This time there were quite a lot of pictures from the beach house that my dad and his wife rent each year. And there were many naked pictures of my twin sisters, only one of which I can show here in a public web page. This film is perhaps not the oldest I have, the girls are nine now and perhaps they are two or three here. I made many versions of this frame, and I like some of the color ones, but so far this is the only image I have really preferred with a black and white, slightly toned treatment.
I shall swallow my pride and show a decidedly unglamorous shot of myself and my niece at an adorable age. She’s a gorgeously tall teenager now.
And here she is on her own being super cute.
My biggest little sister, with my littlest little sister.
Some pictures of the same view I seem to take each year, headed down to the beach.
This one I really like
I had got in one roll from Venice, that I was really bored by the images on, and also a roll of old Mermaid parade pictures that I felt the same about. But here’s a couple frames from a friends old apartment. I used to babysit their birds and cat on weekends. This first one, I’m not sure what I was attempting but I sort of like it.
And here are said birds. The guy in the foreground is Peepster, one of the most interesting creatures I’ve ever met and certainly the bird with the most personality I have ever known personally. A mourning dove who was pushed out of the nest and rescued by my friend Joanna Belby. The bird in the background is his companion Emma who is a domestic ringed neck dove. Anyway, both creatures have sadly shed their mortal coil but I have fond memories of each.
I’m facing a situation where I have an amount of backlog left, where if I keep sending the same number of rolls each payday, I will not finish by the end of the year. This had been a new years resolution, but while I wasn’t working I had to pause, and it took a while to bounce back. I could send double the amount and be done by the end of the year, I’m thinking that over. My rollei related resolution for next year is to get some repair work done on the camera. I’m pretty sure the shutter speeds need help.
This drink is the most popular drink I’ve ever made, it’s possibly my favorite thing to drink at this point and I swear it should be a new brunch favorite. In honor of Labor Day, make what I consider the ultimate morning after drink, which you can then keep drinking all day. Apparently corpse revivers were a category of drink from around the turn of the century, as hair of the dog type drinks, and there were a number of them. Only the #1 and the #2 survive as recipes currently, and of those only #2 is really what we would think of as a morning, or brunch type drink. And brunchy it is in spades. It’s more alcoholic than the mimosa, but easily quaffed quickly unlike a bloody. It’s also not hard to make, or remember how to make, but the fact that it has one expensive ingredient makes it less accessible to serve at home unless you are serious about amateur mixology.
And that ingredient my friends is absinthe. Before I made my own corpse reviver #2, I ordered it at a bar which specializes in classic cocktails, to see if I wanted to spring for an expensive bottle of the green stuff. Since it was love from sip one, there was no question, plus owning absinthe opens a whole new world of drinks to make at home including the sazerac. There is no skimping on absinthe, do not use the aqua colored fake “Czech” stuff. It is going to run you between $40-$60 and will last forever unless you get into drinking it with sugar and water. You can use a non-absinthe pastis if you like such as Pernod. And since most of us are not going to be able to taste a bunch of pastis/absinthe, do what I did and go to The Wormwood Society‘s page on your smart phone when you are in the liquor store and buy one with a good rating, you would be surprised which ones get critical pans on that site. In my store the only one they had which didn’t have terrible reviews was an American absinthe from Philadelphia Distilling called Vieux Carré. The same people who bring you Bluecoat Gin.
The Corpse Reviver #2 requires an absinthe rinse on the glass, please do not think you can skip this step, it is simply not the same beverage without it. To really do a rinse you are going to have to dispense your absinthe into either an elegant dasher bottle if you can find one, or do the déclassé thing and use a small spray bottle like me. You don’t want to try pouring the tiny amount from a giant heavy bottle. I use the funnel for my flask to fill my sprayer bottle.
So now chill a glass as we assemble the other ingredients. Gin, Lillet (or a Kina Lillet simulacrum like Cocchi Americano or Kina L’Avion D’or if you can find them), lemons and your orange liqueur of choice.
The recipe is a simple 1:1:1:1 of these ingredients, plus an absinthe rinse on a chilled glass. Surely even with a splitting headache you can remember this. For a single cocktail mix:
3/4 oz Gin
3/4 oz Triple sec/Curacao of choice
3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
3/4 oz lemon juice
Place in a shaker with ice, shake till ice cold, prepare your glass with absinthe rinse (more on that below) and strain into it to serve. Viola.
For gin use anything that is mixable, here I have Greenhook, but you can go Plymouth, and the limited edition Tanqueray Malacca is really nice in this drink. I went with Senor Curacao curacao, but I usually use Cointreau, I can’t decide which I like better. Some people think the Cocchi is more authentic than Lillet Blanc because it’s got more cinchona bark like the original Kina Lillet is supposed to have had, some think it tastes too much like vermouth. I’ve not heard of many people who have tried the L’Avion D’or yet, I can never find either when I’m in the liquor store and therefore stick with Lillet. I strain my lemon juice prior to adding if I remember to, also if you have a Meyer lemon, this drink is divine when you use the Meyer for no more than half the lemon juice. I also learned the hard way not to use that halfway dried up half a lemon sitting in the fridge for this, as it flattens the drink out totally when you don’t have a fresh cut lemon.
Tips on applying the absinthe rinse. It’s supposed to coat the glass, which gives a small pop of anise of taste, and a lot of fragrance. However if you put too much, it will very quickly become a dominant taste. If you like an anise licorice taste the drink will still taste good but it will just not be right, a bit of extra absinthe and you will dwarf the other flavors in the drink significantly. It’s supposed to be hint that you almost can’t define. If you are not massively skilled at administering a few drops from a dasher bottle and rolling it around with a flourish, then pouring off the extra, you may be a spazz like me. Try a spray bottle, my friend Amy sold me on this, a lot of great bars and bartenders are using them for this because it really allows you to use less absinthe. You can buy a nice looking aluminum one if you can find it, it will look like a fancy bar tool, though you won’t be able to tell how much is in it. I have a thoroughly ordinary one from the drugstore designed as a travel toiletry bottle.
I do not spray from a distance like you would hair spray or an olive oil mist on a pan. I found doing that left me a lot of absinthe in the air and not enough coverage in the glass. Pictured below is my technique more or less.
If you use the same spray method each time, whatever it is, you can use each pump of spray as a consistent measure. Four sprays while turning a chilled glass from the freezer is how I like it, three is good too but I prefer four. It depends slightly on the glass but again, once you have your spray method, each pump from your specific bottle is consistent so it’s a very reliable measure. Find the amount that you like and you can get it the same each time on your choice of glass if you count the number of sprays that got you there.
This drink has a sour sweet, herby drinkability and goes over easy in a crowd. It’s like a sophisticated gummy bear in a booze form, but no artificial flavors or colors. I’m sure it’s crass to describe it like that. I’ve not found anyone that hates it. I waive off people who say they don’t like licorice, when they know there’s absinthe, because done right the absinthe is going to be undefinable, give a sweet finish, and botanical aroma and just contribute to the drink being deliciously good. The corpse reviver #2 should take brunch by storm, because it crushes a mimosa made with Tropicana and cheap bubbly like Godzilla. It’s very citrusy and refreshing. Get your relatives tanked at the beach house with it next summer and everyone will forget you are mooching a room for free.
As for garnish, one is not called for. Manhattan Inn puts a lovely curled orange peel on the edge. That’s great because it really adds something and signals you to taste the orangeiness of the drink, yet there’s no orange juice in it. Because of that you might not have an orange around, as I did not. Use your fanciest metal foiled glass to dress up the pale contents. Anyway, you won’t be sorry you got your corpse revived. Do it twice!
Citibike has settled in at it’s current level, until they roll out another stage it’s a good time to assess how it’s all working. In the neighborhoods it serves, it’s now part of the infrastructure, and as good as it’s going to be until they expand. I’m an enthusiastic booster still, but it’s become like another part of our transportation system, when it’s not there when I want it, I get annoyed. I went from not having this service at all a few months ago, to now feeling entitled to it meeting my transportation needs when I plan for it. And yes I know that’s ridiculous, but it’s NYC and that’s about the speed of things. This is a round about way of saying despite using it several times this week and last, I’ve noticed some shortcomings lately related to it finally getting full saturation of members. Today was the first day I really could not get a bike for a leg of trip I wanted to make and had to take the train. However another time I used it it was especially joyous, like when I went to it’s northern and easternmost station (59th & Sutton Pl) on Thursday morning and saw this view. I found a bike at the start, and a dock at the finish with no hassle at a prime morning commuting time, from 9:15-10:00 AM. It was a sweet ride.
However my ending station, on 51st and 6, did not have bikes after 5PM that day, or the next day, so leaving work via Citibike became a problem. I’ve no idea when a redistribution unit brings more bikes or if they come back through natural use in the morning, but between 5 and 6 getting a bike is probably not likely for me from right behind the office. The station empties out and and it probably stays empty until the next day at whatever time riders start to bring back bikes. I’m going to check in with the map this weekend sporadically to see if the dock there fills up and when.
In some ways the empty stations are a great thing, the program is clearly a success, people want it and are using it. The bad thing is I’ve had to go to three stations two days in a row in the hour between 5 and 6 and one of those two times failed to get a bike. This is a problem that is not easy to solve. Theoretically they can put more stations out, but this takes parking space and there’s only so much of that space they can get, or would be fair for them to get. The program may have maxed out on riders it can support in certain areas at the prime times. Citibike has been talking about rebalancing—>here and in other posts. There’s only so much redistributing bikes it makes sense for them to do, and they focus those efforts on hubs like Penn Station and Grand Central. I personally notice that Union Square and Broadway on a Sunday morning at 8:30 is as empty as on a Monday morning at 8:30 but a block away at University there are usually bikes. But in midtown, I don’t see this problem getting better unless they get some stations in spots like garages and off the street in other pedestrian plazas and such, they probably have taken over all the curbside space they are going to get. If you need a bike at a prime time, you might have to skip it and take the train.
Broadway has a large concentration of stations along it’s length in midtown and that’s facilitated by the fact that a lot of broadway above 34th already has lanes blocked off for pedestrian plazas and such. This gives a lot of room to put Citibike stations, and they have put in the largest ones there. When I’ve not been able to get a bike I go to Broadway, unfortunately even those stations were empty at these times around 50th st and just below today. Yesterday I got one of two bikes there. It’s just not going to be a guarantee anymore that I can take a bike from my office at a typical evening rush hour time. Luckily most of the time I do not work regular hours so hopefully that will work in my favor in terms of getting bikes as I need them.
Another issue is that in the app a station indicating very few bikes, might actually have no bikes. Very often you get there and the station has one or two out of service bikes, or a couple of broken docks that won’t release bikes but seem to be trying. The docks may make noise like they are trying to turn some mechanical gear, but the bikes don’t come out. The app, and I assume the system administration as a whole, has no way of knowing bikes or docks aren’t working, or perhaps they do but the app is not smart enough to capture this info and display it. This is the station at Broadway and 49th St. One of these bikes is out of service, because the red light is on on the dock, and the other is in a dock that won’t release the bike.
Clearly that dock eventually worked because in the wee hours of the morning, I looked on the Citibike website and saw that there is only one bike available at that station, which I assume is the broken bike. I assume that because I’ve now been to a station in Soho a couple days in a row with the same four broken bikes sitting there. I don’t know how long they leave them but it’s become an issue, most stations have bikes locked in a dock under a red light because they are out of service. On that same station map, shows the docks by my office holding one bike also, it’s probably the same broken one that I saw there at 5:45 today, possibly it will be there all weekend. I’ll check for it on Monday and see when it gets turned around.
I also had an experience where I took a bike for lunch in Soho and had to go to three stations in that area before I could find a place to park it. I had to walk quite a few blocks back to where I was working, making the whole thing a risky lunch hour jaunt, because I walked in 15 minutes late. I only found a dock because there was a redistributing truck at the station on Canal and 6th avenue and he moved a bike for me to be able to return the one I was using.
So as I said, today I took the subway after finding no bikes to do an errand in Chelsea from Rockefeller Center. I purchased the whole pomegranates I needed to make grenadine for future cocktail posts. Feeling dejected about walking to a few stations and then having to train it instead of ride, I was pleased to see the station on 22nd and 8th had plenty of bikes for my short jag to the L train home. Here’s a picture of what users have come up with as a way of signifying from a distance the bikes that are out of service. They often lower the seat all the way and turn them around backwards. Because you do feel like a chump getting through adjusting the bike and realizing there’s a red light on the dock and that bike is out of service.
I like when a new etiquette is formed. However some people are only doing half of this gesture. Some are just lowering the seat all the way and that’s it, when I think the crucial thing is turning the seat around at whatever height the post is at. As a lazy person who actually rides on the lowest seat position because I’m also very short, at a full dock I look for a bike I won’t have to adjust first, and often I go up to a bike which is just my height to find it’s actually out of service. So to my fellow riders, flip seats all the way backwards on out of service bikes to help even short people know not to try to use them. Obviously this is not a rule, it’s a new courtesy we are all learning to get used to.
Here I am in my backup helmet after finally finding a Citibike today. A little annoyed and tired, but still rolling along.
These cuff links are deadstock from my family’s jewelry store. They were sitting there for excess of 25 years, and have been in a box for at least 10. I definitely remember strong disinterest in these when I was a child in the 70’s if that gives a clue as to their age. They are probably made in Europe as their only marking is the “925” stamp, which is primarily used in Europe as US jewelers tend to use “sterling” always, at least at that time.
These are very heavy castings with really hefty cufflink findings on the back which will hold a shirt of any thickness, even deep polyester double-knit. They measure 7/8” on the long side, and just over 3/4” on the short side. The thickness of the front design is 1/8”. The design was probably made with an old style wax gun.
Many of my friends said these were Brutalist, Modernist, even architectural. They said that if they went to a party and said they were $750 David Yurman smoked glass and stainless steel, every gay guy would be trolling the internet looking to buy them. They said Eldritch, or Alistair Crowley, if they told folks they were Prada they would want them. They have said “They are perfectly fine, they just need the right shirt.” They have been described as a la Paul Evans, Todd Merrill Antiques, something one would see on the 1stdibs.com site. I noticed 1stdibs is selling cuff links designed by Georg Jensen and point out that the designer of these jewels is Hans Nobody.
I’ve also heard my friends and even a date say “I would totally wear these to a snooty ex bf’s party, to my uncle’s Bauhaus art opening”, and I explained “totally wear” as in you would ironically wear them, is different from “pay good money for” which is what one is hoping for when offering jewelry for sale.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, this was said to me by another friend. This is true, and it’s plausible. The fact that folks had 30+ years to fall in love with these yet did not, does not preclude this possibly happening at a future time. Given additional decades this sort of wax drippery design may come back. You can be cutting edge, decades ahead rather than behind if you choose to pay to own these buggers.
If you do not love them, they will likely be scrapped with other sad jewelry designs from my family’s store once Glenn Beck freaks out enough right wingers to drive up precious metal prices again.
Update 8/14/13, I have some questions and I did add a description from a friend to the listing, which I hope to keep doing as I get more of them.
This is I believe the very last of my film from Italy, period. I still have quite a lot of film in my drawer and I’m not sure what it all is. I’m guessing there’s more Coney Island and New Orleans in there but the film from Italy was at least segregated in ziploc bags. Anyway, goodbye to Venice maybe I will visit you again one day.
I really like the way the Rollei rendered to colors in this next one
This is not a good photo, but Canova’s tomb was one of the most amazing and funny, overwrought, hilarious things I loved in Venice
Goodbye Italy, I can’t tell you how much I love you.
So I’ve paused sending out film while I’m out of work for the summer. But I do have some film that I already got back and haven’t posted. These are basically Rollei snapshots. All the children here have grown significantly, some of the couples have broken up and just everyone looks younger. So without further attempt to make this particularly deep or anything here are more heavily light leaked pics. These first ones are friends of mine in prospect park.
And this is my niece on one of her long ago birthdays
The Brooklyn, the most elusive of the drinks named for the boroughs of my hometown. As a resident of Kings County for over 20 years, I had always planned to end on it. But it took quite a bit longer than I initially anticipated, and this is definitely the longest it’s ever taken me to plan and execute a cocktail, or cocktail post. I’ve approached all the drinks I blog about, to learn about cocktails from making ones from a classic period. And I try to get at least close to how there were originally made, I’m doing this to develop my own palate and skills, so I knew I would take on Brooklyn last of all the NYC cocktails. I wanted to build up my chops before hitting this one.
The Brooklyn relies on a french amara, Amer Picon, which you cannot get in the US. The other twist is if you do manage to acquire a bottle, they have changed the product somewhat since 1979. The original is 78 proof, and the current variety is 40 proof. If you go down an internet rabbit hole as I have, you will read all sorts of grumblings of other possible changes to the recipe, which seem to have less credibility, but booze bottles have no ingredient labels so you can go crazy imagining all this. Maybe all of this pondering clouded my brain enough that it didn’t occur to me to ask my family members to bring me one when they went to Paris a few months back. An error I still can’t stop kicking myself over.
Substitutions have been made all along in the history of cocktails, during prohibition the rest of the world couldn’t get the rye called for in this drink and had to go with Canadian Club, bourbon or some other whiskey. I did know going in that I was going to need to find a stand in, but I’m completely uneducated on the taste of amaras, and most bars I can think of couldn’t give me a taste tour either. They will have one if they have any. I had been fervently pouring through the eGullet cocktail forums, especially Erik Ellstad’sStomping through the Savoy topic, (which he continued on his own blog, but the comments on the egullet thread are a gold mine of info) and found a post which mentioned that David Wondrich himself had tasted an older bottle of Picon against all the amaras in his collection and posted the result to eGullet. His verdict is Amaro CioCiaro. When I say rabbit hole, you can really go insane on reading about subs for Amer Picon, there are recipes to make your own. It is the kind of thing I do like to take on but I felt a bit out of my depth. Anyway, authenticity was part of my search, but I also just wanted a good drink I would like. I have been served a Brooklyn before in a bar, prior to doing this reading, and I did not like it especially. My hypothesis became that this was due to an inappropriate amara being used for the Picon. I guess I was determined to like a drink named after my home borough, and didn’t leave it there. (I never felt the same determination about the gem Amber, which I’m also not fond of, but there’s really no way to alter petrified tree resin to be more like how I think of myself)
If you are still following along with me, there was more bad news, sadly my delay didn’t end with the decision to use Amaro CioCiaro. It proved extremely difficult to acquire, though clearly not nigh impossible like the Picon. Here I was with the answer, and as a bonus, it’s one of the cheapest amaras you can buy at under $20, yet no one has it in any liquor store in my travels around town. I did not want to order it in the mail, and pay similar shipping. I found one store waaay far away from my apartment on Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn that claimed to stock it on their website but I could not get over there, and I feared their website was lying anyway, perhaps they just occasionally stock it I’ve run into that before. If I lived near or ever was naturally in that neighborhood I would certainly check but I didn’t want to head out there and just be disappointed. My theory on why it is not carried is that customers for amaras are sophisticated and want the more expensive brands with deeper vegetal notes to sip. And I’m sure if a liquor store is going to stock something they barely sell, they want to make it worth their while for carrying it, and ring up $40 to $60 when someone bothers to buy this niche product. I just made that up, but I’m going with it.
I had started to move on to other drinks when my search for the amara became frustrating, I did go spontaneously into virtually any liquor store I was near for a while in a vain hope of finding it. In the meantime I picked up a wonderful rye made by a Brooklyn distillery (though it has Rosendale NY on the label), Widow Jane Rye. If you read my posts on the Bronx, the Queens and the pinnacle of them all the Manhattan, you know I tried to include spirits made in NYC. I did fudge it for NY State on the Manhattan, and this is sort of a fudge also, because it is perhaps made in the Catskills rather than Red Hook, but I really like it. It’s got spice, but it also finishes sweet, I have found that for many rye drinks which have other ingredients which are sweet, it’s nice to have the spicier notes counter those, so I don’t want to choose a rye which is super smooth. Widow Jane is also unfiltered which means you find little flakes of sediment in it sometimes, which I don’t mind.
Ultimately traveling to L.A. on vacation without a car brought an end to my search for Amaro CioCiaro. I spontaneously walked into a huge liquor store, as I had been doing futilely all over New York City. Boom! I saw it on the shelf, and not too much later it was in my luggage home. I then got in the door and poured a little taste. It is not especially bitter, it’s sweetish with bitter notes, it’s aromatic, it’s chocolaty, and definitely gives heat at the back of the throat, and I gather it’s not as citrusy as Amer Picon because it’s not particularly orange tasting.
So now all the players are in finally on the field. This left me to finally mix it up and try it. I looked up recipes for the Brooklyn cocktail and found this eGullet page which presented a whole new set of issues, but those I could resolve in my own apartment by consuming several alcoholic beverages. This is the kind of problem I enjoy. I tasted most of these and and came up with my own proportions as well, and I’ll share two recipes I like.
2 oz rye (Widow Jane)
3/4 oz dry vermouth (Noilly Prat)
2 teaspoons Amer Picon (Amaro CioCiaro)
2 teaspoons maraschino liqueur (Luxardo)
(adding orange bitters is optional and a good idea because that is supposed to be how the CioCiaro falls short in similarity to Picon)
BTW when I measure 2 teaspoons it comes out to 1/4 oz so you can just measure that out if you have a trusty 1/4 ounce measure.
Shake or stir with ice (many folks stir vermouth drinks, I like the cloudiness and ice chips from shaking) and strain into a glass.
Once I tasted it I thought “This is very like a Manhattan, but a bit different.” And I like that. The drinks are truly sisters, similar but definitely individuals. If you include a Luxardo cherry in your Manhattan as I do, they become even more aligned. I like that the Bronx and Queens are smilar to each other as well. In these proportions I can really taste the vermouth, which you should in a drink in this family, yet many of the other notes pop out too, and it’s a bit sweeter than a Manhattan. However it was a bit disappointing to me that the maraschino is more strongly detected than the amara. This was possibly because I’m more accustomed to drinking cocktails that use it so it is easy for me to recognize. It was not disappointing because I disliked the drink, but because I went out of my mind to get the amara and it wasn’t the strongest note. And I felt I wanted to find a way to separate out the sisters from each other. I had the same issues in other words, as the participants in the egullet thread I linked above. However all the traditional recipes out there for the Brooklyn pair up the proportions of Picon and maraschino, they are greater or less, but they are equal to each other.
Here is my favorite variation, though I’ve gone between it and the one above numerous times and I like each for different reasons, in different moods. My variation ups the amaro and pairs it in proportion to the vermouth instead, though reducing the amount of vermouth and maraschino.
2 oz rye
1/2 oz dry vermouth (I actually tried 3/4 as on that egullet thread and didn’t like it as well)
1/2 oz Amaro CioCiaro
1/4 oz maraschino
This whole thing got me thinking about separating these two borough cocktails. After I took my picture, I decided that I might switch my cherry use and only put it in a Brooklyn, where it seems more natural to be since there is already maraschino liqueur. Neither drink originally called for the garnish, but a cherry has persisted in the Manhattan as it is usually served, but now I feel it might be more misplaced there. Or maybe when I want to feel the two cocktails are closely related I will dunk it in my Manhattan, and when I want the drinks to have very discrete tastes I will not. If anything has become clear to me, is a Brooklyn offers more options to play around with than the Manhattan, which I never vary, and I think I’m still playing with it. That’s definitely fun.
So I’ve some more old film from my Rollei here. I’m just putting it all together. I do have another package I haven’t even opened because I’m just not caught up, and I believe that has the very last from Italy in it. Bye Italy, hope to see you again soon. I still have over 30 rolls left. It’s taking longer than I hoped but this is the first new years resolution I have ever made that was still seeing any traction in June. So I’m happy to have gone this far even though the schedule I planned to keep is out the window. According to the original schedule I should be nearly done by now, not half way. But on to the photos.
The photo above is from Venice and I really like it. This one…I was working on it trying to remove some of it’s flaws and realized it’s interesting how one can’t leave an image alone. Because someone would probably love to put something through hipstamatic and instagram and get this result. I didn’t fully leave it alone but I’m happy with it, even though it’s not a great photo or anything.
That’s all for Venice. Let’s go to New Orleans for two frames. These are portraits of Guitar Lightnin’ Lee in front of the Ernie K-Doe Mother-in-Law Lounge. He was really giving my friend Margaret a hard time flirting with her and she nearly killed me after this incident, because she put up with it for me.
And lastly here’s some NYC beaches, which I hope to visit soon this season.
I went to L.A. in May, and though I took my DSLR I mostly did not use it. I went to the beach with my brother Brendan, shortly after I hit town, and it was pretty glorious. We didn’t really know what beach we were on but it was north of Malibu and south of Oxnard, and when we left I read the sign as Point Mugu.
I did take my big camera, and felt the need to shoot, but most of what I shot was pretty perfunctory. We saw a pair of dolphins swimming together, we looked at rocks, waded up to our hips. I finally started to feel something and took a few pictures that I liked. then I looked down after we left and realized I had accidentally switched my camera to manual and the pictures were eight stops over exposed. I was so bummed out because they were the only pictures I felt at all good about when I was taking them.
They ended up being far more interesting to me than anything I exposed properly.
In the bright sun I couldn’t really see my LED screen when I took each shot so I went obliviously on, shooting insanely overexposed frames.
Anyway..I like these, even though they are entirely erroneous in technique. And I had fun in LA, and with my brother, and you can sort of tell if you look at my instagram feed because I mostly shot with my phone and just enjoyed myself.
A couple more things I want to mention before I’m done talking about Citibike for now. One is that if you want to check how long your trips are, at least how long they are billed for, you can go to the web page, not the phone app, and log into your accounts and see that info under the trips window. A couple of these with zeros in front lead me to imagine it’s when I couldn’t get a bike. They clearly haven’t worked on the milage aspect of it yet, because it’s all zeros. Anyway it’s a good way to confirm you haven’t gone over time or find out when you have. I’ve noticed quite a few of my trips take just a hair over 30 minutes. I am not being careful or anything, but I think this is interesting, possibly pushing people toward memberships.
Another thing is that they really have not responded to customer service issues very well via twitter. The website and twitter feed is very sunny without any helpful information, but I glean from the very few responses on twitter that phone calls are what they had been prepared to deal with, until their phones went down. The blog has stats for usage, without any info on outages, problem stations, things that the MTA might have for subway outages. All my tweets reporting station problems have never received a single “we’re working on it” type auto response tweet.
@citibikenyc and not only is the 51st and 6th station full because it won’t release bikes. I can’t get the last remaining dock to work
I’ve sent numerous tweets now about the station at 51st street and 6th ave, having problems I’ve not seen at the handful of other stations I’ve been at. Times of the day it just goes down, no one can get a bike out, the docks fill up and you can’t leave a bike. Even when it’s working it takes 30 seconds for the green light to come on so you can get the bike out. Yesterday in a new twist bikes were sitting there with green lights on but locked and couldn’t be removed. Then I finally sent an email, I received no response but tonight was the first night that I left work to do an errand at 6pm, and nearly all the bikes were gone. It was actually a great sight to see. Also the bike I chose released fairly quickly, so I hope even though they never said a thing the station is fixed, at least for now. Really that’s not such a long wait. We are just over a week into the program.
I do love it, I can’t wait for it to expand in Brooklyn. One thing which is interesting is people are still asking me a lot of questions about it, not just in the station. Other users when you run into them, you might to talk to each other. It’s like when something bizarre happens on the subway, everyone all of a sudden has permission to speak to one another. I know this will go away, but it’s fun for now.
It was more interesting in the first couple days though, now mostly it’s the same questions, and they often are asked right after I’ve taken the bike out and am on the clock. Its really interesting how many tourists and casual users cannot get the idea that the rides are timed. That it’s 30 minutes at a time for a daily price of $10, a weekly price of $25, annual price of $95 (plus tax) and that membership gives you 45 minutes each ride plus the convenient key. Every casual street questioner thinks you get the bike all day. The reason the system works is because it’s timed, if they gave them to you all day, you would need a lock, and the bikes would be stolen. I can’t even believe they have kickstands. The whole purpose of all the stations is to take a bike and leave a bike on every leg of whatever trip or errand you are doing etc. The ubiquity of the docks allows for that in Manhattan at least. It’s very hard to give people a satisfying short answer to explain this, yet I do want to be a cheerful ambassador.
Someone who talked to me for a while from the seat of his own bike asked me more knowledgable questions but also was possibly chatting me up I’m not sure. He did say the bike stores are worried. I hope this ends up being good for them and not bad. At any rate I used my coupon and bought a new helmet at a Manhattan shop, which is actually going to be my helmet to keep home and use with my own bike mostly and I’m wearing it in this pic. And I used the spare pads to rehab the old one a bit to leave at work mostly. I brought my own bike into my local shop for a new rack this week. I hope the program creates more riders who wish to own their own bikes, but it’s probably more likely to enfranchise riders who don’t want to, or really can’t own bikes. Tight apartments preventing one from keeping a bike inside, justified fear of leaving one outside, and four floor walkups are all real barriers to owning a bike. I fully hope that a greater fleet of bikes on the street will cause more people to look out for us, that’s the theory anyway. But it is New York.
Here’s where there are three very different things going on. First I have some more cemetery pics, which are maybe less interesting than the really good batch, so I played around with the contrast a little more than usual.
So here are a couple frames of my cousins son, Nicholas, at the funeral of his grandmother, my great aunt. This is in Virginia, in Madison county. Our family relationships are complicated. But Nicholas is cute, though he’s really much older now than in these.
This is actually a terrible photo of the inimitable Joyce, neighbor to my family down there and just an unforgettable person. I don’t have any other pictures of Joyce. Maybe another roll will reveal one. I’m glad I have a picture of Joyce.
So these photos were taken in Queens, when I was working at a launching photo agency at PhotoShelter. There was a need for a stock image of a sleeping commuter, so we all went and tried to shoot one and we all failed to take something that worked for the client. I shot most of what I did digital, with a DSLR that I borrowed I believe, but apparently I ran a roll through the Rollei, which I had not remembered. I’m a bit amused by these. This is a friend named Chandra who dressed up, agreed to pose and signed a release for these.
He looks good even if nothing came of it. Thanks Chan.
I’m actually breaking this backlog post into two parts, this one is all Venice. I’ve been mixing it up in terms of what film I send out and then having thematic problems putting it all in one post. But I can’t seem to help it because it seems boring getting all film back of one subject right now. I should mention that my film from Italy was in ziplock bags. So that’s the only film I know what to expect from. All the rest is just mixed together in the drawer. Like when I gave up on being able to process it I gave up on everything. I seem to be almost through the Italy film, which is certainly the oldest. I still have 36 rolls left of unprocessed film.
Anyway these are all from San Marco
Another gondola shot.
And these ones where the light leaks really do something against the black, pretty sure it’s in San Marco but not positive.
Those I like, the rest are sort of run of the mill, but I’m putting them all out there anyway.
Sweaty pic of me picking up my third Citibike of the day. Yes my helmet is all screwed up and there are crumbs from the decaying foam pads dusting the top of my eyebrows.
So today I rode Citibike’s three times. With varying degrees of happiness and frustration. Today I made plans to go to the Cinnamon Snail vegan lunch truck while at work. Their normal Wednesday spot is on 55th and Broadway, which is a bit of a long walk from my office and I can’t always spare the time to do. I went out to the dock behind my office building and had zero problems getting a bike for my lunchtime trip. However all the street directions are a bit against me for this locale. I may go to one of their further east stops on a different day next time. Anyway the tofu pesto cashew cream sandwich was out of sight, also the apple cider donut. In this case, it’s all one trip, I’m on the citibike, waiting at the truck and then heading back to the same dock as all one trip.
The app shows a completely normal info screen on the number of bikes and docks available, I’m getting used to the displays, the dark blue represents bikes and the light blue represents docks on the little station icon.
Later in the day I planned to head from my office in Rockefeller Center to Astor Wines, again, because they were closed last time. I got out of the building and could not get any of the bikes to release to me. At least 6 other people had the same problem while I was standing there. One guy did get a bike to release, one that I had even tried. The stats list this station as one of the system’s “least popular” I have a feeling it’s because many times it’s not functioning properly. I’m now 50/50 on getting a bike out of it. I tweeted about this and DEAR HONORABLE CUSTO replied to me that the 51st and Broadway station was working well. I had luck with that station.
Off to Astor Wines, where I spent over $100 to get cocktail supplies for future posts on the Brooklyn Cocktail as well as the Corpse Reviver 2. This time it took me 1/2 hour to get there, and I really struggled to find the station even with the app, I might have had the map upside down, and I was sweaty and hot. I ended up at Mercer just above Houston, which wasn’t all that close. I should have stopped at Astor Place, which i know for next time. Then I decided to see how a citibike ride loaded down with groceries on each handle as I am wont to do. I could have hopped in the 6 to the L to the G, but instead got another bike at Astor Place bus plaza and loaded it down with bottles of hooch.
As usual when carrying stuff on handlebars, I needed to ride steady and slow. I dropped the bike at the station at 1st ave and 15th that I used on the first day and ran into a woman who dropped a bike and could not get another bike. Lots of not getting bike problems…not sure if it’s intentional when you drop a bike, since the system is still new and experiencing glitches, it will take a while to iron out what the rules are, or the timing is, for dropping one bike and picking up another. They have been intentionally vague about this and there are no rules stated about it. Unfortunately for, now I know I can’t fully trust the dock at my job, which is a shame. The stations need to work more reliably, because New Yorker’s like to plan their trips, of course we have other means to get where we are going but you do want to reasonably know you can get a bike, and how long your trip will take. If you have to walk to another station because the nearest one is a crapshoot, that’s not good long term.
Anyway, I still love the program. Ran into lots of other users, and lots of folks asking questions. You definitely feel like an ambassador for the program, but I couldn’t even take the time to answer every person who asked me about it. I was on the clock.
I did have to delete and reinstall the app to get it working. I think it’s still quite useful, but with some confusing aspects. Inactive stations…I’m not positive what that means right now. This grab seems mysterious to me, there are some bikes and a lot of empty docks, so is it working or not? People seem to have been able to get bikes out of it because a lot of slots are empty. I’m confused.
This one is active, but has zero bikes AND zero docks..what could that mean?
Anyway, watch out Williamsburg, more stations coming soon. I can’t wait for them to hit Greenpoint. One more thing I want to say, I think the bikes are cute. They are called ugly in every single story about them. They certainly aren’t sexy and racy like some bikes, but the bright blue is really very cheerful. I try not to compare them to other bikes and just look at them as singular thing, they are not ugly. I feel happy on one.