Monday, February 17, 2014

NYC: wandering through Williamsburg

Today Mindy and I visited Williamsburg on a hunt for graffiti, food, and hipsters.  All were readily available.  There are so many tags that everything begins running together and finding clean wall space at ground level is like looking for graffiti anywhere else.

Our first stop was the Brooklyn Art Library (BAL). The Arthouse Co-op (at the BAL) runs the sketchbook project that mindy and I participate in every year so it was really great to get to see this space.  The walls are lined with sketchbooks in all colors, binding styles, and thicknesses (all are the same height and width as per the projects instructions).  We flipped through a few books, laughing at how lame the ones from Singapore were.  One was literally just 2 pages of some incomplete bad manga style pencil sketches.  The other was a 2 page book with a popup style spinning disk.  But the disc didn't spin.  This just reinforced that, outside of lee wen, Singapore art is tragically weak and very much not world class.  We also found a few books from Lafayette that we're not ours and were surprised at how cool they were.  One, by artist Lisa Wicka, was really well done and beautiful to flip through.  BAL was a really fun stop for us.

brooklyn art library

Then it was on to the meatball shop for lunch and it was awesome as always.

mindy had beef balls with rigatoni and a side of the best sauteed kale she's ever eaten ...

and mine was pizza balls topped with a fried egg and a cranberry walnut salad on the side.

After lunch we wandered the streets searching out some art.  I finally got to see an ROA piece and it does not disappoint.  The picture does not do  justice to the detail in the black and white squirrel.  Just mind blowing.  We found a great wall featuring icy and sot, rwk, and cake.  We saw also works from rrobot, never, sheryo, the yok, Zio Ziegler and a bunch of others and several that I didn't recognize.  We walked several miles around the neighborhood, then decided we'd try to get to bushwick to retrace our summer footsteps and to see the new stuff produced through the fall. But after hopping a train to the Marcy projects instead and with the oncoming dark, we decided to skip it and just head back to manhattan.

We jumped off the train a stop early so we could see the new Maya Hayuk piece on the wall at Bowery and Houston, which had already been tagged with some shitty bubble letters.  Maya's piece is awesome though, the translucency of the high gloss paint she used creates so many different colors that you can't see in photographs.  It annoys me when people tag stuff like this, but I guess that's all part of the anarchist attitude of taggers.  Too bad though, cuz they fucked up a really cool piece with some straight bullshit bubbles.

We hit the Fatty Crab for dinner.  This place had great reviews and features a Malaysian menu.  We were so excited to get to eat some Southeast Asian food.  We ordered Assam laksa and chili crab.  All we really ended up with was disappointment.  Laksa with no broth and mint instead of laksa leaves.  The kangkong that was so salty I felt my cheeks turn to leather.  And the chili crab turned out to be a $52 frozen crab prepped by a chef that never learned to clean a crab.  Everything they brought out was terrible.  All in all this place does not live up to its reputation and seems like it is staffed by cooks who have never been to SE Asia.  Total disappointment.  Eat at Noodle Bar instead.  It's less than $30 for 2 people and it's really good.

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