It’s been a long time since I”ve been “back home” to Albany where I was born and raised. I have a lot of fond memories growing up there and I owe a lot of who I am today to my experiences of living there. Although this recent trip was only for a day, I made the most of it. Thanks to Elle, she Zipcarred my non-driver’s license having ass to and fro.
After we picked up my sister, we headed to Downtown Albany where the annual and historical Tulip Festival was happening. It’s a big event that happens in Washington Park where the city shows off their prized Tulips. I think the event was started by the Dutch who settled the area. Anyways, the place is full of life during this time. Vendors come from far and wide and sell things. There’s also a big stage in the middle where bands come and perform.
LARK STREET TATTOO – one of my first after-school jobs. I got a job here when I was in 8th grade – true story. I worked there up until the Summer of my Freshman year at Art School. As a curious 13 year old, I loved going in there everyday to look at their Tattoo Flash and art books. I also had a crush on Bruce Kaplan, the owner, so I found myself in there a lot trying to get his attention. One day, to make use of an annoying kid like me and to get some tedious work done, they asked if I wanted to make a couple bucks tidying up a workstation. I was taught how to clean grips and tubes and sterilize equipment. I was fascinated and excited with it all. As I came back, I was given more work and more duties…like drafting up tattoo artwork for clients and managing the shop. As Bruce says, “Vashtie could run her own tattoo shop with all the experience she has”. It was so unreal. Here I was this kid in a Catholic School Uniform hanging out in a tattoo shop everyday after-school. It must have looked so crazy, but everyone assumed I was Bruce’s daughter.
The guys that worked there strangely became father figures to me, as I had rebelled from my own parents years prior (I also think that my parents still don’t know about me working there). They’d ask me “what did you learn in school today?” – something that my parents never asked me, but really made me think about the lessons taught. Not only that, but they’d meet all the kids I hung out with to make sure they weren’t terrible. I also had to have a perfect report card to get anything pierced (ears only) and they told me I could only get tattooed when I was of legal age. I think working there took the appeal out of wanting one, because after being surrounded by amazing tattoo work, terrible tattoo trends and having a lot of ideas of my own – I ended up getting none…ever.
They taught me about music, art, film, culture and fed me in a way that (no doubt) helped to create the girl that I am today.
A snapshot of us approaching the festival. Crowds always look like my worst nightmare realized…Elle asked “Will the Tupac Hologram make an appearance?”
Malcolm X leading the way…
This is the photo for our Wedding Announcement…The Groom and The Groom.
I also spent a lot of underage youth in this Gay Bar, which is down the street from Lark Street Tattoo. They have a fun dart board and they play music with music videos on their TV’s. I love that feature!!!
I also worked at Bombers Burritos, also on Lark Street. My friend Matt owns it and it’s the bomb (pun intended)…it’s Chipotle before Chipotle. Matt actually has an apartment in New York City and he lives 2 blocks away from me. It’s cozy bumping into him. He’s known me since I was 15!
Don’t sleep on this place. It’s amazing. One of the Cardona’s lives in New York City and has a couple of bomb-ass restaurants.
I had to cart sandwiches back to New York City for a friend who once tried these sangies and swore they were the best he ever had.
ELLE CLAY is a fool!
Gabrielle Union’s early modeling days – looking good!
My sister and I took my mom shopping. On my way to Albany, I asked her what she wanted for Mother’s day and demanded that she request something because I wanted to get her a gift and she replied “if anything, jeans and a top”. This gave me and Elle the giggles the entire way there. Elle even started to sing “Beez In The Trap”, but used the words “Jeans And A Top”.
Elle loves ice and the restaurant where we had dinner had the perfect kind…the cloudy, airy type.
Photos of my sister, my brother and I…
Me and my sis.