All posts by CajunTomato

I am a 29-year-old New Yorker from the bayou. I write about the city that never sleeps, live music, and other kinds of mischief.

Survival Tips For 2014 Journalism Graduates

A beautiful day at the office with the Louisiana State Police.

A beautiful day at the office with the Louisiana State Police.

Congratulations! You are a 2014 journalism graduate!

You ignored the tea leaves and followed your heart straight to a degree as worthless as pigeon shit. Let that sink in. Or don’t. It’s kind of sad in a way that Lindsay Lohan’s career trajectory is sad, and your career hasn’t even started. The best you can hope for is to keep your nose clean from booga suga and maybe, if you’re lucky, have a seamless transition into the world of public relations.

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Co-Ed Dressing Room Sparks Protestant Guilt

Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100 is a periodic series chronicling my experiences and observations as a New Yorker. Today’s post No. 43 recaps my first time attending a sample sale.

Her flesh-colored bra and neon thong’s seeming indifference toward concealing her rounded, sun-baked T&A triggered the part of my lizard brain where lust and Protestant guilt intersect. And yet I wasn’t mad at the brunette stranger standing before me or myself, truth be told. We were not Adam and Eve in the garden. We were just two lost souls in a co-ed dressing room on a Friday afternoon searching for bargains at a sample sale.

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Experiencing Purgatory At Hellgate Station, NYC

The wait is real, Washington Heights edition.

The wait is real, Washington Heights edition.

Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100 is a periodic series chronicling my experiences and observations as a New Yorker. Today’s post No. 42 examines one of the most unpleasant experiences you can have in New York City – going to the post office to pick-up a package.

Call it belief in American Exceptionalism or whatever but every weekday afternoon around 2 I walk down five flights of stairs to my building’s mail box hoping this will be the day the mail informs me, generally speaking, I’ve won life. What comes instead are letters from credit card companies inquiring whether I would enjoy tearing up an envelope and piece of paper (Yes, yes I would). There’s only one thing worse than receiving a credit card invitation: a missed delivery notice from the post office.

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Top 10 Anecdotes From Attending Late Show With David Letterman

I stared at this sign for a half-hour. I don't recommend following my example.

I stared at this sign for a half-hour. I don’t recommend following my example.

Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100 is a periodic series chronicling my experiences and observations as a New Yorker. Today’s post No. 41 recaps my first trip to see the Late Show with David Letterman.

Here are 10 things I learned about the CBS Late Show with David Letterman when I attended the show on a whim last Monday. Earlier this month Letterman announced his retirement effective 2015 from the Late Show.

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Bill Gates’s Cousin At The Spanish Harlem Popeyes

Inside this box is 1440 calories of everything great about America.

Inside this box is 1440 calories of everything great about America.

Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100 is a periodic series chronicling my experiences and observations as a New Yorker. Today’s post No. 40 focuses on a case of mistaken identity at Popeyes in Spanish Harlem.

A pregnant, prolonged craving for biscuits – buttery, artery-clogging biscuits – motivated me to ride the subway two stops north earlier this week into the heart of Harlem to find Louisiana’s Kitchen. In the process of satisfying my Nickelback palate I became known as Bill Gates’s cousin at the Spanish Harlem Popeyes.

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An Earth Day Postmortem, Spanish Harlem Style

Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100 is a periodic series chronicling my experiences and observations as a New Yorker. Today’s post No. 39 is an Earth Day Postmortem centered around my neighborhood.

It has recently come to my attention the bodega attached to my apartment building doubles as a late-night convention center where debate clubs square off. That’s code word for people looking to kick the shit out of each other for no discernible reason after buying a soda and chips. These excitable parties often contain two to four members, and they’re never the same from night to night. I am not sure how they afford it but each member seems to have voice training, based on how clear their words are to me five stories above. They use their diaphragm to label each other the n-word and/or slang for the female anatomy, describe sexual acts their opponent’s mother should perform on them, and all other manner of threats designed to make their foes “PAY ME MY DAMN MONEY!!!” What I have described is the soundtrack to my Spanish Harlem nights, every night. I count threats, not sheep, to fall asleep.

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Favorite Songs Of 2014, Way Too Early Edition

Hamilton Leithauser performs during The Walkmen's set at One Eyed Jacks on Sept. 30, 2009. Photo credit: Cajun Tomato.

Hamilton Leithauser performs during The Walkmen’s set at One Eyed Jacks on Sept. 30, 2009. Photo credit: Cajun Tomato.

Some days New York City makes me miss having a car. Not because I miss driving – god knows cabbies make my nerves bad – but because I miss singing, err shouting, in the car with my favorite music. I can’t, in good conscience, do the singing/shouting thing on the subway. I’ve noticed more and more people doing that – mostly aspiring rappers – as the city thaws from a brutal winter. If I tried to rap on the subway people would best-case scenario hand me change to stop. Either that or attempt to physically escort me out at the next stop.

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Prompts: “Covering Gustav, The Storm Of The Century”

Me photographing a sheriff's deputy fixing a roof leak during the height of Hurricane Gustav.

Me photographing a sheriff’s deputy fixing a roof leak during the height of Hurricane Gustav.

Prompts is a joint creative exercise between my friend Matt W. and I. We will choose a different subject at the beginning of each week and post no more than 500 words on said topic on Fridays. This week’s topic: Describe a time you overcame fear.

We slithered south toward the Gulf of Mexico on a deserted two-lane highway – the sheriff’s spokesman, the Washington Post reporter, and I in the spokesman’s cruiser – dodging fallen tree branches crisscrossing the road. Power lines sagged into ditches. Water rested atop yards like sheets of paper. Darkness choked the land. Our headlights might as well have been the last lights in the world. In the backseat the reporter from our nation’s capital peppered the spokesman with questions about our area as he drove. I already knew most of the answers before the spokesman supplied responses, at turns playful and dismissive. We were deep in the heart of bayou country, among the first to lay eyes on the aftermath of the so-called “storm of the century.”

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Prompts: Searching For New York City’s Best Pizza Slice

Koronet, one of the biggest, if not best, slices in NYC.

Koronet, one of the biggest, if not best, slices in NYC.

Prompts is a joint creative exercise between my friend Matt W. and I. We will choose a different subject at the beginning of each week and post no more than 500 words on said topic on Fridays (whoops, today is not Friday). Today I am writing about a project I will embark on for the next three months.

A few weeks ago I re-watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II for the first time in at least 15 years. Doing so reminded me how fortunate I am that the rats congregating in my building’s garbage cans cannot talk or perform karate moves, reintroduced me to Vanilla Ice’s high water mark, and made me ask the question, Why no Rocksteady and Bebop. The movie also proved an outstanding vehicle for the wonders of New York City pizza, as consistently excellent and cost-effective a food item as one could hope to find in this overpriced metropolis.

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Cajun Tomato’s Guide To Jaywalking In New York City

Jaywalk, please.

Jaywalk, please.

Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100 is a periodic series chronicling my experiences and observations as a New Yorker. Today’s post No. 38 is titled Cajun Tomato’s Guide to Jaywalking in New York City.

On my first visit to New York City in 2012 I noticed people standing five or six feet in the street as taxis and buses whizzed past. The vehicles parked on the street shielded pedestrians from threat of bodily harm. Still, I was skeptical. I stood on the sidewalk, like the child afraid to dip his toe in the deep end of the pool. It wasn’t until I moved to New York City I understood why people camped in the street, and thus started doing it myself. It makes jaywalking easier.

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