Bringing the Change to Williamsburg

It was a wondrous day. The first day I really had the ability to walk the dog proper and smell the roses, which are stinking up the whole hood. As regular readers know, I got me some food poisoning at my regular Chinatown haunt last Monday and only came up for air Friday. With new vigor and without six pounds of me, Amanda and I strolled with Lulu towards the newish hotel King & Grove in Williamsburg. It surely is becoming the talk of the town, said I realizing that never before had I felt like I wasn’t living in New York anymore. Brooklyn/Manhattan really has become a tale of two cities, and the differences are becoming more and more profound as every nook and cranny of my hipster heaven is developed into stardust. Sure, there are Duane Reades and other chain store massacres popping up, but they are merely flea collars—annoying necessities to keep the dog moving. I still go into Manhattan every day but I am starting to rethink that.

I’m new to Brooklyn, having only been living and playing here for a couple of years. My crew are 10-years deep and they know others deeper. They pooh- pooh us "Johnny Come Latelys" and talk of the real art scene that’s becoming harder to find. Amanda points out all the strollers and kids rolling around. Her cutesie theory is they are a result of all those good parties and spring picnics in McCarren Park of yore. It’s only going to get worse now that the HBO hit Girls is screaming lust and lattes to the world. In the last few years, the invasion of frat boys and their sorority sisters has irked the deep hipsters, but they haven’t seen anything yet. With construction trying to keep up and rents still a bit better than Manhattan, Williamsburg is changing—lets say evolving—to meet its destiny. This isn’t anything profound or new, just a rant on a Monday morning from a sick old fool who can’t wait to see what happens next week on Girls (and don’t get me started on Game of Thrones).

This Saturday I went to see the Dirty Pearls at the Gramercy Theatre. It’s the second show I’ve caught there. I caught Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg a while back. It is that small rock theater some have been pining for. It has a big enough/small enough feel to it, great sightlines and sound, seating for those of us who need to do that, and a couple of adequate bars. With Hiro in the history books and Don Hill’s a nostalgic memory, this is the right spot for Nur Khan and his ilk to put on the right show for the right crowd. On the Dirty Pearls bill were Hussle Club, who are very much a part of the mayhem that I am part of Thursdays at Hotel Chantelle. "Hussle-ers" Carol Shark and Prince Terrence are two of the four DJs in the Basement along with Michael Cavadias and Miss Guy. Breedlove and Starkiller were also on the big bill. The Dirty Pearls are a buzz band poised to break out big in the metal rock universe. This show was completely sold-out, unlike most of the crowd.

I walked over Beauty Bar to say hey to Michael Tee who has been their Saturday night regular for three years. The place was pumping with a nice crowd, which had been pumping Tequilla and Mexican beer in themselves since…early, maybe years. I forgot it was Cinco de Mayo, which has potential to be as annoying as St. Patrick’s Day. I made for the curb and walked into the Hole Gallery’s pop up restaurant Hole Foods at 231 2nd Avenue at 14th Street.

"Artist Joe Grillo has completely transformed the restaurant into a multifaceted, experiential artwork. Executive chef Robert Rubba will be serving fancy comfort Italian in his customized Dearraindrop chef suit. For three months only!"

I arrived too late for dinner but in time to talk the talk with Paper mainstay Carlo McCormick and some familiar downtown players. The old meatball restaurant that existed just a minute ago was awash with color and colorful folk. Am I wrong, but knocking off the extremely successful Meatball Shop chain without understanding what made that work is…wrong and maybe plain dumb. Saturday was the first time I walked in to the place and I walk by  four times a week. I don’t really know the story of this location and this seemingly defunct or on its way to defuncting restaurant, but I do know the story with the Meatball Shop. Mike is my boy and he’s doing it right. I’m putting down pen…er closing the computer and hop, skip, and jumping over to Bedford Avenue for lunch.

The DL Begins Anew Tonight & Why You Should Never Call Me ‘A Legend’

Tonight marks a new beginning for The DL, a joint at 95 Delancey that was doing very well anyway…thank you very much. It’s luscious, sprawling, and enclosed rooftop brings the crowds – rain or shine, winter or summer. The launch of its Wednesday gala brings events on three floors, with notable DJs Prince Terrence, Carol Shark, Miss Guy, and Michael Cavadias on the top floor. Dirtyfinger and JLamar will be on the restaurant level as Sam Valentine and I recreate our rock and roll hootchie koo on floor two. I’m double dipping with an early gig at EVR, which attracts a totally adult fun crowd. My peers can pop by for a drink and still be asleep right after Letterman.

Seva Granik is behind this revival at The DL with partners Richie Romero and Bill Spector. I think this will a be back-in-the-day good time. Everywhere I go people pat me on the back and tell me how much fun they had in the "good ol’ days." They refer to me as "a legend," which always has me checking my pulse. To repeat some lyrics from my real "good ol’ days" …"These are the good ol’ days." Although I understand that I did some things back then that was all things to some people, I do very much like to be defined in the now. Now…tonight I will DJ 55 years of rock and roll from Carl Perkins to Rival Sons, and if you tell me I look good, I will smile but will be thinking less of you.

As I pointed out, The DL was doing fine before all this. Their restaurant serves serious food and they fill the place with great crowds who keep coming back for more. They will expand into more vigorously programmed weeknight soirees, timed to hit a warm weather season that sees them attracting throngs. I have been thinking about the first song for the new soiree and it will be "You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory’ by Johnny Thunders, a childhood friend. Yeah, I’ve been rolling and rocking for a minute.

Oh, lest I forget: Happy Birthday to Prince Terrence… Oh, and I’m back from that wedding in Puerto Rico, tanned from the hot sun and plump from mofongo. There may be a time, ladies and gentlemen, when you can truly say "Goodnight Mr. Lewis" as a future of quiet walks on endless beaches with puppies and my gal and friends on warm sunny days seems an inevitable conclusion to so many nights spent in so many loud rooms. I may end up swimming with the fishes after all, and the guy serving me Limber De Coco popsicles won’t think of calling me a legend.

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