Friday night, Fizzy and I went to a party with her college friend Karen. The party, celebrating Karen’s friend Garth’s birthday, was in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights district, and but a scant few blocks from the notoriously dangerous Bedford-Stuyvesant district. Fortunately, out there, a mere block or two can mean the difference between being in Brooklyn or Crooklyn, and we stayed safe. While at the party, I met the notorious Grendel:
We had a blast, Grendel and I. We took turns reciting Beowulf to one another in the original Middle English. As you may have noticed, Grendel is in fact a sock puppet. Here is another photograph of him, this time with his creator and puppeteer Seth in the frame:
That isn’t a terribly flattering shot of Seth, as he has been caught in mid-Grendel-growl. He’s far more dashing in person; Seth that is. Grendel is pretty much what you see. I only just met Seth (he’s Garth’s roommate), but he seems like an interesting fellow. At the very least he gets credit for properly pronouncing my tricky-to-say surname. It turns out he has heard of my older brother, a well-known poet, and that’s how he knew the name. That happens to me from time to time, and it is always a bit strange, but I roll with it.
Tonight (tho ’tis now Sunday morning, at least in New York) we met up with Karen again, as well as another of Sue’s college friends, Richard, and some other people (including a friend of Karen’s, who recognized me as DJ Greg! from the Berkeley party days) and attended a free concert at Columbia University. Columbia is celebrating its 250th anniversary; the school is older then the United States of America!
Speaking of Columbia, the other day, while sauntering up Broadway, near Tom’s Diner, whom do I run into but my friend Raj a.k.a. DJ Entropy. It seems that after finishing his EECS degree at Berkeley, he realized engineering wasn’t for him, and he is now at Columbia earning a Ph.D in Economics. How random to encounter him on a New York sidewalk! Not only that, but it turns out that he lives across the street from Richard (whom he does not know) who lives across the street from Karen, who doesn’t even go to Columbia. Out of all of Manhattan, three people I know randomly chose dwellings within two doors of each other… but I have seriously digressed. The free concert was really great. Wyclef Jean performed. Here he is now:
He put on a fantastic show. If he is to be believed, he came straight from being treated at a hospital to Columbia to peform. Erykah Badu was scheduled to perform too, but could not make it due to an unspecified illness.” Wyclef called her out while freestyling, asking if he was in the hospital that day and was still able to make it, “what the fuck sickness does Erykah Badu have?” His set lasted more than two hours, and he kept forcing the promoters and security to let him continue, as he was only supposed to play about an hour. His show was as fun and eclectic, running the gamut from the expected rap, reggae, and R & B, to a cappella gospel, and even ’50s era boogie woogie rock & roll.
After the show, five of us went to the Meat Packing District to eat dinner. Isn’t that a great name for a part of town? We had great French food at Pastis, including a bowl of raw steak, and then waited in a far-too-long line at Magnolia’s Bakery for what are reported to be the best cupcakes in the world. Here is a crappy picture of the joint:
You can’t tell how long, or how slow-moving, the line is from that picture, but trust me it was both. The cupcakes? In all honesty, I found them no better or worse then any other cupcake I’ve ever eaten. To be fair, it is the frosting that is supposed to make them especially wonderful, and I’m not a fan of frosting, so don’t take my word as gospel. There was certainly a large crowd clamoring for them, especially considering it was nearly midnight, so clearly a great many people adore them.
We ate said cupcakes at a park across the street. New York is great for having tons of small parks with benches and tables. This one also had literally hundreds of small mice frolicking about. They were awfully cute, like Stuart Littles everywhere.
This final picture is of a really neat chair I saw while walking away from Magnolia’s. Isn’t great how the zebra’s tail and mane were lined up and incorporated in the chair? Boy do I want that. It would look perfect in my living room, which is already full of leopard and tiger print.