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Come for the Beach, Stay for the Brisket at Rockaway Beach BBQ

(Photo: RBQ on Instagram)

After a bit of a delay, Rockaway Beach BBQ (RBQ) is finally up and running in the site of the former Playland Motel, which was sold to investors in 2017. Officially opened earlier this week in time for the 4th of July, this offshoot brought to you by the team behind Swingbellys in Long Island is sure to whet any famished beach-goer’s appetite.

Two of RBQ’s business partners, Ryan Moroney and Jacob Marlin, are from the area. Marlin, who’s also the head chef of RBQ, spoke fondly about returning to his native roots. “Oh, it’s a great feeling. Between friends and family and the community board, everyone knows us.”

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Celebrate July 4th at One of These Outdoor Parties

Photo: @TheLotRadio on Instagram.

Independence Day falls on a Wednesday this week, which means Hump Day is gonna be lit. (If we’re allowed to say “lit” anymore.) Here’s our roundup of parties, from the weekday into the weekend. Wherever you end up, remember that the Department of Transportation, in an effort to curb drunk driving, is partnering with Lyft to offer $10 credits when you enter the code KNOWYOURLIMIT here.

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Inside the Installation of the Summer, Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Narcissus Garden’

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

MoMA PS1 has once again brought their crack aesthetic instincts and curatorial muscle out to Fort Tilden for the summer, this year hosting a fantastic installation by one of the most popular artists of our time, Yayoi Kusama’s “Narcissus Garden.”

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Even MORE Hummus Among Us: VISH Opens On East 8th Street

(Photo Credit: VISH)

It’s been a hummus-filled week, folks. Alongside the arrival of Panorama near Union Square, vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurant VISH Vegetarian Hummus opened up earlier this week on E. 8th Street in the heart of NYU’s campus community. Falafel-lovers’ favorite, Maoz Vegetarian, closed in the spring and left a pita-shaped void on the block. But since VISH is opening in the exact same spot, fans can rest easy.

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The ‘Tinder Poet’ Might Be the Only Good Thing On the App

Most people, upon hearing “Tinder Poet,” will cringe, imagining some corny, deluded Lothario shilling stanzas for swipes. But there is a real life dude who goes by that moniker, and wouldn’t you know, his profile might be the one bright spot on the app.

Scene: Before bed one night, I was reluctantly swiping — you know, out of habit, boredom, and that “oh, just in case!” mindset — when I matched with a certain Alexander, no age, “Tinder Poet” listed as profession. His bio read “hey, you’ve reached the tinder poet. Archive: https://tinderpoetcom.wordpress.com,” followed by a poem of the day.

I was pleasantly surprised that the day’s poem didn’t suck, so I looked up his website and found myself scrolling through verses for maybe half an hour. Some are odes to ostensible Tinder matches, like “For Federico,” which contains the lines, “I don’t want to date you/and I won’t/though your fourth pic is pretty hot/you should make it your first.”

Others put forth New York-specific sensibilities, like the unnamed piece beginning “I am an imposter/in these nice clothes/shuttling through the air/on the old el train.” There are reflections on past loves, “Hey I miss the way you say I’m sorry” and random musings about mortality, “when have you remembered that your birth was mysterious? That you came bloody, out of the womb, and managed, for decades, not to fall down the stairs?”

“For Brian” ends like the world’s most whimsical fortune cookie, “you’re going to be lit by a green light, notice someone’s crooked elbow, ask them to dance,” and elicited in me that corkscrew-to-the-gut sensation I associate with being moved by something.

This is good shit, I thought. And felt grateful to this unlikely troubadour for doing what a standard swiping session has never done for me: piqued my curiosity, stimulated my intellect, and made me feel actual emotions. Sure, the standards are low, but this was a welcome departure from that signature Tinder blend of malaise and revulsion.

I messaged Alexander asking if I could interview him about his project, and we set up a non-date at Project Parlor in Bed-Stuy, our shared neighborhood. I vaguely recalled spending evenings there drinking PBR with dirtbag “poets” during my MFA days, so it seemed an appropriate choice.

Click to enlarge.

When I arrive, he’s seated in a shabby sofa chair, talking on the phone, very official-like. We move out to the backyard, and he explains that Alexander is actually his pen name, and prefers I use that in the piece.

TP/Alexander is tall, brown-haired and bespectacled, a gentle giant who answers my questions in careful, measured responses. He’s easy to talk to, and I immediately like him as a person, which is more than I can say for most Tinder dates.

This, however, is not a date. Alexander tells me he’s in a relationship, insisting that his presence on the app is strictly in service of his poetry project, and, “although tempting,” he never uses it for dates or hookups.

“I want to keep the integrity of it,” he says. “I only respond to people who acknowledge me as the Tinder Poet. Otherwise, I just don’t have the time.”

The 30-year-old began the project in January of this year, after a work trip to LA where he found himself overbooked with Tinder dates every night of the week and finally burned out from dating app exhaustion. He wanted to do something more meaningful with the platform, providing matches with “something to look forward to.”

“I want to be the only good thing on Tinder,” he says, and then clarifies, “my real goal is to become the poet laureate of the United States, through Tinder poetry only.”

Click to enlarge.

Although he says he’s been writing a poem a day since his junior year of high school, so far, it remains a labor of love. As his actual profession, he’s a new music/concert composer (he rejects the term “classical,” finding it limiting). He plays cello and guitar, and was formerly in a band called Polysonic Joy until they had a “dramatic falling out.”

I ask if he would ever want to publish a book of his Tinder poems, and he shrugs. “It’s inevitable. We live in a capitalist society.”

He does have a more immediate vision for his alias off the app, though: a poetry reading where he’ll invite everybody on Tinder and auction off a date with him, using the money to fund a guerrilla cover-up of all the subway poems.

“I’m really upset about the subway series,” he explains, which amps me up because, second to the MTA’s crumbling infrastructure and hellish scheduling problems, the outdated, mediocre poetry lining the subway cars draws my ire. We joke about how absurd it is that the mock poems in the PolicyGenius ads are inadvertently better than any of the actual subway poems.

But the egregiousness of the MTA can have a silver lining: it facilitated a meet-cute for Alexander and his girlfriend. They were both waiting for the bus in the Navy Yard; he, after a class in film scoring, at the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema; she, after a shift at the Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory. The bus was taking forever to show up, so they started talking and immediately hit it off.

Transit delays aside, how does one actually make these real-life romantic encounters happen?

“Be bold,” he says. “It’s awkward to talk to strangers, but I feel like if you want to meet somebody in real life, the definition of meeting somebody is talking to a stranger.” I tell him my vibe is probably not the best: always wearing headphones, resting bitch face, dodging catcalls.

“A big part of meeting people in real life is being open to it,” he says, adding that if you’re giving off a good vibe, “people will be attracted to you rather than you having to chase them.”

Or, be the aggressor. One way? Swoop in on a bad Tinder date while one of them goes to the bathroom, he suggests. “Hey, is that a terrible date? Here’s my number.

“Maybe that’s your calling card. It’s super obnoxious, but if that’s you, that’s you.”

I think, I just might try it. I tell him he should write a dating column, “Ask the Tinder Poet.”

He says he’d love to.

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The Very Latest on the City’s Plan to Deal With the L-Pocalypse

(Photo courtesy of Buck Ennis)

Speaker Corey Johnson opened this week’s City Council hearing on the 15-month L-train shutdown with a dramatic flourish. He promised “dogged oversight” and suggested with a firm note in his voice that there better be a “hard stop” at the project’s anticipated completion date. As you’re probably aware, service is expected to be suspended for 15 months between Bedford Avenue and 8th Avenue starting in April 2019. Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation (DoT) and the MTA are working around the clock with new plans to ease the fretful minds of legislators and affected residents and commuters. Here’s the important stuff you need to know from this week’s hearing.

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More Hummus Among Us: Levantine Chain Panorama Launches Near Union Square

(Photo courtesy of Panorama)

The latest health-minded fast-casual chain to hit Manhattan just launched off of Union Square. Panorama Middle Eastern Grill is clearly aiming to become the Levantine Chipotle, and is hoping to succeed right across the street from where The Hummus & Pita Co. failed. Backed by a Canadian real-estate developer, the restaurant aims to open 15 locations around Greater New York in the next few years, starting with its first at 820 Broadway.

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Williamsburg’s Bar Beau Serves Coffee By Day, and Soon Cocktails By Night

Bar Beau (Photo: Claire Chan)

I know what you’re thinking: Does Brooklyn really need another café? But this is no ordinary coffee shop. Bar Beau, which opened on Monday, works overtime for it patrons, doubling as a coffee shop by day and trendy cocktail bar by night.

The coffee bar’s architecture also lends it an unusual appeal. Crisp lines of marble intersect with the ceiling’s plaster curves, evoking rocky cliffs and turbulent waters in an homage to the Pacific Northwest background of owner Claire Chan, who also operates the West Village café The Elk.  The cocktail-slash-cafe is named for her nephew, Beau. “My roots are PNW (Vancouver, Canada), so it was important for me to integrate that into this “home away from home,” says Chan.

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Politicians Call Out Airbnb as Mural Welcomes Guests to ‘Illegal Hotel Row’

A mural painted by local tenants in protest of Airbnb’s impact on their community. (Photo: Tara Yarlagadda)     

“Hey hey, ho ho, illegal hotels have got to go!” On a rainy Wednesday afternoon at the First Street Green Cultural Park, a dedicated group of 15 or so elected officials, activists and local residents sporting “Save the Lower East Side” T-shirts gathered to protest commercially operated, short-term rentals like VRBO and Airbnb.

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A Visit to Williamsburg’s New Food Hall, North 3rd Street Market

Though it’s one of Smorgasburg’s home bases, Williamsburg hadn’t yet gotten one of the glitzy food halls that have been popping up all over Manhattan. That changed when North 3rd Street Market opened at 103 N 3rd this month, bringing with it ramen from Chuko (to make up for its closing in Bushwick), lobster rolls from Greenpoint/Rockaway fixture Lobster Joint, sandwiches and burritos from Lower East Side transplants Regina’s Grocery and Jajaja, croissants from Ben Cuit, cappuccinos from Champion Coffee, rolls from GoFish Sushi Box, and more. DJs from Halycon, the record shop inside of Williamsburg club Output, pair the eats with beats. Maybe most exciting, pizza institution Di Fara has set up its first satellite oven here, which means you’ll no longer have to trek out to Midwood to scarf what many consider to be the best pie in the city. Watch our video to check out the scene and hear from vendors and customers.

Video by Erica Carnevalli.

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Strawberry Moon Rituals, Post-Pride Shame, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Talk Hole / Facebook)

Shame.
Wednesday, June 27 at Asia Roma, 8 pm: FREE

Talk Hole, the only local comedy show series I’m aware of that has ever received a trendy spread in Dazed, returns to the basement of the Chinatown bar/karaoke spot Asia Roma for another evening of oddities and laughter. Though it’s still technically Pride month, the big weekend of parades has passed, and the folks at Talk Hole are very aware of that. To them, the Pride has come to a close, which means it’s time for Shame to rear its greasy little head. Assisting hosts Eric Schwartau and Steven Phillips-Horst in their quest to “support shame throughout the year” will be Jacqueline Novak, Max Wittert, Karen Chee, Jon Wan, and Lena Einbinder. Keep Reading »