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A Concert In My Living Room

A Concert in My Bushwick Living RoomI came home a month ago to find a concert in my living room.

Well actually, I came home a month ago to find 40-some-odd complete strangers, hanging out in my kitchen and living room, drinking beers and wine (they BYO’d,) chatting and mingling, talking and hanging out. But there was a palpable sense of anticipation in the air. And a considerable amount of energy was focused over on one guy, tall and reed-thin, with a floppy hat and oval glasses. This was the guy that everyone had come to see perform. Indie rock and roll music. In my living room. So after about 40 some-odd minutes of excited small talk, everyone took a seat on the floor, this rock and roller took a seat on my couch, and the concert began.

LRConcert2

Alex Ounsworth is the former-and-sometimes-current frontman for a seminal lo-fi indie rock band from Philadelphia/Brooklyn called Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. They were huuuugge back in the early aughts. Sold out venues, headlined festivals, you get the pic. They also happen to be one of my wife’s favorite bands.

So when Jenny heard that Mr. Ounsworth was organizing a series of “Living Room Shows,” where he would show up and play his acoustic guitar, answer questions, and basically be an anti-rock star in our own home, she jumped at the chance.

Pictures of the “venue” (aka our living room) were snapped and sent to Alec, a standard contract was signed, tickets were sold (with 100% of the proceeds going to Alec – we didn’t make a cent) and the date was set!

That particular day I had an 8 hour tour (!!) and had to pickup the kid from daycare and drop her off at the folks’ place so I didn’t get to chat with Alec until after his 2 hour show had ended, but he was as gracious, generous and good tempered as you could imagine. And after he sold some merch and signed some records, and after everyone had cleaned up their own beer and wine bottles and tossed away their bags of chips, our very own living room rock star packed his own guitar into his car and drove back to Philly.

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In which Matt Levy takes a DIY Craft Cocktail Class

Matt Levy and Eben Freeman make craft cocktailsFor those of you that didn’t know it, I am a craft cocktail enthusiast. This is a combination of circumstances (having a 2.5-year-old means I don’t go out much after bedtime) location (NYC is an incredible craft cocktail city) and my compulsion to learn as much as I can (to a seriously geeky degree) about things that interest me.

For those of you who’ve taken my tours, you may have noticed that I try to learn EVERYTHING about NYC. For those of you who have been to my home in Bushwick, that means you’ll be stuck listening to intimate insider stories of what it means to be a proud Brooklynite and homeowner (anyone want to see the bedroom? OF COURSE YOU DO!) And for those of you who suffered through enough of that to end up drinking with me, that means you got to enjoy a (hopefully) well crafted cocktail, be it gin, whiskey, rum or mezcal.

Matt's Bar

But as with any hobby, I can always learn more!

So I decided to take a Do It Yourself Craft Cocktail Class, run by the eminent cocktail professional Eben Freeman, of AvroKO and formely of Altamarea, both very highly esteemed hospitality groups. The class took place in Genuine Liquorette, a sneaky underground bar done up to look like your father’s favorite self-service package store from the late 70s.

Eben Freeman Mixing

What should’ve just run two hours on Monday night instead ran past three and a half, in which Mr Freeman expounded, to an intimate class of less than 10 people, on the finer points of bartending. Insider tips such as better speed-pouring, the importance of always holding your liquor bottle with the label facing the customer, how to master the incredibly intricate art of stirring mixed drinks, and the controversial “hard shake,” it was a wonderful evening of learning how to make better mixed drinks anytime one is behind the bar.

Behind the Bar

So next time you book me for a tour, consider having it end at my house in Bushwick and maybe you can even get a tasty Happy Hour drink! Just don’t forget to tip the bartender!

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Panorama Challenge 9: Round 1 Questions & Answers

Thanks again to all of you who came out to the Queens Museum to make it a great night! There were no perfect scores, but there were no 100% stumpers, unlike ‘Ota Benga’ from last year.  At least one team got each of the answers,  both Challenger & Pro. Congratulations to all!

See you at the Panorama next year!

ROUND 1

Used To Be

1 In 1853 the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations was held here.
What was the name of the sparkling structure it called home?
CRYSTAL PALACE
Across the street was the city’s tallest structure, another attraction of the exhibition.
What was the name of this 315 foot tall feature?
LATTING OBSERVATORY

2 The park and this Bronx reservoir are named for the grandfather of a man who had nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
What was the grandfather’s name?
LEONARD JEROME
The reservoir replaced what racy attraction?
JEROME PARK RACE COURSE (HORSE RACING TRACK)

3 This venue was built for the ‘64 Worlds Fair. Back then it was called a Bowl and its corporate sponsor had naming rights ‘all sewed up’.
What was its name in 1964?
SINGER BOWL
Big changes lie ahead. What will be done to the stadium after the 2016 US Open?
TORN DOWN

Law & Order

4 This police show from the 70’s was set in this neighborhood.
What is the show?
BARNEY MILLER
This is not the 12th Precinct, as the show claims. What precinct is it?
SIXTH PRECINCT

5 When the theme music ended on this 80’s NBC show you’d be looking at a picture of the County Courthouse here, on Foley Square.
What’s the show?
NIGHT COURT
Complete the George Washington quote carved above the columns of the courthouse: The True Administration of Justice is the Firmest PILLAR of GOOD Government.

6 This neighborhood has a street named for an actor from this show.
Try to Remember the name of the Tony Award winning actor.
JERRY ORBACH
The show shot hundreds of scenes in Foley Square. Give us the two word nickname of the Tammany big shot the square is named for.
BIG TOM

Complicated Rocks

7 Arbitration Rock is here, in Ridgewood…. we think… actually, it’s complicated, let’s not get into it! What did this rock once mark?
BORDER BETWEEN BROOKLYN & QUEENS OR BUSHWICK & NEWTOWN
The rock currently resides in the backyard of what historic home?
ONDERDONK HOUSE

8 Here, you’ll find C Rock, named for the giant blue C painted above the Harlem River.
What is the name of this Bronx neighborhood to which it belongs?
SPUYTEN DUYVIL
Although it’s across the river from Columbia’s football stadium, another Columbia team claims the rock.
Which team does the painting?
MENS CREW

9 This park has a straight forward enough name. It has a significant peak and is a bit stony. It’s also home to the headquarters of the Greenbelt.
Name this park.
HIGH ROCK PARK
The complication comes with the name of its 260 foot high man-made hill.
Give either common name.
MOUNT MOSES OR MOSES MOUNTAIN

Practical Parks

10 This valley has kettle ponds and salt marshes and is the second biggest park in Queens.
What is its name?
ALLEY POND PARK
The park was once at one end of what Vanderbilt-built road?
LONG ISLAND or VANDERBILT MOTOR PARKWAY

11 There’s a nice pier here, but no big antenna and no pledge drive. Is this really the right park?
Give the official name of this Greenpoint park.
WNYC TRANSMITTER PARK
A block away are landmarked factory buildings. You might be holding, or chewing on, one of their products now.
Which Germanic family firm operated there?
EBERHARD FABER (pencil factory)

12 Not just barbeques and ballfields here, this former garbage dump also has a golf course with a highly impractical 200 million dollar pricetag. And it comes with a familiar name attached. Who manages the golf course?
DONALD TRUMP (TRUMP ORGANIZATION)
What is the name of the park?
FERRY POINT PARK

Speak Up!

13 In 1939 Fritz Kuhn addressed a crowd of 20 thousand at a rally in this neighborhood. He did not sing “Happy Birthday Mr President” or watch a hockey game. In which venue did he speak?
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
What German-American organization did he lead?
GERMAN AMERICAN BUND

14 In 1860, Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln gave a speech here, by Astor Place. In what institution’s basement did Lincoln and in this clip, Sam Waterston speak?
COOPER UNION
Only days before, he thought he’d be speaking in which venue outside New York City?
PLYMOUTH CHURCH

15 Dr King gave a notable speech here, at Riverside Church, subtitled A Time to Break Silence
What is the common name of this speech?
BEYOND VIETNAM
Where was Dr. King exactly one year later?
AT THE LORRAINE MOTEL IN MEMPHIS, ON THE DAY OF HIS ASSASSINATION

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Panorama Challenge 9: Halftime Presidential Quiz

Name any 4 Presidents for ONE POINT maximum.

He saw Lincoln’s funeral procession from his family home in NYC.

TEDDY ROOSEVELT

He lived in the Bronx (Riverdale) as a boy.

JFK

‘His Accidency’ got married in 1844 at Church of the Ascension on 5th Ave.

JOHN TYLER

He had 2 tickertape parades in NYC, but only one as President. Rode with a future President in one.

GEN. DWIGHT EISENHOWER

He was sworn in on Lexington Avenue (but the building didn’t get landmarked).

CHESTER A ARTHUR

He lived on Cherry Street.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

He lived on Maiden Lane (was in the Cabinet, not President yet).

THOMAS JEFFERSON

He lived at 810 5th Avenue, same building as Nelson Rockefeller.

RICHARD NIXON

Name ALL 4 Candidates for ONE POINT:

“I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.” This ‘golden boy’ rides down 5th Ave.

GEN. WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN

1872: Stock broker and advisor to Vanderbilt, notable candidate.

VICTORIA WOODHULL

1972: Unbought & Unbossed, from Bed-Stuy, notable candidate.

SHIRLEY CHISOLM

From Brooklyn, went to James Madison HS, graduated nine years after ‘Notorious RBG’.

BERNIE SANDERS

Name ALL 3 ‘Lucky Losers’ for ONE POINT total.
He won the election but lost the Presidency. His name is on the NYPL main library building.

SAMUEL TILDEN

As a lawyer, he defeated Lucky Luciano. The Chicago Tribune said he defeated Truman.

THOMAS DEWEY

NY Gov. lost nomination, joined Team of Rivals as Sec’y of State, can be found in Mad. Sq. Park.

WILLIAM SEWARD

Give us BOTH of these Presidential first names for ONE POINT total.

What is the first name of the President ‘buried’ in Grant’s tomb?

HIRAM (ULYSSES S GRANT)

He dedicated the Statue of Liberty. What is the first name of President Cleveland?

STEPHEN (GROVER CLEVELAND)

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Panorama Challenge 9: Round 2 Questions and Answers

ROUND 2

All Saints

16 This Saintly Avenue runs north for over 4 miles, beginning here an area we ‘might’ call SoHoHoHo.
Name the Saintly thoroughfare.
SAINT NICHOLAS AVENUE
The most famous poem about that saint came from a man whose father named this neighborhood. He named it after a London facility which is now home to Margaret Thatcher’s ashes. Name the facility.
ROYAL HOSPITAL CHELSEA

17 You’ll find a saintly chapel here, named for a converted Centurion, not the host of Soul Train, or a Minister of Magic, or a Vanderbilt.
Who is the Saint?
CORNELIUS (THE CENTURION)
To which notable Manhattan parish does this chapel belong to?
TRINITY CHURCH

18 This saintly cemetery is not affiliated with a nearby university. Nor is it named for the Dapper Don who was laid to rest here in 2002.
What is its name?
SAINT JOHN CEMETERY
Patti Smith wrote “Just Kids” about her time with which artist, buried here?
ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE

Even More Saints

19 If you were around this East Village street in 1966 you might have heard this: (All Tomorrow’s Parties)
Name the saintly street.
SAINT MARKS PLACE
What was the name of the old Polish Home turned club on this street where ‘Warhol’s’ band was heard in ’66.
THE DOM (OR THE OPEN STAGE)

20 This street that runs alongside Fort Greene’s BAM might have been named for one of the lead characters from this tv show. (The Odd Couple)
Name the saintly street.
SAINT FELIX STREET
Pros: He might not be a saint but at BAM he’s considered to be one of their saviors.
Give us the last name of the Harvey for whom their Harvey Theater is named.
LICHTENSTEIN

21 The Addisleigh Park area of this Queens neighborhood was home to jazz nobility and Jackie Robinson.
Name the saintly neighborhood.
SAINT ALBANS
Name the jazz nobility. Here’s his signature song. (One O’Clock Jump)
COUNT BASIE

Museums

22 This museum’s original structure, here, was designed by the architect also responsible for its ‘backyard’.
Name the architect.
CALVERT VAUX
Until 2013 you could often find lithotabs in the park, around the museum.
What is a lithotab?
METAL ADMISSIONS PIN

23 A new museum, here, in St George, sheds light on what sort of beacon?
What is the name of this museum?
NATIONAL LIGHTHOUSE MUSEUM
Just a mile to the north, here, is a museum-worthy example. It’s stationed on a reef.
What is the name of the reef?
ROBBINS REEF

24 Since 2003, here, in Corona, you can find a musical man’s modest dwelling preserved as a museum. Whose home was it?
LOUIS ARMSTRONG
At age 62 he was ‘lookin swell, still goin’ strong, and he set a record which was celebrated with a parade at the World’s Fair. What record does he still hold?
HE IS THE OLDEST ARTIST TO HIT #1 ON THE POP CHARTS

Crash

25 American Airlines Flight 587 crashed here, in Belle Harbor, 103 seconds after takeoff.
What year did this happen?
2001
This neighborhood in Manhattan (Washington Heights) was deeply affected by the crash. Explain the connection.
THE PLANE WAS FLYING TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AND MANY
FROM WASHINGTON HEIGHTS WERE ABOARD OR KNEW PASSENGERS
ABOARD

26 In 1960 two planes collided over the city. One landed in Park Slope. One landed at this location. What is the name of this former airport?
MILLER FIELD
One boy survived and was brought to a Brooklyn Hospital. He died the next day and a memorial plaque was made with the contents of his pockets. What common objects are featured on the plaque?
COINS

27 This former airfield is currently named for a pilot who flew with Admiral Byrd but
crashed in 1927. Name the aviator for whom the field is named.
FLOYD BENNETT
Their 1927 crash cleared the way for Charles Lindbergh to win a 25 thousand dollar prize given by a New York hotel owner for flying nonstop from New York to Paris.
What was the name of this prize?
ORTEIG PRIZE

Writers in other words

28 Edith Newbold Jones was born here on 23rd Street, and wrote Home of Laughter.
What is the author’s name?
EDITH WHARTON
She had a friend from here, Washington Square , who wrote to her “I egg you on in your study of the American life.” He was a successful author, so she listened.
What was his name?
HENRY JAMES

29 The author who lived nearby and was buried here (Trinity Cemetery, Uptown) , wrote Unseen Male , his only novel published during his lifetime. What was the author’s name?
RALPH ELLISON
After his death another novel was published, named after an African American celebration. Name the 1999 novel.
JUNETEENTH

30 The author who won the Pulitzer for The Undressed and the Unalive lived in this neighborhood (Brooklyn Heights). What was his name?
NORMAN MAILER
In 1943 he lived in the same building as the author of another Pulitzer Prize winner: Loss of a Loman. Who was the playwright?
ARTHUR MILLER

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