Saturday, March 14, 2009

Comida Bar

Rumor mill churned out this tidbit today...Food Bar, former 8th Avenue cute-boy booze parlor and so-so restaurant which has been shuttered for becoming a Chipotle. Olé? Oh no. Took dates and out-of-towners there for centuries. Not no more...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Keeping your head above water

ATTENTION RECESSIONISTAS! Dump that pricey David Barton gym membership. It's all about the Chelsea Recreation Center. A YEAR-ROUND indoor swimming pool. Weights. Cardio. A computer center. Billiards. ALL FOR $75 ANNUALLY!!! Not per month, a whole year. A gorgeous facility. Not open on Sundays in the winter. Gotta sign up in person, bring a picture ID and proof of residency, cash or check.

Chelsea Recreation Center
West 25th St. between 9th & 10th Aves.
(212) 255-3705

Friday, February 13, 2009

New York Fashion Week starts today!

A prescient behind-the-scenes tidbit from futurist and essential-read blogger Billy Beyond:

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Flame Out

Fiamma's Osteria in SoHo just closed.

Fiamma was owned by BR Guest Restaurants, which also shuttered several of its other restaurants in January: Ruby Foo’s and Level V in Manhattan, and Blue Water Grill in Chicago.

Some of the best Italian in the city. Been a patron since its opening in 2002, coinciding with my relocation to Manhattan. I recommended to everyone, had dates there, great client meetings, happy hours. It typified the best of New York to me, its amber ambiance always a welcoming envelope.

I walked by its locked doors this past week, and the pilot light in my heart sputtered.

Might I now suggest L'Impero in Tudor City?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Arroz and Pollo and Frijoles, oh my!

Casa Havana. On 8th between 19th and 20th. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Take-out and delivery. Inexpensive, with plenty of "recession" specials. Top of my menu: roast chicken with yellow rice and black beans, $9.75. NOT good the next day, however, so forget leftovers. Waitresses call you "baby." Ignore the paint-by-numbers perspective-less murals. Just reopened, underwent renovations for months, was afraid they wouldn't come back.

Casa Havana
190 8th Avenue
NYC 10011

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Briski Business

WALTER BRISKI, JR. New Facebook Friend, neighbor, dog-lover, all-around good guy. Oh, and did I mention a Brazil-liant photographer of international renown? Formerly assisting such imaging luminaries as BRUCE WEBER, STEVEN KLEIN, ELLEN VON UNWERTH and ANNIE LEIBOVITZ, his independent work is poised to garner the same recognition as these lens legends.

I'm looking at my watch...any minute now, some bleeding-edge global luxury brand will hire him as a vision steward...or he'll be scooped up as a photography editor for a fashion magazine publisher. You heard it here first.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Chelsea Crime Wave

No doubt exacerbated by rising unemployment and the sky-is-falling economy, just this past week alone, two friends were mugged, one seriously injured with a broken wrist. Both times EARLY on a subway platform, one on 21st and 7th.

Common sense. Travel in pairs or groups. Avoid streets devoid of open businesses. Don't carry valuables if you can help it. 911, people...have the cellphone readily accessible. I'm thinkin' about taking some Tiger Shulmann martial arts classes. As they used to say on Hill Street Blues, be careful out there...

Friday, January 2, 2009

I live for (the) American Life

I'm back from holiday hiatus.

Flipping through the ENDLESS channels on Time Warner Cable NYC this evening, I came across the American Life's marketed as "the channel for baby boomers"...even though I'm just outside of that classification, I was immediately won over by their programming. Batman, Mary Tyler Moore, and Lost In Space (caught a great early B&W episode, "Ghost In Space").

SciFi Channel has a terrific Twilight Zone marathon running too.

Finally, something to justify that monthly $100+ tab...
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 12.7 - 12.19

Friday, December 19, 2008

Barnes and Ignoble

OK, here's a vendor that DOESN'T deserve one discretionary dollar, this time of year or ever.

Barnes and Noble. GOD they constantly disappoint. They closed down the convenient 22nd-and-6th location down the street from my apartment last year. So I went online to do some Xmas shopping for family members in Connecticut (HATE schlepping packages on the train). I selected items that were "available for immediate delivery" in their warehouse and ordered on the 16th, to ensure delivery well in advance of the 24th. Bought a bunch of gifts for my little sister, INDIVIDUALLY wrapped and shipped (made the mistake last year of bundling my B&N order...delayed processing on ONE item held up the whole lot).

So on the 18th, my inbox starts filling up with these INFURIATING emails from B&N...apparently some of the items I ordered were NOT readily accessible; there'd be a one-to-five-day hold-up on SHIPPING (not delivery...that's another 3-8 BUSINESS days). What a HUGE, inexcusable disconnect between fulfillment and B&N's etail interface. To pour salt in the wound, they gave me the option of CANCELING my order! Um, a little late for that, ass clowns. Called customer "service" to clarify and expedite...sassy and inept.

NEVER again.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Or "The Triangle," #9 of the 26 poses of Bikram Yoga.

It's 105 degrees. It's intense. And after 90 minutes, you're a melted pool of goo a la Elphaba Thropp. But the payoff is astonishing. After the nausea and exhaustion wear off (in an hour or two for beginners), an electric current of vitality should course through your veins the remainder of the day. Disciples boast panacean results: joint rejuvenation, age reversal, weight loss, immune boosting. See for yourself, I've been doing it on and off for years. If you can't make it to a studio, still a great home workout, even sans heat. Dress code: men, gym/biking shorts, women the same with spandexy top. Ingest gallons of water/Gatorade prior. First week only $20 for first-timers, mat rental included. I bring my own mat and towel.

Bikram Yoga Manhattan
250 W. 26th Street, 3rd Floor (btw. 7th & 8th), NYC
Give the gift of weight loss for the holidays with NutriSystem!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Queerview Cinemas

Living next to a movie theatre is a great thing.

My apartment overlooks the backside of Clearview Cinemas on 23rd. Every Thursday they have a discounted 7pm showing of a camp classic...Baby Jane, The Women (NOT that ghastly 2008 remake)...hosted by drag-on lady Hedda Lettuce.

I just caught TWILIGHT (trailer above). WHAT is the big dealio? ROBERT PATTINSON's nice enough to gawk at, but the film (pardon the pun) pales next to bloodsucking classics like Lost Boys I and II, and 1979's Dracula with Frank Langella (which I'll cover in a future post on TrashBulb). Twilight has some quirky Lynchian touches (Twin Peak-y sets, camera shots held uncomfortably long), but otherwise it's completely missable. A family of kindly chalk-white superpowered vampires moves to rainy Washington state and seeks to keep their undead-ness a secret by sending their kids to PUBLIC school? All the while avoiding their ancestral Native American bad-hair-extensioned nemeses (shades of Manitou) who live on the RESERVATION next door? C'mon. Still, better than HBO's crappy TRUE BLOOD with unwatchable ANNA PAQUIN...expected so much more from ALAN BALL.

At least I sat through some great trailers...can't wait for THE UNBORN and PUSH.
International Jock: Wrestling Gear

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Neff Said

Garrett Neff. New Calvin spokeshunk. He'll catch pneumonia posing in those briefs on bus depots and phone kiosks all over Chelsea this winter.

Doesn't measure up to the Klein pantheon of yore...Mark, Sabato, Fimmel.
3 Months for the Price of 1

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A peach of a cobbler

One of the first shopkeepers I befriended in the city was Arty. Don't even know his last name, after bringing my scarps to his cobblery for 6 years. On Eighth (cuz I rarely stray from Eighth Avenue), between 22nd and 23rd.

This guy is the Hephaestus of heels. Brooklyn-born, he looks like Turtle from HBO's Entourage. Always attired in the latest hip-hoppery...designer sneaks, tees and plenty of bling...he's a mercurial, moody artiste who likes to have his ass kissed. His mostly-Russian crew...the double Yuris, JC and dad Dave (who started the business and makes regular cameos, reclaiming his much-deserved limelight) toil in a tiny, cluttered space from 8-8 every day except Sunday. And his fame is inversely proportioned to the size of the shop; he's all over Google, been covered in tons of fashion mags, and is a byword amongst shoe labels, models and intelligensia. Don't even try to put an order in during Fashion Week. NYC and Atlanta hi-end retailer Jeffrey's is a devotee.

Miraculously restored a pair of Luccese cowboy boots for me. Bags, belts, leather pants, Arty does it all, from minor repairs to complete reconstruction. Choos to Pradas to Blahniks to Louboutins.

A little on the pricey side, cash only, pretty girls get coffee and discounts. Tip: heel and toe taps will extend the life of your footwear indefinitely.

Arty's Shoe Service
243 8th Ave
New York, NY 10011
(212) 255-1451
No website. No email. No kidding. The only recession-defiant biz on the block that's thriving in this economy.
Classic Cuban Cigars

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Red is the color of my true love's hair.

I fell for Jacob Blumer the instant I locked eyes on him, 2003. I walked into G Lounge on 19th for happy hour, not feeling particularly social or thirsty. I thought the circular feng shui of the bar might vaporize my morassic malaise. Jacob was bartending, handed me a Ketel One Cosmo and asked me if everything was OK. Those arms. That chest. Breathtaking baby-blues, and a smile that simultaneously conveys "wanna sleep with me-be my BFF-know the secret of the universe?"

Go see for yourself. Sometimes he's shirtless. Did I mention he's a Yale Drama grad? And we're engaged. So hands off. I already gave him the ring.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Orbitz Logo (200x50)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Your one-stop holiday shop

Rainbows and Triangles, one of the few boutique non-chains that has adorned 8th Avenue for 14 years. Chelsea's paper, plastic and porn capital. Fantabulous greeting cards for every occasion; some naughty, some nice, some both. Bleeding-edge music; club, ambient, pop, electronic, trance CDs...and a sweet listening station. Plus they take requests on the store PA. An ample book selection (bought the Wicked Grimmerie and Chris Ciccone's "Life With My Sister Madonna" best-seller here). Plenty of Sedaris and Coupland. Since 22nd & 6th's Barnes & Noble shut down, the only place to feed your need to read.

Some spicy toys and magazines in the back; a whole wing devoted to gym gear (jockstraps, sweats, muscle tees). There's even a rent-time Internet room. Wrapping paper, seasonal gifts, gags...they got it all.

I love this landmark; stop in and say hi to owner Steve (pictured). Every local resident should be supporting it, lest it go the way of Big Cup or Bendix. We don't need another Jamba Juice.

Not a New Yorker? Shop online.

Rainbows & Triangles
192 Eighth Avenue (at 20th Street)
New York, NY 10011

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Escape from New York

Just finished watching President-Elect Obama's victory speech on CNN. Thanks to my best buddy Todd, I truly feel a part of his historic campaign.

I'm ashamed to admit, during all my years in Manhattan, I never registered to vote. I opted out of this most basic of citizen rights, partly due to my cynicism regarding the Electoral College and its ability to override popular consensus. Plus we didn't really have any stellar options last time around.

My car, however, is still registered in Branford, CT. So my oldest friend, Todd A., convinced me to hop a train back to Connecticut, to add my one little voice to Obama's legion. I'm staying at his house in New Haven...5 am yesterday morning, I get the wake-up call: "We gotta be first in line at the polls, 6 am!" Groan. Brushed my teeth, threw a hat on, out the door. First stop, Edgewood School, New Haven. Crowds already. Familiar faces...old co-workers, teachers. Then off to Branford. I got turned away from the polls on Melrose Street...had to go directly to the Town Hall to fill out a bunch of papers, and only then could I vote for the president and vice-president; being an out-of-towner and new registrant, my ticket was restricted.

It was a really gorgeous morning. Walked around Branford Green. At Todd's insistence, popped into the 224 year-old Trinity Episcopal Church, to say a prayer for the future of the country. Bought some lottery tickets...good fortune seemed to be in the air. Regrettably, stopped off for breakfast at the Waiting Station...turns out the Hollandaise sauce on my Eggs Florentine was spoiled, so I suffered through food poisoning all day. In between runs to the bathroom, though, I witnessed this most sensational election unfold on television.

So a big thank-you to Todd. Go'Bama! Yes We Can!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thrilla Night

"Darkness falls across the land...the midnight hour is close at hand...and grisly ghosts from every tomb...are closing in to seal your doom..." I didn't even have to Google those lyrics to Mikey Jackson's Thriller...who could forget Vincent Price's priceless delivery? Or the video's reenactment at this year's Village Parade, here:

Yes, Groovy Ghoulies, as tradition dictates, Halloween once again possessed our square city that played host to a cavalcade of cuckoos, costumes and cacophony. Undaunted were the haunted Friday evening; clear weather had Autumn's snap but not its bite.

Lots of Palins and Jokers this year (aren't they one and the same?). The East Village Pyramid's every-Friday 1984 theme party held a Madonna-thon, Max Scott Events brought a Satyr's Ball to the Eagle, and Undead Fred Schneider led The B52s in a seismic set at the Hammerstein Ballroom.

So let's hear about YOUR weekend...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I want one.

Closest dealership is here, in Fairfield, CT. What an exquisite solution for the dearth of parking space in the city! Elle Woods drives one in Legally Blonde 2....good enough for me.

Great German Smart Car commercial:

iPhone Applications now available at! Shop Now!

Friday, October 24, 2008

A GEM Of A Neighborhood

When I moved to Chelsea during the sizzling summer of 2002 (remember the insane lines for air conditioners?), The Allerton was on the southwest corner of 22nd Street and 8th Avenue, just across from my apartment. My fellow hood-lums referred to the building with an eyeroll-to-the-sky as "that welfare tenement." I'd never been inside, but various panhandlers and downtrodden types would coagulate about the entrance, and part when I'd bring my sack of dirties to the laundry on the ground floor (miss you, Sonia!).

Guess it was early last year that I noticed the laundry had shut down, the vagrants evaporated, and the Allerton closed, as renovations began on the GEM, a Clarion hotel, part of their Ascend Collection.

Not exactly sure when they're officially open for business...still looks kinda skeletal. But according to the website, there's 81 smoke-free rooms, all equipped with coffee makers, hair dryers, curved shower rods (woo-hoo), work desks, flat-screen televisions, ironing boards WITH irons (groundbreaking), safes, robes and cable television with free HBO. Select rooms have microwaves and handicapped accessibility. Copy and fax services in the business center.

The Gem boasts a concierge and valet cleaning services; complimentary guest amenities and services include:

* Wireless high-speed Internet access
* Weekday newspaper
* Local calls
* Coffee
* Exercise room

Clarion Collection GEM Hotel
300 West 22nd Street , New York, NY 10011
Phone: (212) 675-1911
Fax: (212) 675-1912


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