adventures of trying to be @erickhercules (the californian takes new york, part I)
Shoutout to my ambitious self that said I was going to keep this blog updated regularly (ha).
It’s the end of my first week masquerading as a New Yorker, and it’s been pretty awesome. Aside from getting lost on the subway on a daily basis, I think I’m really taking to city life.
Before I left for New York, I kind of promised my mom and my sister that I would keep a photo journal for them so that they could follow my trip, and I’ve also been meaning to play around with my lovely camera that I’ve had for six months now and still haven’t fully learned how to use, so this was the perfect opportunity to keep my promise to them and also the one I made to myself to blog more frequently.
@erickhercules is this photographer I follow religiously on Instagram (I use the word “follow” loosely; “obsessively like every photo on his feed” is probably more accurate) who I think I found through Humans of New York…he does these amazing cityscapes, “puddlegrams,” levitation shots, and other very beautiful portraits of life in New York City that have this really cool aesthetic. So sometimes when I take pictures I try to emulate his style (his feed also introduced me to a bunch of other excellent photographers on Instagram…check out some of my favorites: @humzadeas, @tutes, @denn_ice, @brenleo, @potatounit, and @djaeoutlaw).
So since I’ve been here I’ve been trying REALLY HARD to be a good photojournalist. That means exercising very admirable restraint whenever food is placed in front of me and taking pictures before I’ve even picked up a fork, and documenting everything, from street art to the very colorful locals here.
Shortly after I got into the city, I met up with my pbro James who was visiting, and we walked around East Village. It was POURING so we tried to stay out of the rain, which resulted in us hiding out in a bunch of food places. Three kinds of bars, actually. First, we found this little hipster-looking bar called Milk & Hops that had all of these craft beers with artsy labels and interesting names (fancy a pint of “Rushing Duck Consumer-Friendly Keg-Mover”?). We got beer flights and tried eight different beers…most of which were really intense. I should note that I am not a fan of beer, so it was a bit of an interesting experience, but still fun trying to guess which labels matched which beers (I liked an apple cider, the least beer-tasting one, the best).
Then I took him to this place called Spot Dessert Bar (thanks, Caren!) and we ordered the Matcha Green Tea Lava Cake, which we ate in about three seconds. And finally we stopped at a tapas bar with live flamenco dancing for a midnight snack. The energy and atmosphere were so much fun and the food was amazing (I tried oxtail for the first time...sounded like it should be on Man vs. Food, but it definitely didn’t taste like it).
The next day I met up with my cousin Robby who took me to this place called Xi’an Famous Foods that was well-known for its appearance on Food Network and its hand-pulled noodles. Then we accidentally got caught up in the NYC Pride Parade, which was massive and spanned for over 10 blocks. It was especially cool considering the Supreme Court decision had been made official a couple of days prior. He also showed me this color IQ test (completely random, but much harder than you’d think…a perfect score is 0, and after a while all of the colors start blending into each other).
I also started my internship with a small creative firm in Midtown called Canopy Brand Group, which is pretty fun so far. Ten minutes after I walked into the office on my first day, my boss said “Okay, trial by fire today—we’ve got a lot of projects today for a lot of our accounts, so we’re going to work you” and I went straight into my first conference call. I’m not so sure about account management, but luckily, there are only seven people in the New York office, which means I get to be involved with a lot of different parts of the creative process. And we have a lot of cool client accounts (hello, Pepsi!) that we’re working for over the next few weeks, so it should be fun. Plus, there’s a really cute pop-up market a couple of blocks away called Broadway Bites that’s only here for the summer and brings together “New York City’s most popular chefs, small culinary businesses, and artisan producers, setting them up with outdoor kitchens in the heart of Midtown.” It’s like a tiny outdoor gourmet food court.
My friend Nick took also me to Chelsea Market, which is this really cool indoor public market with pretty much every kind of food you can think of. We had soju at this Korean ramen place and then gelato from this place called L’Arte Del Gelato, which tells you everything you need to know (the pistachio was a little bit life-changing).
There were noodle restaurants, fish markets, bookstores, bakeries, and an artisan marketplace where they sold things like jewelry and cufflinks made out of watch parts.
After, we went to the Brooklyn Bridge, which as many times I’ve visited New York, I’ve actually never been to! It was so beautiful at night—when you looked back from the middle of the bridge you could see all of the city lights. It looked like a postcard and I took entirely too many pictures of it (and I’m absolutely not sorry because look at them).
When I’m not eating out (definitely going to go broke living here this summer), I like just walking around and exploring. A couple of other places I’ve been: a restaurant in the Excelsior hotel on the West Side called Calle Ocho with some of the most delicious bread I’ve ever had in my entire existence (which is impressive because I am a bread enthusiast) and some of the most intricate desserts.
A street fair right outside of Times Square, Victoria Gardens in Central Park, Asbury Park beach in New Jersey (did you know you have to pay to go to the beach on the East Coast?!), and Chinatown for dim sum and ice cream.
So many places to see, so many things to eat—suffice to say, it’s going to be a pretty great summer. Sorry this was really long. More to come soon!