I had a great week (well 10 days, due to Irene) in the Mitte neighborhood of Berlin and met the SoundCloud community team and many others at the company. It’s a great, international group of people and I’m excited to be a part of the company.
Around the streets of Berlin, I captured some street music and sounds that will remind me of this experience. This track is one I really enjoyed while crossing over the bridge and looking at the Berliner Dom (Cathedral).
I also found a new favorite park. If you ever make it to Berlin, you have to check out the sounds of Mauer Park on a Sunday. In the meantime, you can listen to the set below.
For the most interesting person this week, here is Ray Tempus, author of the “15 Point Guide to Peeing in the City.” I caught up with him outside Gramercy Park a couple of weeks ago where he was selling his $2 guides.
This guide isn’t just New York City folks, its universal. I picked up a copy, and I’m not the only one. He’s sold nearly 80,000.
Ray is a trip and worth the listen. He calls himself “Fred Flintstone in the age of George Jetson.”
I’m thankful to hear that the hurricane wasn’t as bad as expected. I even got a few extra days in Berlin out of of it! I’ll be in Carroll Gardens starting Wednesday, and looking for people to interview there.
This interview comes from my week in Stuyvesant Town where I met Bernie, who has lived there since 1949. Everyday, around 2:30pm, you’ll find Bernie hitting golf balls. Say hello - he has far more stories than I’ve captured in this short five minute interview. If he likes you, he might even offer you a golf lesson.
He made me guess his age and I thought he was in his 70’s.
A group of four of us met up at Nurse Bettie for a burlesque show. It’s a fun place on the LES and was busy on a Wednesday night.
Don’t take flash photography like I did (mistakenly). You’ll get yelled at by the MC in front of the whole bar. Luckily I didn’t capture the full interaction in this SoundCloud, but you can here a piece of it :) She says, “here’s a little tip. you, right there with the flash.”
My host took me to check out this relatively new cocktail spot in the East Village at 443 East 6th street. There are only 13 seats in the bar, and the cocktail making is an art form. You can simply tell the bartender a flavor you are in the mood for and they will whip up a unique concoction. They make their own bitters here and I’d highly recommend checking it out.
The West 4th Street League, founded by a limousine driver named Kenny Graham, has carved its own place in asphalt history. Among the notables who have filled the Cage are Dr. J, Walter Berry, and Jayson Williams. Anthony Mason's Prime Time squad won five titles in the early 1990s. West 4th Street officials estimate that their league attracts more than 100,000 spectators each summer, numbers that Rucker Park rivaled only in its heyday during the late 1960s and early 1970s. West 4th's talent is big, but the court's too small to contain all the flying elbows. To some tourists, this may look like a steel-cage wrestling match. “If you don't like a physical brand of basketball,” says A-Train, “stay away from West 4th.”
Speaking with the guy sitting next to me, he told me what a positive impact the Order of the Feather had on his life.
Here’s more about the Order of the Feather and the show:
The fraternity was founded by H. Von King and the program is being held in his honor. There will be a candlelight ceremony in recognition of H. Von King. There will be a step show performed by the probates, old members and one of the sororities. Currently, there are chapters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. The center will be hosting the event. This event will be held in the Von King Amphitheater.
I love the sounds of the subway. This was at the Lorimer G stop, which I used with some frequency during my first week back nomadding (I was in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn). I didn’t get a chance to snap a photo of the artist, but he really seemed to be enjoying his music. I did, too.
On Tuesday, I had a meeting uptown and got off at Columbus Circle on 59th Street. Lindsay Dragan was singing “Concrete and Barbed Wire” by Lucinda Williams for part of the Arts for Transit program. She explained to me that the program allows her to amplify legally and she’s never bothered by the police. Say what you will about the MTA, but this is a pretty cool initiative.
“Bed-Stuy, an amalgam of two middle-class communities of the old City of Brooklyn, combines Bedford, on the west, with Stuyvesant Heights to the east. Today’s Bed-Stuy is one of the City’s two major African-America enclaves; the other is Harlem. It’s a handsome community, with block upon block of well-kept, often astonishingly distinguished townhouses.”—Norval White Elliot Willensky with Fran Leadon, AIA Guide to New York City (Oxford University, 2010), Kindle edition.
Lauren and I caught up in her and Ilya’s apartment in the Bronx. She’s a teacher and has lived here for the past five years. This was my second trip to the Bronx, and as they told me, my first trip to the “real” Bronx (my first trip was to Riverdale).
“The Longwood Historic District is a nationally recognized historic district located in the center of the Longwood neighborhood in the South Bronx, New York. It encompasses about three square blocks roughly bounded by Beck Street, Longwood, Leggett, and Prospect Avenues.”—Wikipedia
“East Williamsburg is still actively industrial. The hulking Pfizer Pharmaceutical Plant finally stopped running in recent years, but the blocks are filled with factories and warehouses that make everything from concrete to wontons (just follow the shifting scents in the air to find what’s what). If it’s hints of history you’re after, a hike south of Metropolitan will turn up plenty of shuttered giants still bearing signs of the area’s past as a textile and food production hub. Along the way, check out the Williamsburg Houses (1937) - - one of the first NYC housing projects, the massive, early modern complex has been preserved as an architectural landmark.”—http://www.notfortourists.com/hood.aspx/newyork/eastwilliamsburg
As much fun as nomadding is, its not without its challenges. Some are more easily dealt with than others (mail and laundry, for instance). But one thing I can’t really overcome is when family or friends come to town. I used to really enjoy inflating an Aerobed in my old apartment for family and friends, and even some strangers (yes, I did couchsurfing before I started this project). Not having the ability to host visitors is disappointing, because hotels are so incredibly expensive in this city.
What to do? Enter Roomorama, a site that allows people to rent out spaces from an entire apartment to a couch in the living room. They have over 2,500+ properties in NYC ranging from $15 to $1750 and they graciously offered to host the nomad for a week in Clinton Hill.
And by hosting me, they are allowing me to host my parents who just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. My Dad celebrated his 69th birthday on Monday so its been an exciting week. Roomorama isn’t just about renting out space though. Become a member and you’ll get perks like free membership with Mint Cars on Demand (like Zipcar) and 50% off a City Rover Walking Tour. Roomorama has also donated a $100 gift card to my Celebrating a year of Nomadding in NYC party. I’ll be raffling it off and all proceeds will go to the Coalition for the Homeless. Pretty cool ! Meetup invite here. Please RSVP if you’re planning on coming. So Roomorama is going to be my go to for people visiting the city. Maybe one day they’ll even host me across the country (or world).
Interested in having Roomorama host your own stay? They’re totally up for that. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them what you’re looking for !
“Clinton Hill is a neighborhood in the north-central portion of the borough of Brooklyn in New York City. It is bordered on the east by Bedford-Stuyvesant, on the west by Fort Greene, on the north by Wallabout Bay and on the south by Prospect Heights. The neighborhood is served by the NYPD’s 88th Precinct”—Wikipedia
“The roughly triangular island is 13.9 miles long and 7.5 miles wide, 2½ times the size of Manhattan, and ranks third in area among the City’s boroughs.”—Norval White Elliot Willensky with Fran Leadon, AIA Guide to New York City (Oxford University, 2010), Kindle edition.
“This neighborhood, west of St. Nicholas and Jackie Robinson Parks, ranging from Manhattanville north to Trinity Cemetery, includes once-famous Sugar Hill and the City College Campus. It takes its name from the country estate of Alexander Hamilton.”—Norval White Elliot Willensky with Fran Leadon, AIA Guide to New York City (Oxford University, 2010), Kindle edition.