Sunday, October 22, 2006

Boogie Down: Washing Town

I have always liked the Bronx an inordinate amount--from the leafy confines of Woodlawn down to the gritty industrial corners of the South Bronx, it is just a great borough, and also, apparently, an "all-American city":

Who knew?

Actually, I think the guy on the right with the shiny fenders knows:

As we pedaled along through Soundview Park, he waxed eloquent about the beauties of the borough--and I was inclined to agree having witnessed scenes like this:

And this:

And this:

And perhaps most awesomely, this:

Perhaps I should explain. I was on the Tour de Bronx, you see, which is an annual event that I've missed for the last two years due to bad weather, flaky friends and my own general laziness. This year I finally got my ass up there again, and had a mostly fine time.

There were lots of cool bikes:


And little kids cheating while riding tandem bikes:

Weirdly enough, I didn't get tired on this year's ride--maybe because I was inspired by the local scenery (which included a very cleverly named laundry called "Boogie Down Washing Town"), the snacks, and the low dudes-wearing-bicycle-pants to normal people ratio.

There were a few mishaps however. There wasn't enough pizza to go around at the end of the ride, Crotona Park smelled very strongly of dog shit, and I was the victim of a multi-bike accident towards the end that almost involved me crushing a lady's head under my bike wheel. Luckily, all were unscathed, so I returned to my home borough lamenting only that I hadn't spent more time on my bicycle this fall. Ah well--there's always next year, right?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

PUP ist eine kleine Nutte.

Ach, meine Leute! Speading such filthiness on Brooklyn street corners:

I don't know who "PUP" is, but someone thinks he (she?) is a tramp.

Luckily, this young gent heading home from school seemed totally oblivious to the potty-mouthed Germans who've apparently invaded his neighborhood.

Isn't he lucky to live on such a scenic block?

(Williamsburg/Greenpoint border, right by the Acme smoked fish factory...)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I'm not fat; I'm husky.

This weekend I made a quick little overnight jaunt, auf dem Zug, up the Hudson River. The trip was ostensibly to attend the Warrensburg garage sales, but really it was just an excuse to ride on the train and see the fall foliage.

That part of the trip definitely did not disappoint. After the train chugged out of Penn Station, we flew past various run-down suburbs, lots of graffiti-covered trainyards (which is where I stole this post's title--some clever writer scripted the above on a cursive!), and multiple abandoned factories. Unfortunately, the train's window was super-dirty, so pics were terribly sub-standard...but I did like these:

I emerged from the train in Saratoga Springs, where I was retrieved by yet another Germanic aunt, who thrilled me by commenting that my Deutsches Haus-improved pronunciation was "excellent." (I think she was just being nice--but who cares?! I felt wunderbar!) We then drove up to Lake George, dropped off our bags in a local motel and set off--with my sister, two nephews, Scrawny Bits, and one other aunt--for the much-ballyhooed bargains, crafts and general wonderment.

Well. I don't want to knock Warrensburg, because I actually thought it was a lovely town. But the "world's largest garage sale," was more like a mile long crapmart, with a few gems of good stuff sprinkled in. The essential problem seemed to be that they allow official "vendors" to peddle their much so that the little old ladies selling record albums and yarn off their front porch have been usurped by pros selling ginsu knives and bundles of socks. If I wanted ginsu knives and socks, I'd head for my nearest Manhattan street fair, you know?

Anyway, there were droves and droves of people there, and the weather turned sodden and it was hard to get any good snaps. But here's one of a nice lodging house, which I thought looked promising, should I ever care to take a "tourist room" on a return visit:

I spent the rest of my time trying not to slip and fall in the mud, avoiding the legions of booths hawking "bloomin' onions," and trying to find a piece of pie. (Every single church or ladies' auxiliary selling homemade food was totally sold out. This gave me a little thrill--despite my own hunger--as it seemed to support my theory that people actually don't like mass-produced crap in some cases, and will actively try to avoid it when given the opportunity.)

So, the garage sales were sort of disappointing. Total haul? A bag of yarn purchased from a terribly nice man, a Polaroid Land Camera, and several patterns (including one for a bra! Who EVER made their own bra, I ask you? I feel certain that will be a disaster should I ever attempt it...but I had to have the pattern anyway, as I'm sure you all understand.).

Lake George, however, was very fine. I was shocked to realize that I have never been there before...which is kind of an unsettling realization for an Upstate Native like myself. What did I like about it? Well, there were steamboats:

And lots and lots of neon signs, which always make me feel like I am living the fabulous life, even when I am only walking around a tourist town in the off-season, in a huge downpour:

I didn't get a chance to eat in this restaurant (I opted for the Polish joint next door, since everyone knows that Poles=Raw Sexual Power):

but I pledge to go there on a future visit. You know, the one where I take a tourist room and embrace my inner huskiness.

(By the way, I fake-ified that last picture, since I was a little disappointed in the color quality. So sue me photo-purists!)