Wednesday, November 25, 2009

CPCCPCIV Postponed.

Note to all Manic-CPCCPC (College Point Class Conflict Pub Crawl) participants: we need to postpone this year's event. INFRASTRUCTURE (Chris, Erich, and myself, plus Micah the drummer) is playing a 9:30pm set at Tritone in Philly on Saturday Friday night (details here), and Rob Gestone's band, Postcard Secrets, is playing at The Bitter End in Manhattan on Saturday night (details here).

We'll try to bring back the CPC over Christmas, even though INFRASTRUCTURE is making its New York debut on 12/26. Stay tuned.

And, oh yeah, Austin in TWO WEEKS. Manic to the max!

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

It's official: What was formerly the last German restaurant in College Point is now hosting original music.

Check out this article from one of the local community weeklies. College Point, by the way, is the "working class factory town" in Queens where I'm from.

The Five Corners Restaurant is dead, there's nowhere to get German food in or near College Point, and the Germans themselves will all die or move to Long Island (or Boston). But we might now have a venue for Infrastructure to perform in during the FOURTH ANNUAL COLLEGE POINT PUB CRAWL.

Stay tuned.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

CPC Flashback No. 2

After my friends abandoned me with the MILF cougarlawyer, things became even more interesting. The old people began quizzing me about the songs they were playing on the juke (lots of Meat Loaf, unknown to me). They also bought me two or three gin and tonics. A stocky but athletic, white-haired, 50-something man showed up and kissed the MILF cougarlawyer repeatedly. She kept telling me that she had a 6-bedroom house and that her kids worked for her. He introduced himself as Joe Walsh. He immediately began to make fun of my hat. The fat guy to my left bought me another drink, which tasted like cough syrup, red bull, and rum. I drank it fast.

Get Woldo another drink, cried Joe Walsh. The people laughed.

Why the fuck are you calling me Waldo, I asked.

C'meah. Lemme tell ya somethin, said Joe Walsh. He came over to my side. He was about my height. He said come ova heah. I followed him away from the bar to the back of the room. I did not know what was about to happen.

At the back of the room, at the end of the Sports Garden, I found a hip-height mirror next to the bathrooms. It ran all the way up to the ceiling. Joe Walsh told me to look into the mirror and tell him what I thought I looked like. I said nothing.

Woldo. You look like Woldo, he said.

Thank you, Joe Walsh, I said. In your infinite wisdom and years of experience beyond my own, you have explained this all to me. Thank you.

No problem, said Joe Walsh, smiling proudly and drunkenly. He reached out his hand, which I may or may not have shook. He said: Joe Walsh ain't afraid to tell you the truth.

It was then that I resolved to kill Joe Walsh.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The End of the Earth

Travel time between College Point, Queens and Midtown Manhattan via 7 train and local bus is averaging about 90 minutes. This works out to an average speed of 8mph. There is still no cell phone reception in areas of College Point.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow and Slush in the Old World

I am in College Point, Queens, where the elderly, Mediterranean natives are brandishing shovels and screaming at each other about a mysterious, five-foot-high pile of ice and snow on one side of the street. A Sanitation Dept. payloader, working its way through the neighborhood, created the pile last night, and one neighbor suspects the other of deliberately telling the driver to pile the snow on her side of the street. She suspects this was done so that the flow of water along the curb would be blocked, creating a small cesspool of dirty, melted snow in front of the her house (not to mention the many other homes on that side of the street).

That's how it works here. My family once spent several years without speaking to the other family that lives in our building because there had been a fight over grass clippings from one tiny backyard ending up in the other.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008


To participate in this year's College Point Pub Crawl, which is going to be huge, show up at the Five Corners Restaurant in College Point at 8 p.m. tomorrow (Friday night). The restaurant has no website, and I hope it's still in business. I didn't check.

The 5 Corners is at 14th Ave and 127th St in College Point:

View Larger Map

View Larger Map

How to get there:
1. Get to Main Street, Flushing. The 7 Express takes about 35 minutes from Times Square or Grand Central. The LIRR takes 20 minutes from Penn Station.

2. Get on a bus. Here are your options:
  • The Q25 is probably your best bet. Picks up on Main St near Roosevelt Ave. Stops outside the Five Corners (127th St at 14th Ave).
  • The Q65 runs the most frequently and will let you off at 14th Road and College Point Boulevard, from which you can walk to 14th Ave and 127th St. The 65 also picks up on Main St, under the gigantic, abandoned Caldor sign.
  • The Q20A will let you off at 127th St and 20th Ave, from which you can walk to 127th St and 14th Ave.
  • The Q20B runs very infrequently but will also let you off right at the Five Corners.
You should probably take the 65 or 25. If you drive to CP, there are no parking permit rules and you can park anywhere.

Where we're going:
There are at least 5 bars we can hit, with the possibility of one or two more if we find them. We never run out of things to do, yet we have never fulfilled my fantasy of brown-bagging in front of one of the area's many 24-hour delis.

Getting Out of CP:

The buses run infrequently at night but we've always succeeded in shipping people back to the subway via bus. If need be, we can easily call livery cabs for a ride to Main St ($13-15).

Hotel prices have either risen sharply or decreased sharply since yesterday. Right now, the Extended Stay Suites in Whitestone is down to $97 and a tiny new Howard Johnson in Flushing is $118. The new Fairfield Inn that is within walking distance of the last scheduled bar is still $159. So make sure you have your Mariott RewardsTM card in your wallet tomorrow and get ready to get fucked up.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

CPC IS NEXT FRIDAY: Sign Up At Official CPCCPC Event Page on Facebook

Text of the announcement:

In 2006, I wrote: "What better way to explore the fiber of the community that created the Bellinger boys than through drinking? Hard work, racism, culturally reinforced ignorance, factories, pizza, violence, salt water, bad bus service, jet fuel odor, football/baseball/hockey, that's what College Point is."

Since then, many have joined me for the Thanksgiving weekend slosh-fest where we smoke illegally in bars, trash Sports Gardens, commiserate with the locals, and eat lots of Go-Go Taquitos. No one has yet been hurt, beaten, or robbed. It's just good, clean fun in a very interesting, dynamically changing New York City neighborhood.

The Third Annual CPC^2 will take place on Friday, November 28, beginning with dinner at the Five Corners German restaurant (if it's still in business). The Five Corners is on the Q25 bus route, which you can pick up from the terminus of the IRT #7 line at Main Street, Flushing.

I need a head count to determine whether we'll need hotel room(s). There are half a dozen new hotels in the area priced around $140 for the night.

Visit the official "website" of the CPC at
ALL ARE WELCOME. I only invited you if I thought you'd show up.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008


That's the College Point Class Conflict Pub Crawl III.

Before I get started on my Michigan photonovella, I'd like to confirm that the Third Annual CPC2 will take place on Friday, November 28, beginning with dinner at the Five Corners German restaurant (if it's still in business).

The bar route has lost Halligan's once again. Those on the first CPC will recall that it was seized by the NYPD and sealed. The bar was open last year, but it's out of business once again.

Details on past CPC activity can be accessed here.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

The Ruination of College Point

This is replacing this.

The gray house in the second picture is my grandmother's.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

College Point's Random, 6-story Korean Spa

Featured in the Times.

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Friday, November 23, 2007


Already tipsy from two $4 half-liter Spaten Oktoberfests at the Five Corners, where Rock the Bartender suggested that we hit up the College Point Yacht Club for a good, cheap beer. He says 131 is "a good place to get your ass kicked," confirming my suspicions. People are dropping from the CPCCPC roster left and right. I don't know what to make of that. I went to Amore for lunch, and I'm headed to Cascarino's for dinner.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007


Travelogue by Rob; Linked Photos by Dan

"You's are gonna end up in the hospital," said dad. I was beginning to think that this could be my worst idea of 2006. There was the trans-Canadian roadtrip that almost left me dead. I had already subjected myself to 20+ coach class business flights and had another 20+ to look forward to. But alco-cultural tourism in blue collar Queens?

I didn't believe it could happen until people started showing up in College Point the night after Thanksgiving.

When the small crowd reached critical mass--five--out we went. C-Mike, Althea, Meade, Rob "Mole" Gestone, and I set out through the sleepy, suburban streets of North College Point, the nicest part of the neighborhood. As we approached the Pour House (formerly the College Point Ale House), walking downhill on a narrow sidewalk, feelings of nervous excitement took hold of each of us. Would we be beaten by the bullies of our grade school days? Robbed by the bands of thugs who hang out in front of the neighborhood's 25+ delis 365 days per year?

We found the Pour House a legitimately quaint and nicely appointed corner bar in a residential hood known for haircuts and Korean-Italian subs. The only people in the place also worked there, and they were confused by out-of-state IDs. Every drink cost five bucks, but there was quite a selection. After a round of beers that we would not see again for the rest of the night, like Sam Adams and Bass, we received free Thanksgiving shots of some sticky Schnapps mixture, served in tiny plastic shot cups. C-Mike played RHCP's "Me and My Friends" on the digital jukebox--the Official Song of the CPCCPC. A flyer in the bathroom advertised the Thursday Night City Worker Special , but there were no city workers there to study. Things started well--no conflict.

Up the hill we marched, past the Poppenhusen Monument. Dan spotted this puke in the street and photographed a conspicuous hurricane evacuation sign (these showed up all over the city after 9/11). At 14th Avenue, two of C-Mike's friends from far, far away met up with us, just outside the North Fork Bank (formerly College Point Savings Bank). All marveled at the large and fake liberty bell in the bank. There, as children, we were frequently scolded for leaving handprints on said bell.

The POINT BAR & GRILL experience reminded me of the shady watering hole Homer Simpson finds himself in after Moe steals the Flaming Homer recipe--the place where the barkeep calls him "Your Majesty" for complaining about a huge stain on his glass. The Point Bar and Grill, which has since closed, had been described by the parents as "a real alcoholic's place." We had always passed by as children, and the mother pointed out the "filthy drunks" on the bar steps as examples of societal maladies that we should never become. In 2006, the bar, nestled tightly between a copy shop and a shoe repair shop on the first floor of an apartment building, looked more weathered than ever before. An unlit, faded sign hung over the brick facade. Two Mexican-looking dudes smoked cigarettes on the steps and let us in. Inside, there were a few more Mexican-looking dudes and an anorexic, elderly biker dude with long yellow hair and a compatible-looking chick on each arm. Behind the bar, in a state of apparent permaconfusion, was a tall, stocky dude in a GNR t-shirt.

Someone asked for a pitcher. The bartender dude said: "This is the Point Bar and Grill. You're lucky if we have a dirty glass." And so I ordered something in a bottle, a cider. For the next hour or so, we took pisses in a steel trough, wondered why there was an old treadmill in the empty back room, and watched as a gimpy old man brought 6-packs of Heineken up from the basement. We talked with the barkeep about his shirt. He was psyched to be seeing Axl at the Garden the next week. When we had taken in the scene, we realized that faced a dilemma.

Did we trek up 14th Ave to the residential metal bar, according to the original plan, or move down CP Blvd to two recently discovered bars? We chose the latter, arriving at Rob Roy Spirit's [sic] in just a few minutes. Inside the surprisingly nice place, very drunk drunks played pool. We swarmed the 40something lady behind the bar, and presented IDs from Jersey, Mass, Kansas. "You's are from everywhere!" she said. Then she poured $1.50 worth of Coors into whatever she could find. There weren't enough pint glasses to serve all seven of us, so various plastic cups were employed. Our team employed a dollar-per-drink tipping procedure, leading the barkeep to exclaim to her drunk friends, "They're big tippas!"

This time, the digijuke played "My Lovely Man," another RHCP tune. Carrying my Coors from the bar, I stepped aside as a huge, undercover cop-looking dude fired off the final, triumphant shot of a pool game. He turned to me, shook my hand, and said "thanks fa movin'" all slurred with a sickly drunk smile.

Suddenly I was talking to a short teamster about Somerville, Mass, my adopted hometown. He reached into his pocket and produced his birth certificate, proving that he was, in fact, born blocks from Somerville City Hall. He ended up in New York City and settled in the neighborhood because "College Point is really the last holdout for people of our kind." He elaborated, confirming my suspicion that "our kind" meant white people who play baseball and hockey. The teamster then gave a very lengthy oration on the quality of the new city-owned sports complex and the neighborhood's entire coaching staff.

Though we hoped to play pool, the pool tables were taken. We'd have liked a game of darts, but the bar's darts had been stolen. We moved south.

At the corner of College Point Boulevard and 23rd Avenue stand two bars, a pizza shop, and a 7-11. Around 1:30 a.m., six drunk, young-looking people on foot stormed into the 7-11 and bought disgusting Buffalo Taquitos. The Southeast Asian clerks looked confused and nervous, as did the sole other customer, a counterfeit Far East Queens hipster. The air of nervousness was dispelled as the revelers walked out into the night and the retail environment regained its characteristic silence and uninterrupted fluorescent glow.

JP's on the Boulevard, "A place to meet your friends," had been closed and sealed by the NYPD, so we couldn't drink there. Across the boulevard and up 23rd Ave. stood a squat and small and previously unknown bar I had discovered the day before: the Sports Garden. In this small bar we were to spend the rest of the night. Debbie, the raspy-voiced barkeep, drank heavily and jokingly harassed everyone in the bar. She didn't believe any of us were over 21, as people in College Point look far older than they are. She kept the conversation going with racist jokes--or at least, she tried to. Some people seated at the far end of the bar claimed they were part owners and bought us a round of shots, again in those tiny plastic cups. We did not reciprocate. There was a small, fenced-in patio outside the bar, littered with wet deck furniture reflecting sodium-vapor yellow in the chilly off-season night. I'm pretty sure everyone pissed in this desolate sports garden. We stayed at this bar a long time, then ordered up a livery cab to take our visitors back to the subway in Flushing.

But the Q65 bus, which never comes when you need it to, and which only runs every 90 minutes in the overnight period, showed right up. Our visitors piled in and headed home. C-Mike, Althea, and I did the long walk home, through the 3 a.m. mist, louder and rowdier than perhaps we had ever been in sleepy College Point. I made the mistake of running over a parked Crown Vic, falling off, and busting my knee, but I made it home to put up this post, and I lived to spread the glory of the first CPCCPC while planning the second.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Perfect winter weather for CPCCPCII

NOAA reports that we'll have a clear, precipitation-free evening, with temperatures falling from about 40 to the upper 20s. I'm excited, and there will supposedly be a lot of people, but few bothered to sign up.

See Dan Meade's Flickr Slideshow of last year's journey.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Map has been updated and now features more CP landmarks as well as better integration of satellite imagery. Placemarkers are now 100% accurate.

Zoomable and clickable. Enjoy...

View Larger Map

This is the first customized Google Map featured here!

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Should the College Point Pub Crawl start earlier this year?

Last year we went from 9pm-3am but had to skip an entire leg.

Maybe 8pm isn't early enough. Thoughts?

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

College Point Pub Crawl II Sign Up Sheet--UPDATED

Details here.
Now aiming for an 8pm (TENTATIVE!) start at the Pour House, Friday after Thanksgiving.

Please sign up by commenting.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

College Point Class Conflict Pub Crawl 2007 Update

It's on! I've been meaning to have an update here since early summer, but times are busy. For those of you who are just joining us, the CPCCPC is an urban alchotourism exploration of the blue-collar New York City neighborhood that spawned the Bellinger brothers. We take a group of white-collarized native New Yorkers, mix in some out-of-town friends, and go drinking in a neighborhood where our ilk is not supposed to exist. Last year, we had great conversations and were given free drinks all night.

You can read the preview of last year's adventure here, or see a Dan Meade Photoset of the tour itself here. Dan also posted a summary here. I've yet to finish writing mine.

There will be some important changes to the routes this year. First, the Point Bar and Grill has finally gone out of business after a long decline. I'm honored to have pissed in the venerable trough there less than a year before the bar went out of business. Our Uncle Len said that back in the 60s, College Point was known as a town of "barbershops and bars." The Point Bar and Grill was probably the only existing establishment whose roots reached back that far.

We also have two new establishments to work with this year:
  1. A. R.'s Tavern. Which actually has a website, and free wi-fi. Pre-opening photo here.
  2. Halligan's. Offers free breakfast at 8am, as well as a free first round to all Pepsi route drivers based at the College Point bottling plant. Was formerly J.R.'s, which had been shut down by the NYPD.

So here's a proposed route, which will start either at 8am or 8pm the day after Thanksgiving (or the day before Thanksgiving):
  1. Bellinger Family Homestead
  2. Pour House, 9th Ave at CP Blvd.
  3. A.R.'s Tavern, CP Blvd at 14th Rd.
  4. The Five Corners, 14th Ave at 15th Ave. and 127th St. The last German restaurant in town, which will probably go out of business soon. Have never eaten there.
  5. Metal/Sports bar at 14th Ave and 130th St. We had bet on having a fight here last year.
  6. Return to "downtown" CP for memorial viewing of Point Bar and Grill's remains, CP Blvd. at 15th Ave.
  7. Rob Roy Spirit's [sic], CP Blvd between 18th and 20th Aves
  8. Halligan's, CP Blvd at 23rd Ave (or, tour could start here with breakfast)
  9. The SPORTS GARDEN at 23rd Ave for 2nd annual grand finale--lasting past 3am.

Again, the rules are no cars and no weapons, which puts us at a distinct disadvantage in Queens but holds up well with juries.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Summer Projects gaining momentum

Looks like we'll be back in the good ol' USA this summer. KC is gaining momentum fast, and promises to be big. DM and I are not sure of the route yet.

We're also working on the Buffalo Wing Festival and the CPCCPC07.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

College Point Christmas Eve

Two months after the fact, you're invited to explore this Flickr photoset.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

The MBTA's "service optional" service strikes again.

It was Saturday night, and I was having a hard time mashing potatoes with a meat tenderizer. So I decided to go to the shiny Kmart in Assembly Sqaure and get a real masher.

Now, I work from home and choose not to to own a car. That shouldn't be a problem, because the MBTA's No. 90 bus literally runs door to door, from my home to the shops at Assembly Square. The beleaguered agency's $466,000 new website announce that on this Saturday evening, the 90 bus would pick me up outside my home at about 7:35pm and then retrieve me from Kmart at about 9:05.

Nope. Even though the 90 runs across Somerville (the most densely populated city in New England, with almost 80,000 residents on four square miles), to the Sullivan Square transit hub, to the shops at Assembly Sqaure, to the Wellington transit hub, it only runs once an hour on Saturdays. It doesn't run at all on Sunday. And even when it's supposed to run, it doesn't run. So whether you're one of the hundreds who work in the big boxes or a normal person who works on weekdays and shops on weekends, you can't get there from here. Sorry, buy a car.

When I saw the schedule last night, I thought I was experiencing a rare case of luck. I went outside at 7:30. The bus came by, at 7:43, going the wrong direction. I waited another twelve minutes for the bus to go to Davis Square, turn around, and come back. It was about 20 minutes late, but I could live with that. Sure, it was 30 degrees out, but like a first-class citizen of America, I was basking in the glow from a Dunkin Donuts and reading American Psycho.

The bus driver was a friendly, young woman who admitted she was running really late. Since there were only a half-dozen patrons for the time I was on board, I got to the store quickly. I found all the junk I needed at Kmart. Bike pump, sheets, picture frames, and even a potato masher. I went outside at 9:10, just in time to see the bus going by in the other direction. By the bus driver's own admission, the bus should have been back through in ten minutes--after turning at Wellington. The temperature was dropping fast, and naturally, I was the only person at the bus stop.

After a half-hour of waiting for the bus to come back, I called a cab. The bus should have been there at 9:05. The cab came at 9:45. Just before it arrived, the parking lot security guy who had passed me a half-dozen times stopped his SUV to tell me that he didn't think any more buses would be coming.

The MBTA likes to suggest that low demand is the reason why buses run so infrequently on weekends. However, in my home neighborhood in New York City, the MTA proved the opposite case: if you build it, they will come. Retailers learned this decades ago, but the MBTA can't understand it.

When the College Point Retail Complex opened in eastern Queens, there were no nearby bus routes, just parking lots. The MTA created a new bus route, the Q20A, offering service every 10-20 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays as well as a direct connection to the Number 7 train. For those not living on the subway, the MTA also extended the extant Q76 bus to terminate at the retail center. Now, two buses provide seven-day service to both workers and shoppers. They are always packed to the gills, providing the MTA with even more operating revenue.

By comparison, Somerville's shops at Assembly Square have hourly bus service from 7a-10p on Saturdays (theoretically), but no service at all on Sundays.

Just about a mile away in Everett, the Gateway Center, which closely resembles the College Point development, receives hourly service from the No. 97 bus from 10a-7p on weekends. How could any working stiff depend on that?

The MBTA doesn't even claim to offer frequent or sufficient weekend service. But the truly sad part is that it can't even deliver the paltry services it promises. There is plenty of evidence about weekend bus problems plaguing shoppers south of downtown Boston, too.

It really bothers me how much a potentially great city (or collection of cities) is held back by its inferior transit system. I can buy a car or get out, and I think I'm going to get out.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Christmas Evening

My block in Queens on Christmas evening.

Now that I've learned of the simple "handshake" between Flickr and Blogger, I'm going to post many more pictures on the blog (I used to FTP them to

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