Inhuman Swill : NYC : Page 7

Tell them Seth sent you

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A delightful Times article about New York City's speakeasies:

One person who probably did not patronize the place was William M. Bennett, who in 1929 ran in the Republican mayoral primary as a dry candidate. One of his campaign promises was that he would close a speakeasy that sat "in the shadow of Police Headquarters"—very possibly Onieal's predecessor—along with what he estimated were 100,000 speakeasies in the city.

His threat did not go over well. He lost the nomination to a wet candidate named Fiorello H. La Guardia, 62,894 to 17,100. Which might explain why your flight to New York will not be landing in Bennett Airport, and why you can have a drink at the bar upon arrival.  [full article]

Why are we moving again? Oh, yeah, Prohibition is over.

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Raise your hand if you're planning to attend Nebula Awards Weekend in New York next month.

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Astoria Sidewalk
Every Sunday morning, Laura and I walk Ella through our neighborhood to Astoria Park for a pre-9:00 am romp with her friends. It takes about half an hour to get there. Last Sunday, Laura brought the camera along and took pictures.

Astoria has the largest population of Greeks outside of Greece, or so I am told. It's the kind of neighborhood with a Dunkin' Donuts on one block and a supper club called ΠANΘEON on the next. Astoria's sister city is Athens, which donated a couple of statues to a little park on 30th Avenue called Athens Square.

We don't always walk through Athens Square on the way to Astoria Park, but when we do Ella usually barks at the Socrates statue. (Had she lived in ancient Athens, she'd have been one of the citizens calling for the death of Socrates.) Sunday, though, she couldn't be bothered.

From Athens Square, it's another twenty minutes or so to Astoria Park. There's a children's playground in the park that overlooks the once-dangerous East River channel known as Hell Gate. Only in a Greek neighborhood would the playground be named after Charybdis, the ravenous sea monster of Greek mythology responsible for whirlpools.

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2,400-mile cab ride

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This Yahoo! News story warmed my heart:

NYC couple hail cab for 2,400-mile ride

But they'll probably hit every pothole between here and Sedona.

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Friday the 13th indeed

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I've been hearing rumors for a while, but now that the paper of record is on the record...

A man jumped to his death Friday out the window of a 69th-floor law office in the Empire State Building.

Police responded to the New York City landmark shortly before 3 p.m. after a 911 caller reported seeing a severed leg—covered in a gray sock—on the street below. The rest of the body was recovered from a setback on the 30th floor.  [full sketchy story]

I'll, uh, be walking uptown to Bryant Park to catch the train home.

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So, as threatened, Paul (of [info]theinferior4 fame) and Colin and I went down to the Brandy Library yesterday evening to attend a Spirit School class in rare & precious scotches at the feet of Ethan Kelley (hereinafter referred to as my hero).

I'm hoping Paul will post more about the evening's de-scotch-ery, along with the photo our estimable server Raj took of us, but for now I will simply post the evening's menu:

Before class at the bar

  • 1 Godfather (scotch and amaretto) (me)
  • 2 Old Fashioneds (rye, muddled orange, and cherry) (Colin and Paul)
  • 1 Imperial 16yo(?) single-malt (calvados cask) (me)
Class curriculum
  • Buchanan's blended scotch over ice (warmup drink)
  • Glenlivet 31yo (bottled by Glen Master)
  • Tomintoul 27yo (this one just keeps turning up)
  • Macallan 1876 replica
  • Dallas Dhu 27yo cask strength (bottled by Dun Bheagan) (rum cask?)
  • Glen Grant cask strength (notes incomplete)
  • Bunnahabhain 25yo bourbon cask
  • Highland Park 30yo (sherry cask?)
  • Springbank 1969
  • Edradour 30yo (bonus spirit)
At least, that's as best we can jointly piece together from our notes today, the taking of which deteriorated somewhat over the course of the evening. There may be corrections to post later.

Next up: rum class?

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Precious and rare scotches

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Hey, New Yorkers! Like scotch? Have a $120 burning a hole in your pocket? Free tomorrow night?

The Brandy Library's weekly Spirit School features a tasting of precious and rare scotches Tuesday at 6:30 pm. I'll be there along with a couple of friends. Why not give the Brandy Library a call and see if there are any other spots free in the class?

I plan to arrive at 5:30 and enjoy a leisurely cocktail before class. That's what Laura and I did two weeks ago for the calvados class, and it definitely gave us a chance to soak up the ambience of the place. The class itself was a small, informal affair in a tasting room in the basement. We started with a Jack Rose cocktail (calvados, lime juice, and grenadine), then were regaled with the Story of Calvados while tasting 8 progressively more aged calvadoses (sp? calvadi?). Hors d'oeuvres were served between each tasting. At the end, we each were served a large snifter of a super-mega-fabbo calvados as a bonus spirit. That was 10 drinks over the course of the tasting, albeit not full glasses, plus the earlier cocktail in the lounge. We felt awfully good on the way home.

"Spirit sommelier" Ethan Kelley is a great teacher and raconteur, and he told me that the rare scotches class would be a somewhat looser affair than the normal classes, and would focus on learning how to get the best value when purchasing expensive scotch. To that end, we would taste some phenomenal scotches and maybe a couple of awful ones. But he promised it would be fun. I don't doubt it!

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[info]
The elephants are coming! The elephants are coming!

I went with eleanor and a couple of other friends, wow, maybe three years ago to see the elephants emerge from the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, and it was a sight worth waiting around in the midnight cold for. It's a sight that must be seen one last time.

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NYRSF reading tonight!

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I hope you intrepid New Yorkers will brave the cold and the wind tonight at the South Street Seaport to attend March's entry in the New York Review of Science Fiction Reading Series. I am guest-curating, and I'm very pleased that our readers tonight will be Lauren McLaughlin and Andrea Kail, who both come to written SF from the worlds of visual media.

Lauren McLaughlin spent ten years in the film industry, writing the films Hypercube, Specimen, and Prisoner of Love and producing American Psycho, Buffalo '66 and several others. After a brief stint writing the flash animation series "Maatkara" and the award-wnning "Chi-Chian" for SciFi.com, she abandoned her screen ambitions to write fiction. Her first novel, Cycler, is due from Random House in the fall of 2008. Her short fiction has appeared in Interzone, Year's Best SF, Sybil's Garage and Salon. She is also at work on a science fiction musical about transhumanist love. Her website and blog are available at laurenmclaughlin.net.

A native New Yorker, Andrea Kail is a graduate of the Dramatic Writing Program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. She has spent 20 years working in New York's film and television industry and is currently the script coordinator at "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." Her first story is set to appear in Issue 6 of Fantasy Magazine, and she was recently named a first-place winner in the Writers of the Future contest with a story that Robert J. Sawyer has called "a knockout" and "Hugo-caliber." Andrea has been advised to say, should anyone ask, that, yes indeed, she is working on a novel.

The reading series is held at the South Street Seaport Museum's Melville Gallery, 213 Water Street in Manhattan. Doors open at 6:30 pm, reading begins at 7:00 pm. A $5.00 donation is suggested.

Should be a great evening. I can't wait! Please come!

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Winter haiku

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Snowflakes ride updrafts
in Brownian reels outside
my twelfth-floor window.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
missionary
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn

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