Ramblings: RIP Motor City Bar


Sometimes people ask me why I spend so much time in bars. To be honest, I don’t even really think about it that way – I’ve always spent a lot of time in bars, in all of the different countries I have lived in. It’s all about hanging out with my friends in a social setting. Where I come from and where I grew up, going to the pub or the bar was not about how many alcoholic beverages you could throw down your throat in the least amount of time. It was more about meeting your friends, getting a drink and catching up, chatting, being social. Drinking coffee and then moving on to wine or beer early in the evening. A bar was a place to meet up and talk, read, be together. After moving to the States I felt that bar culture here was a little different and that often a bar seemed to be just a place to get wasted and meet someone to hook up with. Luckily for me this initial feeling was dissipated when I found several bars that I could consider my homes away from home.

I have my moments getting very drunk in bars, and hooking up with not-so-random people and all the rest, but first and foremost it’s always been a social spot for me to meet up with my friends. I’ve met many of my closest friends in bars too, and there is nothing wrong with that, it’s not as if we only hang out in bars either. We met in a bar, met up several times aterwards, and then exchanged numbers, had brunch, dinner, went to a show, got to know each other and then became close. That’s how you make friends, or that’s how I make friends in any setting. Just because it’s a bar doesn’t mean that the friendships that start there are less worthy than the ones that may have started at work, or at the gym, or at a restaurant. 

Anyway, this is not supposed to be a post about bars in general but about one special bar that has been part of most of my life in NYC, a bar that I have spent so many nights in over the past 8 years and a bar that will always have a very special place in my heart, as it does in the place of many other people. This bar, Motor City, closed its doors for the last time last Sunday, after 18 years of existence on Ludlow Street. The one bar where on any night of the week (or any time of the night for that matter), you would find like-minded people and a DJ playing music that you would like. Even on Friday and Saturday nights, amidst all of the bars playing radio-friendly mush for the drunken weekend crowd, Motor City would still be rock n roll and a haven from everywhere else. 

So many memories, more than I could ever put into words, as one memory just divulges tens of others. So many friendships made and broken and reformed again, so many people passing through and moving on to other lives elsewhere, but often leaving there own mark on the establishment, and leaving with a piece of Motor City in them, never to forget the bar where they did more than just drink in. Because you always did more than just drink at Motor City. You danced and talked and wrote on the bathroom walls, you changed the world with words, discussed things for hours, jumped up on the bar and danced (well I used to for a while), heard songs you had never heard before and watched your friends scream and shout when they tried to beat each other at Miss Pacman. Injuries may have been sustained (a broken cheekbone in my case) and many a hangover suffered after a night at Motor City. Some memories that you probably would prefer to erase, but many more that you will cherish for life.

In my opinion there is nothing better than going into a bar by yourself, knowing that you would never be alone. Nevermind knowing if one of your friends may be there or not, just by the fact that you knew the barstaff and that they would always be there to chat and have a laugh with you, whether you were drinking alcohol or not. And I have to say that Motor City would not have been Motor City without the bartenders and the owners. Wonderful people who had been there for years and probably would have continued to work there if it hadn’t been forced to close down. People who always made me feel welcome and at home, even when I was at my drunkest, or when I was at my most sober. People who never made me feel judged or uncomfortable, and who I will miss not seeing in the setting of the bar, as this bar really was an integral part of my life. Even if, over the past few years, I had spent less time there than I used to do, mainly because I was working most nights on Orchard Street, but also because I was trying avoid running in to some people I didn’t want to be around anymore, the bar still felt like home whenever I stopped in. 

I stopped by the closing party, which was held a week before the actual closing, on a Sunday night after I finished work. The bar was so packed that it was nearly impossible to get a drink. I had a shot and left, as I couldn’t speak to anyone or really hang out there. Then I went back a week later, on the actual night that it was closing and it felt EXACTLY as it always had – a place where you went to have a lot of fun, listen to the music you loved and hang out with people like yourself. Or different, but that didn’t matter! My last memory of Motor City will be sharing a bottle of Powers and a few cans on PBR in front of the bar. Fitting memory for a place that never failed to remain the same, even when the entire street started to change. 

How many memorable birthdays have we all celebrated there? How many of us DJ’d there at least one night? How many times did you bump into, and hang out with people who play in bands that you adore? How many debaucherous after parties were held there? How many times did you end up there because there was nowhere else to go where you would feel at home? How many times did you walk through the doors and breathe a sigh of relief because the atmosphere never changed and you knew you could be yourself without feeling judged? And how many places in the city (especially on the Lower East Side) can you still go to and feel the same way? How many times in my life have I ever bought a new dress specifically for a Christmas party in a bar? (only ever for the MC Christmas party!).

RIP Motor City – you will always have a huge place in my heart. And thanks to everyone who worked there and who I met there who made the place into what it was.


Photography: Orchard Street


For the past two years I have spent most of my days (nights) on Orchard St, working, hanging out, chatting, eating, making friends, drinking, dancing, writing, working, pouring drinks, serving food, working and smiling. There is something very special about this one block on Orchard St that has been the main part of my life for a while now. I've been wanting to do some kind of photography project to document every day life on the block for the past few months, so over the past week I have had my camera on me at all times and have been taking random pictures of the street, the shops, the restaurants and bars, but also of friends and locals and business employees. It's not finished yet, there are a few people that either weren't around when I had my camera out that need to be part of this collection, so I am sure there will be updates over the next few weeks and months.

RosariosJamesTaqueriaCarlHanging coatsMoustache
Million dollar deliLuggageTony's tattoosMatt and TraciLate nightLate night 200
BereketStoop drinkingHiding behind a treeAriSilLe French Diner
LarryAri and JessyTonyJoe and JamieBiker boyAlejandro
Orchard St, a set on Flickr.

For the time being just click on the link above to see the entire set.

Photography: Random film prints


I love finding a random roll of film that I forgot to get developed in the bottom of my bag, not remembering when I finished the roll and what on earth is actually on it. I finally got round to getting this roll developed today, all photos taken with my Holga over the past year, most of which I had totally forgotten that I had taken. I love the striking colours the Holga tends to produce in bright sunlight, as well as the softness, or slight blur, that appears in most prints. My favourites are definitely the ones taken by the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco last year, mainly because the blues are so dense and pretty, and also because it is one of my favourite places to be in the world. I must make it one of my goals to use my Holga and Canon AE-1 more often this year - and then wait a while to develop the films so that I get more nice surprises.
Link to the full set below.


San Francisco BayWalking the Golden Gate BridgeView from my sideTime n PlaceSunset in JamaicaSnowed in
San Francisco skylineRosie at the beachOleanderGuinness IciclesGolden Gate BridgeFort Tilden
Clearing Orchard StCaribbean SeaCalifornia flowerBridge in the distanceBoats on the water200 Reflections
Film 2013, a set on Flickr.

Ramblings: (R)Evolution

I’ve been obsessed with the show Revolution this month. The end of the world/major changes in life/dystopian and utopian views on life themes are often recurring in my writing and I like to imagine what life would be like without all of the comforts that we are used to, and without all of the elements that we take for granted every day (hot water, electricity, public transport and so on). The whole point of this show is to portray life 15 years after a never-ending black out that is completely widespread around the world. Without electricity everything falls apart and has to be rebuilt again. Or does it actually get rebuilt?


Can you imagine not being able to travel anywhere unless you it can be done on foot or by horseback? Or not being able to contact anyone via any form of mail or phone anymore? Basically imagine going right back to the Middle Ages, but even worse as there are not even ships to travel over the seas with, because they have all been destroyed by militias, or used for firewood. The loss of hundreds of years of evolution, to fall right back into a time that we have only read about in history books. Of course, the show itself is a little far-fetched, and it is made by the same guy who was in charge of bringing us Lost, but at the same time it gets me thinking. What if this really happened?

How many times has the end of the world been predicted, down to a specific date, just to go by and not happen? We have another one coming up very soon, in just a couple of weeks, and I doubt that anything will happen. At the same time I feel like many people I know, including myself, have been going through some strange transition phases at the moment, phases that is full of gloom and problems and sadness, that seem to trap you and pull you down like quicksand on a stormy beach right before a hurricane hits. The positive in me says that everything will get better and that we just need to push through the cold and make it back to the warmth again. Then the negative says that it’s never going to get any better so we had better just lie in bed and never get out from under the covers again. The positive is finally winning on the negative though, I find it impossible to stay down for too long, as there is some kind of invisible force from within that shoves me back out into the world and puts a smile on my face. Anyway, how can you help others who have it worse than you when you can’t see past your own troubles?

I’ve always been interested (maybe obsessed is a better word…) in revolution and uprising. Rebellion against what you feel is forced upon you and the idea of making a change for the better. Not that the better always happens, as so many human beings are too selfish and hell bent on gaining power over others in reality, but the idea that it exists makes me happy. I suppose that’s how I have always tried to live my life – by what I think is right. Although I suppose what I think is right may not be what you think is right, and if you were a fundamentally bad person then I would have to get rid of you. Or something along those lines. In any case, I digress. Back to the subject at hand, that of the world as we know it changing in such a way that we have to change our lives completely in order to live in it. What if all of a sudden the lights do go out without any warning, never to come back on again? What would your first reaction be? Disbelief? Straight into survival mode? Would you help others or just focus on your own well-being and safety? It’s impossible to really know until you are actually right there in the situation, but it’s way to interesting a thought to not speculate on how we would all survive. However, I can’t really imagine not being able to contact my family and friends who are far away ever again. That thought is too hard to fathom and too scary to even contemplate. But I do like to think about the rest of it… Where would I go, how would I find my friends, and what would I take with me if I left the city? Do you just leave everything behind and start over somewhere new, a new person in a new world? How would I live without being able to listen to music everyday anymore, or know what was going on elsewhere in the world, or even the next city down? There are so many stories to be written about these types of situations, stories that I should start writing down instead of keeping in my head. Maybe on paper instead of online though, come to think of it… At the very moment that I am writing this our internet decided to go down and won’t come back up again, which I find a little spooky, even if I know it probably has no connection whatsoever. Another thought comes to mind… Do we often imagine these end of the world scenarios just because we want something different but can’t find a way to make a change? Is it really impossible to make changes on a smaller level, instead of waiting for the world to explode (or implode for that matter), to rebuild what we have wanted to change forever? We always talk about remembering events of the past so that they never happen again, how about predicting them so that they never actually happen? Interesting concept, one for another post as it is time to make vegetable stew and mashed potatoes while I still can in the confines of my kitchen within the haven I call home. 

The main question that remains is… If all this really does happen where shall we all meet so that we don’t lose each other? Orchard St?