Another day, another walk

This morning, though it looked like it might rain and the wind was switching every which way, I went for a rather long ramble. The strange sights of the street rarely fail to make my day: in Sunnyside, a sticker with a phone number was slapped on a lamp post, and the words "Pranks accepted!" were written beneath; on Skillman Avenue, I found a discarded notebook filled with high school calculus, as well as a printout of lyrics to Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" tucked into the front pocket; on a building in Greenpoint, graffiti hearts covered a door and were accompanied by a scribbled reminder to "buy candy." And the flowery chalking on a Brooklyn side street, above, was also quite charming.

Office in the sky

Yesterday, early, before it got too hot, I walked down to Socrates Sculpture Park. It hadn't been too long since I last dropped by, but I did notice something I had overlooked before: a piece by Natalie Jeremijenko, TREExOFFICE, a "co-working" space that is a treehouse. The workspace "overlooks the East River and has magnificent views of the Manhattan skyline, wifi and locally-produced power." The poplar, your new boss?


To market, to market

Queens County Market popped up in Sunnyside again yesterday, and we braved the heat to walk over. And good thing we did! We picked up alfajores from Buenos Angie's, a rainbow of savory Finnish tarts from Northern Rye, some chipotle salsa from Gustavo's, and a few spice mixes from Sabba's Spicery (pictured above; the "Medieval Melange," apparently recreated from a 14th century recipe, added great depth to a pumpkin spice bread I baked today).

We also sidled over to the Sunnyside Greenmarket, at Skillman Avenue and 42nd Street, open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. through December 22. Purslane and rhubarb looked tempting, but we stuck with a gorgeous bunch of carrots, some fresh smoked cheddar, and corn tortillas. It's been a good weekend of cooking and eating!

Front yard, back yard

We've been in our apartment for three years, but we've never seen the apricot tree out front bear fruit. Today, I plucked one off the branch and took a bite. Very sour, but fresh-picked apricots in Astoria? Magical.

In our little backyard garden, the hydrangeas are beginning to bloom. The overbearing heat will set in soon, so we're enjoying it while we can!

Locks of love

They're commonplace in Paris (on, say, the Pont de l'Archevêché and the Pont des Artes) and they show up even farther afield -- in Cologne, Florence, Uruguay, Taiwan. But I haven't before seen any "love locks" in New York.

Is this single lonely lock -- painted purple, pink, and white, and signed with the initials J and G -- affixed midway across Pulaski Bridge the start of a trend? 

Tentacular

Took a long (LONG! Ten or twelve miles total) walk yesterday, winding my way from Astoria to Long Island City and then to Bushwick, all before looping back to Queens by passing through Greenpoint. A lot of rubber was burned.

I happened upon two artful octopi. The pasted-up drawing above was on a  hoarding in LIC; the vibrant painted fellow below was in Bushwick.

Now at Socrates

Walked down to Socrates Sculpture Park yesterday; it was still a little soggy from Friday's rain, but the current exhibit, "Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City," is good for meditating on. (It continues through August 5, 2012; the Civic Action Tumblr offers more information on the works.) The mirrored pavers, below, are a cool visualization of what Sunswick Creek once was (Mary Miss, "Sunswick Creek: Reflecting Forward").

There's tons of great stuff going on at Socrates this summer: next weekend is the LIC Bike Parade, and outdoor cinema kicks off on July 4 -- the films that will be shown haven't been announced yet, but food will be served at an installation built by artist Rirkrit Tiravanija.

On the prowl

Last night, we met some friends at Thirstbaravin (at 629 Classon Avenue in Brooklyn). It was recently reviewed in the New Yorker's "Tables for Two" section; though the review is largely positive, it does depend on observations that some might find offputting, like, "Thanks to its unfortunate location, on a bleak corner between neighborhoods, there is no wait for a table, no tense negotiation with the hostess. ... the place becomes an anti-destination destination." 

Maybe so; for us, this was a selling point, but I can see why it might not be a universal lure. Still, given the rate at which New York evolves, it's hard to say how long the "anti-destination" business will hold. The food was good, rich yet simple (have the macaroni -- but not too much of it, because you should also try all of the desserts!). And as the reviewer notes, there's "something almost charming about the stray cats slipping in and out of the overgrown lot next door." The two pictured above were joined by three or four others that were camera-shy ... or perhaps it was that their attention was elsewhere, on the food: what looked like a serving of beef shank or lamb belly (or maybe just bits and bobs cast off in the creation of those meals?) had been plated in a white ceramic bowl just outside a door at the rear of the restaurant.

LIC Arts Open 2012

Dropped by one of the LIC Arts Opens's "Nabe Nites" -- at 2 Gotham Center, right on Queens Plaza South. Great installations in vacant retail space; also pretty cool because it's an area with such heavy foot traffic -- people on the street couldn't help but poke their heads in to see what was going on, decidedly more democratic than many other city art events.

Tomorrow is the Vernon Boulevard Nabe Nite Out, and Friday's focus is Jackson Avenue. The festival continues through May 20, and there's tons to see. Just a few highlights if you plan on hitting the neighborhood this weekend: a Bill Bollinger retrospective at the Sculpture Center (44-19 Purves Street, on through July 30); the 10x10 benefit auction (Saturday) and exhibition at Art Plus LIC (43-01 22nd Street); a block party on 22nd Street between 43rd and 44th Avenue (Saturday, between noon and 6); and, of course, open studios at PaintCan Studios (10-10 44th Avenue, third floor) and Reis Studios this weekend.