Laissez-Faire | In Love & Free Trade


P.S. 1 for the pool

Leandro Erlich

The P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City is one of my favorite places. As a former school building, the architecture invokes childhood nostalgia at once dreamy and institutionally spooky – a prime backdrop for a museum or as a friend would, say, “projecting.”

Currently, “Jonathan Horowitz: And/Or”, a higher profile exhibition, features “subversive” pop cultural references mingled with politics, consumerism and celebrity. Including a quote from Jane Fonda about not being a “dime a dozen” blonde bombshell, but rather a citizen with a cause. Otherwise, she’d be “dead like Monroe.”

However, if you’re strapped for time, visit the swimming pool by Leandro Erlich, an extensive installation of a transparent pool and deck ceiling, where visitors can hang out below the transparency in a luminous bungalow “under” the water that makes one feel cradled in an unnaturally dry, non-buoyant – but morale boosting – environment.



Culinary Meanderings in Queens Not So Jolly
February 24, 2009, 12:10 am
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Thailand Center Point

Photo: Taiyo O.

Since it’s highly anticipated opening on Valentine’s Day, Jollibee has been the mecca of Filipino “soul food” in Woodside, Queens. The chain was previously exclusive to California and Nevada, but the new branch in Woodside marks Jollibee’s East Coast debut. Days after its opening, the line of customers still led outside and around the corner. I spoke with the Dining Manager, who said they didn’t close until 3 a.m. on the day of the opening. Some of the people in line, who had been waiting for at least a couple of hours, had commuted about half an hour from Connecticut and Long Island – some for the second time since they weren’t able to get in on a previous day after waiting just as long.

Wandering around Woodside this afternoon, I didn’t see a line outside Jollibee and thought I’d finally be able to try the Chickenjoy customers in line had raved about the previous day. However, as I made my way to the front of the ropes I came to a halt. The line was inside stretching back to the entrance. Disappointingly, I’d have to wait another day.

I ended up dining at Thailand’s Center Point, a deli and take-out restaurant nearby at 63-19 39th Ave. The menu boasts home-style Thai cuisine in a quaint and quirky atmosphere. The owner is a lovely Thai woman who opened the deli about ten years ago and just recently added a restaurant. However, the deli/restaurant’s business has been overshadowed by the well-publicized and established SriPraPhai Thai Restaurant down the street at 64-13 39th Avenue.

In a city of crowds, sometimes the precious commodity is serenity. For an underdog like Thailand’s Center Point, the peace is a perfect break from the hustle n’ bustle of popular restaurants, while dining on great Thai and nixing the curry paste from the grocery list.



Character in the Form of Shopping Carts and Sabotage


Photos: Tod Seelie (Courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan)

Bribery is a perversely classic form of persuasion. Whether you’re a politician in the midst of silencing a scandal or a gangster looking to get even with a foe, bribery is nothing, if not, absolutely necessary. Luckily, such “life lessons” also apply to shopping cart races like the sixth annual Idiotarod, where awards go out, not for First Place, but Best in Show, and, of course, Bribery. It’s a 6-mile battle of wits and personality between costumed teams of various themes. I ran for the first time with a group called the Tallahassee Tourists (“Go Gators!”) led by tour guide and blogger, Matt Levy. We had personas ranging from a bona fide CityGuide employee, a belle named Lola who left her newborn in Florida to explore the big city and a couple in track suits who adopted yours truly, an Asian girl named Joy (as in “Joy Luck Club”). We arrived armed to win with a crate of Florida oranges, a green inflatable gator and, above all, our sparkling Southern charm.

Before the race, the website listed Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria, Queens as the starting point. Hardly ever the case as official locations and checkpoints are usually text messaged to teams. Locations change up and until the day of the race in an attempt to throw off the cops because the event is, of course, technically, illegal. Idiotarod is organized by Cobra (Carts of Brooklyn Race Association) and derives its name from Iditarod, an Alaskan dog sled race. Here, instead of dogs, sleds and Alaska, there are people, shopping carts and New York City.

On the way to the starting line, we encountered a team covered in trash bags who accidentally ran into a blind man and had to go back and explain to the man what had just happened. Although the man was not hurt, it perhaps wasn’t the most ideal way to build karma for the race. That is, if you believe in that sort of thing. Chances are, if you play dirty, you may not.

At about 11:30 teams descended upon the edge of the Upper East Side at 60th St. and York Ave. Temperatures were brisk and underneath the “I Heart NY” tees, fanny packs and Statue of Liberty sea foam hats were endless layers. Traversing three boroughs and two bridges, not to mention a garden variety of garbagio, fruit and eggs, some of us couldn’t help but cheerily ask the other teams how to get to Times Square (Well, how do you?) – and you have to get close with your MTA map (which is mighty big) and raise your voice because, you know, sometimes people can’t hear.

At a checkpoint in Long Island City, teams were running relays across the bar, which the Tallahasseeans were able to bypass all thanks to the sheer power of a few well-made screwdrivers – yes, sir. The next stop in Greenpoint involved a 2-on-2 dance-off with boys in skimpy swimsuits. My boyfriend squeezed juice from an orange into his mouth, while I broke out some 80s dance moves and chugged my bent leg back like bread. I heard screams and claps, and we were told by a judge to “Go go go”.

Sprinting out the bar to meet our folks, we all dashed to finish at McGolrick Park. About eight other teams had already beaten us to the finish line, which was all fine and dandy because Team Tallahassee took home Honorable Mention for (what else?) Best Job Keeping in Character. What better way to play dirty than to play nice?



Swoon Swoon Swoon

switchbacksea
Photo: bluecinema

Tonight’s agenda: a one-hour play aboard the floating sculptures sponsored by the much-loved, Swoon, as part of her “Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea” project. As you may recall, the Going Places (Doing Stuff) tour paid a brief visit to the docked pieces upstate for a sneak peek a couple weekends ago – which was, to say the least, a pleasant surprise since we didn’t know where were headed on the tour (a k a the point of it all). The project will make its way along the Hudson River and open at Deitch Studios in Long Island City, Queens on Sept. 7th.

 

Tonight:

Riverside Park Pier 1, 70th St. and Hudson River

8pm, FREE

 

Previous collaborations by Swoon:

Miss Rockaway Armada

Swoon, Chris Stain, The Polaroid Kidd in Paris

Swoon and Monica Canilao



Weekend Kidnapping *UPDATED*

Dominika DratwaIllustration: Dominika Dratwa

 
Sort of.

This girl is taking a bus trip with an artist collective this weekend. The organizers tell you what to bring (this week: clothes you can get “very” dirty and your best singing voice) and where to meet, but NOT your destination.

I know what you’re thinking, but pray that I return with my knee caps, more importantly, with eyebrows. Pa-ka.

*UPDATE*

STOP 1: The pristine part of the Bronx: Waver Hill in Riverdale. Then it starts raining…

STOP 2: The grittiest part of the Bronx – down a steep, muddy hill to an abandoned subway station, featuring some of the area’s oldest graffiti.

STOP 3: The tip of the Bronx: SUNY Maritime College

STOP 4: The Best Italian Ices (Are In Queens)

STOP 5: Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in Corona Park.

STOP 6: “NOT HOME”: lounging, beers, food. All documented by a reporter who followed us the entire day. Then…

Wee into the night, the group ended up trekking 20 blocks to the reporter’s grandmother’s apartment on the Upper East Side. The 76-year-old grandmother was a lovely, liberal-minded woman, who graciously welcomed 12 people into her home after midnight and insisted we make ourselves comfortable. She told us stories like the little children we were and expressed how young she felt. However, the best part was the trekking, boombox blaring, through the old guard UES like the circus just came through town. Best.time.ever.

wave hill

wave hill

wave hill

wave hill

wave hill

wave hill

wave hill

wave hill

wave hill

wave hill

riverdale, bronx

riverdale, bronx

riverdale, bronx

riverdale, bronx

riverdale, bronx

riverdale, bronx

riverdale, bronx

riverdale, bronx

riverdale, bronx

riverdale, bronx

riverdale, bronx

riverdale, bronx

riverdale, bronx

riverdale, bronx

riverdale, bronx

suny maritime

suny maritime

suny maritime

suny maritime

queens boat race

the best italian ices are in queens

jean barberis