WHAT TO DO IN NYC// gowanus ballroom

an old friend came into town last night and i thought we were gonna head to a bar. i figured i'd find someone to buy me a drink, there'd be a little flirting, and i'd head home relatively unscathed.

gowanus ballroom is, on foot, nine minutes from where i live now (according to my iPhone map app).

{let me first say that the idea that i am a mere nine minutes from a place where people actually go to spend a saturday night out is revolutionary--thrilling. washington heights had its perks but no way was i getting anyone, ever, to come to me. usually i'd travel 45 minutes or an hour in one direction to get downtown for a real-deal-new-york-city-saturday-night-experience}.

so like i said nine minutes. on foot.

around minute seven i started to get nervous. i crossed the gowanus canal, turned into some sort of parking lot and there were two naked men and marshmallows.

no. not the start of a joke. rather the start (or some part) of a performance art piece.

the gowanus ballroom is, according to its website, "an alternative exhibition space." last night the two-storied space housed an art exhibition featuring a live eel,  a hanging piano, a treehouse (you better believe i climbed the thing--you're only young once), live music, and quite a bit of nudity.

{and at 2 am the hanging piano came crashing down onto the tower of champagne glasses}.

it was not a typical saturday night. there were no phone numbers exchanged. no nuanced flirting from the safety of a barstool. there wasn't even air conditioning. but i wouldn't have traded the experience for anything in the world. because it was just that--an experience. if i'm gonna live in new york i want to do things that can only be done here.

i won't be back every saturday and it won't be the kind of thing i'll bring my brother to when he comes for a visit--he wouldn't be able to make heads from tails of it and there would be quite a lot of guffawing about hipsters. but i will return (carefully choosing my companions when i do).

if you want an experience--an adventure--an only-in-new-york-moment add this to your list.

(and for the instagram user who asked if that's an orb in the fire-breathing photo--hell if i know, but you certainly got the hair on the back of my neck standing straight up).