19 April 2011

The Puck Building

Over a year ago, I read American Psycho for the first time. A hundred or so pages in, I caught a mention of The Puck Building.

I am usually heads down when I'm going somewhere with purpose in New York, but the Puck Building isn't just an ordinary-looking building. It's huge, details of its striking architecture aren't just reserved for its top several feet (as is the case with many buildings in SoHo), and it's a rich, rich red.

Puck Building, front

Puck Building, back

Over the next several months, I found myself staring at the building every time I walked by it. I became incredibly curious about what it was built for, and what had happened in it over the years. I turned to where any history-curious person would - Wikipedia.* And here it is:

The Puck Building was built in the late 1800's. It housed the offices of Puck Magazine, which seems to have been one of the first humorous, political-satire-ridden publications. At some point more printers had offices in there, and for years one could smell ink up and down the hallways. Now it is mostly used by NYU. You can have events in its ballrooms.

Somehow, I was disappointed. I was half hoping for something creepy or strange to have happened in the building. I can with 80% certainty say that this was influenced by the book that referenced it. American Psycho is one of the best books I've read, but it was also the most horrifying and disturbing.

I shouldn't read this before bed anymore.

The remaining 20% lies in the defining characteristic of the building – there is a gold figure of Shakespeare's Puck (from A Midsummer Night's Dream) above its doorways, and one on the back corner. Now, I know Puck isn't supposed to look cute, and is a pretty mischievous fellow, but in these statues he looks downright creepy. Like he knows something you don't.

Puck Building, back corner

One interesting thing I read was about this guy Alger Hiss, who was a salesman in one of the stationery companies housed in the Puck Building. Prior to this, he actually helped establish the United Nations, and was later accused of being a Soviet spy. The case was never 100% solved, and a historian mentioned that until all documents surrounding the trial are recovered (they are sealed up and won't be available until 2026), we will never know the whole story.


What's my point? Not sure. I still, still give the Puck Building my suspicious sideways glance whenever I pass by, and I felt compelled to share this, 15 months later. This is most definitely my imagination filling in blanks that don't exist and running away with me. Oh well, see you guys in 15 years ;)

* Here's a fun fact: Before writing this post, I edited my first Wikipedia article, ever. I added the bullet point about the building's appearance in American Psycho under In Popular Culture. Hooray!

13 April 2011


Los Telez - Mi Obsesión by tokyohanna

I noticed a movie playing at a restaurant a few months ago, and liked the camera shots so much that I wrote down the name of it. I finally watched Drama/Mex this week, and still can't stop thinking of it. It's a short movie that takes place over the course of one day and one night. It is set in Acapulco; lots of the shots reminded me of growing up in Puerto Rico, mostly in an urban design/terrain kind of way. Anyway, I loved it. There is very little about it online, and most of the reviews are cool, at best. I loved, loved, loved it. And after some digging I found out that it's executive produced by (among others) Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna. Perfect.





Drama/Mex is about a handful of people who are semi-intertwined and either start the movie being in a crisis, or end the movie being in a crisis. I found myself becoming invested in every one of the characters. They are strange, sexy, imperfect and intense. Also: Similar to when I watched Diva, I didn't notice how grainy the film quality was until loaded it onto my computer to take screenshots.



Don't you ever do that.

Two toned shoes.

So, there you go. I'd like to buy a copy. I wouldn't recommend Drama/Mex to you unless I knew what kind of you movies you were typically into (similar to how I feel about Somewhere, which I'll also write about soon). Just maybe don't watch it with your parents if you do decide to give it a shot - there are a couple of pretty intense bits. The song above is the main theme song of the movie; I can already tell it's going to be my favorite song this summer...

04 April 2011

Bikes in New York

I don't think I've ever written about my bike blog on here before.

I moved to New York at the end of August 2006, and Laura and I walked all over the place every spare moment we had during the weekends. I noticed myself taking lots of pictures of the bikes I saw, so I started a Flickr set for them all. (My initial interest in bikes was prompted by a dream I had had that summer, in which I owned a shiny yellow three speed.)

The posts, predictably, are much more frequent when the weather is nice. This explains why I got excited this past Saturday when I noticed my first bike since New York started to give us a hint of the spring and summer ahead.


It made me think of all the things I'm excited about in the upcoming few months, and it made me remember the time I had searching for a new bike this time last year. I knew very little, and only had an idea of what I thought I wanted. Alex talked about single speeds, Clay sketched a history of frames out, I went to stores and read everything I could. Eventually, I found the perfect, perfect bike, and didn't care if everybody and their best friend in my neighborhood had the exact same one. After months of test riding bikes that felt like I was going to break my neck, this one felt like walking. The rest of the summer was magic.

bike, bench, flowers

The bikes I like the most typically give me a craving for a specific food; I don't know if that's a weird manifestation of my mild synaesthesia, or if I just like eating. Here are 2 examples:

This one made me want Hot Tamales -
Fire + ice

This one made me want birthday cake -
Cake or death? Cake, please.

Anyway. If you like looking at nice bikes, maybe you'll like the blog. If you're a serious bike nerd who takes bikes apart for fun and knows what kind of frame makes what degree turns, maybe you'll be bored ;)
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