Blackberry Playbook Promos

15 04 2011

Checked in at a cocktail event in a Chelsea art gallery on 22st and 11th ave.  Blackberry had their promos for the “Playbook”, the flipside and RIMM version of the Apple’s iPad.  Uh Oh watch out Apple.  Well I can’t review much about the Playbook because I’m not a tech geek but what I did tonight was bar tend all these tech geeks, tech bloggers, computer scientists and journalists.  The crowd was very sophisticated and tech geeky with many people writing reviews on their Blackberrys and notepads.  Funny how I didn’t see ONE iPad from any of the guests since they knew out of respect it would be an insult to bring a Apple product into a Blackberry promo event (DUH!).

Blackberry Playbook launches Tuesday, April 19th

I served a special cocktail of the evening which the majority of the guests ordered called, Playbook Punch.  Simply a passion fruit puree, pinot grigio and vodka. Oh yeah, Dwight Howard and his entourage came into the party for an hour and got the chance to play with the Playbook.  I did get the opportunity to check out some of the Playbooks on display before it hits the stores.  The Playbook releases this Tuesday, April 19th.

"Playbook Punch" Passion fruit puree, white wine, vodka. Cheers!





Can We Get Much Higher

6 04 2011

As Kanye West would say in his track Dark Fantasy, “Can we get much higher, so high, oh oh oh!”, indeed geographically I was really high, so high.

Here are some breathtaking views of Manhattan at all angles at a 80+ floor penthouse at The World Trump Tower.  This is the tallest residential building in the states.  This tall residential rectangular reaches 90 floors high.  Derek Jeter lived a few floors above but he recently sold his bachelor pad.  I was fortunate enough to step foot here at a cocktail event.

World Trump Tower view from 57th and 2nd ave.

Midtown

Queens Borough Bridge

Long Island City, Queens

Crysler Building, Midtown

Luke Sikorskyy

6pm

Upper East Side

Queensborough Bridge 8pm

Midtown Nightime





Chelsea Club Circuit, Griffin.

31 03 2011

Earlier this evening, I worked an engagement private event at The Griffin on 50 Gansevoort Street at the heart of the Meatpacking District club/Chelsea circuit nightlife.  Wednesday nights are not a typical party night for Griffin which is why there was a private event where a family hosted an engagement party from 7-11pm then it opened to the public afterwards into a regular club scene.  A regular club night where promoters and socialites come to Griffin are usually Tuesday and Thursday nights.  FYI, real New Yorkers do not go clubbing (at least in Chelsea) on friday or saturday nights because that is what we call the “bridge and tunnel” crowd for those non-New Yorkers in the tri-state area who come to party in the city such as New Jersey, Long Island, Westchester and Connecticut.   Don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to say that clubs in Meatpacking are dead on friday and saturday nights but the crowd is a total shift from [artists, designers, tmodels, socialites, Wall Street ballers, trust fund babies] from Sunday-Thursday to [the suburban crowds of Long Island, Staten Island, Jersey] fist pumping crews at some places but they rarely would act like that or get in at a club anywhere in Chelsea if they dressed up like the Jersey Shore cast.

Griffin: The space is very elegant and has that “19th Century Gilden Age” ambiance.  You walk in and you see a huge chandelier in the middle and vintage windows and bottle service tables surrounding the perimeter of the club.  There’s a second balcony floor for bathrooms and VIP rooms.  I’d say Griffin is a cool spot to check out after work for a few cocktails then definitely come out on Tuesday and Thursday nights.  The music was a fair mix of hip hop, house and top 40 mixes.  Since the event had an open bar, I didn’t pay for any drinks but they range for $14-16 on a regular night.  The bartenders were up to par and served everyone very well and remembered drink orders for the majority of customers.  Service from the managers, waitress and bouncers were excellent.  The kind of club where you see girls dancing on couches, popping bottles on the ice every where, and fairly opulent.

The typical Chelsea club circuit where the hotspots are throughout the week by getting in through legit club promoters are Sunday: 1Oak, Monday: Juliet, Tuesday: Griffin/Tenjune, Wednesday: Greenhouse, Thursday: Tenjune/Griffin, Friday: Bunker/RVD, Saturday: Greenhouse, Kiss & Fly.  There are many other hot clubs in Meatpacking but that’s an idea of what’s going on throughout the week these days in that area.  Don’t be surprised to see several NBA players at these clubs after they play the Knicks.





Baruch College Hype on Orlando Magic

23 03 2011

The Magic play the Knicks tonight but yesterday, they practiced at my alma mater Baruch College main gym arena named the ARC Arena.  Throughout my four years playing for Baruch, I’ve seen many popular basketball teams practice in the gym through the athletic conference center windows above the main gym where all the coaches offices are.  Sometimes, my team would enter our gym 15 min before practice to set up the volleyball nets and the basketball teams would still shoot around or get their feet untaped and knees iced as we set up the nets.  Every year, the Big East tournament is held in early March and schools such as Louisville, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Villanova and Cincinatti would practice at Baruch.  One time after a Pitt practice in 2009, they were having a slam dunk contest.  Watching a Rick Pitino practice was very intense and strict with his fierce classy posture.  It was a luxury to observe their practices and shoot arounds then my teammates and I would go practice after they end their practices, then we practice and they go back to their hotel rooms and after our practices would end around 7am, I would head out to the bars on Thursday nights and see the schools compete on ESPN the same night. Rarely NBA teams would practice at Baruch but I’ve only seen The Bucks and Mavs practice.

But yesterday was more special for Baruch student athletes when Orlando Magic left the facility and caused a rawkus among thousands of Baruch students.  I guess it’s the lovable personality of superstar center Dwight Howard who is entering his final year with the Magic and there are hopes that the Knicks might sign him to fulfill the last all-star slot on the Knick roster which they can afford before the salary cap.  As the Magic were leaving the gym to walk across the hallways and leaving through the sidedoor exits to enter their team bus, students awaited with hundreds of camera phones chanting “2012-2012-2012” as Howard walked out. Hmm, not bad Baruch students, you guys stired some hype and hopefully got into Howard’s head to come play for New York.

Link of Orlando Sentinel blog posting a video of Baruch Students chanting “2012!”:

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_magic/2011/03/video-orlando-magic-and-dwight-howard-evoke-stir-at-baruch-college.html

Here are some photos my former teammates posted on twitter, FB and MMS:

Dwight Howard with Baruch Volleyball players freshman Raymond Satagaj left and junior Samuel Park right

Dwight and Jameer Nelson

JJ Redick with Baruch Volleyball athletes Samuel and freshman Jack McKee right.

Gilbert Arenas with Ray and Sam

Dwight Howard and Coach Stan Van Dungy

View from Baruch Athletic conference windows





Terrible Hollister Billboard

16 03 2011

At 600 Broadway in the corner of Houston street which marks the northern part of “SoHo (South of Houston Street), used to be a very iconic New York wall as well as the DKNY advertising wall designed by Peter Arnell.  It has been up for 20 years.  Not until Hollister bought out 600 Broadway and replaced the wall with a hideous brown Hollister logo after DKNY lost it’s rights of the wall.  It saddened me and it’s very upsetting for a New Yorker who praised walking down NoHo to SoHo and would glance to look up at a monumental DKNY logo with Mrs. Liberty and the skyline designed through its DKNY letters.  Now, a ridiculous looking Hollister wall is up and what upsets me the most is that it’s not even a New York brand, but a laid-back California brand that bought the building to advertise and remove an iconic New York work of art.  Many New Yorkers are upset and many tourists would always stop at the cross walk on Houston street and Broadway to pose in front of the DKNY wall, but who the hell wants to pose in front of a Hollister wall in the heart of SoHo?!  I understand that Hollister Company obtained the building in June 2009 and has the rights to do whatever the hell they want with it but c’mon, respect the aura of that wall and the iconic appeal us New Yorkers and tourists once attracted to.

I love shopping in SoHo and no matter how many times I’ve seen the DKNY logo as a kid, I would never be bored and just take a minute to glance at it.  Even nights of drinking in alphabet city and I had to cab it through Houston Street, I would still look up to it.  What has SoHo become now?  What’s next? a “I ❤ Hollister” logo wall replacing it.  Damn you Hollister.

600 Broadway

Before

 

C'mon just look at this? This is fugly

After.





Adele 21

15 03 2011

My prediction this album will be Grammy nominated for Album of The Year in 2012

I hear Adele all over New York cafes, coffee shops, bars and here’s my review of her second album, 21.

I became a big fan of UK female artist Adele in fall of 2008 after I clicked on her iTunes page after the “Listeners also bought” section from Amy Winehouse another fellow british artist.  Adele’s first album 19 was very coffee house jazzy and had piano ballads which I enjoy.  21 is similar as far as the genre and accompaniment but she definitely matured through her lyrics and new key changes in some tracks.  Many listeners of mainstream radio are familiar of her first single, Chasing Pavements but there is another signficant soul part of her voice in her music that is very enchanting, blue, bursting, lounging and just heartfelt.  Not many artists can make a sophomore comeback like Adele did with 21 which is why she is going to become a huge spotlight and she’s only 21 years old with a voice that so smooth and powerful.

Every track in 21 has its own dominant highlight with a very impressive production core of the elite New York-bred producer and founder of Def Jam, Rick Rubin and british producer Paul Epworth. Her current single, Rollin In The Deep is an upbeat soul jam where she expands her voice range up several octaves.  Her backup singers in the track make it a very soul/church vibe. Other track reviews,  He Won’t Go starts of with a steady 2/2 drumkit beat and 3 piano chords all in minor and leads on to a jazzy accent melody and beat where her voice against shoots to the sky during the chorus.

Set Fire to The Rain (british producer, Fraser T. Smith) really sounds like an oxymoron title but she really goes all out on this track. She starts with a piano and a 4/4 beat then the other strings and percussion instruments enter and crescendo into the chorus as well as her voice projects beautifully.  She continues after the chorus to project her voice powerfully until the end of the track.  The chorus in this track is my favorite lyrical piece of 21:

“But I set fire to the rain,

watch it pour as I touch your face,

Let it burn while I cry,

Cause I heard it screaming your name, your name!”

My favorite song in this album and its a piano ballad of course, Someone Like You.  I cannot wait to learn to play this piece.  This song is amazing and incredible thing of beauty.  Adele sings about how someone she loved moved on who settled on a different girl and married. In comparison, the lyrics of this song is very relative to Gwen Stefani’s hit Cool.  Gwen sings about how her ex boyfriend (bassist Tony Kanal) has moved on and settled and they both still share a great friendship.

Adele quotes in her personal blog to why she titled her sophomore album 21, “I’m very excited, nervous, eager, anxious but chuffed to announce my new album! It’s taken a while and it knocked me for six when writing it. It’s different from “19”, it’s about the same things but in a different light. I deal with things differently now. I’m more patient, more honest, more forgiving and more aware of my own flaws, habits and principles. Something that comes with age I think. So fittingly this record is called “21”. (source: http://www.adele.tv/home/)

Mark my word, Adele will win her third Grammy in 2012.

21 is a great album and I have a really good feeling it will be nominated for Grammy-album of the year because her stunning voice is one that is very difficult to compare with, all of the tracks are astonishing with a great accompaniment and lyrically touching.  You listen to her entire album and you feel a jazzy, soul, gospel-disco, ballad journey until the last track.  Adele doesn’t need to go all out and glamor herself just because her astonishing voice can really back it up and that is what not many people realize about her.  For all you piano ballad fans and coffee-house jazz fans, 21 is the hit which is why I love this album.  If you just faced a heartbreak or feeling a bit emo, lyrically, this album is also for you. Although I’m not in a heartbreak, I just appreciate her music greatly and her lyrics are very meaningful.  I will be rooting for Adele and I am very hopeful to see her shine for many years ahead.





Irish Woodside

14 03 2011

St. Patricks Day is a few days away and I would like to commemorate what my hometown has to offer.  Woodside is my hometown and the main core of Irish pubs.  For those of you 7 train straphangers coming home from work get off 61st Woodside and grab a refreshing Guiness at the pubs here.

Many of the Irish settled here during the industrial revolution and became the largest Irish community in Queens until today.  The Woodside train station (Long Island Railroad LIRR/7 train stop, known today) was orginally constructed in 1869 by the Flushing and North Side Railroad which was then required by the LIRR in 1876. This was the first train stop for commuters going roundtrip to Manhattan.  During the 1930s, the Irish population was approximately 80% (source: The New York Irish by Timothy Meagher) many settled in Woodside because of the convenient train station stop for the many construction workers during the industrial revolution.

Today, I would have to say that the Woodside Station is by far the most convenient commuting station in Queens.  The 7 train runs a express line for morning and night rush hours and Woodside is one of the express stops.  In addition, there is the LIRR which is a 15 minute commute to 34st Penn Station in Manhattan and the Woodside LIRR travels all the way to the cleanest beach of New York, Long Beach.

Woodside is still considered to be one of the largest Irish communities with many diverse ethnic groups that have settled here throughout the 1990s such as South Asians, Latinos, Koreans and Filipinos.  Most importantly, the aura of the Irish in their tradition of wine and spirits hasn’t left my hometown at all.

Sean Ogs 60st & Woodside Ave

Woodside Cafe right next to Sean Ogs where they serve Irish coffee.

Cuckoos Nest on 61st and Woodside ave.

Saints & Sinners

The Sporting Game (fairly new bar) on Woodside ave & 59th st.

Shelleys on Roosevelt and 59th

The infamous Donovan’s Pub on 58th st and Roosevelt ave.  #1 rated hamburger in New York (review coming soon).

St. Sebastian’s catholic church in the background.