Monday, August 13, 2012
Weekend: Brother, Baby, Brewery, and Borges in Brooklyn
This past weekend, I took a few days vacation from work to maximize family bonding time: my younger brother, Adam, was in town visiting my mother, sister, niece, and myself. Until Thursday afternoon, I had not seen Adam since Christmas break, which, for siblings who are exceedingly close, is entirely too long of a time. Being near and dear with both my sister and my brother is beautiful, they are two of the greatest joys and loves of my life, but, with one of us living a bit further south than the other two and still in school as well, it is very tough. So, we all try to compensate a bit when we are all together and really let loose; wise cracks, sarcasm, inside jokes, and laughter always abounds.
Spending time with Adam is always easy, in the truest sense and it pains me that it cannot happen more frequently. Over the weekend, what touched and inspired me most about being surrounded by my family, other than the irritatingly jocular jabs, was seeing Adam play with Winona. He towers over, able to envelope her completely with long limbs, able to raise her above his head and to the heavens in his hands, as she giggles and giggles with her mouth and chubby belly and all her ten toes. He had not seen the baby since sometime in early March, and she has grown and changed drastically; she crawls now, can hold and chew on her books, and speaks eloquently, long gibberish diatribes in baby-tongues.
As Adam has also grown and finally caught up to the rest of the family in terms of legal imbibing age requirement, we decided to make the trek from my mother's temporary home-away-from-home apartment in Carroll Gardens to the Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg. Stowed within a former warehouse off of Nassau Avenue, the building is mostly institutional and unassuming; the poignant and austere quote from a now unknown and foreign Egyptian added some character and a further dimension of truth to the tall walls. Inside, a lighthearted and plain cavernous room was decorated with stark and sturdy picnic tables; we parked ourselves at one, first in line, and staked our claim. Though my mother generally prefers a Manhattan, and I many and any gin concoctions provided they are well shaken, we both joined Adam in sampling generously the various beers. For 20$, five tokens equating to five glasses of brew, a steal for most areas in any of the boroughs of New York.
Conveniently, just outside of the hallowed walls of the brew building, a rather economically shrewd and professionally astute pizza truck was parked; needless to say, after a few rounds of tokens had disappeared, we were eager to sample the pizza. Perhaps surprisingly, if you are unfamiliar with the New York food truck scene, the plain cheese pizza was delicious: piping hot, chunky fresh tomato sauce that was unadulterated and pure, not at all bland, and a satisfying crust with just a sufficient amount of grilled char. We ate as though ravenous; it was grand.
I had no idea Milton Glaser designed the Brooklyn Brewery logo, and many of the campaign posters, though, in retrospect, it makes sense in considering some of his other works. Something new and exciting can be learned even while sitting idly and drinking beer.
Although we were first in line to enter the brewery, the main tasting hall was very soon teeming with people of all ages, young and old. My mother and Adam went on the brief but informative tour of the brewery, while I held down our proverbial fort at the picnic table. I was perfectly content not mingling with other parties there, guzzling beer, so I sipped mine and worked on Labyrinths, a short story collection by Jorge Luis Borges. My atmosphere was a bit distracting, but Borges and his spires of beautiful words were able to keep my attention.
Though we did our fair share of afternoon imbibing and all of the food and frivolity that ensues, we also sampled some of the culture available at every corner and crevice of the city. On Friday afternoon, we toured the Brooklyn Museum, where my brother and I had never been; our mother had toured once and had established a sort of lackluster precedent with her description. As it turns out, she had been while the museum building was under construction, so, the exhibitions were a bit haphazard and misleading. Currently, though the pieces and various rooms are a diverse and sometimes bizarre amalgamation, the overarching curatorial thrust is to unite mediums, time periods, cultures, and genres of artist, to draw broader, deeper, more personal connections between the works.
Our main initial lure was the Egyptian collection, featuring four mummies, preserved utilizing various methods, differing in cost and intricacies. Historically, there was controversy in displaying the mummies, questioning and fear whispering through and between the living and the dead, between separate and united entities of woven carbon molecules. Walking into the mummy chamber of the museum, lights muted and soft, the air was one of respect and veneration, a tribute to the awe and wonders of human life, the constant evolution of human accomplishment. Unconventional, certainly, but, for myself, a humanist and a romantic, the idea of spending the resting years educating and inspiring others is ideal.