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First night in Atlanta, GA

First night in Atlanta, GA

A week or two ago, I headed to Atlanta to work on a webseries called “Getting Out“. I had just finished working as a Stylist on a music video by musical artist Sean Cooney down in Savannah, and to keep myself awake driving from Savannah to Atlanta at 4 am for my 9am call time in ATL, I decided to write a rap. A few days later, I posted it on Youtube. Check it out below.

I was kinda going for a “cute and sweet” face before busting some rhymes, but according to my brother, it “just makes [him] uncomfortable”. Oh well, can’t win ‘em all. I’m planning to post another rap soon-ish. Maybe this week. You’ll know when it happens.

Getting Out…in Atlanta

I arrived in ATL barely ten minutes before call time and feeling slightly like death (but just slightly). Luckily, there was a little bit of down time during the shoot, and I napped on whatever was available to me (mostly chairs, the floor, face down on a table…). I did try napping standing up once. I wouldn’t recommend it.

The webseries is a college-y comedy about 3 roommates + a girlfriend (my character) who are just trying to get out of college. In the first episode, the guys get a new (female) roommate, and shit happens.

We made a promo where Connor, one of the roommates, tries to show us how to “Dougie”. The results are pretty hysterical. Plus I’m super awkward in it, my favorite thing. For your viewing pleasure:

On Set of “Getting Out”

It’s not a film project without a few bumps in the road, and “Getting Out” was no exception. But somehow we made it through a week of filming (plus a pickup day the following week), and I even got to do a little bit of makeup. I created a black eye for roommate Ian after a raucous party episode, and did Riley(new roomie)’s basic makeup on one of our shoot days. And I have to say, I do enjoy acting, but I think I get more out of the artistic/creative side of things. I love creating a character through their clothes and makeup.

Heath's black eye on Getting Out

Heath’s black eye on Getting Out – still need to practice making black eyes, but this is what I came up with on short notice.

Coincidentally, our boom operator/sound mixer/entire sound department, Bryarly Bishop, has a vlog and made a behind-the-scenes video for Getting Out. It’s mucho entertaining. Have a look:


Days off…Enjoying Atlanta

We’d planned to get all five episodes done in a 5 day week (a little ambitious, I know), and we ended up a little bit behind. So we made the following Tuesday our pick-up day, and I had a few days off to check out the town.

Midsummer Music Festival

I crashed on my friend Pam’s couch, and she, her roommate Broek and I headed to the Midsummer Music Festival in Candler Park, about a 5 minute walk from Little Five Points. On our way there we grabbed a beer at a pub, and Pam and Broek tried “Poptails”, alcoholic popsicles. When we got to Candler Park, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band was celebrating their 35th anniversary, and we had a great time dancing along to their New Orleans brass.

MidSummer Music Fest in Atlanta, GA

Midsummer Music Fest

Indian Lunch Buffet at Chopaati

On Sunday, I met the cast and crew of Getting Out for lunch at Chopaati. According to Broek, Decatur is the best place to go for Indian food around Atlanta. Many of the crew had never had Indian food before, so I sort of became the “expert” even though I had no idea what any of it was. My whole reasoning behind going to a buffet instead of a sit-down Indian restaurant is so I can see the food before I put it on my plate! But everyone seemed to enjoy it, so I must have done something right.

Delicious Indian Food Meal at Chopaati in ATL

We attacked this meal. And it was delicious.

A Different Way of Riding

Later that afternoon, Pam and I went horseback riding, and I learned a few things about endurance riding, a very different style from what I do (hunter/jumper). In endurance riding, you ride for long periods of time – as long as 24 hours. Everything from the tack to the horse’s gaits are different, but it didn’t take me too long to figure it out, and we spent a lovely afternoon on the trails.

Touring Historic Oakland Cemetery

Pam & Broek suggested I check out the Historic Oakland Cemetery, so on Monday, after somehow failing to locate the High Museum of Art, I had lunch at a deli in midtown, then drove over to the cemetery and managed to find free parking.

Historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA

Historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA

I wandered around for a bit, then got a phone call from a good friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while and spent the next few hours chatting with him. And let me tell you, if you ever want to have a private conversation in a city where you don’t have any privacy, go to a cemetery. There’s usually only a handful of other wanderers, and they’re generally respectful enough to leave you alone. Plus you probably look like a crazy person talking to your dead relatives…or something.

Secluded path in the Historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA

There is something about cemeteries that is so peaceful and calming that I absolutely love. Maybe it is how expansive they are compared to the number of wanderers there. Or maybe it is the absolute stillness that makes me feel connected to past generations. It is the only place that is simultaneously empty and crowded, and I love being alone without feeling alone.

Shadow-girl in the Historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA

Dorn Brothers Photography Art Show

On Tuesday, we finished our pick up shots for Getting Out then headed to IHOP for some red velvet pancakes (not everyone in the cast is 21, so grabbing a beer was kind of out of the question). Afterward, everyone went their separate ways, and I had a little time to swing by the Dorn Brothers‘ “Ghost of Old Highways” Art Show wrap party at the Carroll St Cafe to say bye to Pam and check out some pretty incredible photography.

The Dorn Brothers were also the photographers on a music video I worked on called “Black Curtain” by the same musical artist, Lovett, and there seemed to be a handful of people at the art show who’d worked on both. So it was pretty cool to see some familiar faces.

On Wednesday I passed through Columbia to see my fam, then headed back to Wilmington for my next adventure.

Hometown Tour Pt II: Wilmington’s Arboretum

The other day, I was driving past Wilmington’s Arboretum for about the 12th time after a meeting that ended sooner than expected, so I decided to stop and enjoy the free (!) garden.
Arbor over greenhouse in Arboretum Wilmington, NC
As I mozied through the unattended gates, I noticed an art class painting the scenery directly to my right. Nice to see that the community is taking advantage of this free space!

Japanese rock garden Arboretum Wilmington, NCI wandered past the painters, spectators, and children running underfoot toward a section of the garden that immediately caught my eye. It was a Japanese rock garden directly in front of a small hut built in the Japanese style, with large red wooden ‘gates’ in the same style on either side of the path. You may or may not be aware of my obsession with all things Japanese, but suffice it to say that this part of the Arboretum made me very happy.

Japanese style hut Arboretum Wilmington, NCI played with the sliding doors to the hut for a little while, then moved on to other parts of the garden. It was not nearly as large as Airlie Gardens, but the space was well-planned and had plenty of secluded areas where I could envision myself reading or drawing or simply soaking up the green space for use on a rainy day.

Pencil Cactus in greenhouse at the Arboretum in Wilmington, NCI toured the two greenhouses, observing some really neat types of cacti. Then I read about rainwater irrigation techniques and learned that this urn-like fountain was more than decorative. It was recycling the water collected from the roof of the greenhouses.

Rainwater Irrigation System Arboretum Wilmington, NCEventually I made my way over to the Ability Garden (Horticulture Therapy Program) where a myriad of flowers and herbs were for sale for the meager price of $3.00. Better than anything I’ve seen at Lowe’s that’s for sure. They even had planters for sale full of various greenery that had been assembled by kids in the program.

Ability Garden Arboretum Wilmington, NCI walked back to the final space (as it turned out, it was supposed to be the entrance) which appeared at first glance to be a community garden. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that all the vegetables grown in this garden were donated to a charity that helps people in need. I think the Arboretum is my new favorite place!

big old tree arboretum wilmington, ncOn my way out, I grabbed a couple pamphlets about volunteering with the Arboretum and peered through the locked doors of the gift shop. Guess I’ll have to stop in next time!

River City: Richmond, VA

It seems as though with every new blog post I write, comes a new apology for not writing! This stretch between posts has been particularly long (I’m sure you all missed me very much). This time, though, I actually have a more legitimate excuse – I was working as Wardrobe Supervisor for a short film, and we worked 12-14 hour days almost every day! It was a great experience, though (you’ll hear more about it in later blog posts for sure), and I can’t wait to get started on another film project.

In the meantime, though, here is the wrap up post for my September 2011 road trip: Richmond, VA. Since I have been back and forth to RVA a few times since September, this post is really a conglomeration of my recent experiences there. Enjoy!

My final stop: Richmond, VA (AKA River City)

It’s hard to decide what to write about this city in which I lived throughout college, and of which I have so many fond memories. But I think I’d like to start with a video that will give you an understanding of what the city’s all about.

One of the reasons I left Richmond, though, was the feeling of non-movement I got from the city. It is very much a city whose inhabitants seem to get stuck in time, to stagnate in their mundane job/happy hour/lamenting about life cycle. Don’t get me wrong, Richmond is a great college town. There are a ton of hip cafés, bars, and hang out spots. There is an amazing park system, and Carytown offers a number of great shops, activities, and even a dollar theater (home to the largest French Film festival in the US)! But when you live in Richmond for a while, it’s hard to get over the feeling that you’ll never get out.

The other day, my feelings were proved legitimate by an article by The Atlantic : The 10 Fastest Growing (and fastest declining) Cities in the World. While it felt good to have my sentiments validated, I felt a pang of sadness to see Richmond listed as one of the 10 fastest declining cities in the world. There’s still that part of me that would love to see Richmond flourishing, to be drawn to return there, to relive the best of my college years in the city I loved. (I know, I know, this is starting to sound uber dramatic. Give me a sec to wax nostalgic. I promise things’ll get funny in a bit).

To be fair, I love visiting the place. I love lounging on the rocks at Belle Isle, and returning to our local haunts to indulge in $6 pitchers of PBR (with friends, of course), tots with hot sauce, and some of the best sushi I’ve ever tasted.

When I arrived in September, my first stop was Chipotle. My friends and I used to go here often after class, and Richmond was the first place I ever really ate here…so it seemed appropriate as a first meal in the city.

Chipotle in Richmond, VAI snapped a photo and sent it to a few friends who weren’t in Richmond to make them jealous. It worked.

I spent the rest of the visit just hanging out. After so much constant travel, it was nice just to be with friends without much agenda for a few days before heading back to Columbia.

In October, I returned to RVA for UR’s Homecoming Football game. My friends Kim, James, Sung, Bailey and I took some lawn chairs, a cooler full of homemade salad and wraps Kim and I assembled the night before, drinks, and a beer coozie necklace (courtesy James) to tailgate before the game. Eventually, we decided we should get some tickets, so James ambled over to the ticket office and somehow commandeered some for free. Our tailgate was cut short by campus police kicking everyone out as the game started, so we moseyed over to the stadium and got settled in. A minute later James had produced a hipflask, and we were receiving glares from more prestigious alumni as we loudly discussed James’s new book/light idea and how to sell it on Etsy.

Later that evening, we headed to a pub called Patrick Henry’s. It’s in a basement off E. Broad St and is the kind of place that feels full with ten people in it, the bartender lets you choose the music off her iPod, and the instant you walk in, you feel like the other patrons are old friends of yours. We sat at the corner of the bar, ordered drinks, and chatted about the day.

An hour or so later, James was talking about the Clash with his new best friends, and the rest of us were taking bets on whether or not James would break his two-week no smoking record tonight (OK, maybe I was just taking bets in my head). All of a sudden this guy appeared at my shoulder, “I like your headband,” he intoned, in what I assume he assumed to be a suave manner.

“Uh, thanks,” I said, not sure where to go from there.

“I’ve just been staring at you across the bar for the last hour,” he continued, “I just think you are beautiful.” He smiled at me vacantly, “I’m Albert, by the way.”

“Oh, uh, thanks. Nice to meet you,” I said, looking around for a little help, “Have you met my friend James?” I motioned to James, who was singing a Clash song with his new buddy. He waved cheerily. I turned my back on the two and returned to chatting with Bailey.

But my admirer was not to be thwarted so easily. He made a snide comment about my iPhone, and ten minutes later we were in an argument about whether or not social media is good for society. Or rather, I was arguing. I’m pretty sure he thought he was flirting.

I argued that though social media can reduce personal interactions with people, it also greatly increases the number of relationships one can maintain. How else would you be able to find little Billy from 3rd grade 15 years later and then maintain a working relationship? Yes, I’m a little biased because I’ve worked in Social Media Marketing and am extremely “plugged in” as they say, but think of all the connections people couldn’t have made in any other way. When I moved to Montreal, I knew no one, but somehow I left feeling like I knew the whole city. How? Social Media.

Albert’s argument was that he’d rather meet people “organically”. He said that social media creates a false, half-assed relationship with someone that is little more than voyeuristic. “What happens when I graduate from VCU med school [he made sure to mention he was attending med school about 10 times throughout the course of the night] and get married and move to Chicago and never see any of my old friends again?” he asked.

“That’s what social media is for!” I protested, “So that you can more easily keep up with the friends you no longer live near, and if it so happens that someone you know has also moved to Chicago, you can look him up and see him in person!”

Albert continued down his contradictory path of confusion, “But see, I’d rather just run into that person at a bar or something than look them up on Facebook first.” I wanted to smack his smug, idiot grin from his face. There is very little I detest more in people than a condescending tone, and very little irks me more than a man patronizing me. Especially when he’s wrong.

I barred my teeth at Albert’s steepled fingers and practically spat into his face, “Chicago is a huge city. The chances of you just-” I made quotation marks with my fingers, “- running into a friend passing through the city are slim to none. Social media is an enabler. Yes, plenty of people use it to live vicariously through others, but when used properly, it can enhance your current relationships rather than deplete them.”

Somehow, despite my best efforts, Albert refused to acknowledge the soundness of my argument. But the bar was closing, and we were being shooed outside. James was still chatting with his new friend – who turned out to be Albert’s wing man – and was smoking a cigarette in front of the bar. He turned to me, “Hey, these guys-” he motioned to Albert and his friend, “-live a couple blocks from here and have invited us over for a bit. You coming?” I rolled my eyes and looked at Bailey. She shrugged. “Yeah, okay, whatever,” I said, following them down the street.

The evening finally ended with Albert telling me various times how attractive he found me and me telling him that “too bad you won’t ever see me again because you can’t friend me on Facebook [and I wasn’t about to give him my number].” Apparently Albert saw that as a challenge. The next day, I had received not one, but two emails from Albert to two different email addresses (neither of which I had given him) that read simply:

Hey,

I want to talk to you . . . sorry that I didn’t get your email.

Albert

There was also an attachment. Scanned in on VCU med school stationary, was a handwritten ‘poem’.

Instead of adding my own commentary to this poem, I’d like to share with you a friend’s reaction to the whole situation. Unfortunately, she has requested anonymity, so I can’t give credit where it’s due. But please, enjoy the following.

Thank you for forwarding this; it pretty much made my week.

The bad rhymes, the back-handed compliments, the misspelled and sometimes straight-up fabricated words, the MCV letterhead – it’s all perfection.  

Also, can we talk about the body of “Albert’s” e-mail?  Why the ellipsis? Why no mention of the poem attachment?

Good thing this guy’s a med student and not a poet or in grad school for creative writing.  Yikes.  Also, where is he getting his tips on picking up ladies?  Wearing ‘biz cas’ to a bar, having a noticeably more attractive wing man, using “I like your headband” as a pickup line…it was all so bad, and yet so right.  

Maybe James gave him your e-mail address to be a troublemaker.  Otherwise “Albert” did some serious google research.  Did you tell him how your name was spelled?  

Oh Hail Storm, you come to Richmond for a few days and leave behind a trail of broken med student hearts.  Argument for moving back to Richmond: readymade med student boyfriend with a first name from the 19th century.

The Truth about Niagara

Niagara Falls: Nothing’s ever just about nature

When I spoke to the owner of THE hostel in Niagara, Ontario, he couldn’t understand why I was staying only one night. “You’ll see when you arrive,” he said, “There’s so much to do here!” I couldn’t imagine what else there might be to do besides going to see the falls. Maybe a hike or something? Other nature-related events of which I was unaware? How unfortunately wrong I was.

American Falls in Niagara

I crossed the border into Ontario around 11pm-  yes back into Canada, and, yes, in a roundabout way via NYC. The border-patrol guard was incredulous, “So you’re coming to Niagara from Montreal, but you went to New York City first…and you have a car full of stuff…” I think the fact that I had everything covered up with a blanket in the back didn’t help my sketch-appeal. But apparently in Canada sketchy situations are dealt with 2 minutes of lips-pursed ruminating and a cursory flashlight into the back window. The guy seemed to think I was lying, but didn’t want to bother interrogating me or unloading my stuff, so he waved me through.

From there I drove through what seemed to be an office park. There were tall glass buildings with miles of parking lot and a roundabout traffic system booby-trapped with speed bumps and humps presumably to keep your attention on the road instead of craning to see the falls. I drove over a bridge through some mist that came off of what appeared to be the water system of a miniature golf course, and then I came to a neighborhood road lined with sad, run down houses with chain-link-fences and overgrown yards. I continued down this street to my hostel, which was really just a large old house that teetered like the Weasley’s Burrow and was situated directly across the street from two large chain hotels.

I had to phone the hostel because the front desk is only open till about 10pm. But the (presumably) owner was nice enough to get up and let me in close to midnight. The inside of the hostel looked as you might imagine – a confusion of hallways, staircases, and rooms that fit together as if they were halves of two different houses. The owner, a middle-aged man with a long ponytail and a tie-dye t-shirt talked my ear off as he struggled to unlock the door to my room. Eventually it opened. “It isn’t usually this bad,” he said, handing me the key and heading back downstairs. “Goodnight,” he called. I peered into my room and took in about 6 sets of bunk beds. Every one of them was empty. Well, more privacy for me.

The next day I got up around 9:00 and headed downstairs. The breakfast food, which consisted of fruit, yogurt, and home-made chocolate chip muffins that were slightly burnt on the bottom, was nearly gone. “How do I get to the falls from here?” I asked the owner. “Just go straight down this street until you hit Main, then take a right,” he said, “Main will take you directly there.” I thanked him, checked out, dropped my stuff off in my car and headed to the falls, ready to finally see this natural wonder of the world. But I was ill-prepared for the horror I’d have to pass through beforehand.

Niagara tacky theme park ferris wheelAs soon as I reached Main street, the scenery began to change. Instead of grubby front yards, there were brick sidewalks and cute lampposts. “This is nice,” I thought. But then the cute village-like appeal took a turn for the worse. A Ferris wheel emerged, and when I reached it, I noticed there was a fun house stationed in front of it. Continuing down the street, I saw laser tag stations, wax museums Niagara tacky theme park(yes, more than one), gaudy tourist shops that all sold the same ‘souvenirs’, Halloween costume shops, haunted houses, carnival-esque game centers, and any and everything else you Niagara tacky theme park wax museummight find at a fairgrounds or, to a lesser scale, Las Vegas. I literally felt bile coming up in the back of my throat. And the feeling was exacerbated by the early hour; since it was not much later than 9am, no one was out. It was a tacky, disgusting ghost town. I felt like I was in the Joker’s fun park.

Niagara Falls American FallsBut 10 minutes later I arrived at the overlook to the falls and breathed a sigh of relief. Seeing such natural beauty made up for having to endure the tackiness of the town and sad, downtrodden feeling of the neighborhood Niagara Fallssurrounding it. I was surprised to discover that it only costs $15 to take a ride on the Maid of the Mist, so I bought my ticket, donned a blue ‘souvenir’ poncho, had my picture awkwardly taken in front of a green screen all by myself (“just you?” the cameraman asked. I gave him a thumbs-up), and headed to the dock to board the boat.

Wind on Maid of the Mist at Niagara FallsMy boat-mates were mostly Asian tourists who couldn’t seem to get control of their blue ponchos in addition to older couples who paced from one side of the boat to the other, trying to get the best view. That boat ride made the trek to Niagara all worth it. If you go to Niagara Falls, go on the boat! It’s not terribly expensive, and the hour-long ride and view are well worth it.

In the Mist at Niagara FallsWhile aboard the Maid of the Mist, the captain told us (mostly inaudible) stories about people who have performed stunts involving the falls. Some of the most famous include Annie Taylor, a school teacher who went over the falls in a barrel she had constructed around the age of 60, Maria Spelterini, a mysterious young circus performer from Italy who disappeared after walking a tightrope across the falls, and The Great Blondin, one of the most famous of the tightrope walkers.

The best story involving the falls, though, is one that occurred completely by accident. In 1960, a young boy and his older sister were out on a boat on the Niagara river just above the falls with a family friend, when the boat motor cut out. The boat eventually capsized, sweeping the three of them towards the falls. The girl was rescued by some people on the shore, but the older man and little boy went straight over the falls. Miraculously, Roger Woodward, who was only 7 years old at the time, survived wearing only swim trunks and a life vest. He was fished out of the river by staff aboard The Maid of the Mist. Unfortunately, the family friend was not so lucky.

Leaving Horseshoe Falls in NiagaraYou would think that the souvenir shops would capitalize on Niagara’s history of daredevils and stuntmen (and women), but unfortunately all they sold were cheesy pictures of the falls lit up by rainbow colored lights with flowery clip art around the edges. Outside the gift shop, there was a cabana complete with a tiki bar and a guitarist wearing a straw hat (I kid you not). This little town really needs to embrace its nature (pun intended) instead of building a theme park near it in order to ‘entertain’ the tourists. News flash, tourists are coming to see Niagara Falls, not to hang out at some crappy step-child imitation of Las Vegas.

The saddest part of the whole ordeal happened as I was checking out at the store. I had bought a couple postcards and a book written by a local about Niagara daredevils which I found tucked away on a hard-to-reach shelf on my way out. Clearly books are not priority items here. I looked at the cashier and asked, “Do you have any pictures or postcards of Annie Taylor’s barrel?” She looked at me, clearly confused, “Annie who?” I sighed and handed her some bills for my items, “Nevermind.”

Next: My adventure exploring Ottawa’s Parks

New York City: A Park, A School, and Stackable Cars

DAY 1: Welcome to New-effing-York

After parking in White Plains, I headed over to the train station that was connected to my parking deck. I was only able to pay to leave my car for 24 hours, but I noticed they had a call-and-pay system, so I could pay again from my cell without leaving NYC. Good news, since I planned to stay in the city a few days. Just as a side note to anyone who decides to park their car for a few days in White Plains – the deck I left my car in was only universally available after 10am on Friday through 5pm on Sunday (or a similar weekends-only schedule). So don’t go parking your car there during the week.

Grand Central Station New York, New York

The I'm-doing-the-weather-green ceiling in Grand Central Station threw me off a bit too

I waited an hour for the train, jumped on when it arrived, and rode the rickety thing 30 minutes to Grand Central, where I transferred to another line and met my friend Evan. The transferring was pretty easy. If you’ve ever used a subway system consistently before, you shouldn’t have any problem.

I dropped my stuff off and we headed downtown to check out all the happenin places (i.e. the Mac store on 5th ave where Evan works as well as Dubspot, the music production school he attends). The school, located in New York’s meat-packing district, had just opened some new labs and built them around an ultra-modern style mixed with beautiful exposed brick walls. I also noticed a number of African tribal masks lining the walls.

Dubspot Expansion Labs

Dubspot Music School (not the best pic, but you get the idea)

After checking out the school, we made our way to the Chelsea Market, and admired some of the cute shops and restaurants there. Ended up getting side-tracked by cool books (typical) in Posman Books, and spent a good half hour there before moving on.

Chelsea Market in NY, NY

After the market, we walked over to the High Line Park and walked along the bridge. The bridge was built in the 1930s “as part of a massive public-private infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement. It lifted freight traffic 30 feet in the air, removing dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan’s largest industrial district” (High Line Website). There haven’t been any trains running on the bridge since the 1980s, and in the early 2000s, the High Line was transformed into a beautiful park stretching from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues.

Cool Windows in High Line Bridge in New York, New York

It was fashion week in New York, and there seemed to be some kind of photoshoot going on on the bridge and around it. I actually almost walked right into it – and the security guy wasn’t going to stop me! Evan had to tell me I was going the wrong way before I turned around. Guess it just goes to show that if you walk like you know where you’re going, few people will question you.

Fashion Week Photoshoot From High Line Bridge in New York City

Strangely, there was a plant in all of the planters on the bridge that smelled overwhelmingly like cilantro. But it definitely didn’t look like cilantro. For those of you who don’t know, cilantro is my one and only food allergy. Weird, huh? I tolerated the smell as long as possible, but we left the bridge sooner than intended (but not before snapping some cool shots of local architecture and signs!).

Melting Architecture in New York, New York

Garden Terraces in Apartment Building in New York, New York

Bicycle Sign in New York, New York

The spot where we got off the High Line Bridge was right next to a bizarre site. It was the strangest parking deck I have ever seen. Take a look.

Car Shelves in New York, New York

Umm, yes, those are cars stacked on top of each other. And they are not in line to be impounded or on a truck being shipped from one state to another. These are literally electronic car shelves, and they remind me of the system in the home of Pixar’s robot Wall-E (if you haven’t seen that movie, don’t worry about it. It’s not really that great). Regardless of how difficult it is to find a parking spot in NYC, I’m surprised by how many Beamers I see in this shelving unit. Although I suppose it pretty much guarantees your car won’t be broken into.

Empire State Building Sign in NY, NY

Looking at this plaque makes me think of Steampunk since it has been so popular on Etsy lately.

We wandered around a bit more then grabbed dinner and decided to go to the top of the Empire State Building (“Don’t go to any high-risk areas this weekend since it’s September 11th,” Evan’s dad had told him. Clearly we took that advice seriously).

It was dark out by the time we got to the top of the building, so we had some beautiful views of the city. There was even a saxophonist playing! Unfortunately, it did cost a good bit to climb the tower – $20 or so. But there were some perks to going in the evening. It wasn’t crowded so we didn’t have to wait in line very long. It was sweet passing through all those ropes that had been set up in case the line got extra long, like we had a fast pass. Also, the nighttime view is incredible. The wall surrounding the lookout is high enough that you can rest your camera on it like a tripod and get some pretty sick photos. Here are a couple of mine.

Nighttime View of the Hudson from Empire State Building in NY, NY

Nighttime View from Empire State Building in NY, NY

Next, free yoga in the city and my brother-in-law’s MLS game.