Saturday, October 10, 2009


October 10, 2009: A throw-back to the days of old Astorian lore. Awoke on a neighbors couch, in backwards pj pants and tangled hair, slipped on some cowboy boots and picked up the laundry from the no-good laundromat across the street. I've been embroiled in a nasty feud with this place ever since they lost an expensive trench coat of mine three years ago. Was officially banished for not paying my bill, but lucky for me, the owner failed to recognize me in my new haircut courtesy of Toni & Guy. She's a wily one, that Willa K. And also lazy, as this is the first time she's ever dropped off her clothing to be washed for her. There is something sacred about doing your own laundry. The peace, the ritual, the soft, clean smell of lint and dryer sheets. Reminds me of home, of happiness, and sometimes To be honest, its an irrational fear of strangers touching my unmentionables that bothers me so much, but on a lovely autumn day like today, its easily forgotten.

Later, I sauntered over to the Salvation Army to unload a bag of old clothes I've been meaning to get rid of for the past six months. Happened upon a strawberry-pink terrycloth hoodie vest that probably belonged to an 8-year-old, but still managed to fit fine. Perfect for the skee ball outfit I have planned for later on in the evening. The real score was in the vinyl department: I managed to rack up 7 new albums for the collection. Whitney, Aretha, The Supremes, some Village People, a little James Taylor, Joan Baez, and even a little TJB. Gwenny Deets once told me you always have to pick up one album just for the cover art, and Whipped Cream & Other Delights certainly made the cut. Almost scored a Rush album too, but the record had been lost en route to the milk crates. Next, I meandered over to Broadway to stop by the Mexican Shit Shop on 37th. I was looking for one of those wooden saints bracelets, you know, the ones like mini-frescos with the mary's and crucifixes and angels painted on. My original had already suffered one too many showers, cherry finish worn down, the stickers peeling and missing. Now I'm no Catholic, and hope not to offend any, but I am a firm believer in omens and talismans. For some reason or another, these bracelets are important to me; I never take them off. Not a good luck charm, per se, but a guardian, a secret safeguard against all that could go wrong. And has. Happily, I found one made of hematite which should hold up better than its wooden sister.

Made my last stop at Pema Nails, to see some of my most favorite ladies for some upkeep. Listened to a poor Irishwoman screaming like a banshee while her pedicurist severed an in-grown toenail for her. My how the Irish can curse. You'd think she'd given birth through her big toe. Got painted up right in fluorescent pink, and headed home feeling like a shiny new penny. So what's in store for this evening, you might wonder? Pinball, skee ball, good people, good times? For now, I'll throw on some Whitney and a pair of short-shorts. Spend some quiet time at old 32-82 and wish my AstoriaGirls weren't quite so far away. But you know what, ladies? Today was for you.


Friday, September 25, 2009


Apparently there have been a number of Broadway Stop Bum sightings. Like in front of the bodega and on the train platform. Guess he isn't dead after all?

My bad.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Have you ever found yourself in a dentist's chair at 8:30AM, your hair still slick from the morning shower, biting down on something too large for your mouth and wondering how the hell you got there? You half-remember making the appointment six months ago, remember like it was yesterday, but somehow six months have slipped past and there you are again, strapped to the dentists chair. Lying there lamely, blinking against the floodlight, hearing the scraping of metal on enamel, the faint signs of blood trickling from your gums and you think how did this happen? How am I here already? How have I lived here five and half years, the time ticking off in six-month increments, in bi-annual X-rays and complimentary toothbrushes? How is it I've reached that far-off age, on the other side of 25, the age where you have savings, but not enough for a down payment. The age where you dump bonuses on designer handbags and fall wardrobes and plane tickets south because where else is it supposed to go? The age of bachelorette parties and wedding gifts. The age of bridesmaids. A dark age indeed.

Depressing thoughts to be having in the dentists chair. Willa K, you should know better.

Stopped by the tailor's on Broadway (http:// route to work yesterday, not the new, splashy place on 33rd, but the old-school tailor next door to the way-old-school cobbler. It's 7:30 in the morning, and they're blasting Fire Burning (Fire Burning) on the Dance Floor. One thing you have to love about the Greeks, even Monday morning is a party, house music included. I'd picked up a beautiful vintage dress at Loveday last weekend, a short little lavendar something from the 80's that fit marvelously through the waist and chest, but clung a little too snuggly in the hips. Seems to be happening a lot these days. Well. The tailor sure appreciated it. In Astoria, too much booty earns you a fresh cup of D&D coffee on the house. And for an old lady that ain't half bad.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


It was the last leg of my evening three mile run, the last ten blocks, the final stretch. The last bit of sunlight splintered and slipped away as I turned the corner of 44th onto Broadway. A cool breeze cut through the thick humidity and I shivered. It was game time. Cue Lady GaGa's PokerFace, and pick up the pace. This is it, this is what we run for. Let's f*cking do this. Gaining speed, I cut through the congested Astoria traffic, weaving around shoppers and loiterers, cutting through the flow of humanity, willing my legs faster and faster, breath quickening, heart pumping. And then I see him.

The Broadway stop bum.

It's odd how the mind works in situations like these. At first, I only saw the crowd of kids. They looked like a group of hooligans from afar, horsing around, making a scene, and I mentally calculated how to dodge them before the catcalls started. Then I saw the man lying spread eagle in the middle of the sidewalk. A black crucifix reaching out, eyes to the sky, palms opened upwards. I stifled a chuckle. Clearly these kids were playing a prank. Look at them all staring, they're laughing at him too. But as I ran up to the scene, I realized no one was laughing. Just staring. A girl clamped a hand over her mouth, as though it prevented herself from coming apart. I stopped in my tracks.

He was dead.

You always think the dead will affect you in some profound, life-altering way. Shock. Disbelief maybe. Sadness. Horror. But it never happens that way. Its just a fact. There is a dead man lying at at my feet. And there's never a question. You never question the dead. You just know. It wasn't the ashy pallor of his skin, or the empty gaze, the dried-out eyes. They may confirm it, but you already knew. You knew in your gut before your brain registered the proof. Its the stillness. The stillness of a human turned object. And all around us, the city kept buzzing, kept whirring like clockwork, dogs barking, traffic horns blaring, children laughing. People kept moving. And I so did I.

I sprinted the last block home.

The Broadway stop bum had been my neighbor for as long as I've lived here. I remember our first encounter -- the summer of '05. I was walking down Broadway, still trying to master my coldass bitch walk, the kind that discourages catcalls and come-ons, but generally looks sexy as hell. I was wearing a short dress and tall platforms, and rocking a killer pair of aviators. I looked good. He was sitting on a red milk crate in front of the corner bodega. I could feel his eyes. I knew it was coming. I walked the concrete like a catwalk, jaw set, eyes forward, all swagger and seething NY attitude. Here it comes.

Hey Baby . . .

I don't flinch.

You want some a this? Come on.

I keep walking.

Come on. I got fooooooood stamps?

I crack a smile.

Yeaaaahhhhhh . . . I know you want 'em. Come on, Baby!

I'm laughing. He's laughing. The entire city block is laughing. All right. A bum with a sense of humor. I dig.

I saw him every day after that. He usually sat on a scrap of cardboard at the top of the stairs wearing a pair of heart-shaped Lolita sunglasses and pink converse sneakers. He was the one who told me It's gonna' be okay when i walked myself home after surgery sans anaesthesia. I saw him suffer through four bitter winters here on the Broadway platform. Some of them I was sure would be his last, but he always made it through. Somehow.

The last time I saw the Broadway stop bum, I was back at the ER at 4AM. Some flagrant kidney infection, if you really care to know. Triage was an absolute nightmare: The fat kid sitting next to me was convinced he had a WhiteCastle burger stuck in his lung, and a sketchy middle eastern man wouldn't stop staring at my tits. I was still in my pjs, which were probably see-through. Come to think of it, that trip to the ER was the first time I saw a dead man. I was being led into a room next to cheeseburger boy, when a nurse wheeled a body by on a gurney. The body was all propped up and zombie-like, mouth stretched open, as though he'd died mid-scream. And I knew. I registered the stillness. The waxy skin. The rigor mortis setting in. Dead man: three o' clock. The nurse wheeled the corpse by and, lo and behold, behind her, snoring loudly on another bed-on-wheels was the Broadway Stop Bum. Muttering, quivering, burbling in the fetal position, his asscrack peering out of a pair of dusty windbreakers. My heart skipped a beat. I could have done a little dance! Ohhh Broadway Stop Bum! So nice to see you! How's life? How's the milk crate? What happened to your shoes, man?
It was only a brief moment, but suddenly I knew someone in this godforsaken hellhole. My neighbor. My friend. My Broadway Stop Bum. A nurse covered him up with a blanket, tucking it tenderly in under his chin. He breathed a child-like sigh. Releasing the weight of the world, if only for the night.

It was the last time I saw him alive.

I'm not really sad. Not all that surprised. It's another marker in my history here. May 16, 2009. The day the cat-calls died. The Broadway Stop Bum is dead. Does anybody care? Will people notice that he's gone? If I hadn't gone for my run, would I have even missed him? Where do the bums go when they die? A cardboard box in the sky? Does life as a bum earn you the life everlasting? I don't know, but that's a lot of question marks.

Rest in peace, Broadway Stop Bum. Keep on rockin' those Lolita's.


Sunday, April 26, 2009


Today was one of those sweltering sunbaked days, those intoxicating New York afternoons dreamed up in Fitzgerald novels and old hollywood movies. What everyone thinks of when you say NYC. Its the city the way the city's meant to be. The streets teeming with people, ambling, blinking, soaking up sunlight like lizards caught hibernating a month too long. Hung over and hurting, a hollowness sat like a rock in my stomach, and I knew it wasn't going to be a day for fleamarketing or sipping bloody mary's. No hair of the dog today, Sir. It was a day for soaking in the sun, for soaking in someplace new, so I decided to take a stroll to McCarron Park. An odd choice, considering my distaste for the hipster community, but my cousin had a softball game, and a few hours of quiet seemed in order.

I found a spot on a warm park bench behind home plate, and watched softballs crack across the soft blue sky. A sky turned rose behind the half-tint of my oversized 80's sunglasses. On those hungover, hollow days, there's something comforting about seeing the world in shades of rose. The players were enthusiastic, albeit a little confused, as they both had green jersey's for whatever reason, and I couldn't quite tell who was who. It wasn't long before my focus shifted to the strange tattooed community ambling around me. There's a funny thing about hipsters. They strive so hard to push the boundaries of this banal, normal existence, and that much, I suppose, I can appreciate. It's their mantra to live creatively, differently, in ways that shock or gain attention, and yet, when all assembled in one place like our dear little hamlet of Williamsburg, you find they're all the same. There are the hipsters with headphones, the big buggy-looking 80's throwbacks in a rainbow of colors. There are the hipsters with headbands and the hipsters with nose rings, and the hipsters with their adopted pit bull puppies pulling at their leashes. There are the hipster girls with short-shorts and cowboy boots, some with stars tattooed on their shoulders, some with stars tattooed on their necks. There are the hipsters with skateboards and the hipsters with baby carriages, with their hipster children rocking fauxhawks and skull tshirts. It was a whole hipster paradise out there in McCarron Park; a mirage of happy tattooed skin and over sized nerd glasses writhing around in the heat.

About an hour into the melee, I noticed a tiny, bright-eyed girl with this red wisp of hair, furiously scootering around the park walkway. No older than four or five, she scootered with the intensity of an Olympian, cheeks flushed, freckles blazing, the beginning of a sunburn beginning to sneak across her pale white skin. Around and around, this little girl scootered the circumference of the entire park.
Parentless, fearless, breathless. And with each revolution, she kept getting faster and faster, her eyes burning with this intense rapture. And to me, this little girl was the wildest of all, the one bit of precious purehearted life blazing around the asphalt. She was the gem, man. She was the star of the show. And as the last homerun echoed into the hazy afternoon light, I swore to myself that this little flaming pixie would stay with me longer than any one of the players in the freakshow before me.


Monday, March 23, 2009


It's been months. Yeah, yeah, I get it. Negligent blogger, I know, I know. We already established this way back in May of last year. But in case you haven't noticed, there's a recession going on and that affects EVERYONE. Stop crying for those sad bankers and ex-Lehmanites, its we middle class Bloggers who get hit the worst. Yes, the recession has hit the AstoriaGirls hard. First Gweeny Deets got handed the pinkslip, and shipped off to pursue a better life in a state beginning not with M, but W. Even sadder, we lost our beloved Jax last month to what we thought was an accidental overdose. We suspected a cocktail of sleeping pills and painkillers but the autopsy said otherwise. Apparently crack is back, folks. Warn the kiddies. But I'm checking my politics at the door, man. While we AstoriaGirls support all that is American, you know, voting and campaigning and blaspheming and all, that is not what this blog is about. I have far more pressing things to discuss.

Namely Bikram Yoga.

Now I've never been one of those crunchy, holistic types, singsonging about deep breathing and releasing the world through your center. I don't believe in auras or chakras. I can't even "ohm" with a straight face. I can't deal. Its too much, and too slow, and I'm constantly paranoid I'm going to end up farting in my downward dog, and I highly doubt it actually does anything constructive, like say burning calories. Give me something challenging like running or boxing or cage fighting. Give me results. So I admit, yes, I was smug about Yoga. Bemused at best. Until they threw me in the box equivalent to the Seventh Circle of Hell. Try doing a downward dog in 110 degrees. Try doing anything in 110 degrees. Its crazy hard. For 90 minutes you're convinced you're going to die or implode or melt like that dude in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Liquids are pouring out every orifice, orifices you never even knew you had. Your mind and stomach reel with nausea, every inch of your body screams in protest. Needless to say, I'm obsessed.

There are several crucial things to consider before doing Bikram Yoga. The first is what to wear. Obviously sweatpants or spandex are a terrible idea. Be sure to avoid anything that may impede the sweat beading from your loins. Men seem to prefer the ease of a breezy pair of basketball shorts, but we ladies have it a little tougher. One may assume that the less you wear, the better it is for everyone involved, but that isn't always the case.

I once had the misfortune of pairing a preppy white sportsbra with a pair of cotton gym shorts. I was proud of myself for forgoing the tanktop, and I bounced my pontail into class with the pep of a british girl band. By the 20 minute mark, I was completely drenched in sweat, hair slicked back like a newly-birthed sea otter. My spanking white outfit, now translucent, left nothing to the imagination. It was a scenario far worse than that time I wore a plus sized girl's suit to my adult swimming lessons. Apparently sports bras and girls swimsuits have something in common: they do not have linings. But what can you do? I couldn't leave the class. That would only attract more attention, and there was no playing dumb. Try pretending your shiny, happy areola's aren't out there on display. Not with those floor to ceiling dance mirrors reflecting them 80 different ways. So there I was. The Ninety-Minute Nipple Show. The girls on parade. It's times like these when you just gotta' move on with your life. Lesson Learned. Next time wear black.

Then there was the lady who wore a pair of torn, leopard-print tights beneath a kelly-green thong. Man. Her downward dog was a thing to behold. She may have gotten the black sports bra right, but the rest of us were left calculating the number of days 'til her next bikini wax.

Which brings me to the second challenge of Bikram: the vomit factor. Most instructors suggest you don't eat a full two hours before class, and this really should be taken to heart. Just sitting in 110 degree heat is enough to make one toss their cookies, let alone twisting in positions unnatural to the human form. Everyone has a position that's worse than all the rest. You know, the one everyone else in the class tackles with the greatest of ease, but leaves you floundering like a dying mackeral on the mat. For me, its "camel pose." How I loathe camel pose. The diagram below demonstrates the horror fairly accurately. (Please note, in particular, Area #2. Apparently my fear of yoga-induced flatulence is not entirely unfounded.)

When all is said and done, after you've whispered that last Savasanah, closed your eyes, let go of all your earthly burdens, nothing compares to the feeling of the cool night air on your damp skin. Its equivalent to the high you get after running six miles or so. Some say the benefits of this bizarre form of torture far outweigh its discomfort. Maybe I believe it. Maybe we're all just masochists. Maybe in order to love life for what it is, we have to suffer for a few hours a day. If it makes the kiss of a cool breeze feel that delicious, I say bring it.

Willa K is back, b!tches.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


With the exception of "Sad Sundays" which are undoubtedly in a sucidal league all their own, Tuesday nights have to be the most depressing day of the week. Most days you have something to look forward to, whether its the humping on "hump day" or quenching the thirstyness of "thirsty Thursdays" but Tuesdays remain the singlemost blase span of 24 hours ever invented. Thus, we AstoriaGirls decided it was as good a time as any to check out the Water Taxi Bar located along the sandy shores of the glorious East River in our very own Long Island City. Not only is the view of the city skyline supposed to be spectacular, but advertisments promised boatloads of hot, oily, musclebound volleyball players. Throw in a little beer and we figured it was a perfect way to drown out the Tuesday dolldrums.

So off we trekked, far out into the wild west that is the L.I.C., miles from subways and taxicabs, far from the Cafe Bars and Locales of our warm little Astoria, wandering in and out of industrial mazes until we found what had sought: Waterfront skyscape views? Check. Sandy faux beaches? Check. Beer by the kegful? Double check. Gobs of naked, dripping volleyball Gods? Checkity-check check check! This was going to be a Tuesday of most righteous excellence, we were sure of it....UNTIL...two small, meanish looking bouncers stopped us at the door. After proffering our IDs, they informed us that the Bar was closed to a private party, and that the beer in the volleyball pits was only for the players. Considering we were wearing six inch platforms and terrycloth onsies, it was fairly clear we weren't on any of the teams. We were welcome to join the private party for a cover fee of $40.00, which did not include beverages of any kind. Oh. And did I mention the private party was completely empty. Needless to say, our dreams of L.I.C beachiness were crushed, and the four of us hobbled across the sand in platforms with our terry-cloth tails between our legs.

Gwenny Deets made a good point. For $40, we could have made a better party with a kiddie pool filled with sand, my tiger-crotch bikini and a couple Heinekin mini-kegs. And maybe one Volleyball player for good measure.

There happened to be a bar located across the street known as the Crab House. ( And if the name itself isn't enough to entice you, the decor most CERTAINLY will. I'm not quite sure what the interior designer had in mind when choosing the theme of this place...something along the lines of boxing gloves, trucker hats, and dead sealife. And a Christmas tree with a bra dangling above it. The musical backdrop was a series of sleepy Carpenter hits, and we soon realized after a pint and a cup of clam chowder that this was most definitely some sort of Long Island City version of the Bermuda Triangle. We had to get out of there fast. Luckily, we stumbled upon a place called Lucky Mojos (, a BBQ/Sushi fusion joint with a killer 2-for-1 drink special and a great classic rock soundtrack. Not only has this been the first Japanese/Dirty South fusion I've ever come across, but it has entertaining bartenders and even one of those stuffed animal Claw Machines. Now most stuffed animals found in Claw Machines appear to have suffered some kind of severe brain damadge, but not at Lucky Mojos! This place has class, man. So, several Raspberry Heffeweissens and one mystery shot later, we AstoriaGirls had salvaged our Terrible Tuesday. Thursday nights are kareoke...see you all there!