19, 2003 at 11:08:17 (EST)
Waiting for a signal or a sound
After another band practice in which we began work on what will
no doubt be yet another soon-to-be #1 hit, we went to visit
M's friend at the Stonehome
Wine Bar, which appeared magically overnight last month
in the neighborhood. I have never been certain how wine bars
stay in business in the West Village, let alone Ft Greene, but
this place seemed to be doing a brisk business in wine sales.
Also quite popular was slices of red velvet cake, presumably
from the much-heralded Cake
Man down the street. We bought a bottle of Zinfandel (which
is a red wine not to be confused with the unholy White Zin)
and tried to figure out if Hanukah started that night or Friday
night. We never came to any conclusion, but decided to characterize
the wine indulgence as somehow Hanukah-related. My calendar
says today is the first day of Hanukah. So is it after sundown
tonight, or is today the first full day of the festival of lights?
I'm a bad nonpracticing halfjew. Santa probably has me on the
'heretical' list already.
Anyway, back to the wine bar. It was a nice place, still
a bit premature for the neighborhood, but there were plenty
of people there, most of whom were probably not drinking the
second-cheapest wine on the menu like us. I love wine, but
it'd take a lot to convert me to wine bars all the time. This
place does have some beer, including Schneider-Weisse,
which seems to be gaining in popularity in these parts. And
well it should! I think the next step in specialty bar evolution
should be the all-wheat beer bar.
My plans for the weekend now include seeing that damn Lord
of the Rings movie (nobody told me it's like 4 friggin
hours long!), finishing my pathetic Christmas shopping, going
to sign the petition,
and finally seeing TV
on the Radio, this time at The
Hook, another new place that recently showed up.
Posted By Jimmy Legs
December 18, 2003 at 12:46:15 (EST)
Have yourself a self-serving little
I'm sick of Christmas shopping. It's a huge waste of time. Unless
your friends were to be so presumptuous as to give you a list
of what they wanted, you end up wandering all over town, staring
at baubles and tchotchkes, trying to imagine who might benefit
from owning it. It's at these times you wish your friends were
that presumptuous. Then at least you could just go get the damn
thing and go home, instead of finding yourself in the Pottery
Barn wishing you had a cyanide tablet.
If that's the way to go, let's take it one step further.
Instead of buying presents for other people, everybody should
go out and buy themselves a present, on their friends' behalf.
How much you buy would be up to you to determine. How good
were you this year? How much do your friends like you? If
they were buying you presents, how much stuff would they get
for you? Then act accordingly. On Christmas morning, your
friends would call to ask if you bought yourself anything
good, and you could reply, "Oh yeah, I'm taking care
of myself very nicely this year."
I'll get the ball rolling. This year, nobody get me anything.
I've got me covered. In fact, I already bought myself a bunch
of cool stuff. Of course, when I bought it, I thought I was
gonna give it to other people, only to later realize the only
person in my circle who would want it was moi. So I'm
eliminating the middleman!
Hmm, I guess this sounds a little off-center for the whole
"Christmas Spirit" thing. Okay, everybody gets scotch
and cigarettes again this year! Merry Xmas.
Posted By Jimmy Legs
16, 2003 at 17:38:05 (EST)
There's only one thing wrong
When the smoking ban came upon us, it was especially frustrating
to me because I knew the people who would be the most affected
by it would be the least able to do anything about it. All
my favorite dive bars would be forced to follow suit, even
if not one person there supported the ban. But I suppose that's
the nature of living in a society ruled by laws instead of
by reason. And even though the ban fundamentally changed the
personalities of my favorite watering holes, at least they're
If this stadium gets built, they're gonna tear down Freddy's,
one of the best bars in a 2-mile radius from my house. In
my previous post about the stadium, I don't think I stressed
how bad this would be. Like, for everybody. Everywhere. It
would totally and completely suck. Why we should have to worry
about the loss of this fine establishment so soon after losing
our smoking privileges is beyond me. Why is my little corner
of the world so put-upon? Anyway, Freddy's is also the place
we figured our band would premiere, if only we could round
out our set. Even if the worst occurs, we'll still probably
play there. The stadium wouldn't be done before 2006, so there's
probably some time before the wrecking ball shows up. But
dammit, it's one little bar in this huge city, and they wanna
drop a big ugly stadium on it! If this thing passes, my one
last hope is that they somehow build around Freddy's. It's
right on the corner, they could do that, right?
I was just looking at their site and realized they have my
old review posted on their Reviews
page! See how much I love that place?
Also here's a message, possibly authored by the guy who runs
site, about the situation:
If you are still on the fence about the proposed plan to
bring the NJ Nets basketball team to Brooklyn, here's a
fact about the plan to consider.
By eminent domain, the developer's plan will evict tenants,
demolish buildings, and generally redefine a large portion
of the neighborhood known as Prospect Heights. Instead of
small businesses and homes, this area will be rife with
luxury apartments and parking garages. The neighborhood
as we know it will change.
According to the map of the plan design, the area to be
demolished will include our beloved Freddy's bar. The plan
can be viewed here:
It clearly shows that the block of 6th Avenue & Dean
Street is part of the proposed stadium block.
There is a citizen's petition against the stadium plan
that can be signed. Copies are available at Freddy's and
at Maha's, which is a small gourmet food shop located on
6th Ave, right up the block from Freddy's.
There is also a website of neighborhood people who are monitoring
Please forward this to anyone you know who loves and frequents
Freddy's, who loves Prospect Heights, or who is generally
opposed to corporate plans to take over neighborhoods.
Spread the word!
Check out www.freddysbackroom.com
Posted By Jimmy Legs
16, 2003 at 11:51:09 (EST)
They can't take that away from me
I'm sorry, but sports are stupid. They garner way too much attention
in a culture that would do better to focus on something either
more artistic or more constructive. Normally, I don't care much
about it, as I have forged a life that keeps pointless competition
at arm's length. But now we all have to cope with this New
Jersey Nets thing. Bruce
Ratner wants to buy the Nets, bring them to Brooklyn, and
drop them into a stadium he wants to build near downtown Brooklyn.
Ooh boy! A professional sports team in Brooklyn! Yippee!
Oh, this takes me back to the glory days of the Dodgers!
Aw, bite me.
the one hand, I could care less if some rich guy wants to
throw his money around here; every other rich guy in town
does it. And I hate to fall back on the NIMBY defense, but
goddammit, Not In My Back Yard! The location of the stadium
would be a few scant blocks from my house, something that
in of itself is not wholly unacceptable to me. I'm not protesting
this merely because of its proximity. And the center of the
stadium will be on top of a train yard that should have been
developed years ago. So, the hordes of people who can't get
enough competitive ball-watching get to claim some affinity
for a team from Jersey, some deserted block gets built up,
and some rich guys (Jay-Z too!) get even richer. So what's
first there's the usual zoning concerns. There hasn't been
anything in that area in who-knows how long, so there will
have to be massive efforts to deal with the incredible amounts
of traffic (both vehicular and pedestrian) such a complex
is liable to generate. But what really bothers me is the effect
it will have on the community. They tell us that it'll be
great for the neighborhood, 'rejuvenating' the area with jobs
and commerce. But it doesn't so much rejuvenate rather than
replace a large chunk of space. Of course, everybody thinks
the space that the stadium will occupy is just the train yard
itself, which is pretty much an eyesore. If they were just
building on that space, I don't think I'd mind it. But if
you look at the site
plan, you see that a much larger section is needed. Not
only will it fill up the train yard space, it crosses Pacific
Street all the way to Dean Street, obliterating, among other
Bar. The plans for parking take up even more space further
worst part of this is it seems inevitable. Like a Wal-Mart
in struggling rural towns, people automatically assume stadiums
are good ideas without seeing the bigger picture. Ratner has
done his homework,
pushing the idea that Brooklyn's ego could really use a lift
from having its own NBA-level team. Frank
Gehry is the stadium's architect, giving the project a
little art-world cred. Though I like Gehry's work, I still
don't think it's worth it. I suppose if Frank Lloyd Wright
had designed an abattoir for orphans it'd be a national treasure
Will we have any say
over this at all? I know Letitia
James is against it, so maybe there will be some organized
opposition to this thing. But for now it seems this thing
will go the way of the smoking ban, with people who are not
necessarily for the idea ultimately supporting it, if only
because it seems like a good idea for somebody. And like that
ban, the whole mess wouldn't have happened if there wasn't
some rich guy with a lot of influence who woke up one day
and decided to screw with a bunch of people he doesn't even
If they really wanna put a stadium here, aren't there vast
stretches of property that could be used that wouldn't destroy
a community and cause enormous gridlock? There's tons of unused
space in the old Navy Yards, not to mention the other outlying
areas of Brooklyn. Isn't there some space in the Flatlands?
Posted By Jimmy Legs
15, 2003 at 12:47:24 (EST)
All for me grog
think the best gifts are evanescent. Especially in this town,
where space is scarce, we do better to give and receive presents
that don't take any up. I will probably be giving a lot of foodstuffs
this holiday season, for instance. Everybody likes food, and
then when you're done with it, nothing has to gather dust on
a shelf. By this same logic, I am finally starting to think
of cut flowers as something worthwhile for the first time. Time
was, I never bought flowers simply because all they did was
drop dead a few days later. I found it mildly depressing. But
now it occurs to me that such a self-destructing gift might
just fit the bill in a pinch.
my friends J&M gave me my consumable gift on Saturday,
a walking tour of some of the more historic bars in Greenwich
Village. The tour focused on four bars in the neighborhood,
Kettle of Fish, The
White Horse Tavern, and one other whose names escapes
me. Of these, I had only been to the White Horse before, it
being one of my all-time favorite bars in the area. We were
by far the youngest people on the tour, which I found somehow
heartening. It's always good to see the old folks out in the
freezing cold, ready for some bar-hopping. The guide gave
us lots of history while we trudged to each bar, then we downed
a pint. After all that history we headed for the revisionist
world of the Cowgirl
Hall of Fame, which proudly proclaims that it is technically
considered an annex of Texas. Fair enough, that's as close
to Texas as I pan on getting any time soon.
Later I met up with some other folks at 288,
which I can only think of as Tom
& Jerry's, due to all the bowls bearing that name
stacked on their shelves. They were projecting Christmas videos
on the wall, featuring How
the Grinch Stole Christmas. They didn't have the sound
on, but just looking at the visuals you realize how superior
it is to any of the recent Suessian nightmare adaptations
foisted on us. Ted Geisel might have been better served if
he specified in his will that nobody do anything with any
of his characters after his death.
Posted By Jimmy Legs