last dayzzz in Gotham [pt. II]: LINEar bucket list SEQuence before shipping off to die in Roma

what follows are the chronicles of our last fortnight in NYC before emigrating to Italy:

5|1|10: went to 1st [of 3] going-away parties [2 of which are related to j's work]—this one out at «Chedro»'s house out in Nyack [a hired bus shuttled us out which made it feel like some sort of field trip] | this party was of the more laidback aggie camp of the Earth Institute & the wine & aged Haitian rum [for mint Julep's since the Kentucky Derby was a running] was flowing & the bbq was a grilling | i took that huge can of salsa shown in the last post but i don't think much of a dent was made in it | j posted some pics from the party here ||

DUMBO trolley line pointing E to Rome

trolly track junction dumbo


rail lines [Ellis Island museum]

brooklyn map


our loft [red dot] as seen from Manhattan

bridge trolls

5|2: ran over the Manhattan bridge through the LES & back over the Williamsburg but then had to backtrack the whole length of the bridge as the south entrance was closed & then back over the north ramp then merged into the 5-boro bike race which was so packed with riders some of them were walking their bikes | watched a few Fellini films then the NY Tyrants Gian & Luke came by in the evening to relieve me of excess mailing supplies [so now when you buy Firework you can thank me for the envelope & label ||

scene from Metropolis

Metropolis clock


Metropolitan Life building

Metropolitan life

5|3: closed out all Amazon books  [so they stop ordering from me & get them from SPD] & updated all the pages on the Calamari site [all books are P.O.D. now] | spent a few hours with the Italian Rosetta stone as i have been most every day | made perhaps the last home-cooked Mexican feast with the last of the chipotle salsa [that we picked up way back when we were moving our shit from New Mexico to here] ||

Ariel Pink at Mercury Lounge

Ariel Pink shoes pedals

5|4: made the last trip [hopefully] to the post office to both send boxes of books but also retrieve lost packages to no avail then chased down driver but he didn't have it either [not gonna miss our American postal system though i don't expect Italy to be much better] | lots of Rosetta Stone & watching Fellini movies riding the stationary bike | went to 2nd [of 3] going-away parties—this one down in Tribeca with a balcony overlooking WTC [which is being resurrected at an astonishing rate now that they got their shit together] | drank one of the best wines i'd ever had called Jackson Triggs [from Niagara] that had a spicy bite to it | afterwards we went to see Ariel Pink at Mercury Lounge ||


beginnings of new world trade center in the ashes of the former

wtc new freedom tower

5|5: more Rosetta stone | walked across bridge to Soho to meet j & we went to Adidas stores [got red Sambas] & then to Uniqlo for last minute clothes & also to Muji | those 3 stores pretty much sum up my fashion sensibilities ||

St. Marks tomb

Tombstone writing st marks

5|6: long run across bridge & up East side of Manhattan | walked across the bridge again with j to have a late dinner at Hasaki [*****] after some friends flaked on us elsewhere | i won't miss Americans that are so consumed in their jobs they can't find time to eat dinner ||

piece of Berlin Wall in NYC

Berlin wall nyc


rusty pylon along East river

rusty pylons

5|7: ran to Red Hook | walked across bridge to Soho to get sleeping bags & pads to sleep on | i found a $20 bill on the street but i have a weird superstition about spending found money so not sure what to do with it [didn't run into any homeless people asking for money] | j came home from her last day of work & we drank a bottle of proseco | started taking things off the walls | walked across the Brooklyn Bridge & up by the courts past the old African burial grounds | met G & P for Vietnamese at Phở Bang on Mott & Grand [****] ||

downtown Gotham

downtown gotham


African burial grounds [what the downtown was built on]

African Burial Ground NYC


gotham sea horses

sea horse architecture


severed pigeon head [peregrine falcon food]

pigeon severed head

5|8: woke up & read Ten Walks/Two Talks by Jon Cotner & Andy Fitch [***]—Bashoesque peregrinations on NYC | i was saving it for one of my books to read whilst in limbo but ended up reading it all in one sitting | it's an easy read that describes [in great detail] Fitch's observations as he flâneured around Manhattan & subsequent conversations with Cotner | 1/2-way through it i realized some of it or something similar was sent to me for Sleepingfish | it seemed a relevant enough book to read as my last one in NYC & as inspiration for some of our flâneurings these last days | then i ran to Greenpoint | then we walked to Manhattan & downtown to Battery Park | it was insanely windy | went up & saw the progress on WTC & had Oysters & Beer & watched the Yankees vs. Red Sox | then up through Tribeca & Soho where i found a cool hat that happened to be $20 so it seemed justified as an object to transfer the karma of found money | then to the West Village where we met Y & a bunch of others at Casa [Brazilian][**] then mosied to Casa la Femme to suck on some Hookah & ended at Trailer Park for a night cap ||

self-portrait with karmic hat at Casa

self-portrait at casa


5|9: last day of prep/packing | lunched on tacos at the Loading Dock [***][nothing special but an interesting gallery sort of space with an eclectic collection of kitsch] & donated our bikes to Recycle-a-Bicycle | our landlord found a tenant for our place & we shared a bottle of wine then j & i went to Henry's End [***] to have some American fried chicken ||

York subway station in DUMBO

York street station DUMBO


decaying plaque along east river

pike slip fairy trade

5|10: movers [essentially Larry Curly & Moe] came & boxed all our shit | had to negotiate the freight elevators [in Spanish] with the building maintenance guy to get them to work | in a few hours they loaded the truck & were off leaving us in a big empty apartment | feels good | had lunch at DUMBO General store then we walked across the bridge to Canal [j got her watch fixed] & through lower Soho to the Film Forum to see Metropolis [****][restored with original scenes found in Buenos Aires]—truly remarkable film especially considering it was made in 1927 | had dinner at Papatzul [***][not bad for shi shi Mex] ||

old piano & Ellis island ephemera [note similarity to Darger below]

Ellis Piano Darger

5|11: flâneured up across Delancey through LES & East Village [stopping to get various chile & cilantro seeds to grow our own in Italy] & ate late breakfast at Veselka [**] | one last visit to The Strand [got I, Fellini] up through Union Square & up Park through Grand Central went to see what's there now on 47th street where Warhol's factory was & it's just a parking garage | went to St. St Bartholomew's church then tried to go to MOMA [Kentridge exhibit] but it was closed so went next door to American Folk Art Museum which had an exhibit on Darger that was awesome [included some of his collages i'd never seen] | there was also a bunch of stuff by other self-taught outsider artists that was cool { John J.B. Murry | Charles Benefiel | Melvin Way | Carlo Zinelli } | then had kim-chee ramen at Sapporo [****] on 49th & walked up through the park to The Met & saw the roof-top Big Bambú thing by the Starn brothers & the Picasso exhibit which was pretty comprehensive | in particular there were a bunch [for example «Standing Female Nude (1910)» & «Man With Hat and Violin» that displayed concrete/textual/dada elements that i'd never seen before in Picasso | then had an hour left to sweep through & see everything one last time realizing how much shit is actually in The Met | crossed the park to the west side to some wine bar & bumped into Terese Svoboda then went further uptown to Washington Heights to have dinner with P & R [who run the Urban Design Lab] then tried to take late subway home but nothing was running as it should [not going to miss that not that Rome will be better] so had to get out at 14th & cab home to a cold empty loft ||

Darger girls gore scene

Darger's gorey girls


Darger collage

henry darger collage


Charles Benefiel

charles benefiel


Melvin Way

melvin way


Picasso «Still Life with Bottle of Rum»

Picasso dada concrete


Egon Schiele etching

Egon Schiele


Big Bambu over central park skyline

Big Bambu & nyc skyline

5|12: fresh baked goods & coffee from Almondine bakery [*** though zagat gives it a 28] then into Manhattan to the Storefront for Art & Architecture | La Esquina was closed because of some sort of structural problem to the building so we had fish tacos at Cafe Habana [****] then went & saw the Skin Fruit exhibit at New Museum | weather was too drizzly & cold so ducked into El Secreto des tus Ojos [***] at Angelika then sat in Florencia 13 drinking micheladas then met B & E at Dos Caminos [***] ||

Tim Noble & Sue Webster's «Masters of the Universe» [from Skin Fruit exhibit]

masters of universe


interborough subway

interboro subway


wall somewhere in NYC

text urn

5|13: ran Man-bridge to W-burg-brige loop for perhaps last time then got some tacos at Calexico cart [*****] in Soho | walked from Soho to MOMA & saw the Kentridge exhibit which was phenomenal | there was probably at least a dozen of his films—some of his older ones from the Felix Tietelbaum & Soho Eckstein series that i'd already seen in DC a while ago & a bunch of new ones [«Welt Detektiv» & «The Magic Flute»] that went beyond his charcoal drawing stop-motion animation to display 3-d elements with opaque screens cut out & robotic puppets that would interact with visuals | there were a bunch of stills [charcoal drawings] as well as some collages that were spectacular | besides his usual erasure style elements he also seems to show more influences from physics & biology—a lot of imagery resembled particle physics bubble chambers & also motion elements that micmicked ant swarming patterns [& were so well done i can't imagine they were faked but had to be real ants somehow pixelated against a white background & encouraged to cluster using honey—i don't know how he does it but it's mesmerizing & magical | a lot of the newer stuff was inverted [negative] to have white lines against a white background | & entropy is another reoccurring theme with a lot of the filming done backwards like in «Journey to the Moon» [which he is in] | «Tide Table (2003)» is another great one i hadn't seen | besides Kentridge there was another Picasso exhibit [this all prints] & a Cartier-Bresson exhibit & Marina Abromovic | then i walked through the park & met j at Yakitori Totto [*****] & had a bunch of yummy delectables ||

William Kentridge as himself [Journey to the Moon]

William Kentridge Journey moon


street art [Mars Bar East Village]

mars bar street art

5|14: air deflated from my air mattress leaving me to wake up on the hard floor | ran the Brooklyn Heights promenade through Cobble Hill to Red Hook | breakfast at General Store [**] then searched around DUMBO to get internet as Americans are paranoid these days & everyone puts a lock on their wifi | went to Battery Park & got the Statue of Liberty ferry with the hordes of tourists | long lines then through security surrounded by annoying tourists & cheesy street performers | but worth it for the trip to Ellis Island [after doing a drive-by of Lady Liberty | we went there before when we first got to NYC [pre-911] back when it was carefree & you just hopped on & off a ferry to get there | i have a photo of j even on Ellis Island with the twin towers in the background from 8|2001 | the museum is cool—lots of paraphernalia & records of the immigrants to Ellis Island | & applicable [inversely] as here we were emigrating to Italy a few generations after j's relatives passed through Ellis [found them in the registry] | it's a crazy thing to think about standing on Ellis Island & imagining it all happening & here we are going through an emigration of our own | we walked up along the east river through the Lower East Side to Takahachi [****] to get one of our last sushi fixes ||

anchored arks on the east river

ark harbor


Ellis Island document

au nom republique


Ellis island graffiti [messages for the next suckers passing through]

Ellis Island Graffiti


more Ellis Island graffiti [depicting immigrations officer?]

Ellis Graffiti immigration


Italians coming to America

Ellis Italian immigrants


Ellis graffiti in Italian

Ellis Graffiti man


Ellis Island ephemera

Ellis Island swag


old map

Ellis Topo map


columned graffiti

graffiti ledge


Mulberry street before our time

mulberry street scene


Italians leaving Italy for America

opera emigranti


document #X



Ellis Island blueprints

preservation architects blueprint


stars stripes liberty

5|15: pancakes at Choice [***] then subway to Coney Island | walked around Coney Island then along the boardwalk to Brighton Beach which was all very Requiem-for-a-Dreamish | came back & had lunch at Junior's in Brooklyn [*** for what it is—Jewish deli meets soul food under the guise of Italian cheesecake—a truly Brooklyn establishment] | walked towards Red Hook & had tacos at Calexico [*****][they accidentally brought me hand-pulled pork tacos but then made good & brought me 2 carne asada tacos—the best tacos in NYC] then went to our going away party that L & A organized at Last Exit [to Brooklyn] bar —thanks to all that showed up ||

the Cyclone



Coney Island scene


bathroom wall at Last Exit

Last Exit Graffiti


milagros at Calexico

calexico milagros


the ghost of Coney Island

samba ghost coney island

5|16: NY bagel for breakfast then for a run across W-bridge to M-bridge | we wanted to go into the city one last time but the trains were all fucked up for second day in a row [not going to miss the MTA] so just walked through pretty much all of Brooklyn ending in Park Slope where we ate our last dinner at Blue Ribbon Sushi [****] ||

trains with nothing running [typical site]

briton beach stn

5|17|10: waking up today was like waking up on X-mas when you were a kid | no more nights trying to sleep in this noisy city—the city that never sleeps [but as a consequence never wakes up] | no more noisy inconsiderate neighbors & dealing with shyster landlords | i don't know if it was seeing the Kentridge exhibit but the past few days i've been really realizing that every facet of American society is governed by greed | i won't miss all that one bit | there's convenience sure but that convenience is a drug & now it's time to kick it & be a stranger in a strange land | there'll be things i'll miss sure most notably diversity & some cool people but for the most part i hate 99% of Americans & am ready to leave | even American diversity is not all it's cracked up to be | Ellis Island used to be a symbol of such hope & but no matter where you are from after a few years some sort of American blood-sucking virus gets under your skin | i was born with it [as far as i know my ancestors landed on Plymouth rock] & it's gonna take one hell of a blood transfusion to exorcise myself of it | but i am ready | was going to run to Manhattan one last time but then started thinking how ironic it would be if i got hit by a car or asshole bikers on the bridge so just ran up to Williamsburg without crossing any roads [superstitious i know but i thought the thought] | had a last egg & cheese on everything bagel then unlocked my blackberry battery & now i'm writing this & we are about to go to the airport | yesterday Dublin airport [where we are flying through] was closed because of that damned Icelandic ash but now it appears to be blowing north so i think we just might skinny out | see y'all on the other side ||

j saying arrivederci to lady liberty

ladies liberty




(c) 2010 Derek White