Sunday, January 24, 2010


Coney Island is full of surprises. Visiting this once magical New York hotspot is like taking an almost archeological-like expedition to a time and place where one side of the street is a devastated, dirty wasteland filled with open lots and questionable characters (like the very same sleazy developers that own most of that land) and the other is this colorful, still magic-filled portal to a by-gone era teeming with young modern day hipsters, performance artists, burlesque hotties, tattooed characters and curiosity seekers. If you walk through some of these streets at night, you can distinguish where the bright lights are: Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters with its long lines of hungry patrons waiting to eat those crunchy, almost perfect overstuffed hotdogs, The Coney Island Cyclone Rollercoaster offering its late night rickety rides, the Coney Island Cyclone stadium and without doubt, Sideshows by The Seashore, home to THE BEST FREAKSHOW in all of NYC and probably the entire Northeast!

Now, in all fairness to other freak shows out there, I’ve only really visited Sideshows by the Seashore and none other (I don’t know of any other). If someone out there has any line on any other freak shows in NYC, I’d love to hear about it. But I’ve been to this particular sideshow on several occasions (for both the freak shows and the burlesque) and it is one really memorable experience! Snake charmers, sword swallowers, whip crackers, strongmen, glass eaters, fire eaters, contortionists, and all sorts of acts can be found at the Sideshow at any given performance. It’s a little bit bizarre but always very funny and entertaining. You could even say it is a bit disturbing and even politically incorrect. But that duality is what I love! Like I said, THE BEST!

The venue itself is like stepping into some bygone era. Hand-painted, with brightly colored signs all over the place, it houses a small, almost thrown together stage and bleacher style seating that on a good night packs it to full capacity so that you can barely move. The building is home to the Freak Bar, one of the few cool hangouts in this part of Coney Island, where you can actually meet and talk to some of the performers pre and post show. It is also home to Side Show School, The Coney Island Museum and a gift shop. The place is a NY institution.

Freak Show performances can be seen all over the city too. On February 1st, they will play at BB Kings in Times Square, Gotham Comedy Club on February 24th and leading up to the Summer months, there will be tons of activity announced. Check out their website and let me know what you think:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

BEST Free WiFi spot to work and write.

I have to give credit to Starbucks for being the one to invent the notion that someone could sit in some dining (or coffee establishment) for four or more hours and tap away on their laptop. To me it was always a joke that some idiot would grab their little pretentious Macbook (God, I actually wish I had one right now!) and sit for hours at some overpriced coffee house trying to write the great American novel while nursing a $5 latte and never actually doing any work. 2009 changed all that. With so many unemployed “consultants” setting up shop in Starbucks all over the city, and Starbucks itself closing locations left and right, it became impossible to find a seat. Then one day, I stumbled into Panera Bread.

There’s one right off of Woodhaven Blvd near Metropolitan Avenue in Glendale, Queens near my home. I always wondered why anyone would even go there. It’s out of the way and not near any public transportation…and near a Home Depot. What’s the point?

But let me confess something right away: I love it there! I hate this notion of laptops and free wi-fi, but at Panera I can actually write and get work done and eat or drink pretty damn good food. Actually, I really, really love this place. I won’t spend three hours there, but to go for a couple of hours, work on my laptop and change the pace? There’s no better wi-fi place in all of NYC. This is THE BEST!

For starters, there’s more than just good coffee and it’s not as pricey as Starbucks. There are really good Panini sandwiches and even better breakfast choices, like the three cheese soufflĂ©. I love that soufflĂ©! Never as packed as a Starbucks, it’s already generally more spacious, has less traffic and great, free, accessible wifi with lots of outlets for my non-Mac piece of shit laptop. So today I found THE BEST Wi-fi hotspot in all of NYC…and my new office out of the office when I would rather look at the pretty unemployed “consultants” hanging out there than my cat and dog running the house, or worse yet, having to deal with some long train ride into the city to work!

Know of a better wi-fi spot? Shout it out. In the meantime, I be hanging out at Panera.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

BEST Spicy WINGS in all of NYC

Don't get me started on fast food. I hate it...although sometimes I do eat it.
I bring this up because I am wondering if this Korean place in Flushing called KYOCHON on 157th and Northern Blvd is some sort of Korean fast food chain or just the hippest little place to serve the most AWESOME, drop dead good spicy wings in all of NYC!

They seem to be in a lot of places including LA and NY and all the tell-tale signs of a chain in the making. But if this is Korean fastfood, then KFC better watch its feathered ass because there's a new KFC coming our way...except the K in this case is for Korean or Kyochon not Kentucky.

The Chicken Bulgogi over rice is surprisingly inexpensive and it is so spicy and full of sharp tasting onions that you'll be dripping sweat by the 2nd bite. But as good as that is (and you should try it because...well, just because you'd be stupid not to), the thing to get here are the spicy wings...crunchy not soggy, perfectly battered wings with a deep penetrating burn that is just hot enough to get your face a little numb, but with a slightly sweet undertone that knocks it back to some earthly territory where the whole experience becomes a blast of flavors. You will feel that incredible sensation right after the first crunchy bite and then you will be addicted. I can easily eat a dozen of these wings, sweat my head off, and suck it all down with a beer! Wow...what a treat this place is.

Now I have had amazing wings in alot places in NYC and I feel sort of bad that this place is going to take credit for having such great wings (consdering my aversion to foods that come in chains), but that is how things are. I've been searching for an authentic (homecooked...not the frozen variety) wing place, but so far haven't found one that really rocks this much. So frozen or not, this place is it for now.

If you know of some place to recommend, please do. I am thinking of the kind of wings made right there, fresh, with authentic preparation...the spicier the better! Let me know! Please.
And maybe join me...we'll get a group of spicy wing lovers together. Hmmmm. Did I mention CRUNCHY.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Best Burger in NYC...Without a doubt!

If you are looking to find, without a doubt, the BEST BURGER in NYC the only place to go is this amazing and obsessed blog: Burger Bedlam: a search for the BEST NYC Burger.

Forget New York Magazine, Time Out New York or The Village Voice...and don't even bother reading what I have to say. These cosmopolitan carnivores - Kyle and Brett - have blogged about the best burgers in town like no one else could; they are the oracles of Burgerdom, the Gods of ground cow patties, the Honchos of Hamburgers!

They walk you through their meals dissecting the treat from bun to beef with the kind of dedicated detail only a true fanatic of burgers could muster. Why reinvent the wheel? Read a few of their reviews and just go to, literally. They eaten burgers in all the boroughs, throughout the city and written about it. And there seems to be no stopping them.

I am not sure why they chose this subject for a blog, but I have to say I am bit jealous and I think they are geniuses! I am humbled.

Tell 'em I sent you. And tell me if they pointed you in the right direction!