Last weekend, Van Hammersley and I went to New York City to eat too much, drink too much, spend too much money, and look at all the beautiful people. I’m happy to report we succeeded wildly on all counts. On our first night in town we hung out in the East Village and the Lower East Side. We endured bad service, overly loud jazz, and wonderful French food at Jules Bistro on St. Mark’s. I had the mussels and pommes frites – predictable and tasty – and VH had hanger steak with a shallot sauce and asparagus risotto, which was also delicious.
We wandered around a bit after dinner and eventually found ourselves in the back room at Piano’s watching Wolff, slack jawed in utter amazement. Wolff is, as best as I can describe it, an indie electronica/technorock tuba player. He uses loops of tuba and vocal samples to create rich, layered, innovative songs that maintain a real sense of accessibility and beauty.
The lush music, combined with amazing background visuals from the movie Koyaanisqatsi (a precursor to the stunning Baraka, as well as the Planet Earth series), removed us completely from the frenetic Friday night city. We found ourselves wrapped up in a totally visceral multimedia moment. I could have watched for hours, but the night was still young at 1:00 a.m.
We moved on to the Back Room, a 1920s speakeasy style bar, complete with comfortable couches, fireplaces, and drinks served in teacups. We were actually able to get into the exclusive back room of the Back Room due to VH’s little brother’s endless social connections and general awesomeness. It was extremely exciting:
VH and I, used to our Boston 2:00 a.m. bedtime, headed back to Ft. Greene shortly afterwards. We spent much of the rest of the weekend wandering around Williamsburg. We especially enjoyed The Main Drag, a fantastic music store in which the friendly and helpful employees basically let us fuck around for well over an hour (me on keys trying to understand the intricacies of a rack synth, VH in a private practice room with an assortment of badass pedals and a beautiful guitar), and the (relatively) new riverfront park.
We had a beautiful South African dinner on Saturday night at Madiba on DeKalb in Ft. Greene after deciding to get adventurous. VH had a mutton curry served in a hollowed out loaf of bread, and I had bobotie, a traditional beef meatloaf-like dish with a baked custard topping and sliced almond crust. Both were served with an assortment of transcendent sauces, including marmalade, raita, fresh salsa, and my favorite, a creamy banana coconut. It was easily our favorite meal of the trip. Next time perhaps we’ll try the steak with monkey gland sauce. Or not.
The best part of the trip, though, was finally purchasing my dream umbrella at the Mini Mini Market on Bedford Ave in Williamsburg: