A Walk Through Fort Greene

A few years back, I spent 6 weeks aimlessly searching for an apartment in NYC.  It would be my first NYC apartment.  I have seen apartments in every neighborhood… Upper East, Upper West, Financial District, Tribeca, Lower East, East Village and the list goes on. I had a work-issued broker taking me around to look at tall filing cabinets throughout the city to live in.   On weekends and some afternoons after work, I would go explore Brooklyn on my own – because there was no way my broker was crossing any river.  After a particularly grueling day of seeing shitty Brooklyn apartments in all sorts of neighborhoods, I surfaced at the G-Train stop where Fulton crosses Lafayette.  The sun was setting towards the end of Lafayette, right over the street between BAM and the apartment building across the street.  From the moment I surfaced on that June day, I could feel an undeniable vibe.  I cannot stress this enough – undeniable.  The warm setting sun, the faint scent of incense in the air, cars bumping hip-hop and reggae, and an interesting mix of people on their way somewhere.  It was the best advertisement for a neighborhood ever.  No slick broker or savvy landlord could ever have sold me in the way that I was sold when I just stepped out of that subway stop. I had just arrived in the North Oak Cliff of New York City.

There was this weird feeling of arrival.  I had yet to feel truly comfortable in any neighborhood I had visited, but once in Fort Greene, I knew that I had found the place I needed to live.  It helped that I had never really heard of it.  It had zero expectations.   It did not have a ‘type’ like LES or Williamsburg (hipsters), or Park Slope or UWS with strollers and boredom.   What I liked about Fort Greene was what anthropologists have acknowledged:  There may be no place in the country where people from such diverse backgrounds exist in seemingly such harmony.   African-Americans, Caribbean-Americans, Middle Eastern, Jewish, Asian, and certainly a large dose of young couples moving in to raise families – typical gentrification style.  That is probably where I come in.

I am blessed in many ways to have found this neighborhood.  And certainly very blessed to live in the Fort Greene home of the late jazz great Betty Carter, who would have definitely played a role in the film above.   After watching that trailer above, I almost feel like I am not worthy of living here.  The trailer only shows a small sliver of the people that either grew up in this tiny neighborhood, or have passed through at some time.   I love Chris Rock’s line in the trailer about ‘snobby’ people.   The snobby people are still here, but that snobby-ness isn’t really snobby-ness.  It actually just legit cool.  I cannot stress this enough – legit cool. I can only hope that a tiny shred rubs off on me.

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Kanye West + G-Shock Party

Had the chance to go see Kanye perform tonight at Cipriani’s downtown for the seemingly annual Casio G-Shock event. Last year, Kanye had the nude girls with space helmets on as back-up dancers. He had a far more tame, but visually interesting aesthetic this time out: Almost all black, with straps wrapped around his arms, all topped off with a matte black face mask. He also had giant screens that counted down from 40:00:00 – perhaps a statement about the corporate-ness of the event.

Everyone knows I am about a mile up Kanye’s ass anyways, so I ain’t gonna lie… the show was great. The dude can do no wrong in my opinion. Hate on. Whatever.

And for all of you sneakerheads that act like you don’t care, but are secretly dying to know… He was wearing all black Timberland boots.

Friday Nights @ Duane Park in Tribeca

Last Friday, an old friend was in town and we were scheduled to meet up. I was very excited to see her, but then the destination came through via text: We are going to Santos Party House. Needless to say, I was not excited about the destination. So much so, I opted out of the evening altogether. But then the second text came through… How about Burlesque in Tribeca?

Upon arrival, I quickly realized that I had just stumbled upon my favorite NY nightlife experience to date. I don’t write reviews of much, but this place was inspiring. The environment was simply amazing. Having spent the last few weeks trying to work a little bit of substance into my life, I was blown away by Duane Park on this Friday night. It was just what I needed. It was like I had just walked into the 1930s. The dim, totally vintage lighting, with a killer chandelier hanging over the middle of the restaurant. A small, foot-tall stage, lit from the floor by bulbs that may as well have been 50 years old. The stage was just big enough for a single performer, complete with the vintage mic, and flanked by a jazz trio of a piano, stand up bass, and trumpet/singer.

Each performer was of the highest caliber. Hot as shit. Not too gimmicky, paying full respect to the art form. No annoying drag queen hosts adding unnecessary comic relief.   No shoddy sound system typically reserved for indie rock bands.  It was stripped down, pure and simple.  I left craving more. Someone has nailed this experience so well, they deserve an award. So check your calendar. Is it Friday? Then call me . Let’s go.

Duane Park Restaurant and Lounge
http://www.duaneparknyc.com/ > Source of Images

Upper West Side Steez

A few weeks back, I went to a great party on the Upper West Side. There was a no-shoe policy at the party, so outside the elevator/front door, there were dozens of shoes laying all over the floor. I saw a wide variety of shoes, including an abundance of prepped out boat shoes. I was inspired. I had to have some. So in order to step up my Upper West Side Swag*, I went in with these, because I was mesmerized by the rich red sole. Almost like Louboutins for dudes. I go hard.

*Ironic use of word ‘Swag’

Tupac Shakur – The Biopic

I was always completely fascinated with Tupac Shakur. I liked his music, and obviously some of it was undeniable, but I was never a huge fan of his music. But as a person, he was so compelling and inspirational. When he died, I remember thinking how disappointing it would be to not get to see him grow old.

I never really identified with Biggie the same way. Having moved to Brooklyn and felt his influence, and to the extent that a white kid can Texas can understand his influence, I am blown away. I finally watched Notorious and I loved it. Gravy killed it as Biggie. Seeing the portrayal of Puffy in the early years was a little freaky considering the mogul he has evolved to. The whole thing got me thinking about what the Tupac biopic would look like.

Since I cannot even begin to think who could and/or deserves to play him, I had a thought:

Island Def Jam – Spring Collection

In a slightly rare display of creativity, the lightly-fashion themed event was nice. What to look forward to:

  • The Noisettes
  • Another nice Kanye video for Paranoid
  • Speaking of Kanye, Mr. Hudson has potential. I personally think he is the shit.
  • A 10 year old rapper/r&b suburban, Sheckler-esque kid that would make Tupac and Biggie roll over in their graves.
  • Maybe a little Fabolous.
  • Hmmm. That’s it. Unless Lionel Richie puts out another greatest hits album.


DJ, Photographer, Entrepreneur. D-NICE has become one of my favorite people to follow in hip-hop. He photographed Q for Def Jam / TAG Records and was hand-picked by JD to DJ our MTV VMA Official Kick-off party.

His documentary series True Hip-Hop Stories belongs on the Sundance Channel, but you can view the series here.

And follow him on twitter.

His site.

New York vs. Dallas

I love Dallas. And I love New York. This is one of the reasons I <3 NY. These types of guys just don’t exist in Dallas.  I am not even slamming these dudes. I can totally appreciate all of our differences.   Texas has the redneck, frat boy version, but these dudes cannot be topped (no homo):

I really like that song.   Here is another…


and finally


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