works that were a raggedy spined collection of hand me downs someone gave my parents for me. Most things I had as a little kid were hand me downs, because my parents were young and didn’t have much money at the time. But I didn’t care, I loved Dr. Seuss books. Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! But Mulberry Street was by far my favorite. If you are not familiar with the story, a young boy on his way home imagines all these incredible sights and sounds that he sees on Mulberry Street, and is going to tell his dad all about it when he gets home. Of course, it’s completely his imagination, and at the very end when he gets home, he tells his dad nothing really happened at all. That’s the truth, but fantasy trumped reality. The story showed the power of youthful imagination and how it eventually becomes repressed by the societal expectations of adulthood. I’ve always had a vivid imagination, and while I’ve grown up slightly, I’m still a kid at heart. I hadn’t thought of the book in years until the other night I was reminded of it.

It started on my day off. I went to Manhattan to go shopping for some pants. I was looking for a new pair of jeans, maybe some good looking pants, and I was on Broadway in SoHo, with all the tourists and shoppers. I was having a difficult time because the way fashion trends affect everyone throughout the industry. Consider this: In the ’90s, kids started wearing baggy pants. I remember it got to the point where pants were so super baggy they became comically huge. It was like they were designed to fit the world’s fattest man and they looked like you could fit a couple of teenagers inside them.

Now it’s all flopped around to the skinny jeans trend. They are really narrow at the leg opening and really only the skinniest of guys should be wearing them, if they should be at all. There was a Bud Light commercial from the past year or so where a female bartender makes fun of a patron for wearing what she calls his “Girlfriend’s jeans” which pretty much sums it up for me. Sure, wear something that fits but I think it’s gotten to the point where it looks kind of gay. Not gay in a homosexual way, but gay in a stupid and okay, effeminate way. I see it everywhere, hipsters, skaters, teenagers, and really skinny dudes. Now I’m not a fat guy, but I’m definitely not rail thin either. I’ve always been stocky and with my thick legs I feel stupid wearing these jeans and pants that are cut like this. That is if I can put them on in the first place.

So I’m trying to find something that seems normal, but normal is skinnier than it used to be and skinny is just out of the question. Finding something that actually feels comfortable means having to go so large on the waist that the pants are falling off my ass. Oh wait, that’s cool, I forgot.

So I went to a bunch of stores and eventually found a decent pair, but the effort meant a lot more time spent shopping than I wanted to. I had made it back to around Canal street and I went to Chinatown for some cheap noodles. After getting some food and a little energy back, I passed a street vendor on Mulberry Street with cheap fruits and vegetables and I picked up a Dragonfruit, which I’ve only recently tried. It’s a bit larger than an apple, kind of looks like a dragon head, and when you slice it the inside looks similar to a kiwi. The first one I had tried was white and speckled with black seeds, but these were advertised as red dragon fruit. They were slightly more expensive but well worth it. Beet red on the inside, succulent and juicy, it was amazing.

Lychee

Dragonfruit

Tasty red dragon

Around this time the sun was setting and across Canal street in Little Italy, there were food booths and vendors set up for the festival of San Gennaro. What got my attention was the marching band playing and entering Mulberry Street, led by police clearing the way and a bust of San Gennaro.

I made my way across the street to watch the procession make its entrance and stood nearby as everyone took pictures and listened to the band playing Italian folk songs. The booths sold cannolis, zeppoles, meatballs, eggplant parmesan, and pistachio ice cream. I was transported into a Godfather movie as I listened to the music and stood in one of New York’s classic Italian neighborhoods. Any minute I expected Robert DeNiro to appear from the crowd as a young Vito Corleone and bust a cap in the local Don’s ass but on this evening the NYPD did a good job a crowd control. I followed along with everyone in the crowd, found a free sample of some espresso and made my way out the other side to the subway, past more buildings with signs in Chinese.

And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street.

For the record, Theodor Geisel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, and the Mulberry Street he refers to in his first book published as Dr. Seuss is from there, but Mulberry Street in Manhattan is a fun place to visit for people of all imaginations.

One last thing I learned about his book, it inspired a few lines out of this song by CCR.

Double Feature

I’ve been slacking since the 9/11 post. I’m living between two places, staying out until 5am every other night and of course going to work. A lot feels like it’s happened in the last week. I’m not sure how much I can remember or I’m allowed to talk about. I went out last Tuesday with my new friend Gigi. She was about to leave town for some traveling and teaching some drumming classes. We met through my roommate and managed to have one cool jam session at a place in Bushwick called the Sweatshop. It has drum sets, big guitar and bass amps, microphones and PA systems. You rent it by the hour, bring your band, or your friends, along with your guitar and you make some noise.

Gigi grew up in the Bronx and Queens and was hanging with her old friends the night before she was leaving town. I met up and it was a group of real New Yorkers, accents and all, plus most of them were drummers too. Metal drummers. So we did a lot of drinking at a bar under the train stop, way North in Queens. When the night was over, everyone went their separate ways and I had a long, late night train ride back to way east Bushwick.

The rest of the week was somewhere along those lines, so last night I finally got around to watching some Netflix DVDs I’ve had, just to have a relaxing night. Oddly enough they were both movies involving New York. On top of that, Anna Paquin was in both, each time playing the role of jailbait or barely legal temptress.

First off, I watched the Squid and the Whale (2005), a depressing movie about divorce in a family that lived in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn. Park Slope is a nice neighborhood full of beautiful brownstones and yuppies. This is true today as it was in 1986 when the movie takes place. Jeff Daniels is a college professor/has been writer and Laura Linney is his up and coming writer/soon to be ex-wife. Did I mention that Park Slope and the surrounding zip codes are home to the most published writers per capita in America? It’s something like that, I just read it in a book that I’m not going to footnote. But Norman Mailer and lots of important writers of the 20th century kind of established that and it continues to this day.

Someday when I become the Widely Read and Well Paid Blogger, I will move there too and become pretentious and douchy. In the meantime, you all can say you kinda knew me when I was kinda down to earth and only kinda douchy.

Here’s the deal with the Squid and the Whale:

The Dad – Tweed jackets, hipster/Charles Darwin beard, drives a volvo, talks down to everyone, is a really arrogant prick.

The Mom – Too busy trying to jump on anyone with a dick to care about her soon to be ex-husband or that her kids are looking towards a lifetime of therapy.

Son #1 – Plays “Hey You” from Pink Floyd at the school talent show, claims it to be original, wins $100. Excuse me but The Wall was released in 1979, and no one at his whole friggin’ school knew he was playing a cover tune? Highly improbable. And he gets found out. Duh! Not cool kid. So not cool.

Son #2 – Goes from crybaby to drunkard in about two weeks. I actually kind of liked him. By the way, he’s 11 or something. He’ll eventually be sending some therapist’s kid to college.

Anna Paquin plays the hypersexualized college student that needs a place to stay and ends up moving in with dad when he has to get the second home across the park. Which by the way, is not as cool as being in Park Slope.

Overall, I didn’t like the characters, it was one of those make you feel bad indie movies, and I don’t recommend it.

Moving on, I then watched the 25th Hour (2002), a Spike Lee Joint starring Edward Norton, Rosario Dawson, Barry Pepper, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Let me just say that for me, you can’t go wrong with Ed Norton and PSH.

The other odd coincidence was the movie’s tie in to 9/11. Being released in 2002 it has the influence of those events, even though the novel was released in 2001 before they occurred. It’s the little things like looking out of a Wall Street apartment onto the empty pit of ground zero, and referring to lost firefighters.

Funny thing is, most of these characters are flawed. Ed Norton is a drug dealer about to go away for 7 years. Barry Pepper is his oldest friend who grew up to be a douchy Wall Street Gordon Gekko wannabe. Philip Seymour Hoffman is the awkward high school English teacher who can’t resist the flirtatiousness of his student played by, you got it, Anna Paquin. And Rosario Dawson is the beautiful girlfriend living off her drug dealer boyfriend.

Somehow, you find sympathy for these characters, and feel moved by what they suffer, even though they are not role models. Part of it is the way Spike Lee turns it into a reflection on the loss suffered by the city of New York and how everyone was in it together and would fight to keep the city alive together. In Do the Right Thing, Spike had the moment where everyone gets all racist on each other before the big riot and calls each other all kinds of derogatory names. In the 25th Hour, Spike brings it back when Ed Norton is talking to himself in a mirror and hurls the insults at everyone: Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Koreans, corrupt cops, gay Chelsea boys, rich upper east side white women, black guys on the basketball court, baseball bat wielding Italian Tony Soprano wannabes, terrorist Muslim cab drivers, and a few more I can’t remember. It’s funny and revealing of our society at the same time and all the more relevant living in New York and recognizing the neighborhoods and the stereotypes.

If you haven’t watched the 25th Hour, I highly recommend it.

And just for fun, because I typed douchy so many times today.

September 11th

Just a few days ago I was apartment sitting in Williamsburg. That’s hipster central of Brooklyn. It really is a great area for having lots going on so when I make fun of it, that’s only because I’m jealous I don’t live there.

I was staying at the same place I lived when I first came to New York. It’s on the fourth floor and it has a view of Manhattan. To the North/Northwest is the Empire State Building. To the West is One World Trade Center, the building located on the site of the Twin World Trade Center Towers. I saw its progress as it grew taller in January and February, and looking now, it appeared to be at its full height, and only the interior of the upper one quarter of the building needs to be finished.

As I stared in the late afternoon, I suddenly realized it was only a few days from the notorious anniversary that profoundly affected New York, shook the nation, and shocked the world. In my lifetime, it’s the major event we all remember and it changed the way we have lived ever since. It became the reason we have fought wars in two countries. It changed the way we fly on airplanes and are expected to behave in public. It changed the way we value our freedom, define our freedom, and defend our freedom. The world may have always been a dangerous place, but we were no longer allowed to be ignorant to that.

Today has been 11 years since I woke up to a phone call telling me to turn on my television. I was living in Los Angeles and it was still early on the West Coast. I watched in disbelief and spent the next couple of days in shock as LAX grounded all flights and commerce in my city 3000 miles from the tragedy seemed to come to a halt.

Just two years earlier I was in New York for my friend’s wedding on September 11th. I only know this now because I was reminded of this a few years after the event. At the time it was lots of fun as the West Coast college friends came to support their friend and celebrate in the Big Apple. One of the events of the wedding day was a booze cruise around Manhattan and at one point another friend and myself posed for a picture in front of the Manhattan skyline with the Twin Towers centered behind us. I didn’t even see it developed (yes pre-digital) until almost four or five years later, which made it seem very nostalgic.

Now there is a new tower nearing the final stages of completion. It’s a positive sign that even though tragedy can occur in many ways, people can begin the process of rebuilding and healing that is necessary to go on with life. I didn’t lose anyone in the 9/11 attacks, but many people did. To see the city now, it’s vibrant and growing. Areas are changing, neighborhoods being revitalized, rents going up, tons of people to compete with. New York didn’t become a ghost town.

That’s all we can do as survivors, keep moving forward. We live in an imperfect world, and the eleven years since that time have offered new challenges, but many good things have happened too.

I enjoyed the view for at least an hour as the sun set. And during that time I took pictures of the new tower. Not the greatest, having only an iphone camera, but it showed the change over from sun reflecting off the glass to the lights inside the tower illuminating it at night.

For the first picture I enjoyed the effect the cranes on top of the building made as I faced the building at a perfect angle so they appeared to form a helmet with wings, making me picture the tower as a Valkyrie, to guide the souls of the dead to Valhalla. Enjoy the rest of the progression, and honor the lives lost that day.

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