Sunday, June 30, 2013

Boston Common Food Vendor- Daddy's Fried Dough

As a resident of Jackson Heights, Queens, I learned to love and appreciate food from street vendors. Whether they were tacos, arepas, cemitas, quesadillas, or halal food I knew they were made with care. While they are fast food, the preparation was not necessarily fast. I waited five to ten minutes for my food each time and I could watch them carefully assemble my order.

Daddy's Fried Dough
On a weekend trip to Boston, I came across Daddy's Fried Dough in Boston Common. The street cart is located near the Park Street Station T entrance/Tremont Street. Daddy's Fried Dough is available April through November. The fried dough makes for a great snack. Like funnel cake and churros, this snack is fried and often dusted with sugar. It is fresh and you could choose your own topping. It is best shared as it is rich, indulgent, and possibly ridiculously unhealthy. Also, make sure you grab a stack of napkins. You're gonna need it. That powdered sugar flies everywhere!
The fried dough plain and simple.
Pick your topping. Cherry?
Boston Cream?
Even better. Boston cream with powdered sugar and cinnamon!
Just as good. Apple with cinnamon and sugar!

Daddy's Fried Dough
Tremont Street and Park Street
Boston Common, Massachusetts

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Woonbootmuseum, Amsterdam- Life on a Boat

Canals of Amsterdam, Woonbootmuseum
Amsterdam is known as the Venice of the Netherlands. They have more canals than Venice and not only are they used as roads for transportation but they are also prime real estate. Houseboats are plentiful in Amsterdam and just as popular as apartments.

It's not any cheaper living on a houseboat than living in an apartment. Some houseboats cost just as much as a house and are much smaller. Each one is unique and charming in its own way. The houseboats in Amsterdam have been adapted to modern living standards. They have heat, electricity, and modern plumbing.

If you ever wondered about the ins and outs of a houseboat and what it looks like inside, stop by the Woonbootmuseum in Amsterdam. It is located on Prinsengracht nearby many tourist sites such as the Anne Frank House and Bible Museum.

Entrance to Woonbootmuseum
One of the plusses about the Woonbootmuseum is that there is no line, something almost unheard of in Amsterdam since the lines at the Van Gogh Museum, Old Church, and Anne Frank House are upwards to an hour waittime. The admission fee is just 3.75 Euro.

The museum is self guided. Each patron is handed a laminated floor plan with descriptions of each room.The museum never gets too crowded and there is a little play area for children. The boat is less museum like and has more of a feel like popping into a friend or neighbor’s house.

It’s quite interesting inside and much different than you’d expect. There aren’t conventional bedrooms but two “cupboards” where people climb into to sleep. This boat had one bed for the parents and another for the children. It is a small space almost coffin like measuring about five feet by six by three. I learned that back in the early1900’s people were a lot smaller back then and this space was perfectly adequate.

The houseboat had a decent sized kitchen with plenty of skylights which allowed the natural light to pour in. Onward to the living room, this space was very large and had nice seating, a table, desk, television, and library. The back of the boat led to more rooms, a children’s playroom nook, another sleeping area, bathroom with shower, and storage area. The houseboat was nicely decorated and displayed many dioramas and models of what other houseboats looked like. There was also a video played about houseboat life and a mural on the wall explaining how houseboats float in relation to sea level.

Children's Playroom
Examples of different houseboats.
The Woonbootmuseum is educational and fun. It is amazing how the space is used and I could relate coming from a New York perspective. The deck of the boat was even turned into a garden and patio. Check out the Woonbootmuseum and experience this slice of life of Dutch culture.

Prisengracht 296K
1016 HW Amsterdam

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Art in Amsterdam- Jaski Art Gallery

A lot can happen in a span of 45 minutes. I had to kill some time before my bike ride into the countryside of Amsterdam. In a span of 20 minutes, I had already found the cutest little toy store along with countless cheese and sandwich shops I wished to have lunch in.

I wandered through a street of art galleries and took a moment to peer into one of the windows. The paintings, dark and imaginative, looked like mixed media. A woman opened the door to say hello and hand me a few fliers.

Jaski Art Gallery
Jaski Art Gallery is a contemporary art gallery that lives in what is the New York Soho equivalent of Amsterdam: the Spiegelwartier. The woman, whose name is Willy, invited us in when I inquired if we could take a look inside. She was all too kind and made me a cup of illy espresso coffee. In Amsterdam it is customary to give a little treat, whether it be a chocolate or cookie, with their drinks. I enjoyed every last bit of my chat and coffee break before browsing the exhibit.

Chris Berens, a young 37 year old artist, is a patient painter. His paintings take hours to finish and his technique is simple but complicated. He paints over and over again on glossy paper to the point where his paintings look like different layers and media. They are all hand painted just using different inks and varnishes. To stare at a Berens painting is like looking into a dream. The images are bizarre, of fantasy, ethereal, and often mismatched open to your own interpretation. He will mix fairies with animals, Star Wars spaceships with modern buildings, and doe eyed girls with big heads and nature. Blondie is such a big fan of Berens that the group commissioned him to paint their album cover. He is a true rock and roll artist making a statement.

Strange Days - Chris Berens
Codega - Chris Berens
Jaski Art Gallery is all about statements. Weaved in with Berens’ paintings are the sculptures of Atelier Les Deux Garcons. Les Deux Garcons is the brain child of Michel Vanderheijden van Tinteren and Roel Moonen. Like Berens, they are also from the Netherlands.

Les Deux Garcons specialize in taxidermy art. This is what drew me into Jaski Art Gallery in the first place. The duo sources the animals from taxidermists, antique dealers, and auctions. The animals are stuffed, decorated with props, and posed in such a way that they are whimsical, humorous, and dreamy. This makes light of the matter that their art is based on dead animals. Imagine a chipmunk dancing in a tutu or two hamsters sitting at a table waving guns in the air. Les Deux Garcons like to play on fear and fate all while making you stop and think for awhile.

La Jeunesse Doree - Les Deux Garcons
(hamsters) - Les Deux Garcons
La Tentation Ferme - Les Deux Garcons
Jaski Art Gallery is open every day. They work with young talent, local artists, and collaborate on large scale with museums. They also participate in art fairs around the world. I’ll be looking forward to saying hello at The Affordable Art Fair and The Armory Show.

Photography Credits: Desmond Chow

Jaski Art Gallery
Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 29
1017 DB Amsterdam