Friday, October 24, 2008

slow week

Lemme tell ya, guys, the most stimulating thing about the past week was when I washed all of our dishes. But in all serialness, I feel like I've literally done nothing this week besides homework, work work (like..for money), and class. It was one of those weeks where you feel like you didn't go anywhere or do anything and you're just like wait why am going to school in nyc? It makes Jacob a real dull boy..heh....heh.
But anyway, because I had to get a new drivers license and renew my passport so that I can actually go abroad next semester, I'm now home in Philadelphia for the night. It was my plan to take the Chinatown bus home, because the Philly stop is real close to the PENNDOT center. As it turned out, I ended up spending two hours on a particularly stinky and gross bus for nothing, because the people at that DMV in center city Philly are morons and (long story short) I wasn't able to get my new license there.

But at least I got to see this silly sign outside the Apex stop in NYC's Chinatown. Boy, won't these guys ever learn??

P.S. I'm going with captions above the pictures thanks to a suggestion from a dear, dear friend who is no longer with us.

I also got to take a nice intersection shot, which I always enjoy taking, if for no other reason but to see what that intesection looked like at the time and day that it was shot. In fact, I find in most cases that there's enough going at a given intersection that there need not be any other reason, besides this, for shooting it. So here is Allen Street and Canal Street to be exact. This is the area of Canal Street that slopes slightly downhill east of the Manhattan Bridge arch after Chrystie Street. It really seems to be one of the more forgotten areas of the city. In this picture, I'm really digging the buildings on the north side of Canal east of Allen. People don't usually affiliate Canal Street with anything really besides Chinatown, and though technically from this view I think it's still considered to be that, from this view it looks about as old-school LES as it gets.

And then I wasn't in NYC anymore, but rather TAKING CELL PHONE PIX OF MYSELF IN MY CAR AHHHH!!!!

That's all I got for y'all now. Hopefully next week will yield more inspiration than this one did. I'm ALL about the inspiration.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Square Diner: A Rough in the Diamonds

I don't know how I had never been to this place before yesterday. I didn't even know it existed. Square Diner, dubbed by NY Mag as "An irony-free eatery in the middle of Tribeca" - and what a perfectly gut-busting, weekend breakfast joint it is! Such wonderfully drab decor, such splendidly apathetic service. If ever there were a place that I would presume unchanged by the years, it would be this diner. I really don't know how they are able to maintain such reasonable prices considering their location. Obviously I don't know anything about the place's lease, but as it was rather bustling when I was there, I'm going to venture hopefully to say that (barring a rent hike of epic proportions) it's on course to exist in the next decade.

Square Diner, corner of West Broadway and Leonard St.

View from the outside.

The inside!!!! It's kind of hard to tell from this angle, but the restaurant has a really wacky shape. I had to squeeze into the claustrophobic corner next to the airplane bathrooms at far end of the restaurant (think Rubin butt crack) to take this inside shot.

Friday, October 17, 2008


A brief visit to the nest last weekend led me to brunch at the 'Valley Green Inn' for my Pop Pop's 80th birthday. With more or less unforgettable food and an anti-Semitic waitress who spilled a mimosa on my mom's back, as a restaurant, the Valley Green Inn (Located within Philadelphia's enormous Fairmount Park) fails to impress (jk about the anti-Semitic thing). Luckily for this place though, and as so often seems the case in this oh-so-unjust world, it doesn't have to be good, because it happens to be really, really pretty.

The Inn itself is over 150 years old and I don't imagine it's ever looked much better than it did last weekend. It also happens to be surrounded on three sides by woods, and on one side by the bank of Wissahickon Creek, and the fact that it was a perfect autumn day certainly didn't detract from the setting. So regardless of the food or the sloppy service, this place definitely earns its status as one of the jewels of Philadelphia, and I couldn't have asked for a more ideal spot for an early-Fall retreat from NYC in my (cell phone) photo-shooting age. Anyway, I think that's just about all the reading you need to do:

Outside of the Inn, and Paul.

View from the side. That's my dad and my
Bubbi in front of the steps.

Poppop and mom's first cousin, Robin.

The creek!

So that's Philadelphia's Valley Green Inn for you; provided that the weather is nice, I definitely recommend to anyone at least stopping by the area, getting your hike on, and whatnot.

P.S. The restaurant offered all (twelve) of us free dessert and a saran-wrapped, ribbon-tied, pumpkin loaf, for our suffering. We threw it away, of course, out of fear of poisoning.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Wow, I guess that billion dollar debt is actually the result of funding for a top-secret, superhuman, subway building robot coalition.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Ardmore Farmers Market. Ardmore, PA.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Clinton Street Baking Co: A Dream Deferred

This post is about a restaurant in the Lower East Side called ‘Clinton Street Baking Company’. It’s on Clinton between Houston and Stanton and though certainly NOT for lack of trying, I have never eaten there. It has to be at least a year now since I read about it on I think as one of the best breakfast/brunches in the city, and if you’re reading this now, then there is an okay chance that I’ve tried to go with you there at some point since I first read about it. If this is the case, or if you’ve been there with other company (which like, is fine, I guess), then this should be a familiar image to you:

If not, this shot is from outside the restaurant today at 1:47 pm, though from what I gather, it really could have come from any Saturday or Sunday late morning/early afternoon. I have to imagine it isn’t quite as mobbed when the weather sucks; I think I’ve only tried to go there on sunny days like today (and WHAT a top-ten day it was!!). Anyway, as Hannah and I were both craving hearty breakfasts this morning, and as I had to pick up a prescription from the Rite Aid on Clinton street and Grand street, I figured we could at least try swinging by the ole' Baking Company and, in the off chance of crowds being humane, we might be able to throw down our two names for an under 30 minute wait. Then we would be able to run down to the drug store, get my drugs, and get back just in time to try the fresh country biscuits, fluffy eggs and brioche french toast that have so long been withheld from me. And so we decide to give this a shot. After our walk east down Houston, we finally hit Clinton and turn right. I'm trying my best not to let myself get excited, as you see, a man can only have his heart broken so many times.

Well, in case you were confused, the crowd yo
u see above is not indicative of a speedy seating. In fact it's more of a communal "good fucking luck" that you can read from the faces of all the other impatient hungryover people waiting outside. But then, despite it being obviously as crowded as it always is at that time, I decided make it sting just a little more by poking my head inside. And of course, the wait for two people was an hour and a half.

The story doesn't end on a bad note, though. Because of the wait at Clinton Street Baking Company, Hannah and I ended up at Clinton Restaurant across the street. You can see it (and Hannah, in a cheerful state) here:

Despite it being a little slower than it should have been (considering Hannah and I were the only ones in there), this charming little Nuyorican joint, with traditional specials listed over the counter in back , did just as good a job whipping out the heavy, greasy breakfast fare as anywhere. Hannah's chorizo quesadilla was a behemoth of flaky dough and cheese, and my Spanish omelet was surprisingly flavorful and satisfying. Coffee was good too. So moral of the story is, obviously 'the place across the street' was hardly gourmet, and I didn't check to see, but I don't think they had a winelist. The fact is that it's ridiculous, disgusting even, that this place (which I would bet has been there at least twice as long as Clinton Street Baking Co) was completely empty while people were waiting 2 hours outside across the street! I'm sure that Clinton Street Baking Co is great and all, and I'm certainly not trying to tell anyone not to go there. In fact, it is my hope that I might even get the chance to eat there on some rainy Tuesday afternoon. But come on folks, let's stop being so obsessed with the best, especially when the best is a meal, and especially when it means waiting 2 hours for that meal, and SUPER especially when there is a perfectly decent establishment across the street. Help another local business out, while maybe (god forbid) absorbing a lil' latino culture while you're at it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

OK the real goods

I kind of did want to wait until tomorrow to write this because now I actually am getting tired, but on the other hand I really am excited about this. For the longest time now, since i've had my new-ish phone, i have consistently taken pictures with my cellphone, that a. always made me wish i actually had a real camera and b. always made me wish that the pictures could be seen anywhere but the phone. now like, i knew people did this whole 'mobile uploads' on their facebook, but for some reason that whole bluewhaletooth thing wasn't working for me.

But THEN! I realised that you can e-mail pictures from your home to your computer. And then, all the sudden you have full size, relatively clear pictures from your cell phone on your computer. And the reason that this is so exciting for me is that i LOVE my cell phone pictures. I think over the past months that i've taken shots with this phone (since about march 2008) I have taken some really interesting, really candid photographs, which, while definitely carrying the distinct feel of a picture taken from a cell phone, have also what I feel is a truly multi-dimensional character. I posted some of them already on facebook, and from what I can tell, they seem to be very well received. Really though, not that I needed the validation on this one. I really like my cell phone pictures. So what I've decided I'm going to do with what will hopefully be a successful, longasting, second-incarnation of my first blog is my "CELLPHONE PIX BLOG"- constructed with pictures just from my cellphone and with my commentary where I see fit. My plan for the blog will be for me in the next day or two go through all my pictures on my cellphone and, pretty slowly, get all my pictures to my computer and then I would (if I can, i'm not sure what blogger will let me do) expose a rather large sample from the inception- those which have for so long been saved or forgotten and are now about to reenter the world. So this is something to look forward to in the next few days. Naturally, once I have exposed my entire oeuvre up to this point, it will once again be on me to formulate new material for the blog, adding new pictures with a generally high frequency. And to be honest, l've felt a genuine burst of confidence about this one, and this feels like it could really be what i've been looking for, for the longest time.
So wait for soon when my first REAL post of cameraphone pix blog goes public you can check out what the hype's about..

Here goes nuttin.

P.S. The more I think about it, the more I realize how perfect cell phone photography is for me as a medium of art. It's perfectly compatible with my complete lack of the following: organization, patience, ability not to misplace things, ability to plan ahead, and willingness to carry things if i can avoid it. And of course, conversely, it caters wonderfully to my impulsive, reflexive, tendencies