Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pink Lady Stops for a Chat

Pink Lady Stops for a Chat, originally uploaded by miyarotstein.

I couln't resist taking this picture from across the street. Welcome to Williamsburg.

In Search of an Urban Paradise

Brick, Steel and Glass

Two weeks ago, as we were on the endless search for event spaces, we landed in the too-cool-for-school haven they call B-Burg. And it is, by the way still way too cool.
We took the L all the way out to Montrose. I'm sure that is 5 stops too far on the L for most of you. We landed in an industrial lagoon. Marooned between treeless streets. We saw some amazing old warehouses, beautiful, urban, scrawled with years of graffiti. We checked out an amazing space that serves artists and performers, it houses dozens of old vending machines and arcade games. The fixtures were reminiscent of a well worn high school albeit not one I attended. The rooftop had a fantastic view of the city, smoggy and grey.

Presence of Urban Color

We hopped back on the L and headed back to Bedford St. in search of Oslo, a coffee house known for their artisanal brew and trained baristas. Wandering the streets, we happened upon some magnificant warehouses whose exteriors were wrapped with beautiful murals and vibrant color.

After my visit to San Francisco, urban art has been on my mind. I carry my camera in my bag, preparing myself for my next encounter with unforseen hidden treasures hiding in alleys and lonely city streets.

This building on Roebling St. was covered with amazing art. I couldn't help myself...

Monday, March 19, 2007

A fine day for baking

As you all know - or those of you living in the neighbouring village of Manhattan and environs, we here in Brooklyn were blessed with a little late winter, early spring festival of ice, snow and general unpleasantness. In order to get myself out of this winter doldrums, and in spite of this weird arbitrary Daylight Savings nonsense, this past Sunday evening I decided to try my hand at baking something warm and carb-o-licious. Indeed, it was adventure with yeast. Why bread? because I am a shitty baker. Then why even try? Well, because my attempt at baking rugalleh has failed pretty miserably and I was feeling a little low.
I know I can McGuyver-up a meal in minutes from a can of artichoke hearts, some garbanzo beans and a handful of dried mushrooms thanks to my amazing mother. No sweat. Baking, well, lets say that baking at our house was one of 3 things. Passover sponge cake, the famous 1 bowl apple cake and the cheesecake (later turn tofu-cake). My grandmother, of blessed memory, won no blue ribbons back in Poland. So there. A challenge.
A packet of yeast, some warm water, sugar - set for 10 minutes. 3 cups of flour and some salt. That's it! knead, place in a greased bowl, covered with a damp towel, in a warm place for an hour. To make this breaded concoction even more delicious, I decided to add to it some curry vegetables I cooked up as the dough was rising. Diced onions, carrots, red pepper, potatoes and a zucchini flavored with cumin, cury, garam masala, fresh garlic, salt and pepper. See what happened!!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

A Neighborhood Awash in Color

One of the highlights of our wonderfully colorful trip to San Fran was the early Saturday morning tour of the Mission neighborhood's many amazing murals we took with our resident guide and BFF, MagikaDisFUNKchanel.

The photo on the left is of the inside of the Precita Eyes's storefront where one can buy art supplies, postcards, drawings and sketches of murals around the city and where the tour begins with a very long slide show. These are times that it's helpful to get there late...)

We joined the Precita Eyes tour (non-profit community arts organization founded in 1977 that plays an integral role in the city's cultural heritage and arts education community). Patricia, our head-to-toe corduroy bedazzled guide took us through the streets of Balmy Alley where the largest collection of murals live and breathe.

It was like walking into a magical alternate universe where color and beauty was part of the landscape. Where people in the community actually took an active role in painting their neighborhood, keeping the art on the walls free of vandalism and taking pride in their diverse cultures, histories and ethnicities. It was amazing to see these murals, many painted by well known muralists and many others painted by the youth of the Mission through the Precita Eyes program.

Towards the end of the 2.5 hour tour, we were joined by Eduardo, a 'man of the streets', so to speak. He was following us through the last few murals, alternating swigs from the bottle in the brown paper bag with nods of agreement at the tragic history of civil wars in Latin America.
Patricia was telling us that the community came together to renovate and rehabilitate a small green space on 24th St. at the heart of the neighborhood. People came to lay tiles, paint walls, install the hi-tech bouncy ground covering made of old tires. Eduardo took a few jumps on the padded, bouncy surface and exclaimed "this is very nice! Old tires, you say?"

We rewarded our patience and satiated our sugar craving by visiting La Victoria Mexican panaderias where we had a very tough time choosing our Pan dulce (sweet pastries). Imagine a whole store of freshly baked goodies - floor to ceiling.

Armed with tongs and a tray, I went straight to work. An almond pastry, a sweet custard flaky sugary delight and a baked ricotta cake. A food loving girl's dream come true. A perfectly delicious ending to a brilliantly colorful afternoon...

A fabulous restaurant sign... I couldn't help but include it in this post all about color!

mission mural

mission mural, originally uploaded by miyarotstein.

One of my favorite musals on the tour... there were 3 owls hidden in this brilliantly colored forest scene.