(The following is a chapter from Manhattan Before8, the first travel guide exposing the hidden morning adventures of Manhattan. Manhattan Before8 is available exclusively on Amazon.com.)
Coffee drinking is no longer about the coffee.
Smoothies, blended mochas, caramel-infused soy whatevers—actual coffee is finding itself fighting for space on crowded menu boards that take ten minutes to read.
For a lot of people, that’s just fine, and I can grudgingly respect their view. They want their morning caffeine in a drink that tastes as little like coffee as possible. But with menu sizes increasing, and the focus shifting toward flavors that mask the flavor of coffee itself, how much effort is being put into brewing a simple, delicious cup of coffee? What about those of us who don’t want to hide the flavor, but long to revel in it instead?
For those coffee drinkers—real, actual coffee drinkers—Ninth Street Espresso is your safe harbor in a sea of sugars and soy mistos.
There are no artificial syrups at Ninth Street Espresso. No blenders. No whipped cream. Heck, there aren’t even credit card readers behind the counter—it’s cash only at this establishment. What Ninth Street does have is a menu that is so basic and so hyperfocused that you’ll do a double take the first time you see it.
No game is perfect. But what if one could be? Just for me? Just for you?
We accept that no game is flawless every time we pick up a controller. Every game has flaws: some major, some minor—from the most critically-acclaimed darling to the worst piece of bargain-bin refuse. Games are made by people who are less than perfect, and the word ‘perfect’ itself is so subjective that creating a game that is perfect to everyone is downright impossible.
What if you had the opportunity to create your perfect game? What if you could cherry pick every detail—from genre and writing to characters and gameplay mechanics—in a Nickelodeon Super Toy Run of game development? After the dust settled and the smoke cleared, what would your perfect game look like?
I started toying with this idea, replaying some of my favorite games to remember why they were my favorites in the first place, and what I found surprised me. Not because of the game I ultimately created, but because of what the process told me about myself as a gamer.
My perfect game would be nostalgic and predictable. It would let me be greedy and narcissistic, all while doing bad things without the consequence of feeling guilty.
And it would be fun as hell.
I still remember the first bad game that really burned me.
The year was 2002. I was wearing out my copy of Dead or Alive 3 on the Xbox, and Jann Lee was my combatant of choice. I was a huge martial arts movie fan, and Lee’s silky-smooth combinations, flowing mannerisms and high-pitched shouts were spot-on. This game made me feel the way it should feel to play as a certain legendary martial artist with whom my character shared a last name.
I fell in love with that experience, so when an actual Bruce Lee game – Quest of the Dragon – launched, I had to have it. Visions danced in my head of controlling a character who was as fast and as fluid against multiple assailants as Jann Lee. What could possibly be better than Jeet Kune Do in an action-adventure brawler?
Introducing the First Travel Guide for Morning People: Manhattan Before8
NEW YORK, NY – They say that New York is the city that never sleeps, but the truth is that it’s the city that stays up late and likes to sleep in a little bit in the morning. Manhattan is a ghost town before 8 AM, and author Cameron Gidari has written the first guide to the city’s hidden morning community, Manhattan Before8.
“There is no better time to explore Manhattan than the morning time, before the streets are flooded with tourists,” says Gidari, who fell in love with Manhattan mornings while walking through a desolate Times Square at 6 AM. “It makes you feel like Manhattan belongs exclusively to you, like you own the city. That’s a really powerful feeling.”
Manhattan Before8 is a guide for the morning that highlights the most amazing sights, sounds and experiences that you can do and see before 8 AM in Manhattan, when the rest of the museums and attractions are not even open. Whether you’re a visitor from Europe suffering from jet lag or a native New Yorker who wants to see the city in a whole new light, Manhattan Before8 guarantees to take you to places overlooked by travelers and locals alike.
On its surface, The Summer of Beer and Whiskey is a book about the birth of the upstart American Association baseball league in the 1880’s and about Chris von der Ahe, the eccentric owner of the St. Louis Browns who purchased the team so that he could sell more beer.
That in and of itself might make for an interesting story, but one with limited appeal if you’re not interested in baseball or historical novels. But baseball, despite being the focus of and backdrop to the entire story, is not what you’ll remember after reading this book. Rather, The Summer of Beer and Whiskey is a book about people, and it’s those characters that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.