Friday, February 19, 2010

New York, New York

I have visited the wonderfully large, bustling, colorful, and international city of New York a handful of times (like three or four), but each visit was literally for a day or two max.

I have been on a bit of a travel kick as of late so for my 27th birthday I decided to keep the new trend going. My good friend and polo teammate, Jasmine "Jazz Hams", and I decided what better way to live it up and celebrate our lives than to travel to New York City in the middle of winter and see the sights and bright lights of the big city!? We packed our bags, and after damn near missing our flight and two connecting cities later, arrived at LaGuardia Airport and soon after our crash pad in Astoria. We had no plan. We had no expectations. We had four nights to live it up and pack as many activities as we found humanly possible into every day.

First stop on that Thursday of arrival was crash pad: a quaint apartment, home to two party girl old college pals of Jasmine's in Queens, off Steinway and Astoria Blvd. Second stop was food. We were trying to be as thrifty as possible on this adventure (as is always my goal)so we took the N Train over to Brooklyn and got off at Bedford Ave. This stop would become a regular haunt of ours by the conclusion of our trip. "Literally five steps from the train station", one critic wrote online about the restaurant we were taken to for our most satisfying and humble meal of the night. Oasis is a small counter service middle eastern restaurant serving up what I consider comfort food, falafel, and they're serving it cheap. We each got a pita pocket heaping with falafel, salad, all the fixings, and hot sauce for $3.50. And every single person I told I was going to NYC did nothing but complain and warn me about the high cost of everything there... Next move was after dinner coffee to fuel us for the rest of our evening. We headed down the street and passed a couple cafe joints until we decided to pop into a tiny little space with a strange name. El Beit is a cute little shop with a few tables in the front window space and a few in the back. Outside it has a beautiful little tea house, but most of the room is taken up by the counter, the espresso machine, and cookie jars. We met the man behind the fresh baked cookies and he helped us make our selections. Julia got the chocolate ginger cookie, Jasmine got the Chocolate Dream, and I ordered the Monster cookie which literally had everything in it except the kitchen sink. The espresso was delicious, the service was accommodating and quite friendly, and the cookies rocked our world. I should have stuck to my stand-by and favorite, the chocolate chip cookie, because the Monster cookie just had too much going on with it, but I figured I had to try it.
Jasmine and I bonded over musicals and disco so we knew we were going to splurge and see a musical as soon as we decided to fly to New York for our birthdays. We didn't really know or care what we would see, we just wanted something fun and on Broadway. We hit up Times Square and went to the last minute ticket booth and got seats to In The Heights. An hour later we were fifth row, center, and moved to tears-of joy- by the opening number. This is an urban, modern, hip hop influenced musical based in a Puerto Rican neighborhood in Washington Heights. The set was beautiful, the costumes were awesome, the dancing was fun, and the music and songs/raps were so cool. We were super jazzed leaving the theatre that night. The upbeat tunes and the dancing in the show really got us pumped and ready to rock the night away. Jasmine got ahold of her old Austin, TX roommate, JT, who had us meet him at a great divey gay bar back in Williamsburg. Our dive bars in Austin aren't actually dives. They are hip new places made to seem blue collar or whatever. We have accepted them as home because that's all we have, but this. This was a real dive bar. And the fact that it was a gay bar, with a dj spinning good tunes, were just added bonuses. We chilled for a while and had cheap draft and got caught up on each other than mosied down the street a ways to bar number two. Again, we were drinking draft brew, I think it was the house beer, and we started to get into the tunes happening at this joint too. Jasmine and JT eventually started dancing and the dj invited them to the dance contest that would be occurring in the near future that night. Next thing I know I'm being pulled out onto the dance floor, a team name is being taped to my back, and the contest is under way. Teams are mostly groups, there are a few couples in the mix. The dj announced the start of the contest and dancing commenced. Every other song played a theme, intent, or purpose was announced and we did our best to depict it through movement. Teams started getting knocked out of the running, but we kept dancing. Several songs later, we were down to the final four. Then the final three. Then the final two teams standing and the dj called for a straight up, old school dance off! We were up against a team of four or five dancers, and we were channeling the characters from In the Heights, and communicating together and working with our team name (Team Pray), and we pulled off some killer moves. I think the winning moment came from Jasmine "Jazz Hams" when she dove head first through the legs of an opposing dancer and just knocked him dead. TKO. Team Pray was announced WINNERS! We were crowned and given our prize, a bottle of champagne, a photo booth session, and seats at the VIP table set up next to the dj booth.

Friday we slept in, got coffee and bagels on Bedford Ave, went shopping at Beacon's Closet, and went to the MOMA for free admission hours. I stood in front of a Monet original and swam through the panels and the colors for a good long while. I discovered a few favorite pieces of the night,a painting by Andrew Wyeth, two stunning tables, and this Henri Rousseau. After all that art, we headed home to nap, eat some carryout thai food, drink some vodka, and go out again. We all partook in quite a lot of vodka at the house and I apparently had my fair share of beverages throughout the evening because I cannot actually report to you loyal readers any of the the events of Friday night. I have not a clue as to what happened. All I know is that I woke up Saturday morning in Ani's Clinton Hill apartment to snow on the ground outside and a very hungover Jasmine calling me as soon as she woke up because I drilled it into her head that she must do so...I don't know why.

Ani had some work to finish up which was fine by me because I was sloooooowwwww movin' that morning, and that afternoon, and all damn day long for that matter. She asked me to make a very important decision of priority once we were on the train and headed to Manhattan (me in my slightly diminished outfit from the previous night out. I lost my long sleeved under layer and very warm wool mittens somewhere through the night, so I was clad in a tank top and coat and on a mission to buy a replacement sweater because I was freezing!). "Coffee or food? Which one is more important right now?" We decided- coffee- so she took me to a place she said had great coffee and good food. Mud is in the Lower East Side and it was the spot to be at the moment we arrived. I was feeling dizzyingly claustrophobic crammed into the tiny slot that is the cafe and restaurant while people were coming and going and waiting to be seated and being so very New York, so we put our name on the list and hit the trail of boutique after boutique so I could find some duds to warm my bones. Fifth shop in, I found an adorable (a really trendy man perusing the rack with me told me so as soon as I pulled it out!) vintage wool blazer and I bought it as soon as I tried it on. When we were done with our window shopping, we headed back to Mud just as our table was being called. The brunch special is simple. $13 bucks gets you a cup o' mud (sweet and big and delicious!), a mimosa (or champagne, fresh O.J., or draft beer), and a few dish options. We both went for the three eggs, with our choice of added ingredients and preparation (caramelized onion and goat's cheese omelet for me), home fries and toast. It was huge and filling and just what the doctor ordered. After brunch we took a nice stroll through the Union Square Farmer's Market where everything apples was the name of the game, then met up with Jasmine and some gals at the Wyoming- Building, a public space where a presentation on the Vocoder was happening for the ongoing Unsound Festival. I loved it. Jasmine and I went to B&H a vegetarian and Kosher deli that we happened to spot near the theatre that was our next point of interest for the night. They have daily specials that warm and fill you up without breaking the bank. She got vegetarian matzoh ball soup and a tuna melt and I got delicious hot borscht and macaroni and cheese. They gave us a plate with thick slices of house baked bread smeared with butter to start. Our counter neighbors where a couple of regulars who let me taste their food as it was served to them to help me decide what I was going to order. It was a magical moment. After dinner we headed next door to the Tisch Theatre for a show that a buddy tipped us on. $8 got us "student" admission to an avant garde student production action packed with a real pig's heart, the promise of lots of sex!, three intermissions, and the realization during the third intermission that I had been kicking Paul Giamatti's chair for the past couple of hours. It was time to get our groove on after such a tragic piece of performance art (which really wasnt erotic at all as promised!) that we just endured. We headed to a dance club near the theatre where we were escorted up to the front of the long line and let right in by the very nice door guy and escorted down to a bumpin' room full of glitter and balloons, dancing bodies, $5 champagne, and amazing beats. We boogied our little hearts out and were entranced by the dj's who were loving what they do and making us love them too. Afterwards we shared a cab to Brooklyn and walked into the first bar we saw when we exited the cab. It happened to be what seemed like a hip hop dive bar and we were the only white girls in the place and it was a perfect spot to end the evening.
Sunday was POLO day! We met up with our gal, Louisa, in SoHo and ate brunch at Cafe Habana, JT's place of employ. We sat at the bar and gorged on Cafe con Leches, mojito's, micheladas Corona, sauza bloody marys, grilled corn, huevos rancheros, and coconut flan. We got the hookup, but this place is worth the cash. It is so high energy in the tiny restaurant and the servers are all so sassy and sexy! Check it out! We waddled a few blocks over to the Pit and watched the crew play a few rounds of pick-up and Doug D let Jasmine borrow his steed for a game. I was too cold and full to attempt polo so I was happy to watch and take photos of Jazzy in action. We were getting pretty cold pretty fast standing around spectating so we took a hike around China Town, home of The Pit, delicious dumplings, and the ChinaTown Bus, and lighting specialty stores. We went into sparkling store after bright lighting store to warm our frozen cheeks and toes. Who actually buys these ridiculous monstrosities of chandeliers and crystal lamps? We walked all over until the sun set and it was time to call it a day and head back home for a nap and a recharge. This was our final night in town so what better way to celebrate than get gussied up and go dancing?! We donned our highest of heels, shortest of skirts,warm winter outerwear, and cab fare, and headed to a swanky joint downtown for free Sky Vodka drinks and quite a show. This Sunday was gay night at the Greenhouse and I have never seen such an amazing array of people, ever, in my entire life. I had so much fun people watching, and because of the horrid shoes I was wearing, that is what I did for most of the night. I have no clue how woman can actually dance in those things. The club is a gorgeous two level building with crystal prism balls dripping from the ceiling upstairs and what appears to be an enchanted forest downstairs. We danced the night away, then had a short and simple goodbye with JT and Louisa on the train ride home, then hit the hay ourselves.

Monday morning we had bagels and coffee to-go, got packed and headed back to the airport and back home via Baltimore and Tennessee, and snowstorms and delayed flights.

What an adventure. This trip tops my list of best trips ever. Every single moment of the weekend was action filled and fun, and we found a lot of activities to do for FREE. New York left quite a positive impression on me. I've been dreaming of moving there ever since I've returned to Austin.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Video from our November Polo Tour!

I nabbed this from the ATXBPSC blog. We took a LOT of footage during our tour with the intention to make a film about our adventure. I felt like I didn't get the footage that I had envisioned after the trip and have been quite daunted by the task of dredging through the hours upon hours of tape we did compile.
Rob had no fear however! Here is his first attempt at a video to depict our 18 days on the road. Enjoy!

Thanks again Rob! I had quite a time and I appreciate your video editing skillz!

Austin Texas Guerrilla Bike Polo Tour 2009 from Robert on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

MIA not DOA!

I swear this thing aint dead, only forgotten about!
Hey! Anyone out there anymore?
I have been doing what feels like a tone of travelling and playing polo, and partying, and baking, and working, and writing. Life has been busy and thanks to facebook and my iphone, I discovered that I put all of my blogging energy into that application.

So sorry to let you down, blogspot. I am back in action though.
Make sure you subscribe to The Dropout, an Austin Bike Culture Zine on the interwebs. I am becoming a regular contributor (of words and my face- re: the March issue is a pin-up issue!) and have written a couple of pieces on bike polo.
Also, stay tuned to this blog for upcoming segments on my recent travels: The Guerrilla Bike Polo Tour, the STL bike polo lock-in, the TX polo invitational, my recent birthday extravaganza in New York City, and the upcoming Bike Polo Spring Break and my next bike tour, Maine to Madison and the North American Bike Polo Tournament this summer.

Phew. My birthday is tomorrow, I need to go get mentally prepared for that...

hugs and kisses from me to you!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

T-Shirts and Polo, the two loves of my life

Hi friends! Let me take a moment to welcome Autumn, Austin is on board with the seasonal change (for once!). It is raining buckets, gray and mellow outside, and notably cooler outside thanks to the hidden sun. Today is also an international [non]holiday, Car Free Day! I sent all of my coworkers a passionate email about how I commute via bicycle to our lovely downtown spa every day for work and I urged them to do the same. Commute by bike, board, skates, kayak, or their own two legs. I even suggested bus over their own personal vehicle because frankly our city is overrun with motor vehicles. It is loud, dirty and polluted, dangerous, and over crowded and trafficked. The rain definitely thwarted many people who may have been persuaded by my words, but I'll continue to push my point and hopefully eventually people will listen and follow suit. Anyway, I hope that you, wherever you are mark this day on your calendar for next year and make a plan for alternative transportation (and hell, why not give it a go sooner than then!). That's that. On to other business...

Thank you so so soooo much, everyone who has already ordered shirts from us! We feel so overwhelmingly loved! Thanks again! Most of your orders are in the mail. We have had some special requests which have now been ordered and will be sent out ASAP! We are sort of learning these ropes as we go along, colors and fabrics that seem to be the most popular, cotton percentages, weights, etc.
We are moving in to our second and third print designs too! We have a handful of our Guerrilla Tour logos printed and we are making shirts with our team logo/crest however you would like to perceive it. The logo may be a side print (on the side of the trunk of the shirt) so it would wrap around your ribs...kinda like a tattoo or something.

Payment:Paypal! We are so happy all of you out of towners have ordered shirts (Jesse in NY, Adam in CO, Virginia and Donald in Sydney Australia!!!, Keith and Kevin in CA, Vivian, Cathy, and Mary in MO, Maxwell in IL, Andrea in WA)! Thanks a million!

Future paypal orders, we need to tack on a few extra dollars- paypal is not a free service (of course not! I should have known that!), so we need to cover that little charge and postage...we will leave it up to you $3-$5 extra bucks should be sufficient. Sorry and thanks for understanding!

Robert, Daniel, and I all agree that these t-shirts have quickly taken over our lives! We love how they have been received and we have fun getting together and printing them! Good news Austinites, Fast Folks Cyclery will carry our shirts so you can pop in there to get your polo fix along with any fixed gear you need!

Speaking of Austin, TX bike stuff, mark your calendars for the upcoming races: Brian's infamous 6 stage Giro d'Ghetto is BACK! It starts this Sunday Sept 27 and happens throughout the next week. Then the BIKE PROM is Friday Oct 9th, followed by a race on Saturday Oct 10, and Annie P is putting on a race with Bird's Barbershop on Sunday Oct 11! Damn that's gonna be one hell of a weekend! Out of towners, drive on over for these happenings! You will have a place to crash, come have fun with us!

Ok, I think that is all for now!
Thanks for reading. Thanks for buying shirts and supporting our club and our tour.
We love you all!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Social Happenings!

We really are an active bunch of social butterflies here in the Austin, TX bike scene! Always parties, shows, rides, shops to visit, games to play, beers to drink! I know that is why I love it here and find it difficult to think about moving elsewhere....

Anyway, social happenings, we have a laundry list of events starting tomorrow (Thursday 9/17). Polo happens at Eastwoods Park at 5:30pm, then there will be a bridge show that will kick off the Thursday Night Social Ride at around 7:30pm (some of us polo players will be out and around and will have t-shirts for sale to raise funds for our tour, THANKS KEITH! for mentioning that on the event post!),post-social ride happenings at both the Jackelope AND Chupacabre, it's my good friend, Jessi's, BIRTHDAY happening at Lovejoys, then Annie P will be throwing down with her grrrls for her birthday on Saturday! Crazy fun week!
Don't forget the date for the upcoming Bike Prom! Friday Oct 9, 9pm, Beauty Bar, $5. Go to their website and VOTE for Prom KING and QUEEN! I need a date ya'll....and a dress?!

I LOVE Thursdays and can't wait to bounce around all over town and see all you beautiful bikers in full force tomorrow!

*Remember to look for some of us with polo mallets in our bags, we will have t-shirts for sale and would love for you to rep our club!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Polo Tour T-Shirts!

We printed a handful of t-shirts today with our first print. We plan on having a diverse collection of one of a kind hand printed shirts for your polo supporting enjoyment. Feel free to collect them all, as 100 per cent of the proceeds go towards the cost of our trip!

I know a few out of towners have expressed interest in the shirts, even if you live in Austin but find it hard to come out to all of the cycling social excursions and would like to expedite the ordering process, look at the right side of this page a bit and find the "donate" paypal button. Drop a $10 note on there and fill in your shipping address and I will put the shirt(s) in the mail immediately.

We will be receiving an order of colorful shirts on Wednesday and plan to print on Thursday. We are working on an account through Alternative Apparel so stay tuned on that, we currently have fruit of the loom shirts in 100% and 50/50 cotton, men and women's sizes, all crew neck.

Drop me a line with a shirt style request and we will do our best to accommodate you!

Thanks in advance for supporting ATX Bike Polo, and the sport in general! This is a sport that has been in existence for generations but is enjoying a recent burst of popularity and new life! Do a google search or check out and see if there is a club in your neck of the woods. Go sit in on their pick-up night and see how long you can hold out before you are totally enthralled in the game and out there playing too!

I hope to send you all a t-shirt and some U.S.Postal Service love very soon!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Nov Polo Tour!

Yes! It's coming together people, the tour (first volume of many) of the century!
We will be printing ATX Bike Polo Social Club t-shirts to raise some funds for our trip, we will also try to do a few things like throw a fundraising shindig, host a spaghetti dinner or two, have a few bake sales (vegan and non-veg items), and maybe some kinda money making booth at bike events, like the Bike Prom hosted by Fast Folks (Friday Oct 9th at Beauty Bar!). Stay tuned for all of those goings on and thanks in advance for supporting us and our passion and crazy excursion!

Rob has put together a rough draft plan of our route. It sounds like it will already be changed a bit to accommodate more play in certain places. Holler at me if you have contacts in any of these cities who would like to hook up with us and play or party, or host us for the night!

Let me know who is interested in t-shirts! Check our polo blog now and again for updates and print options, etc.

Peace and Love,