SOCCER: How reddit users helped me get Atlético Madrid Champions League tickets on my honeymoon

A reddit user in Madrid DM’d me to say he would like to help. He and I continued the conversation through email and he offered to work his connections among season-ticket holders to get a pair of tickets. He found a friend who couldn’t go and actually bought the tickets. Even before I sent him money through Paypal (no charge for exchanging dollars to euros!).

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Sit On Things: We're jealous of how other people sit at work

No love for the stability-ball sitters huh? Tryna to work on their posture and core strength as they analyze the shit out of some hardcore customer data. Blastin those key demos, thrilling that high-value client, gunnin for that promotion, turbochargin that LinkedIn profile, snatching that bonus and splurging on those ankle weights like a salesforce superstar.

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SOCCER IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD: Ridgewood, Queens

Several distinct soccer cultures converge in Ridgewood, a little triangle along the Brooklyn border hemmed in by the industrial zone north of Metropolitan Ave and the freighter tracks to the east. Yesterday, I saw a guy walking on Fresh Pond Road in a Lewandowski jersey (representative of the neighborhood’s large Polish population) and a little kid in a Barcelona SC kit – the yellow one cluttered with more ads than an XVideos page – kicking a ball against his garage (an example of the Ecuadorian set). Meanwhile, my Albanian landlord is obsessed with Real Madrid, Serie A, Albanian SuperLiga and seemingly every other world league. There are also Romanian-American cultural and soccer centers, minivans decked out in Chivas paraphernalia and a growing footy hipster contingent who visit local bars to brunch with the Premier League.

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up on that roof dodging stray fireworks and cheap drones piloted by dumb, drunk neighbors

happy fourth of july 
from a hundred-year-old, parapet-less rooftop where we're all pretty high and hammered up here holding our flaming sticks while lighting explosives in the dark watching drunk neighbors fly remote control helicopters – henceforth known as drones – at roughly eyeball level to get a better Instagram story of the professional fireworks only slightly further away.

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Slaying demons by resurrecting a dead blog: Sit On Things

In Winter 2009, I was napping after a long day following a long night and thought it wouldbe funny to start a blog about sitting on things. So I sat at my computer and started a blog called Sit On Things – a bizarre, kinda funny site that used 'sitting on shit, mundane and weird" as a vehicle for riffing on politics, religion, pop culture and some other stuff. 

Commitment really terrified me – or at least triggered some serious energy-sucking anxiety – back then so I stopped updating the blog after a few months. But I loved that weird website and quitting it has nagged me for MORE THAN EIGHT YEARS so a few weeks ago, I resurrected Sit On Things. 

Here are my three modern posts so far:

Paranoia, paranoia everybody's coming to get me: On Pole sitting, pillar hermits and Harvey Danger

Sittin on a bee can get you killed out here: On Ferdinand the Bull

You'll need to sit down for this: On cliches

 

Touring Charleston's Racist History with the Mayor

I briefly visited the Charleston, SC- area last weekend and parked my rented F-150 on Calhoun Street across from Marion Square, a former parade ground surrounded by several monuments in the middle of downtown. My friend and I walked across the grassy field to a short obelisk honoring Wade Hampton III, one of the South's largest slaveholders and a Confederate general turned post-Reconstruction governor who unleashed violence upon African Americans and white Republicans throughout South Carolina to suppress votes.

At this monument to a real American stain, we encountered a small group of well dressed men and women discussing the statue and South Carolina's history of white supremacy.

We need to tell the whole story about these guys. Yes, they were important, but they were also 'racist SOBs,' said a white man with a tan suit and white hair.

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QNS on a bad day

Woke up looking out the window into Queens and all those pleasantries:

Woodhaven Woodside Ridgewood Sunnyside;
Beaches, Points, Parks, Gardens, Hills.
The lead paint chipping off the factory cross the street
trickles into the sewer with the rain.
Everyday there's a new mattress blocking the sidewalk at the bus stop.
The sad old man bar has a slot machine
that's 'sposed to be for fun.
Just ask the gambling addict.
I first met Queens idling in line outside the Shea parking lot.
Lotsa deconstructed cars, you know?
There's a junkyard in a forest on toppa a mountain in my hometown
and I always thought, this is here to stay forever, huh?
Just because one hoarder couldn't get enough carburetors
and so he 'ccumulated several acres of doorless car carcasses.
People mock real estate developer spin:
East Williamsburg, Something or other Heights
Do you know that "Blissville" in Queens
Borders a toxic creek? It's just poison factories
And a crowded field where formaldehyded beings
decay.

Two blocks on the corner

How do we know if a building fits the aesthetic and culture of a neighborhood? Who's to say?  Seems like it's up to the people of the neighborhood. Not some developer who trumpets hollow talking points about abstract cultural influences. Not the new arrivals for whom the building was built and who, yeah, might think a building fits the area's aesthetic because it fits the only aesthetic they've ever known – they didn't experience the brick townhouses before the introduction of glassy prefab slabs. They have no memory and little stake.

In neighborhoods choked and sabotaged by derelict governments and ignored by private investors, we hail modern, somewhat radical buildings that serve the community – for example, some of the funkier supportive housing developments for formerly homeless adults and families like Breaking Ground's Boston Road. The new apartments feature foreign colors and materials or tower above the old, but people tend to consider them progressive and as indicators of investment (which they are).

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In Sugar Hill: Convent Garden and its Determined Caretaker

For almost ninety-years, a wedge in the uptown grid at the quirky intersection of St. Nicholas Avenue and Convent Avenue, designated a park by the Board of Estimate in 1909, sat misused, abused or neglected.

Initially, the triangle contained a gas station until the Parks Department discovered its rights to the rare patch of land and razed the pumps there in 1985. A group of neighbors then developed the first iteration of Convent Garden, but after the city uprooted their landscaping to remove the underground gas tanks, weeds grew and trash accumulated in the triangle. The chain link fence around the perimeter began to collapse and police officers from the nearby 30th Precinct commandeered the lot to stash seized vehicles or park their own cars.

In 1998, Juliette Davis, who lives on the fourth floor of a building across the street and who neighbors call Miami, decided to rejuvenate the so-called garden. Today, the .13-acre park, full of flowers, trees, a gazebo and an assortment of decorations donated by friends and neighbors, stands out as a colorful oasis amid the Sugar Hill brownstones and a testament to Davis’ determination.

“You can sit around and wait for days and months and years for somebody to do something for you and never get it done, but maybe with a little knowledge you can do it,” Davis said as she sat in the shade beneath a rosebud tree near the garden gate and reflected on the history of Convent Garden and her neighborhood. “I just started doing the work. I started cleaning the place up and doing things myself. I cleaned off this entire lot because my first thought was, ‘I want grass.’ It was like the wilderness here. Garbage. Weeds growing up above your head.”

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