Olin-Darling/Zultanski/Ward/Davis report & when will spring come? Happy Purim!


I walked through Borough Park today as an ethno-tourist. Is is still ethno-tourism when, strictly speaking, it’s one’s “own” ethnicity? I wonder. Well, I certainly do feel like a different breed of person than the denizens of Borough Park, but I was sort of admiring them today, in their crazy Purim finery (I saw several pirate hats and cowboy hats, one green dinosaur, one “gangster” in an electric blue suit, one tall male youth in a slutty blonde wig, several children – boys and girls — dressed as cops and soldiers [what’s that about?], a couple of small girls dressed as grandmothers, lots of face paint: charcoal eyebrows, hugely rosy cheeks). When I told Gary I was going, he said, “but they’re dressed up anyway!” He’s right of course, but the ebullient expressiveness of Purim costumes is so perfectly bizarre; if I were Hasidic I’m sure I would live for this day. Well, of course I wanted to take photos, but they seem not to welcome that. They seemed once to even think it odd that I was taking pictures of signage, so I thought, well, I won’t be intrusive, I’ll just carry their images in my mind. I did, though, sneak this one, from the back.

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I’m worn out, winter will never end, I’m thinking, but Segue is galloping along beautifully, and I apologize for my lapses in reports.

Last weekend was Jeni Olin a.k.a. Truck Darling and Steve Zultanski. Here is my intro for Jeni, who wore, as you may be able to get some sense of in this lousy iPhone photo, a red sequin tank top over a white boybeater, false eyelashes, 70s jeans, those “foot” things that surfers wear as shoes, a wooden cross, and sometimes designer-y black spectacles with dragon shapes on the sides:

Truck Darling/ Jeni Olin

:

I saw the Who play San Francisco’s Winterland in 1976.

In 1978, I was there for Patti and Bruce.

In that same year, I saw the Ramones live at the Old Waldorf.

I saw the Rolling Stones live in Prague a year after the Velvet Revolution.

In Tokyo in 1990, I was there for Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour, when she wore the now-iconic gold metallic Gaulthier bra.

And now, devoted listeners, I am here today, with you, at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City, to hear… the amazing… Jeni Olin.

Jeni’s poems are as crisp and powerful as pop songs, but more surprising. That’s a rare thing. They are fearless in their total embrace of affect. As she writes in a facebook update under the name of her Alter Ego, Truck Darling, “My idea of Heaven is feeling absolutely everything to an excruciating degree but nothing hurts.”

If she carries the torch for the New York School (she authored, after all, A Valentine to Frank O’Hara, published in 1999) she does so better than anyone else, without a trace of Sha Na Na-like nostalgic reification. Instead her poems are time capsules of contemporary New York, transposed into her own mode of the boyish feminine, infused relentlessly with wit, compassion for self and others, and an endearingly mannered sort of melodrama. As she writes in another update, “I want to be a holder forever, dropping everything, so when we swallow we choke a little & feel things like clumsy reindeer grace.”

Her first book, Blue Collar Holiday, with art by Larry Rivers, was published by HL in 2005. Her new collection, Hold Tight: The Truck Darling Poems, forthcoming from HL this fall. I urge you to put in an advance order.

And now, with almost inexpressible excitement, I bring you the jewel of our city: Jeni Olin.

some lines:

Kids sway finchlike in the breeze

Are you so strong, or is it the Black Russian in me?

You cannot bring sexy back without a receipt

I feel virile, like an alpha lemming shouting “next!”

I’m all about silly cavorting here on earth

The agents of chaos grow glammier

I love you more than you love me just by loving you at all

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Steve actually read first. Gary wrote a conceptual introduction for him:

Steven Zultanski is the author of the chapbook This and That Lenin (BookThug), plus the forthcoming volumes Pad (Make Now) and Copkisser (BookThug). He edits President’s Choice magazine, a Lil’ Norton publication.

1.
Close observers of the steve project may have noted that the project’s first paper was entitled “Social Terminology Enhancement through Vernacular Engagement,” a bit of an in joke, but not (as some have suggested) the source of the project’s name.

2.
Steeve. Etymology: probably from Spanish estibar or Portuguese estivar to pack tightly, from Latin stipare to press together — more at stiff. Date: circa 1644.

3.
Go steeeve. My first planned project is to paint steeeve three metres high on a large white board near my residences. I’ll be purchasing the paints in four weeks: Night Black and Verdant Sunrise. He shall be rendered in total glory.

4.
Steeeeve wrote: I don’t mean to be insulting but it’s just not that hard to grasp. Yes the Sun is small if you compare it to something much bigger. That doesn’t chage the fact that the Sun is still incredibly large (trying to avoid the word massive since we’re talking about size).

5.
Did you mean: steeeeve.

6.
Hey there! steeeeeeve is using Twitter. … Join today to start receiving steeeeeeve’s tweets.

7.
Haaaapy Biiiiiiiirthday dear Steeeeeeeve.

8.
NASCAR definition by Steeeeeeeeve. I’m sorry, but I would rather watch competetive elephant ejaculation than a NASCAR race.

9.
Re: The biggest whores in Hollywood. Nickyboy mentioned a giant of a contender today, a truly mammoth name in Hollywood whoredom. A once talented guy who dropped his strides and wrote “get it here studios” with lipstick across his buttcheeks. Who can it be? Steeeeeeeeeve Martin!!

10.
And yeah, if you really want a bit of a meet, then Feb 5th is the time. Woo, Colin! Woo, hanging out with Steeeeeeeeeeve again! Woo, awesomness!

Please help me welcome the awesomeness that is Steve Zultanski.

Sadly, I forgot to take notes, but here’s what I remember about his great reading: he read a sizeable chunk of My Pad, his conceptual work listing all the things in his apartment he can and cannot lift with his dick. Each line begins, “My dick can lift/ My dick cannot lift” and catalogues every object in minute detail. The section he read focused on a bag of garbage in a garbage can in his bathroom, and we learned, for example that he could not lift the garbage can with his dick, but that he could lift the Q-tips in the bag, even the ones with earwax on them. This poem occasioned some pleasantly racy aftertalk at the bar, during which someone said he wanted to remind Steve that there might be better tools and appendages for lifting, and I told Steve, making sure to preface my comment with a disclaimer that I didn’t mean to be coy, that I appreciated the radical, self-reflexive masculinism of the poem. Blushing banter! Love it! OK, but it was the next poem he read that everyone seemed to agree was his tour de force. It was a kind of psychedelic list poem involving Lenin… stuff was shooting out of Lenin’s mouth or eyes… there were different sections… oh I wish I had notes… it was a terrific poem. Then he read a poem called “All My Women,” which was a list of women’s names preceded by “my.” I’m sure there was a trick to the poem, because the names sounded very much like pop star and actress names, and there were some repetitions, and I wondered whether he had gone through, perhaps, a magazine? or a CD/DVD collection? to compile them? Well, I was interested in how many of the names themselves, such as Brianna and Tiffany, had, for me, semantic/generational resonances, were somehow, without needing anything else to determine that: they were always/already superficial and diminufying. Steve dives into the wreck, I think. I’d be curious to know how other people apprehend possibly provocative gestures like this poem or My Pad.

Yesterday’s reading was, wow, the incredible Dana Ward. Look at him, with the kewpie hairdo! and the deep powder blue skinny jeans! And those frosty looking Timberland boots: what would you even call that color?

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Here’s my intro, which was so absolutely connected to what he read that it was almost spooky:

I keep hearing people say it: Laura Moriarty, Brandon Brown, and just last week Sharon Mesmer, in a phone conversation: prosody is what we live in, the shiznit, if you will it’s all there is: we’re soaking in it. Dana Ward’s poetry I hold up as exhibit A. Let’s say prosody is a crimson peony as big as a trampoline, its petals all satiny and crenellated, and in the center of it, like a latter-day Momotaro, is this bioluminescent being, poetry’s beatific firefly: Dana Ward. Dana and I, who magically share both a birthday and a first name, have been having an on and off correspondence around the notion of lyric. I think, you know, there’s Stepford lyric, a kind of zombified moldy twinkie of lyric, precious and myopic and self-important, and this might be what prevails, has prevailed, in the popular idea of what lyric is, an what has caused much discussion, even contention, amongst avant-gardistes about whether or not lyric is useful, valid, worthy of interest, and so forth. And then there’s lyric, which, like porn and beauty, I know when I see, and which Drew Gardner usefully reminds us, basically just means “guitar.” Not only is it not dead or dying, or in need of resuscitation, but it in itself is a resuscitator, an inflamed liquid fearless exploration into forward moving thought-as-song, born, like Dana, of prosody’s giant peony. Dana writes, in his Notley-infused poem “How Spring Leaves,”

every rapturous word pulling through naming nature
as if saying “lambent” acquitted my fear
in the timbral wing of the house of possession
the mouth making sounds toward the tree

It’s luscious, right? I’m reminded of how the Beatles in Nowhereland in Yellow Submarine SOW a path in NOTHINGNESS with magically arising foliage in the wake of their forward movements; they clutter an empty world into exuberant being. But lyric, real lyric, is more problematic. It’s not just pretty; it’s pernicious, too, and alarming. Dana writes in our correspondence, “A lyric then is… a struggle, with our inability to know it, skin-grafting our bodies on a topos for which there isn’t any map, an a temporal space contingent on a series of temporalities—prosody then of the living unknown.” So… the living dead (faux lyric) vs. the living unknown…

If, as I said two weeks ago, Anselm Berrigan’s poems are a little like carnival rides, Dana’s seem to more like slides, their temperature-conducting metal rubbed smooth by sliders’ gleeful bodies, their shapes and twists designed for both the unexpected and for whooshing momentum. That acceleration is part of the brilliance of their prosody. When they stop and I come to that bump at the bottom of the page, I find I wanna climb up the ladder and go again.

He read fast and I couldn’t stop to write down many lines, but here are a couple I fished out of the stream:

I summon my inner Snow White

babies dressed as ladybugs and spiders in the twilight

milk thistle flows through the tunnel of love, at the end of which is just intensive care

[and my all-time favorite ever]
the marriage of Watten and Watteau

Jordan read next, having made it down from Briarcliff where he’d been roughing it with no power, and looking very countrified indeed in red fleece, brown check shirt, jeans, and oldish black socks. No shoes.

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Here’s Gary’s intro:

Jordan Davis’s poems have appeared in Poetry, The Nation and The Poker. His chapbook POD: Poems on Demand is forthcoming from Greying Ghost.

When I think of some of the more memorable or defining quotes of the last half century of American poetry:

Frank O’Hara’s “Grace to be born and live as variously as possible”

Philip Whalen’s “Continuous nerve movie”

Ted Berrigan’s “Feminine, marvelous & tough”

Rod Smith’s “Take what you need and leave the rest”

Jordan Davis’s work feels to me like the most successful embodiment of all of them. This is, after all, the guy who, in the late 90s, promised the world he would write a million poems and who has, since then, acted as though he meant it, producing, in addition to the lyrical and buoyant Million Poems Journal

(1) a handful of chapbooks, including A Little Gold Book; Poem on a Train; Yeah, No; Upstairs; and A Winter Magazine

(2) a translation-version project, My Orhan Veli, which takes English translations by Murat Nemet-Nejat and Talat Sait Halman of a poet—Orhan Veli—internationally known for his off-handed candor and makes him actually, finally read in English as off-handed and candid

(3) conceptual poetry projects, such as Poetry on Demand, wherein he writes poems in response to searches that have led people to his Million Poems blog over the years (e.g., “Poem for a Sixth Wedding”; “Pictures of Bugs Bunny Dressed Like a Thug” and my all-time favorite, “Turtles Generate Poems”

(4) some of the greatest flarf classics of all time, including “The Influence of Anxiety”; “Not Enough Pussay”; and the equally anthemic “Stupidity Is Eternal.”

I’m out of time and I haven’t mentioned even a half of Jordan’s projects—his numerous and insightful sweeping essays on major avant-garde poets for the Nation, his several-season running Million Poems talk show here at the BPC, his eye-opening wholesale lifting and relineation of biographical citations from a congressional Web site, his typing up and editing of all of the voicemails left to him by a certain former New York poet which resulted in what some might go so far to argue is that poet’s best book to date—the list goes on, as long and as various as life itself.

He is one of my favorite poets, and it gives me great pleasure to invite him now to the stage.

He read first a piece that appeared to be responses to war and violence, a frustrated musing?…. then some shorter poems “eagles nesting in the gargoyles,” “I stayed up writing a report on the sphinx…. then what he called “blues poems” from 7th/ 8th century Japan… it had been a long time since I had thought of the Manyoshu, and these poems were hugely pleasurable: “the ruined castle/ they unfriended it,” “ so much better than committing all this bullshit/ is this sake,” “oh my god , I better do something good ¬– I’m a man!”

Favorite title came next: “The bright ages”

and this line: “as for me, I like liking. There you have it, I’m a liker.”

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Thank you, poets! Now, this is my Sunday evening, and I must try to wind down, in hopes of slumber. I would like to dream at the very least of crocuses, if it’s too much to ask for wisteria…

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(snow-weary, pink-haired, and dreaming of spring…)

Eco-poetics

Can one make an argument for the “greenness” of appropriated poetry?

I suppose it’s a bit of a stretch.

— Post From My iPhone

Oh did I mention that this morning on the way to work I found a VHS copy of my favorite movie: “High Society”? And also “Learning about Letters” by Children’s Television Workshop. Apropo of scavenging, I mean. So I was four minutes late to class, having rummaged a little through garbage.

Dear Diary

Rewrote two stanzas of Charles Bernstein’s “Foreign Body Sensation” in preparation for my reading tomorrow.

Ironed the black wool Morticia dress with the sleeve cutouts also in preparation for the reading. I bought it several years ago at Love Saves the Day in the East Village, a kitsch vintage store that is soon to close. I had wandered in there with Tonya Foster, was not “looking for” a dress but there you have it. It hasn’t fit me in several years but I’ve lost a few pounds and can now get into it, even if I can’t breathe all that well once it’s zipped up. Well, I’ll hardly eat tomorrow.

It’s a fabulous dress. G. accused me of looking like Adeena in it. Here it is, with me squeezed into it:

Tried to write another poem from the “words of the day” on my yahoo page. These poems are not very exciting, I think. Mere finger exercises.

Lightly researched Louise Colet and Emmy Hennings, as they were both mentioned in Chris Kraus’ book. Louise Colet’s letters to Flaubert have all been destroyed. A pity. She took up with Alfred de Musset (wasn’t he the guy who stabbed his hand with a fork?[later note: no, he appears to have stabbed his brother’s hand with a fork, at least in the movie version]) after she broke up with Flaubert, who really wasn’t all that nice to her.

I chided Gary today for his daily beer habit. He just came in smelling of it. Boys always smell like beer. I have never had a boyfriend who didn’t smell like beer.

We went to 86th St. and ate at Nyonya. I had these incredible curry mee noodles ( I know that’s redundant as “mee” means “noodles,” but perhaps most readers of this blog, all six of them!, won’t know that). I took many photographs as I always do these days, one reason being that when I take photographs I feel less of an urge to buy things, and yet I can still take something home from my travels. Here are the noodles (did I mention that Noodle was my childhood nickname?):


Atop the soup: “young” tofu, a hot pepper and a slice of eggplant both stuffed with seasoned fish paste, and roasted shallots. Divine.

Besides ironing and the Charles poem, I am procrastinating REALLY preparing for the reading. Perhaps I will do that tomorrow. I am also procrastinating on a huge project I’ve set for myself, which is creating a book partly from this blog and partly from uncollected & recent poems. It’s just so daunting. but I have made some progress.

Feeling keenly that my blog has not always been all that intelligent (I haven’t tried to make it so). At least not compared to Chris Kraus’ book. I am so easily given to a kind of gee-whiz breeziness. Maybe the book needn’t be all that intelligent? Like, it might have other virtues?

Gary discussed memoir writing with Kenny and Christian. Both Kenny and Rodney have urged me to write a memoir, and I like the idea very much, except that I would have to focus. Gary says my strong points are memory and description – anecdote, not so much. I am afraid of having to somehow connect or analyze the events of my life. It occurred to me that the events could be discretely described. Why not? Like I Remember without the I Remember. But then that might become a constraint, too. Kenny reminded me that Swoon was a kind of a memoir, at least in parts. This blog was too, at the beginning.

I have a drawer of diaries from I don’t know age eleven or so all through my time in Japan. Every time I think to “do something” with them, something literary, I find myself getting completely absorbed by nostalgia and thus paralyzed.

Apropro of journals, here’s a quote (that itself nests a quote) from the first page of my M.A. thesis on Bernadette Mayer:

Mayer demands from her writing a formal plasticity that matches? mimics? uses? the fluidity of experience. In this she emerges from a tradition of modernist realism whose foremost aim is to capture, in Baudelaire’s words, “the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent.” Here is an exaggerated, internalized realism — Proust or Woolf without the scaffolding of fiction, for she focuses on the details of the quotidian. She aestheticizes her own daily life in her writing, but her writing is not diaristic because it is designed to operate in a public sphere, conscious of itself simultaneously as art and as diary: “you better start doing things, like, the diary as book — ‘the lowest form.’ Everything’s high or low, Germans, everything’s perfect.”1 In his essay, “The Distribution of Discourse,” George Steiner writes about the “fantastically loquacious world of the diary,” claiming that “loquacity, copiousness and temporal duration characterize the idiolects of diary writers” — as they do the writing of Bernadette Mayer. Also, the diary has a history as a “woman’s form”:

Barred from public expression of political, ideological and psychological conviction or discovery, the intelligent woman in the ancien regime and nineteenth century makes her journal the forum, the training ground of the mind.2

The journal form permits the integration of the process of writing into everyday life, using daily experience as the stuff of the writing, but it also permits the inclusion of otherwise ineffable material, and a way out of a repressive world.

It’s funny, but when I look back at that thesis, written more than two decades ago, I realize that my concerns and enthusiasms haven’t changed all that much.

Apropo of enthusiasms… a chapbook is in the works… called Interests… composed of lists of interests culled from Blogger profiles of people whose interests linked to mine. A chapbook, ugh! A chapbook!

Too many projects all at once, and the new semester around the corner, I’m like some kind of crazy poodle, really.


Marrakech

I feel weird – jet-lagged, trying to make myself stay up until normal bedtime. This sultry afternoon I went to get first a cup of tea at the Bengali bakery – to keep me up – and then a pedicure – Jenny, expert salon employee pumiced away at the callus that had developed on my right big toe tromping through the souks and the marchés, through madrasas and palaces, museums and metros. The world, this trip reminded me, is bursting with various and chaotic splendor.

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We took a red-eye that stopped over for four hours at Heathrow, where we ate some odd food (Gary’s sausages, he swears, were “bangers”) and wallowed briefly in the accents, which we could not help imitating. Long lines at Heathrow and curt signs posted saying not to bother the airline staff or you would be sent home. One bag only permitted. Liquids in Ziploc bags. It’s always been a hassle to travel, now more so than ever. Frayed tempers. My hair a giant dried-up frizz, sharpness in nose – I wanted to cry. That feeling of yanking oneself over an ocean. But I did feel that it was an omen to see this:

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We arrived in Marrakech on time, at just after 7 in the evening and just in time for a sunset. Tiles in the airport – air hot and dry. Met by an extremely tall Moroccan man who drove us to the riad. My French had to kick in instantly. Driving up to the city, he explained that we were nearing Koutoubia, the great mosque that sits just across from the Place Jemaa el Fna.

The rosy color of the walls. Veils. Whizzing motorbikes: vweeeeeeee, vweeeeeeee. Heavy smell of diesel. Then inside the medina – whoa, crazy driving – into labyrinthine streets. Much street activity – shoppers, storekeepers, donkey carts, teenagers out in the cooler evening air — and we were dropped off at a little place we later learned was the Place Moukeff – car too big to go all the way to Riad Safa, where we had booked a room. So our luggage went on a kind of wheelbarrow into a tiny twisty little street where Gary tripped on a rock in a dark stretch of alley. Kids running there, screaming, trying to grab our ankles. A doorway: our riad.

We were greeted by Jean Michel and Frederic, the kind proprietors of the riad. Jean Michel, sportive and brisk, explained this little hand-drawn map of the medina to us. Fred reminded me of Ray Bolger, lanky and with a wide grin.

Riad Safa was so beautiful – with its open courtyard’s magnanimous orange tree, its perfect décor down to the tassels on the curtains, the tastefully placed antique travel ephemera, the woven cushions, or this lamp outside our room:

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Dinner of sandwiches on the terrace, prepared by one of the two cooks at Riad Safa – I didn’t catch the names of these two angels, but their sweetness was so palpable I could only think, whenever I saw them, “orange blossoms!” — then showers, and then to bed under nearly unnecessary mosquito netting (I saw only one mosquito in Marrakech the whole time we were there) (but it did look nice and reminded me of home) that first night for two very weary travelers.

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(written mostly Monday morning)

How to describe that feeling, going to a place for the first time, that it is ever so much more like its representations than you had expected? Stepping out of the riad into the hot light and the rosy, dusty pathway – a woman passes in full djellaba and veiled face – like a pastel kuroko – can this world still exist? Did the Medina evolve out of sheep paths? Or what else explains its twistiness? The walls – both the outer wall and the walls that set off the houses – the fondouks – from the street – are like fortifications, it’s true – but the colors are so sensuously soft and the details so exquisite – iron knockers on doors the shape of hands, curled iron grillework, arched passageways in nested layers – that it feels more like a collection of secret places than a place of defense.

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Gary proved – unexpectedly – to be a brilliant navigator, clutching the little map Jean Michel had given us and finding the first fountain, then the second, that were the landmarks on the way out of the little piece of the maze where Riad Safa nestles. We were tentative on that first day – our first stop was the Medersa Ben Youseff, which is no longer active as a madrasa, but was filled with huge tour groups exposing both impractically and insensitively a great deal of skin. The amazing madrasa:

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I kept entirely covered while I was there – though not always my head – and must say that I found the uncovered skin and body-conscious outfits I saw on tourists and “loose” Moroccan women much less attractive than the variety of djellabas – in sherbet hues, embroidered in arabesques – I loved especially the pink ones – so elegant and groovy on whizzing motorbikes. Moroccan women are breathtakingly beautiful – perfect oval faces and hair twisted up and clipped at the back, when not covered by a djellaba hood or pretty headscarf:

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I didn’t make it to a hammam and that makes me very sad, as that is supposed to be the best way to get to know Moroccan women; I didn’t even buy any of the famous savon noir they use for gommage polissante. Sad! But I was only there for four days, and they were hectic, and hot, and full days – and I must admit to being culture-shocked. Strange! I’ve been to Hat Yai and Penang, SuZhou and Prague, Virginia and Merida, Hastings and Ubud – but Morocco was different. Not just because it was a Muslim country (for so, after all, is Malaysia, and so is, for that matter, much of my neighborhood!), but because it is (arguably) Arab.

Did I mention that outside the Medersa was an herboriste outside of which hung enormous loofahs and some REAL leopard pelts? I don’t have a picture to prove it, but there they were. I surely was in Africa. The Medersa was a study in intricacies. If you are, as I am, a tile fetishist, you MUST go there.

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The lobby of the Marrakech museum held the hugest and most impressive brass chandelier one could possibly imagine. Recesses that once served as fountains held audio speakers that played luscious and hypnotic oud music which I would happily have bought had it not cost even more than it would here in New York.

Exhibits of Berber jewelry and embroidery sent me into utter ecstasy.

Even the bathroom was gorgeous:

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I transformed myself for a moment into a pasha, a brazen orientalizing fool. OK, for more than a moment. What can I say?

To be continued!

Things To Do USING Kensington AS A BASE

visit the ponies at the horse stable
go on a paddle boat on the Prospect Park lake
take the B 16 bus through Boro Park on any day except Saturday and marvel at the backwards time travel
get off and visit Brooklyn Chinatown for excellent bubble tea and cheap fashion items
re-board the bus and take it to Bay Ridge — look at the water, also eat real Moroccan couscous off of Fifth Ave
take the B68 down to Coney Island Ave. and Foster, explore Little Lahore — good for buying fabric if you are a fabric person
get hennaed at one of the salons in Little Lahore — also buy some Bollywood DVDs
get back on the bus, go to Sahara near Ave. T, eat a huge amount of Turkish food under the grape arbor
get back on the bus, go to Brighton Beach, trip out on the Russian ladies with their wild hairdos
ride a bike down Ocean Parkway
go to Pergament and buy cheap stuff for the home and occasionally find awesome designer stuff cheap
walk around on 13th and 14th Aves. in Boro Park, take pictures of the nutty old-fashioned signage
make sure to buy the makings for a Greek salad at the 24-hour produce store on Church — don’t forget the feta (so many kinds to choose from!) and fresh mint
go to Ave. J and E. 16th and taste the famous traditional pizza there
hang out around Church and MacDonald in the Bangladeshi area — great chicken tikka, tea, and paan! also lakh earrings in the little stores on I think Chester?
walk around in Ditmas Park envying the houses
go to Vox Pop for coffee and anarchist literature
eat the salads and appetizers at The Farm at Adderly