Thursday, July 31, 2008

In the city that never sleeps, I really need to

In four hours I have to wake up. I'll have to disassemble my bed, and then leave the apartment that I have spent so much time in, grown so much in, and head off to begin a new experience. As I said, new york is like a dream. Soon it will be time to wake up.

There was so much I wanted to write about in my last few days here, but, as always in this city, the time just flew by. The entire last month has been a blur. The Met, the Cooper-Hewitt, Greenwood Cemetery,and tiny little galleries. The Staten Island Yankees vs. the Batavia Muck Dogs and the Coney Island Cyclones vs. the Vermont Lake Monsters. Fireworks and more fireworks. Introducing old friends to new, reconnecting with folks from my past, and burning a few bridges for good measure. Dancing - oh lord, the dancing! 'til all hours of the night and morning - at Taj, at Lincoln Center, at Pier 54, and on the roof of good old 271. I said goodbye for now to some of my very best friends and loved ones. I ate a ton of incredible food, and I came to strongly realize that the me who came to New York City, twice, is not the same me who leaves here now. I hope I can say more about all this later, but it's late.

So here we go, kids! Off to a new adventure!

Time left in the city: oh, about three-and-a-half hours now.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I want to be a part of it

Topping the good list, though, is easily this: the scale and complexity of new york; its energy, its liveliness, its spirit. Like living under power lines pumping a billion volts throughout - you can't help but feel it and take it into your bones. So much to do; you'll have to say no to 95% of the things you actually hear of to do, which comprises maybe 1% of the things going on at any given time. People are unabashedly creative here. They go searching for whatever it is they're after and they live these big, bold lives. You could never see or experience it all, even if you lived here a hundred years. It's incredible, and alive, and so diverse, and, while this sounds terribly snobby to say, if you're not here, you can't really understand it. It's just amazing. And I'll miss it terribly.

The concrete flower has poisonous charms, of the sort for madness

Numero uno on the bad list.
I'm going to keep the details light here for the sake of those who read this, but first and foremost on the "bad" list has to be dating. The very first woman I went on a date with in NYC warned me that dating here is, in her word, "brutal." She could not have been more right. Frankly I'm tired of it. It's so easy to get exhausted by the you-can-be-my-self-confidence types, the I'll-dress-up-like-snow-white-and-leave-the-shades-open-so-the neighbors-can-watch (and they will), the i-really-just-want-to-date-my-not-so-dear-old-dad. The requests and demands for physical violence, emotional abuse, verbal degradation, for a relationship that improves status at the office or fits into a gym schedule; they pile up with the phone numbers of women I won't be seeing again. As the woman who loved to fantasize about actually torturing her cheating ex used to tell me, "dating is kind of intense here." And by all accounts from some of the more normal women I know, this insanity is not contained simply to the female gender - it's everywhere. And it's horribly disheartening. "We are all just big, wounded, walking responses," says playwright Carol Churchill. Nowhere more so than in the dating world of New York City.

Brooklyn Was a Dream I Had

The conclusion of my time in New York brings with it the expected retrospection and autopsy. The unexpected guest to arrive, though, is that realization of how I regard the time I've spent here: that is, as a dream. Or dreamlike, I'm not sure. Definitely parallel to, but distinct from, the regular or normal course and drift of life. New York is like another planet, and the experiences I've had seem similarly extraterrestrial. So may I recount to you that which was the stuff of pleasant dreams, and which of nightmares? Well, I'm going to, so there.

Days left in New York: 10.

Monday, June 02, 2008


You might at first think this post is late for my birthday. "But Graham," you'll say, "your birthday was more than a week ago, on the 25th of May!" and yes, technically, in your bithdo-fascist worldview, you'd be right. A single day for your birthday is a crime - it's impossible to schedule around and really isn't very much fun that way.

This year was different. On the friday before, I went out dancing with my friend Rachel from undergrad, saturday was taken to dinner by another friend, sunday went to dinner with a whole bunch of folks at this fantastic Tibetan restaurant, then went to see Indiana Jones (which we all really enjoyed). Monday, my much-loved salsa teacher turned the regular Monday night party into a birthday party for me, and Tuesday night (while not a birthday matter but still good news) I was installed as an officer of my Masonic Lodge. The following Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday I was taken to dinner again by friends, and then concluded my birthday week with a lovely day in the park. See? Isn't that a much better way to celebrate? I am totally spoiled by having really great friends.

Monday, April 21, 2008

i really don't know what to make of this

I like pro wrestling. If you want, we can have a talk sometime about how it's the greatest dramatic performance around. But when you have the three candidates for the highest office in the land doing this for the fanbase...

candidates laying the smackdown very awkwardly

I start to get weirded out.

P.S. Obama is almost too good at that.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Regina Spektor and the Very Good Saturday

After a somewhat jumbled plans with Marit D (who played the secretary in The American Superhero Applies for a Job and the president in Grandma + Robot = Outer Space) and some of her friends, both the weekend and the season got off to a pretty kickass start on saturday.

Kristen Baker (of Confectioners' fame) and I went to see Regina Spektor live at a tiny, tiny venue in williamsburg. She was so good! The set was short but really very excellent, and we were in the 1/4 or so of the people who turned out who actually got in to see the show.
After that, Kristen and I went for a picnic and nap in the park (well, I napped and she read to me from a pamphlet about composting, it being earth day and all). Next we went to a bar for a BBQ for a friend of Kristen's birthday. Unfortunately, it started to get cold, so everyone went to the entirely shady clothing stores around the bar and bought ridiculous but warm things to wear. Kristen and I managed to find totally not lame $5 matching sweatshirts (which will I'm sure make her boyfriend oh so jealous).
Then I broke off from the party to attend not one but two parties in the same building back in manhattan, being thrown by some work friends. After a while I started to fade, so I headed home, but along the way got pulled out by some surgeon friends to go watch the Hopkins vs. Calzaghe fight on HBO. I hung with them for a little while, then headed home to sleep.

I LOVE spring in the city. This was a perfect start.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

And now a Master Mason

On Saturday, April 12, yours truly was raised to the Third Degree of Freemasonry, that of Master Mason. This puts me on the level, masonically, with everyone else - George Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the rest. Furthermore, being raised to Master Mason affords me unrestricted access to the Masonic library and to any information about freemasonry I want to know. This will be a very exciting new chapter for me!

And, on a more personal note, it's wonderful for me to be able to share this with my grandfather, even after his passing. The experiences I'm having now are ones he, too, once had, and ones he encouraged me to have - something that's always on my mind when I put on my tuxedo and gloves.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mysterious mysteries all around!

So....long story short, Selcen and I happened to hang out again, and she wanted to find this book for the kids she nannied years ago. The book was about this young female crime-solver, sort of Nancy Drew with special effects. We found the book, and in it was a description to you, the reader, of how to find some of new york's most infamous locations and secret spots. We got excited, and we went to find out if any otfthe places mentioned in the book were real and/or as the book said them to be.

First up was Doyer's street in Chinatown, which the book said was where more people had been murdered than anywhere else in the city. Also, it had a secret tunnel underneath. We found it, and the tunnel underneath (which is now full of sketchy shops, but still not obvious) and the internet says there's some truth to the murderous claim as well for the "bloody angle," as Doyer's was known.

Next up was the Ear Inn (James Brown House), a building which, we came to find, in its long history since first being owned by an ex-slave turned revolutionary war hero, has been a brothel, a boarding house, and a smuggler's den. It is also haunted.

We didn't make it to the other places, but I'm hoping at some point to make it to a few. New York has so much cool stuff!