Friday, March 20, 2009

NYC09: Pastry Puffs and Comic Buffs

Doughnut Planet
Doughnuts. They come in many shapes; they come in many sizes. They can be one of the most delicious pastries, unfortunately they are more often remembered as those seventy cent briquettes that one can pick up at their local coffee shop. Let me assure you right now that those are not doughnuts. They are donuts. There is a difference, and if you want the best of the best in New York City, head down to Grand Station and walk east to Norfolk.

It is there, at that intersection, that you will find Doughnut Planet. Head all the way down in New York City and you will find yourself rewarded with some of the most mouth watering fried treats. The doughnuts are huge, and come plain, jelly, and cream filled. They will shock you my remaining circles with holes, even though they are stuffed full of deliciousness. The jelly travels the entire circle, ensuring each bite is as delicious as humanly possible.

It is this human element that helps make them so great. You will find you reheated, or frozen deserts here.

Yes, they run $2.50 to $3.00 each – but honestly, if you're only here once it's worth it. You'll not notice those three dollars ever again, but yo will remember the food. The only reason to stay away, would be because you don't want to ruin every other donut that follows.

The Yancy Street Gang
From doughnut planet head a few streets north to Delancy Street, and there you will find the inspiration for Marvel Comics' Yancy Street. Ben Grimm, better known as The Thing from Marvel's First Family (The Fantastic Four), grew up here and became the leader of the local street gang.

But why? Why would Marvel have chosen this location? That's a question I find myself always asking when I stroll through a real-world environment that has inspired so much fiction.

The are seems a little rougher. The glitz and the glamour are not as they are in midtown. Walls and signs are tagged, and spray painted, names garnering attention, perhaps territory being carved out?

Chainlinked fences surround car lots, and fast food restaurants abound. Chinatown, only steps away, offers a break from the monotony of potential city living – but comfort for the locals can easily be found.

It's easier to understand the personality of the Every Lovin' Blue Eyed goliath, having walked the streets that he did, and explored the locations he would have called home. It's moments like there, where fiction becomes so entwined with reality, that literature really has a chance to take off.

Bleeker Street Sanctorm
Continuing north, and continuing my quest to walk the streets of those who once existed only in four coloured panels, I made my way to Bleeker street. At 177 Bleeker, you will find the site of Dr. Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum. In the comics it has recently become disguised as a Starbucks being constructed. A slight jab at the ever growing community.

To this day, the site still remains a restaurant and a rural building. While signs of the coming growth are evident, there are still enough small and eclectic shops to illustrate the communities personality. A perfect fit for Doctor Stephen Strange, and his assortment of oddities.

Chocolate Croissants from the Market
14th street and Broadway opened up before me in the form of a farmers market. There were fresh fruits and vegetables, an assortment of baked goods, and all number of memorabilia. Though the chocolate filled croissant wasn't the best I'd ever had, it was the best I'd eaten thus far in the city.

One moment which I felt quite hypocritically delightful was when I took a picture of a man selling his photographs beside the station entrance, in the centre of the market. He looked at me, and said, “you can't take a picture of me.” I informed him that that wasn't the law. By placing himself and his works in a public place he opened them up to be photographed (as he has no reasonable assumption of privacy, situated in the middle of a market.) He then told me that he was the law, and since they were his works, he had every right.

Now – I understand how he felt. And I might have almost respected his wish, were all the pictures he was selling not of street scenes that he had shot of numerous other people. In fact the picture I took of him would have been right at home, amongst his own wares.

But hey, he was the law – so I just took my picture and headed out.

Lets be honest – if one can take photos within the MOMA, and not break copyright laws – these amateur shots... But hey, we all feel the way we do about our works. How would I feel if someone took my photos and used them? Never mind the fact that those are two separate issues though.

Copyright laws – as a photographer, learn them, and know them. But be aware that some people find themselves the law, and legal or not, you might just find yourself punched in the face if you don't listen to the wishes of your 'subjects.'

Hmm – what was that just one street north? Could it be Forbidden Planet?

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