But only the shadows of their presence were on location tonight as my neighborhood became the set of Boardwalk Empire. I passed by earlier on an afternoon out and about. Met Sam, who was sitting coolly at the end of one block, just at the edge of the big lights epicenter of a tv shoot, now a somewhat familiar scene in the hood. More and more we’re seeing the small screen light up our streets with the hustle and bustle of Made in NY crews milling about. By the time I reached Sammy, I knew which show it was, and that one lucky neighbor was living in the imaginary home of Al Capone. I also learned the crew would be there till 11 p.m. Sammy was cool, as was everyone else I happened upon there, so I hurried home and returned awhile later, arms full of my almost famous “Good Bars.” Only the best for the best (the folks there were very seriously nice people). As for the Good Bars, these babies are an updated, fully loaded, all natural, 100% artisanal la-di-da’d, all Brooklyn all the time, not-your-grandmama’s-granola bar. And I donated them out of the goodness of my heart and not at all to warm my way into the ever amazing Steve Buscemi’s good graces.
So Mr. B, as it turns out, was not there. I know because I asked another actor if he would be on set and the (young, good looking, and costumed) man told me no, “only Al Capone.” “Bummer,” I muttered, I think, to Al Capone, and kept walking. I don’t watch BE, but only because I don’t get HBO. If I did, though, I would. For now, I’ll satisfy myself with treating the crew to some down home Brooklyn hospitality, and a glimpse of Mr. B, if it’s ever meant to be.
True story, btw, one night in the early aughts, I sat next to him at the Knitting Factory (the downtown one, not the original but before it moved back up to above Houston). I didn’t know it was him because we were sitting nearly shoulder to shoulder, which is really too close to look someone in the face — it’s like turning around to see who’s behind you in the elevator. You just don’t do it. So I sat next to this man for about 20 minutes or more, writing in my journal, which is a regular kind of thing for me to do, and glancing only at his shoes. It must have been a Tuesday or a Thursday night because it wasn’t horribly crowded, and there weren’t enough people to distract me from the guy next to me who was wearing the hush puppies. I wondered what he did for a living. I couldn’t quite make it out. Wall Street didn’t seem to fit. But who goes home after work to change into hush puppies, and slightly worn ones at that? Ultimately I settled on computer programmer/software geek kind of guy, since I figured maybe he worked at home and had slipped out of his slippers and into his night shoes before going out. Although normally I would introduce myself, I refrained because I was meeting friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, and did not want to be obliged to invite this stranger (who struck me as maybe a bit of a loner, sitting against the wall just like me) to join us. And I knew I would have invited him, so instead I didn’t look directly at him or introduce myself at all. The man with the hush puppies left around the time my friends found me. After we said our hellos, one asked me, “How is it sitting next to Steve Buscemi?” “I don’t know. How?” I asked, and waited for the punchline.
Walking back home tonight, I passed this trailer. It’s an eau de homage to giants of the small screen…doubling as WC signage.
There’s no business like show business like no business I know.
When I used to spend a lot of work time in lower Manhattan there would be periodic filming of TV shows and movies. I rapidly grew to hate the whole process. From a distance it was interesting to be up a few floors looking down if anything was going on, but for people like me who had to drive, and more importantly park, it was a bit of a nightmare. Block after block of good parking spaces taken, roped off, and coned. To make matters worse, the regular workers in the area were now crammed into a fraction of normal available parking spots so parking at night was as bad as daytime.
As the media was convincing us how the economy was improving, some things actually did get better. As some companies moved out of lower Manhattan, or just closed and went out of business, parking did in fact improve. Unfortunately my favorite coffee spot, the Riverside Cafe which had been there for as long as I could remember closed, probably due to the improving economy- maybe to re-open elsewhere creating more jobs (insert sarcasm here).
All the above and more, led me to keep things I do closer to home- or at least out of Manhattan. I started my personal boycott of everything Manhattan. Except when there for work I just avoid the place. Movies, restaurants, &c are just as good in the other boroughs, cost less, and are quicker and easier to get to. The crowds elsewhere aren’t nearly as bad, and as a whole people are more civil out of Manhattan.
For a while I’ve been exploring Williamsburg in Brooklyn. I still have a lot of things I want to do there, one being just walking around the area checking out antique shops and the like. There’s restaurants with many types of ethnic foods, 2 bowling alleys I haven’t been to (one has live bands), a few movies (the one I want to check out serves food/ drinks during the movie), and many shops I haven’t gone into yet. One end of it is on the water front, which I haven’t been to either. It’s pretty easy to get to by train, driving, and bus- and no, I don’t work for the Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce, it’s just an interesting area 🙂
Williamsburg can be a lot of fun. I particularly like a place called Williamsburg Music Center (or WMC), where they hold open jazz/blues jam sessions on Saturdays (at least used to), and a variety of musical events Friday nights. Stop by there when you’re in the neighborhood and talk to Jerry Eastman who has had that building on the corner of Bedford and South 5th for many years. He’ll tell you all about watching the neighborhood change right there from his corner just under the overpass.
ralph, a raising of the glasses to your williamsburgh tomorrow venture!! a toast and cheer and prosta. i love your dreams!
revel, i’m not one to encourage or legislate…ok, maybe a little encourage……but just to say that i enjoy reading your words and hope for more and more and more….did i say more?
by the way, steve buscemi is in that movie rendition of
“on the road” and according to the movie sites, he has no character name which i guess mean he is playing himself
and i don’t remember the movies i’ve seen him in, but i like him
and i betchya your granola bars speak for themselves too.
I am listening, and thanking you. Encourage, or legislate, or say say say! It matters.
The Williamsburg trip is on for tomorrow (Sunday). One unexpected twist is, under duress I agreed to go into midtown Manhattan (the horror) first.
Supposedly there is a new beer garden in Williamsburg which I may need to check out, or if the shock is too great an absynthe or two on South 1st may be on order. When all is said and done I am sure a good time will be had by all. Steven, thanks for ‘the raising of the glasses’, and Revel, I made note of the WMC for an upcoming visit.
“Life isn’t about trying to survive the storm; but about learning to dance in the rain” – unknown
After a side trip into Manhattan where all was as expected AND wet, we made it to our destination in Williamsburg. Arriving a little early at the NiteHawk Theatre we picked out a movie and bought the last two tickets for that showing. Back in the lobby to wait for show time, the bar/ lounge was lit by old fashioned looking incandescent bulbs. The light they produce is warm and easy on the eyes, unlike their glaring ‘green’ counterparts. This seemed to fit the ‘feel’ of the place. Someone came downstairs to let us know we should be able to enter the theater in a little while- an interesting and unexpected touch.
They said our theater was a smaller one, and a quick count gave about 30 seats set up in pairs with a small table between them. Not new and polished like some movies, this was more like being in someone’s living room. Surprisingly, I didn’t see one flashing cell phone screen or hear anyone’s one-sided conversation throughout the show. I would go back again.
As for the walking tour, it didn’t happen. It was raining too hard to enjoy a long stroll. There will be more trips to this neighborhood so the walkabout will happen, as will another trip to the movies.
Sounds like a lovely evening in the ‘burg. Have you been to Smorgasburg? I’m fond of its sister market, the Brooklyn Flea (you’ve been?) which is in Fort Greene and features food and goods. I’ve not yet made it to Smorgasburg, which focuses on food, and is frequently glanced on various food/cooking shows. That theater sounds really wonderful; thanks for the tip. It’s now on my list.
Just curious, what do you think about the aesthetics/ethics of using the “green” bulbs versus the incandescent kind? We have the energy saving kind in the front porch light but I’m not at all crazy about it, and find myself not even using it because it emits such a harsh, unattractive light. I don’t think that’s the way it’s supposed to work, but it certainly does save energy this way.
I have little if any doubt that incandescent lights are easier on the eyes. For one thing fluorescent/ CFL bulbs flicker (too fast to actually notice). ‘Green’ bulbs also give off odd color light. Daylight is harsh glue, cool white looks harsh white, and warm white is a creamy white color. Fluorescents are high in green and yellow colors, incandescent in the red. If you leave your camera set for daylight (natural) white balance and take pictures with fluorescent lights and then incandescent lighting you can see the difference. The brain does a great job of balancing colors so it’s not too obvious.
As for the ethics, my incentive for being green is simple- the other green. Some things cost so much they are not worth it. If you have a bulb that you put on for 10 minutes per day it is probably not worth the cost of a CFL for the little it will save you. If talking about my outside light which is on all night, I use a 12 watt CFL on a timer instead of a 60 or 100 watt incandescent. That saves me money, and helps the environment. You can argue that a CFL will save energy even in the 10 minute per day use. It will, but the cost of the CFL may negate any money saved on electric. BTW, CFLs when used in cold, especially outside in winter, will be dimmer than when in normal temperatures.
Forget all the ‘green hype’ forced down our throats! Some of it is simply to sell us more stuff. Do anything legal to reduce your gas, water, and electric bills. Congrats- you are now green (and will have more of it)! Just turning things off when not needed is a great first step. Selective use of timers, then replacing bulbs that are turned on a lot with CFLs is a good second step. There is newer technology, LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs that save even more energy than CFLs, but for now they are pretty expensive and have some limitations.
Since high school I almost never get into Ft. Greene. I am not familiar with the area any more so it never comes to mind. Maybe I should do some research!
On Williamsburg’s Nite Hawk Theater I would add another note. The food was good, but the portions were on the small size. If you’re really hungry you may want to eat elsewhere first then get an appetizer and/ or drink in the movie. Their menu is online
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