June 2014, was my first visit to New York and it won’t be the last. It was a last minute decision, after finding out Ben's film had been accepted only a month before the festival. This last minute decision meant that we'd see the Premiere of Ben’s first ever film being screened at The Bicycle Film Festival, New York! How can you say no to that?
I’d been introduced to The Bicycle Film Festival at the Barbican in London, a few years previously by Ben. The festival is over a week showing different genres of films that are all related to bicycles in some way or another. It is no wonder Ben already knew so much of BFF before he’s even considered entering it as he has such a strong interest in bikes.
The barbican had been great but New York, was on another level. That was probably down to the fact that NY is the original birth place of the BFF plus the home town of the founder, Brent Barber. Showcasing so many fantastic genres of films but also included alley cat race, an incredible group art show called “Joyride,” at Marlborough Gallery’s Broome Street location that ran throughout the festival and obviously a party every evening. All the films were shown at the Anthology Film Archives, a location which in itself holds a lot of nostalgia for film buffs. It reminded me of the Ghost Busters!
Brendt Barbur, the founder, launched the festival back in 2001 in New York after he was hit by a bus in NY whilst riding his bike. Instead of backing away from cycling he wanted to celebrate cycling. So the BFF became the catalyst for the Urban bike movement
“One of the most powerful & culturally relevant forces of the last decade”.
The Coldest March, Ben's film, is a documentary style film about two friends who try to cycle from John O’Groat’s to Lands End on the same bike. Cycling 75miles in 6 hour stints each none stop for three days. Whilst one cycles the other sleeps in the support crew camper van. Deciding that warm spring weather would be ideal for the event they decided that March would be the right time to go. March 2013 turned out to the coldest March for 50 years with temperatures plummeting to sub zero temperatures, flash floods and snow blizzards. Ben captures the journey, camaraderie and a sense of the united kingdom scenic landscape. Watch the trailer HERE
Photo taken from 'The Coldest March' by Ben Pickett
The festival now travels to over 50 international locations including Brazil, Hawaii, Russia, Canada, Spain … to name a few. Which also means that Ben’s film may also be travelling to these locations as well!
Lucas Brunelle arriving at BFF
Lucas Brunelle - a fantastically interesting guy and cyclist, arrived along with one of Alley cat races for the premiere of his film at the BFF. If you don't know this man is have a watch of the trailer for one of his better known films' Line of Sight' . This will give you an insight to a world of cycling you may have never seen before.
I was pretty much at the edge of my seat the entire time I watch this film and now have a true respect for any NY bike courier!!
Whilst in New York we were given some tips on places to visit by my old School friend Sophie Richards. One of the places on her list was Fette Sau which is based in Williamsburg, across the Brooklyn Bridge. FETTE SAU meaning FAT SOW in German or best known as FAT PIG has been remarked to be one of the best New York's BBQ scene.
This place reminded me a lot of Shoreditch, housed in a converted garage and served spectacular smoked meats by the pound. Ben was in heaven! The menu was the following:
Pulled pork shoulder ($16/lb),
Loin chops ($20/lb)
Boneless beef ribs ($4.75-$19).
The brisket ($16/lb)
Burnt End Baked Beans ($5.25 for a small, $8 for a large) retty meaty themselves, so consider yourself forewarned.
Broccoli Salad ( $5.25 ) Was cold slightly overcooked marinaded stems. I ordered this to help lighten the weight of the overall but didn’t really work.
There's no sitdown service at Fette Sau, food is eaten at shared tables, after waiting in a typically long que to place your order. Told you it was like Shoreditch!
Fette Sau is located at 354 Metropolitan Ave between North 4th and Roebling Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-963-3404, fettesaubbq.com). If you like meat, you will love this place!