Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I can't wait for summer in Mastic

Bonfires in the backyard, beach and bitches.


These are Yukijohn's babies.

Mastic Beach and the people within

The beach and the house "out east" came up and it was just expected that I was speaking of the Hamptons. Then I mentioned deep into the convo that it was Mastic that I was speaking of. The one girl said "oh my god, my friend bought there. Are you living in Brooklyn too? This is so great she bought there thinking it could be like a Williamsburg's Hamptons. But she was going to sell because she thought it wasn't going to happen."
I informed her of all the others that I knew using Mastic as there city-getaway. Thats now 7 households I know about, there has got to be more. The community is building.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Mastic 3/21-3/23 2008 A.D.

Yuki got me an early birthday present, a SLR digital camera, and I love it!
Nalu and that water there is by Beach 1 in Mastic Beach a stream flows in from the wetlands into the bay.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thirstday #59 @ Surf Bar and Zablowskis

First and foremost the floors are sand. Nothing better to through me into the feeling they are pushing than the granular squish underfoot. The interior reeks of roadside surf shack in a far-off Central American country. Surfboards line the ceiling and other beach finds clothe every surface available. We came for the chowder. I went for the Bahamian Monkfish chowder in the bread bowl for 6.50 which was a steal foe this slightly spicy robust liquid. Me lady indulged in the Fijian whole fish. A major plus, only 3 beers on tap but all from my favorite American brewer Bluepoint. I may have a bit of favoritism relegating since it is Long Islands own. Overall I love the feeling they a portraying and yanking my mind from the grimy Brooklyn streets.

Zablowskis was stop two. Luckily it was close because my pee pee couldn't deal with the frigid winds. So a few doors down we dipped into this cavernous space over-populated with riff-raff from SEA displacement. The beer was up to par, they poured Chimay from the taps which is a sort of rare happening. Other than that the bar is mediocre.

*** For The Surf Bar for being right up my alley.

** For Zablowskis for not exciting much.

The Surf Bar 139 N 6th street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Zablowskis 107 N 6th street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Mainlanders

When in Hong Kong locals always use the term "mainlander" as a derogatory statement, meaning a sought of backward thinking person caught under the guise of communism. "these streets are flooded with goddamn mainlanders, they're the worst". Alot of friends that live in the Hong Kong islands never venture far into Mainland China due to the fact that there are mainlanders everywhere.
I compare it to NYC islands and Long Island in relation to the mainland America. I never venture to far inland for relatively the same reason.

Mainlanders Americans destroy the American image in other countries. Take for example this little story of one such occurrence when I was in Costa Rica.

Yukijohn was signed up for a 9:30 am boat trip to Isla Tortuga. We were to meet at Sano Banano on the mainstrip. That's when I spotted the 1/2 ton of American Mainlanders, there were 6 of them, grotesquely spread out in front of the office. We are led down to the beach and hop onto the beached boat in between breakers. Two Ticos (Costa Ricans) helped us onto the speedboat, we boarded and sat up front, next came a 1/4 ton of the meat, 3 of the largest plopped down in front of us. The 45 minute ride to the island was to be interesting, besides watching the amazing scenery that was engulfing us, we got to see each wave create ripples through the Mainlanders fat deposits. We had ocean around us and directly in front of us. So the Ticos get us safely to the first snorkeling area. Deep-diver-over-the-boat-side-style I tumble into the liquid to bob around looking underneath the surface. Swimming around tires the muscles and it is time to reboard the boat. Everyone is back on except 1/6 of the ton and yuki and I treading water waiting for the mass in front of us to board. She struggles to lift her flabby liquified body into the boat, she pushes up and seconds later her poor little muscles give up on dragging this blobular unit in. This struggle continues for another 20 minutes with the muscles repeatedly giving up. Yuki and I tire of treading and swiftly climb the boats side ladder and settle down to rest. The Ticos finally try to drag in the netfull of tuna into the boat, every taught muscle in their body can't overcome the human fleshpile floating at waters surface. One last adrenaline-induced pull tanks the pile into the boat like the prize-winning Mako catch.
We head to the beach for some rest. Images of the past moments have my thoughts gigglin within. The day proceeds with one more snorkling adventure, some sand time, and a marlin lunch. It was great.
homeward bound now and the surf kicked up. The extremely bumpy ride begins this time with the full half-ton tucked into the front half of the boat. We quickly grabbed the back cause I needed no more visions of the human swell. The Ticos hit every possible wave as to make the Mainlanders have a ride back that they will never forget. Then the last straw occurred, one mass flew out of the front and landed at my feet flailing. That's it, I lost it I burst out laughing, I couldn't hold it anymore, I was going to give myself a prolapse with this laughing pressure that was building within.
Yuki and I jumped out when we hit land with a vow to stay in the NY islands and keep away from the mainland and its obese land yachts who inhabit it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

More Costa Rican Visuals

The Habitat, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

This is the first round of a million photographs including alcohol and The Habitat that will exist in this world. We had a private get-together there that went 3 hours beyond midnight. Cock-eyed walk out.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Huckleberry Bar, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

They are consistent. I've rolled through three times now and dissapointment never came. The interior is clean with hints of ironwork, dark floors and comfortable seating areas. Through the wall of glass I also see there is a nice sized backyard which I am sure we will bring the Thirstday crew back to when the mercury in the thermometer gets more erect. Beyond the fact I read Bush blood was spotted there in the tabloids the place remains easy to breathe spacially. Staff has been attentative and treat with respect. There is a minor menu with sandwiches salads meats and cheeses (La Serena and Baby Jesus are greats) but their claim to fame is the mixed drinks. Its a seasonal change along with staples that make it into every menu reprint.
Not to forget, micro beers and imports being pulled at the pump. In the colder months they were pouring Anchor Steam Christmas Ale.

*** for consistency and a great selection

Huckleberry Bar, 588 Grand street (at Lorimer) Williamsburg Brooklyn


Jade Asian Restaurant, Flushing, Queens

We have been speaking of doing such for some time now. Authentic Dim Sum brunch for hang-over healing. A friend of mine Patrick knows the Cantonese tongue and suggested we venture east to Flushing. The establishment truely removed me from NY. There were more white faces in the Dim Sum I have attended on the many business trips to Hong Kong and China, than here in NYC. Cart style here, little Chinese woman pushing mounded up metal carts that act as the visual menu.
The comb over was stunning. It had a second life as the mans eyebrow. If I owned that topping I would wear it some days down like a drape. The slight spring breezes will be observed with smiles for the soft movements that would occur rather than fear of dislodging the obvious cover-up. I was tricked. I want to run my fingers through all 20 of your hairs honey.

*** for deliscioso and pure authenticity.

Jade Asian Restaurant, 136-28 39th Ave., Flushing, Queens


Hakata Ippudo, Dope noodles.

The tasting was to be free with payment to fall to drinking only. Walking in I had in mind that we were on special invite so this should be a quiet intimate affair, with slurping only shattering the hushed volume. Reality was more like Macy's on Black Friday. I never knew there were this many Japanese expats in this city, it was packed to a 2 hour wait. I guess the much anticipated Fukuoka ramen woke the entire community, and rightfully so. The cavernous space was impressive, compared to the 20 seat establishment I sucked and slurped at in Jiyugaoka Tokyo. I opted for the Akamaru which translates to red circle, but it should also have "these frigging noodles are going to blow your mind, your insides will quiver for more for the rest of your days, heroin is easier to get off of"

***1/2 I love ramen but I obsess over Ippudo's ramen.

Hakata Ippudo 65 Fourth Ave., NY, NY 10003

Eclectic Weekend 3/14-3/16 2008 A.D.

Hightailed it east after a Friday night munching at Rose's on Grand. There is a hidden subterranean Italian Wine Bar there with a perfectly edited food menu, with weathered wooded walls. Representing onamonapia. I went with the Arugula and pine nut pesto Fafalle while the hottie across the table with the built-in vagina had the Salmon with carefully cooked veggies. She always goes healthier than me, I get jealous, it comes natural to her.
Gassed the 95' Ford Escort Mastic bound. Did a quiet Saturday morning waking without the twisting and turning. The sun was shining high. Maybe there was some chirping from the feathered one's. Walked Nalu on the beach on the hunt for some driftwood. To no avail.

6:30 pm was meeting time at the Ippudo tasting. While in Tokyo last November a newfound freind brought the Yukijohn duo to what the locals considered the best ramen. This was my answer to the quest for a bowl of top-notch noodles. At finish, we were introduced to the owner because they were to be opening a NY outpost. We exchanged numbers and of course the digits fell victim to misplacement. Fast forward to last Friday, we get a text message from Bozu part-owner Makoto. "ippudo no tasting ikitai" which is basically Do you want to go to Ippudo 's tasting? Makoto gets us on the list and coincidence bears its head, same place, and once again we see the owner from the Jiyugaoka location we went to in November. Check the review of Ippudo in the separate post.

Continuing through the night we head to the close-friends get together at The Habitat. Mark the 15th of March as the first alcohol intake for me at The Habitat. I already love it, its so homey. Can't wait to see others enjoy this space. Ended the night 3 hours into Sunday morning.

Sunday morning 10am pick-up of Patrick and Ann Kimcheedotcom and head to a real deal DimSum brunch that rivaled any I have ever ingested in Hong Kong or China. I don't know how white people can find out about palaces of great taste like this without the insider scoop.

Ended the weekend at Huckleberry Bar on Grand street in Williamsburg, always love this place, read separate review.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Thirstday 58 @ T.B.D.

It was a hard night last night. Repercussions are vibrating into this morning within me. Started the night at Bonita. I love every restaurant that originates from the boys who made Diner. What a roster, Marlow and Sons (my favorite restaurant in Brooklyn) Diner, and Bonita X 2. Beers started seeping into me. Pacificos to be exact, romancing the lady because after dinner she was continuing home and leaving this man to fend for himself the rest of the night. Walking to drop her by the train there was this man yelling at all the hipsters, "This is still fucking Brooklyn, get off your cell phones" Creating a scene first, he than punches a innocent girl in the face. She goes down and he goes running. I notified the two moseying cops who went running in pursuit.
Made a stop into The Habitat after, it's done. Few more little steps before opening, red tape shit. I took some photos which I will post later once I get them out of the camera.

Last stop T.B.D. on the corner of Green and Franklin.

Now I am not one for the sleek, cold, minimal interior but I will try anywhere twice. Drinks were half price for the opening which was a major plus. Staff was quite nice and attentive. Beer selection was promising with two favorites of mine settling onto it. Blue Point Hoptical Illusion and Anchor Steam on tap. It filled out quite well with our Thirstday crew, we were rolling with about 20-25 heads, but it might of been a little too empty without us. Overall not so bad.

**1/2 If the interior was a little more comforting I woulda gave it 3.

Also Bonita gets **** even though they are secondary in this post.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thirstday 57 @ Motor City Bar

57 weeks behind us. This week it was out of Brooklyn and in the boro we used to kick it in. Prior to the nabe being over-run with NYUers and LI-jersey crowd we used to abuse the liver in the LES. Nowadays when its down yonder the night never matches the comfort that I feel succumbing to liquids, and wishing always that Thirstday needs to be in Brooklyn. Only 10% of them have landed in Manhattan.
Motor City bar was cheap, I will have to give that to them but their tap selection fell a little short on the micro-brew tip that i like to see. I stayed with Sierra Pale Ale at 4 dollars a pop. The bartenders were very attentative with a wait not longer than 2 minutes. There is a pinball game there that gobbled up two quarters without any play. I left only slightly twisted, maybe one eye wall- eyed.

**for a mediocre night but not making me leave right away.

127 Ludlow St. (212) 358-1595

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Habitat Bar, Greenpoint Brooklyn

My friends Ashley and Nicole, (originally from Mastic and regulars at the Mastic Beach House) are opening a bar in Greenpoint Brooklyn. Its going to be called The Habitat. I wish this was so when I lived there over 5 years ago, but better now than never. The place is beautiful inside, from the bar countertop to the kitchen that looks like a house inside. The interior feels like an outside porch. Where better to drink than outback on the deck? Some pieces are built by Phil Scala who played a huge role in the construction of my Mastic digs. I can't wait. Opening sometime in March.

Hotel El Jardin, Montezuma, Costa Rica

Monday, March 10, 2008

Mastic in Newsday 3-10-08

Written by my old High School friend Kelly McMasters.

Op-ed: Shirley, the Mastics are East End's backbone
BY KELLY McMASTERS | Kelly McMasters is the author of the forthcoming book "Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town."

A couple weeks ago, I was traveling on the Long Island Rail Road from Speonk to Manhattan on a Sunday afternoon. A handful of men in hockey jerseys were sitting nearby, and as the train pulled to a stop at the Mastic-Shirley station, they rolled their eyes dramatically. One said loudly, "Here comes the trash."

A familiar knot pulled tight in the pit of my stomach. I grew up in Shirley. I moved there with my parents when I was 4 years old and stayed until I left for college in 1994. The idea that this man considered my hometown - and, by association, me, my family and my friends and neighbors - to be nothing more than trash was incredibly painful.

The tri-hamlet's prolonged image problem became news a few days later, when WBLI radio host Randy Spears attacked the area during the show "BLI in the Morning" after a caller said she lived in Mastic. That knot in my stomach twisted again as I imagined the caller's humiliation when Spears launched into his hateful jokes about the working-class nature of the town.

That Shirley, Mastic and Mastic Beach are seen as low-class, poor and generally scrappy is not a revelation, of course. They have been struggling for decades to improve their image, and the latest round of sex-offender dumping and rental problems is simply the most recent incarnation of an enduring dilemma.

It wasn't always this way. In the 1950s, Shirley was known as the "Town of Flowers," and the area was expected to grow into the "Atlantic City of Long Island." A June 1960 census calculated that Shirley was the fastest-growing community in Suffolk County, with the year-round population having nearly doubled in 10 years.

But a combination of defaulted Federal Housing Administration mortgages and absentee landlords taking advantage of cheap deals saw the hamlets slide into neglect. By the mid-1970s, the bungalow community had descended into a desolate blue-collar last alternative. The families who began moving in were usually those who were broke or unemployed or just couldn't make ends meet, who wanted a safe place to raise their children but couldn't afford a home in other parts of Long Island - families like mine.

Attempts to revitalize the area came to a head in 1987, when a vote was held to change Shirley's name. The "I Live in Floyd Harbor" group supported erasing the town's name in the hope of erasing its bad reputation. The opposing group, "Where's Da Harbor?," asked that fundamental question while celebrating the town's tough, working-class roots.

I was in fifth grade, one of 5,000 local kids who submitted suggestions for the name change. From conversations around town, I gathered that if the name of our town changed, no one would have to be ashamed to say he or she was from Shirley anymore.

But the fact that anyone was ashamed was news to me. The affordable real estate made it possible for my family to first rent and then buy a house and raise me in a close-knit neighborhood. I lived next to a wildlife refuge lined with honeysuckle bushes, down the road from a beautiful beach, and went canoeing every summer on nearby Carmans River.

There was nothing better than lying with my friends in the middle of our quiet street before televisions and porch lights had been turned on for the night, listening to the sounds traveling freely between the small, tightly packed homes - the murmur of after-dinner conversation, the rhythmic beating of a box fan lazily circulating the cooling air, the soft clink of dishes being washed under an open window. I had loved growing up in my town - until it became painfully obvious that I wasn't supposed to.

It took me 20 years to shrug off that shame, to understand that the beauty was in the people and in the area's unique natural setting, not in Shirley's average income or its stores or name.

"Floyd Harbor" won that 1987 vote, but the U.S. Board of Geographic Names later overrode the decision. The name was a reference to the area's patron Colonial saint, William Floyd, who is often trotted out as a reason to respect the area. As part of his apology, WBLI DJ Spears noted Floyd's signing of the Declaration of Independence as a reason to admire the town.

This history is important and should be cherished. But we need to move beyond the 18th century and take pride in Shirley and the Mastics as they stand today. There's no shame in working hard, and instead of being reviled, the hamlets should be celebrated as the backbone of the East End.

William Floyd isn't what makes Shirley and the Mastics great. The natural beauty and the good, strong people who live there are the real treasures.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Montezuma, Costa Rica

This is the beginning of many more to come. Costa Rica was sooo raw. Laws seem nowhere to be found. They leave all decisions up to you. If you get hurt than so be it. I love it.