Long Time, No See!

Greetings freaks, geeks, and voyeurs!

Plenty has been happening in NYC, but we haven’t had time to do a proper post in a while. Look out for posts in the coming weeks on the people who are keeping this city worth living in, despite the snow, rats climbing on you on the subway, and rent that remains too damn high. Stay tuned!


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The Manhattan Users Guide Features The Guide to Odd New York in its 21 Under $21 Gift Guide

Time to fill up those stockings with the gift that keeps on giving—the coolest, most fun, most authentic experiences that New York City’s five boroughs have to offer. The Manhattan Users Guide agreed, and featured us in this gift guide.

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Get the Guide to Odd New York for 10% Off!

the guide to odd new yorkUse discount code C4KZDXH to get 10% off of The Guide to Odd New York at createspace.com.

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Stuff Yourself Silly at Sideshows by the Seashore!

Stuff Yourself Silly Sideshows by the Seashore Coney Island

Stuff Yourself Silly on Wednesday, November 24, 8-11 pm at Sideshows by the Seashore, 1208 Surf Ave., Coney Island

Adam the First Real Man just gave me the skinny on the Stuff Yourself Silly Variety Show coming up next Wednesday at Sideshows at the Seashore. No matter Zamperla’s plans, the folks over at Coney Island USA are preserving Coney’s history by pumping out a constant stream of lowbrow shock and awe. Fortunately for New York City, their season has expanded all the way up to Christmas, and Stuff Yourself Silly is a sneak preview of an act that’ll be a regular next year.

Adam, taking inspiration from Broadway Danny Rose, lined up eight acts for a pre-Thanksgiving feast for the eyes. While he couldn’t find any animal acts or people who play wine glasses, he did round up good bunch of jaw-dropping, thigh-slapping acts, including an illusionist, a contortionist, a hula hoop artist, and the ventriloquist Pete Michaels. “It’s been a while since Coney had a really good vent act,” says Adam, “And all the regulars are really looking forward to Pete Michaels. A good ventriloquist act is a thing to see.”

There’s no work the next day, the drinks at the Freak Bar will be flowing, and the entertainment will set you free from those long days at the office, where you’re stuffing your freak flag as far from view as it’ll go. The sideshow folks, as Adam said, are the holdouts down in Coney, as Zamperla does its best to bulldoze the carny culture that we all know and love. Coney Island USA bought that building long ago, and they’re not going anywhere. They’ve already got a blow out planned for the start of the season come April, with the Congress of Curious People, Alumni Weekend, and Super Freak Week lined up.

Let’s all say a prayer for the soul of Coney, but at least the Sideshow has a firm hold on its heart.

Stuff Yourself Silly
Wednesday, November 24
8–11 pm
$13 at the door, buy advance tickets here
Freak Bar opens at 6:30
1208 Surf Ave., Brooklyn, NY

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The State of Coney Island

So, Zamperla’s trying to class up the place. Well, jerks, that’s not what Coney Island is all about. For owners of an amusement park, it’s funny that Zamperla doesn’t get this simple tenet of a good time: Fun has no class.

Coney Island is small town charm in the big city. It’s the carnival that lands at the outskirts of town every summer, bringing promise, cheap thrills, and golden sunsets. Screams rising and falling in the distance, men clumsily trying to impress their dates, girls in bikini tops with the waists on their shorts rolled down because the more skin the better. Everything about Coney Island is the iconography of summer.

Tricia Vita, of Amuzing the Zillion, went straight to the source and got this response from Valerio Ferrari, CEO of Zamperla: “They didn’t have the vision that we have for the Boardwalk,” Ferrari said. “It’s a business decision.” And that’s just it: it’s a business decision, not a decision for what’s best for the community, not what the people who frequent Coney Island want, but what one company, who has no real history with the area, wants for its own bottom line. Does their vision for Coney Island have anything in common with our vision of Coney Island? And if not, then how are they going to make money, when we’re the customers?

A lot of people don’t get ramshackle charm, the beauty in age and ugliness, the value of things that don’t meet modern profit margins. Maybe Zamperla can understand it this way: It’s just like caring for an old table. Coney Island has a patina. If you refinish it, you’ve ruined it’s value.

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New, Old Graffiti in Gowanus

I recently noticed a lot of graffiti popping up around Gowanus, visible from the F train. I ventured a guess that they were a sign of police cutbacks due to the recession, but according to this NY Times article, the work is sanctioned by the warehouses and is part of a project called “Subway Art History” by a graffiti collective. Kudos, y’all. Got a new favorite piece of graffiti you’d like to share with all five of this blog‘s readers?

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Buzz-A-Rama in Pictures!

Nate (right), 6 1/2; (center) Daniel, 6; Kevin Link, left and a lot older than 6—all from Brooklyn

Sam, 2 1/2, and his sister, Lynn, 4 1/2, on the black track. Those slot car steering wheels are the only ones in the world.


The man behind all the fun—Frank “Buzz” Perri. A Brooklyn classic.
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Here is the link to the Daily News…

The Daily News Article

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Odd New York in the New York Daily News!

We haven’t found it in the online edition, but if you pick up today’s print edition of the New York Daily News, we’re right in there, pages 28-29. Check it out!

One thing, there’s a slight misquote about 5Pointz. I rambled, so I don’t blame the writer. But you can’t see 5Pointz from the F train. I think you can only see it from the 7. I said something about how I liked some stuff you can see from the F train (ReadUp) but the mecca is 5Pointz. I was lucky enough to stumble upon it as I switched from the G to the 7 to go see a friend in Queens. I had planned to visit it for the book, but what a treat to come upon it unawares.

Otherwise, the article is awesome! Big THANKS to the writer, Jacob Osterhout, and the photographer, Debbie Egan Chin!

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Broad Channel, Where Queens Meets the Wilderness

Broad Channel is built on an island, sliced by canals, and is the only neighborhood in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

One of the best days I spent during the writing of this book was in Broad Channel, Queens, which sits on the only inhabited island in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.  At that point, I wasn’t sure if we should include it in the book. Was it odd enough or unique or quirky? Eventually, we decided yes, it was all of those. There was a conversation that convinced me, with a guy we’ll call Paul. I headed down a street to the west side of Broad Channel so that I could see the Manhattan skyline in the very far distance. Paul was standing over a newly patched hole in the road. He had patched it. The streets had recently flooded and left the hole. And he decided that he didn’t feel like waiting for the city to come out and fix the hole, and what, since he had some asphalt handy, he’d just take care of it himself. Paul had a great little house and had bought the one next door, because, as he explained it, he “didn’t want to get stuck with bad neighbors.” And at that moment, I realized all of the rumors were true. Broad Channelers really do live by their own rules. They are a little insular, but if I’d carved out a little piece of heaven for myself,

White Heron in empty lot in Broad Channel

I don’t think I’d want anyone coming around stinking up the place with bad ideas and worse attitudes. I wouldn’t want to take any chances with my treasure. Paul became a hero to my husband, JJ, and me. It’s become a mantra around our house, “We want to be like Paul!” So if you head over to Broad Channel, don’t go stinking up the place. Observe, admire, and find your own piece of heaven somewhere else. Cause this one’s taken.

Learn more about the Broad Channel here and here.

After we met Paul and walked on to the end of his street to see the Manhattan skyline, Paul found a Praying Mantis and held onto it to show our 6-month-old son when we passed back through. Because Paul rocks. We love Paul.

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