Day Eighty Eight

Kellogg's Diner in Williamsburg

Yesterday, I received my very first question through the site! After doing a rather lengthy victory dance, I finally calmed down enough to answer the submitted inquiry. It's perfect timing too, as this is my last blog from the Big Apple. 

“Hi Steve, I’m having a great time following along on your journey. I see that you’re currently in NYC and it just so happens I’ll be moving there with a few friends after I graduate this semester. I’ve only been to the city once before and I was wondering if you could offer up some of your favorite joints. I’d love to know some cool places to visit!”

First off, I have to thank the reader for their question. I’d do it by name, but it was submitted anonymously, so our shadowy inquisitor must remain a mystery for now. However, I’m more than happy to tell everyone about some of my favorite places in the city. I’m no expert by any means, but having lived here for 4 years, I’d like to think I know a thing or two. Here are some of my favs:

Bar: Barcade—this Williamsburg establishment offers up a great selection of beers and more classic arcade games than you can shake a joystick at. I recommend battling it out in 1942 or testing your grit with Smash TV. Other goodies: Woodwork, Pinebox Rock Shop, Tandem, The Dead Rabbit

Store: Forbidden Planet—hands down one of my favorite comic book stores, you’ll find new releases, back issues and a whole lot of figures, cards and collectables. I dare you to enter and not spend money. Other goodies: Kidrobot, Duane Reade, Original Penguin, Trash & Vaudeville

Neighborhood: Lower East Side—it took a lot to narrow down my favorite, but the LES is filled to the brim with delicious eateries, small shops and great clubs. From Pianos to The Delancey, this neighborhood is a must for your weekend partying needs. Other goodies: Meatpacking District, Bushwick, Williamsburg

Concert Venue: Gramercy Theatre—this concert venue doesn’t deserve to be pigeon-holed with such a title. They offer up a unique blend of comedy, movies, parties and concerts in an intimate atmosphere with some pretty good drink deals. Other goodies: Santos Party House, Irving Plaza, Webster Hall

Restaurant: Kelloggs Diner—sure there are a million places I could pick, but Kellogg’s is sure to always hit the spot, especially at 3am. Their open 24/7 and offer a massive menu that could take weeks to dig through. From Sunday brunch to drunken snacks, they never disappoint. Other goodies: Pie Face, Two Boots, Crif Dogs, Scarpetta, Chop't, Veselka 

Others: Brooklyn Bowl—this is once place that offers just about everything under one roof. It’s a concert venue, a bar, a (delicious) restaurant and a bowling alley. It’s a tad pricey, but if you have the money it makes for an amazing night. I’d recommend going at least once in your life. Other goodies: Brooklyn Wreck Room, Eataly, Union Pool, Museum of the Moving Image

There are hundreds of places I could’ve included on my list, but these are some of my all time favorites. I hope you all have a chance to visit some of these places, because they’re all one-of-a-kind.

See you in Philly!

-Steve-

Day Seventy One

The view from Pulaski Bridge.

Here’s a brief overview of my weekend — I saw The Lego Movie, which I think is an excellent film for just about anyone. In fact, I’d say the audience skewed more toward my age group than it did children. I was in awe of its animation style, as well as the film’s ability to incorporate references any adult would find funny. I followed that up with a trip to the always reliable Kellogg’s Diner and then hit the hay to catch up on some much needed sleep.

The next day, I visited the American Museum of the Moving Image. It’s a very unique space that celebrates the creation and realization of film, animation, gaming and cinematography. It’s such an interesting experience and I highly recommend it to anyone in a creative field. Of course, being down the road from the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts doesn’t hurt it either.

Now, if you’ll allow me to change the subject, I’d like to talk about New York City for a bit. Actually, I’d say it’s more than a bit because this is part one of two. So, here we go:

The other night, I was trying to think of the best piece of advice I could offer anyone moving to NYC. While there’s so much I could say to a potential transplant, I think one of the most important things is—experience this city in moderation. Whether you’re here for a month, a year or the rest of your life, it’s easy to be consumed by the Big Apple.

Art Directors Club HQ.

When I originally moved to NYC, it was my first experience even being here. There was a lot to take in and over the course of the next four years; I had my share of ups and downs. For the first few months, I was absolutely petrified about going broke. I clipped coupons, only bought sale items and saved every dime and nickel I could find. While that fear eventually leveled out, I think it taught me another important lesson—always stay on budget.

Of course, there’s also an endless array of clubs, bars, concert venues and shops that make it incredibly easy to put yourself in debt. I’ll admit, I was guilty of buying a few things here and there that I didn’t really need. But I was lucky enough to have a good budget in place. I’ve seen people in tight spots, because they wanted so much, so quickly and the bills just continued to pile on. In the end, most of them either moved away or back in with their families. 

As time wore on, I become more comfortable financially, but the endless presence of the city itself began to weigh on me. If you’re a private person or enjoy the sound of silence, I wouldn’t even consider moving here. No matter where you go there are always people nearby. Don’t get me wrong; I still love it. I just think it’s important to have realistic expectations on what life is like here, because the media tends to glamorize the city with giant loft apartments, pristine parks and art deco office spaces. While these all exist, chances are you won’t see them unless you make six figures, are a cast member on How I Met Your Mother or recently landed a job with Google.

-Steve-