Articles by

<The L Magazine>

06/03/15 11:54am
photo by Jane Bruce

Bushwick Pizza Party
254 Irving Avenue, Bushwick


If you wish you could still celebrate your birthday at Chuck E. Cheese’s but choose not to because they don’t serve hard liquor, Bushwick Pizza Party offers the next best thing. It’s both a restaurant-bar and a time capsule of sorts, a kitschy nostalgia-fest for those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s, complete with Super Soakers, Mario Kart murals, and Magic 8-Balls.

Bushwick Pizza Party, which took over the Irving Avenue location of Verde Coal Oven Pizza, was opened by the owners of the equally whimsical but more risqué Boobie Trap, a boob-themed bar across the street. Instead of plastic nipples, the walls here are covered with the contents of a typical Millennial’s toy chest (Super Soakers on a wooden gun rack, an impressive action figure collection, a mirror framed in Hot Wheels cars), as well as movie posters from slumber party cult classics (Now and Then, Gremlins, The Goonies, Fast Times at Ridgemont High). “Party On” commands a neon sign behind the bar. The maximalist decor and attention to detail (silverware comes tied in colorful pipe-cleaners) means you’ll notice something new every time you come.

Unlike many of its neighboring bars, the spot appeals to both man-children and actual children alike. When I got there on a recent Saturday evening, a literal pizza party of a dozen squealing kids and their tired moms was in full swing. They shared several of the punnily named coal oven pizzas (gluten-free crusts and vegan cheese are available) and desserts (recommended: the handmade tiramisu). Popular favorites include the “Hawaiian Shirt,” a pineapple, ham, mozzarella, and orchid pie; “Go to Kale,” with spicy carrot ricotta, fresh kale, pesto, and bacon; and “Can You Fig It,” covered in dried figs. In between bites, the kids posed on the leopard-print booths, took turns shimmying through the beaded curtain that leads to the Mario-Kart-muraled bathroom, consulted the Magic 8-Balls adorning the bar, and drew with dry-erase markers on the tables, which are laminated with tic-tac-toe games, mazes, and MASH. Soon, though, the kids left and the post-pubescent set filed in, there for the beer, wine, mimosas, and sangria (but also for the coloring and toys and stuff, too).

Pizza Party is still waiting to get a full liquor license, so for now, they’re using soju in all cocktails, which you can pretend you bought with your older sister’s fake ID while living out this Peter Pan Syndrome fantasy.

05/20/15 11:32am


So, it happened: Summer came. Or, you know, it’s coming. And in the long tradition of New Yorkers, now that the weather is consistently above 60 degrees, we want to spend all our free time outside. So in the spirit of fresh air and sunny days, we present to you the 50 events we’re most looking forward to attending this summer. We think you’ll like them too.


12/18/13 4:00am

Once or twice a decade, there’s an exceptionally good year for film. The last was 2007, when No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood battled for attention with Zodiac, The Assassination of Jesse James…, Southland Tales, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Syndromes and a Century, Sunshine, Offside, The Darjeeling Limited, Ratatouille, I’m Not There, The Simpsons Movie and a whole mess of other great ones. Six years later, we’ve had another exceptionally strong year—I mean, Woody Allen’s best in a long time tied for 23rd on our annual critics poll; Joss Whedon’s charming Much Ado About Nothing didn’t even scratch the Top 40; and a movie as weird and bewitching as Upstream Color barely received a single vote.

That’s because there was so much more great cinema to celebrate, and not just the usual suspects you’ll see on every other outlet’s year-end lists: from an unusual documentary experiment in GoPros and sound design at sea to Frederick Wiseman’s latest institutional study, the results of our poll reinforce my pride in this film section I edit—in our writers’ smart prose and good taste, both of which you’ll see in the following pages. As for the latter, to illustrate: 12 Years a Slave tied for 49th with five other films—garnering fewer points than Pain & Gain!
Henry Stewart

12/18/13 4:00am

– – – – 15 – – – –
Pain, Parties, Work
By Elizabeth Widmer

By focusing solely on the month that Sylvia Plath spent as a collegiate guest editor at Mademoiselle in the summer of 1953, Widmer manages to shed new light on her overly scrutinized subject. The tangibles of that long-ago June—silk stockings, black pumps, crab cakes—reveal Plath as a sensual aesthete, capable of joy and buoyancy in addition to her great suffering.

– – – – 14 – – – –
By Alissa Nutting

Pro-tip: when reading this on the subway, put it away a stop or two before your own so you can compose yourself, as this super-steamy, unabashedly explicit story of a female middle school teacher preying on her male students is bound to get you worked up in outrage, arousal, or both.

– – – – 13 – – – –
Elect H. Mouse State Judge
By Nelly Reifler

This slim, strange novel tells the story of young mice kidnapped by Mattel dolls, with private detectives Barbie and Ken on the case. If it sounds like dumb pop-culture subversion, it’s not; instead, it’s as though the experience of being kidnapped as a child is so surreal that this is the only way accurately to capture it in literature. It’s weirdly moving.

– – – – 12 – – – –
Slaughterhouse Poems
By Dave Newman

Memory is elliptical and unreliable; even memoirs written in prose have an element of the poetic. This affecting collection of poems brings that out to the forefront with an elegiac look at an adolescence filled with nothing to do and nowhere to go.

– – – – 11 – – – –
Vampires in the Lemon Grove
By Karen Russell

Russell’s humanity is so in the forefront of this collection that it’s a little shocking to reflect on how out-there the premises of her short stories really are. A veteran’s apparently alive tattoo begets a haunting examination of PTSD, while enslaved human-silkworm hybrids engender a powerful story of endurance and defiance. Russell’s writing is so powerful, so effortlessly good, that she makes it seem easy. It ain’t.

– – – – 10 – – – –
The Good Lord Bird
By Jim McBride

Returning to the milieu of American slavery, McBride this time gets it right, with a darkly comic story of an escaped slave who would like to be free, yes, but is content to let others do the hard work while he tries to pick up girls. John Brown stands at the center of this daring novel, by turns intimidating, pathetic, fearsome and hilarious. He’s one of the year’s most memorable literary creations, and McBride places him in a world that is no less
fully realized.

08/31/11 8:30am

Staying at Ruschmeyer’s gives one the overwhelming sense of nostalgia for an experience that never actually happened—it’s like staying at Wes Anderson’s Summer Camp for Adults, and every day there’s a hipster scavenger hunt. Visit their site for more details.