Young woman stepping out on a crisp, 50-degree evening in Gowanus: “How do Eskimos do it?”


Good Signs Make Good Neighbors

Been walking by George Horner's sly, subversive posters for more than a decade. So cool to finally meet the man behind the messages—and his wife Michele Hemsoth, a gifted artist in her own right. Thanks, neighbors!


Apple-Picking, Leaf-Peeping and…Crate-Digging?

Here’s to you, city of New Paltz. You may not have a modern boutique hotel like Phoenicia, a cutting-edge arts center like Hudson, or a Pauly Shore-headlined film festival (!) like Woodstock, but how many American cities can say they still have two excellent record stores within a block of each other?


I like it. But if recent history is any guide, I think us fans may need some lessons in calm abiding, too.

"This is what a successful presidency looks like. No president gets to do everything his supporters expected him to. FDR left behind a reformed nation, but one in which the wealthy retained a lot of power and privilege. On the other side, for all his anti-government rhetoric, Reagan left the core institutions of the New Deal and the Great Society in place. I don’t care about the fact that Obama hasn’t lived up to the golden dreams of 2008, and I care even less about his approval rating. I do care that he has, when all is said and done, achieved a lot. That is, as Joe Biden didn’t quite say, a big deal."

Paul Krugman, "In Defense of Obama," Rolling Stone

As I learned from The Roosevelts, this is what “progressive” used to mean.


Fair and Balanced

And now a cogent rebuttal to the snark purveyed by haters like me, courtesy of Heritage Foods USA honcho and author of The Carnivore’s Manifesto, Patrick Martins:

"What the so-called hipsters aspire to at the most basic level, like the hippies, like the Beats, and like the punks (if we may be so reductive), is what we all should aspire to: breaking away from the status quo. Throwing off the shackles of conformity. Pissing off the squares.

Most poignantly, and closest to the beating heart of The Carnivore’s Manifesto, the so-called hipsters have made a massive, positive impact on food culture. They’ve actualized the highest levels of gastronomy without the white tablecloths: food trucks, barbecue shacks, shops specializing in fresh jams and pickles, bars perpetrating sublime cocktails handcrafted from homemade ingredients, mind-altering pork buns made on a tiny grill.

Unfortunately, snobbery and bias abound. These days, every time someone says ‘artisinal,’ half the people in the room roll their eyes. Artisinal has become the unfortunate meme of antihipster sarcasm and the curmudgeonly trope of anyone who claims to remember Brooklyn, or Portland—or any number of places where young people have formed a community—before the hipster deluge. But isn’t better…better?

It would seem that every culture has problems with the one following it (and the one preceding it, for that matter), and to be sure, there are faux-bohemian poseurs who buy their completely inauthentic version of alternative culture off the rack. But we’re saving our vitriol for the people who are really hurting the planet.”

Well said. But can’t better also be just a little silly sometimes? Is it unconscionably hypocritical of me to roll my eyes while I enjoy my mind-altering artisinal pork buns?


Have Beard Will Travel

Edible Brooklyn's annual Travel Issue doesn’t make for ideal Beardy fodder. Georgian khachapuri in Sheepshead Bay, Ethiopian doro wett in Ft. Greene, a Carolina country store in Brownsville—these strike me as exemplars of old-school, melting pot Brooklyn, not the disruptive, venture capital-backed Brooklyn(TM) we celebrate around here.

Still, this made-up, audience-less award show must go on, so I’ve scared up a couple of worthy nominees: 

Honorable mention goes to the members of 3B co-op, a collective of young creative types who pay the rent on their downtown Brooklyn apartment by operating a B&B on the floor above. The vegetarian breakfasts swaddled in cloths “expertly hand woven” by one of the residents are worth a few points on my scorecard, but it’s the decor that nudges 3B into the Beardy Zone: “Original artwork graces the walls and antlers serve as coat hooks, while dinosaurs and other miniatures play out whimsical dioramas in the occasional nook.” Antlers-as-coat-hooks! Whimsical dioramas! The occasional nook! Now that’s the Brooklyn I know and love-hate!


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Conversation Overheard at the Barber Shop, 10/3/14

"As soon as I get a closing date on my house, I’m retiring."

"The first year, you’re going to miss it."

"I don’t think so. Unless my wife starts busting my horn."

"Is there any doubt of that?"

"Here’s a story for you: A customer told me he was upstate and needed a haircut, couldn’t wait. The barber was a real old timer. So my customer sits down in the chair and after a while he doesn’t hear the scissors anymore. The guy had nodded off. Me, I’m ready to have some fun."

"Where are you going to go?"

"I’ve got a place in Sarasota. I don’t know the demographics real well, but it’s a beautiful place. They’ve got the opera, all that cultural stuff."

"Then what the hell are you going there for? You ain’t got no culture."

"Ten minutes from the beach. The sand never gets hot. It’s shells, crushed to a fine powder. You’re going to come down there to visit and never want to leave."

"I’ll come with a bread, some prosciut’, provolone, and a bottle of wine in my hands."

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"I’d say do what’s right for you, but that’s not really a good practice for general society — people generally do do what’s right for them, and that perpetuates horrible things, because maybe most people are monsters. I’d say skip it completely, avoid Amazon at all costs, but I genuinely think Transparent is helping set the pop agenda when it comes to stories about trans and queer people, and if that’s part of what you care about or are in a position to influence, then missing it would be a real loss. (Not so with other Amazon shows just yet.) So … make a donation to a charity. Recycle things you’d otherwise just chuck because ehhhh, it’s one bottle, everyone’s gonna die anyway. Call your grandma. Leave a 100 percent tip. Watch Transparent. Buy books from a local bookseller. And if that doesn’t feel like enough, consider baking a cake."

Margaret Lyons, "Can I Watch Amazon Shows If I Loathe Amazon? Your Pressing TV Questions, Answered," Vulture.com

I haven’t faced this particular dilemma yet. Subscribing to Amazon Prime has been a bridge too far for me up till now (I am tempted by Transparent and Cosmopolitans, though). But when it comes to music, I find myself in roughly the same position.

In theory, it should be easy: all artists have the option of offering their music for download through their own websites or an independent, non-rapacious third party. And many do. The only problem is that every time I try to buy music directly from the artist, I wind up having technical difficulties that take days and multiple (friendly!) exchanges with customer service to sort out. Either that or I’m asked to open an account that requires me to provide all kinds of personal information and come up with yet another new password. As much as I enjoy Tom Petty’s rock and roll classicism, he’s not my bank.

I appreciate it when websites give me the option of using Paypal rather than coughing up my credit number, but why do I have a funny feeling there’s an ethical problem with that, too? Should I Google “Paypal ethics” right now? I’d be better off baking a cake.


The best music-food crossover yet?* I bet these guys think so.

I learned about this from Pitchfork's interview with rocker-turned-pastry-chef Brooks Headley, who had this to say:

"When I started professionally cooking in a restaurant, it was the late ’90s and I never once dared to talk about the fact that I had been in a band—or was actually in a band—as the years have gone along. So it seems a little strange that it’s accepted now, so much so that the theme for the James Beard Awards this year is ‘music and food.’ They’ve asked everyone to do a dish for the gala based on their favorite musical city. Even five years ago, people would have just been like, ‘That’s sort of stupid.’" 


*Sorry, Kix Brooks. But I’m guessing you already have a pretty good lead on a sponsor.

UPDATE: For those who like their greens extra astringent and their steak rubbed with ground up glass…