Week 28: Grinding to Art and Big Ass Burgers

There was once a time where you had to choose between a quiet afternoon reflecting on contemporary art and drunkenly grinding on a total stranger to rapturous trance music in Queens. Thankfully, for all parties, this is no longer an exclusive choice we need to make. The MoMA PS1’s Warm Up is upon us, and with it, droves of sloppy, semi-cultured New Yorkers venture out to Long Island City in search smooth tunes and eye-gougingly intense art.

For those of you who have no idea what the hell I was talking about in the preliminary paragraph of this blog, fear not. An explanation is coming.

The MoMA PS1 is a massive Museum of Modern Art. It got the “PS1” distinction as it was originally Long Island City’s first public school, built in 1891. It was later closed in 1963, due to a dearth of attendance and a surplus of spitballs. And there it remained, an empty, purposeless edifice.

Enter Alanna Heiss. Heiss, a champion of the alternative space movement and a profound lover of art, saw potential for this enormous former schoolhouse, and led the initiative to transform it in 1971. It now exists as one of the largest galleries solely devoted to contemporary art in the free world.

In an effort to stay current, profitable, and sexy, during the summertime months, the MoMA PS1 hosts the “Warm Up” celebrations every Saturday afternoon from three to nine. These entail a massive outdoor party, centered in the courtyard outside the MoMA PS1, featuring top local DJs, free-flowing booze, gourmet food tents, some twisted architecture, and access to a righteous contemporary art museum.


I know what you’re thinking. I’ve been to “art parties” before and this event has massive potential to suck. But it doesn’t. It does the opposite of suck. It blows...you away (see what I did there?). Warm Up’s choices of DJ’s are stellar across the board and walking outside with food and beer is rarely a bad time. Top it off with the ability to escape at any time into a building featuring mind-expanding mediums that push the limits of “art,” and you’ve got yourself something quintessentially New York and truly awesome. Hell, I’m not your typical “art” guy, and to this day, I still cannot eradicate one painting from my mind (a purple demon with two guns, one pointed at his head and the out at the viewer - seriously, it haunts me).

Check out the Warm Up celebration. It’s a good excuse to do something cultured, in between chugging brews and hitting on that tatted-up girl with the shaved head.

Sandwich 28: DuMont Burger

After a seven-day battle with a food-born illness due to rancid roast beef, I was shaky to jump back on the whole sandwich-eating train. To understand just how violently ill I was: I didn’t drink alcohol for nine days. That’s probably the longest streak I’ve gone in that many years. During this sickness, I stopped feeling normal human sensations, things like “hunger” and “happiness.” I wasn’t me, people, and it was bad. Then I walked by DuMont Burger and it all went out the window.

I constantly give points to innovation on the Project -- fried pork sandwiches stuffed into South American banana bread and meatless kale-infused turkey wraps -- oh yeah, you gotta love that stuff. Sometimes, though I don’t want anything fancy. I wanted, nay, I needed a sandwich, something simple where everything was done absolutely right. And I needed a big ass serving of it. 

DuMont seemed the place to go. Chilling in casual, al-fresco seating on a relaxed afternoon in Williamsburg, I ordered their signature burger. Think of the patty comparable to a succulent, oversized hockey puck, lightly seasoned and boasting the hearty, grilled flavor that can only be described as: America. Then, they drench it in caramelized onions and melted Gruyere cheese, top it with lettuce, tomato, and purple onion, and finish it off with homemade sweet pickles. Paired with some of the softest home-made onion rings I've ever consumed and an Abita root beer to boot, it was the first mighty meal after my dirge of agony and starvation.

No, DuMont Burger will not change your life, but it is a massive, honest, no-frills tasty burger and sometimes, that's all you're really looking for, you patriotic bastard, you.