One of my favorite hobbies besides smoking would have to be film photography. As a kid, I remember cameras being a mystery to me, I saw the flash and I heard the click of the shutter but never knew this black strip of plastic could develop into bite-sized moments in time. After a while, we all drifted away from it because film isn’t convenient anymore. Well me being the old fashioned hipster that I am, I feel film is more concrete than a photo on Instagram or Snapchat. There is something about capturing a moment physically that has always fascinated me. You can’t rush the process to get the perfect results, it takes time to develop.

Speaking of developing, that’s exactly what I had in mind when I went to the Lower East Side. I go to this film shop called Luster photos on avenue A, they do some decent work and the turn around is faster than any of my local shops on the Upper West Side. So before I left my house I rolled up my obligatory 2 blunts, and I used the leftover bud to roll a dog walker, then I was out the door. I hopped on a Citibike and raced downtown making record time. So much so I got to Luster Photos before they opened. With about 30 minutes to kill, I decided to shoot some film I had left on a roll.


Across from the shop is Tompkins square park, one of the green oases that can be found in the LES. Police usually are around but they focus on the outskirts of the park, the rest of the park is usually full of college kids, local families, and it’s a notorious meeting spot for skaters. So I sparked my blunt and I passed by some ping-pong tables, with one of them being occupied by an aggressive duo breaking an early morning sweat over a game of pong. Right behind them was this green lawn, which was lined by a waist-high gate and was the only thing in the park not covered in shade. The way the park was built the lawn served as a place to hold a crowd. Tompkins Square Park has had a long history of protests and gatherings since the early 1800s. Luckily for me, the crowd was nowhere to be seen and I had this small grassy knoll to myself. I laid in the center of the grass to catch some rays of sun as I listened to some music and enjoyed my blunt. As I round off the second half of the new Juice World album, I see that Luster Photos is just pulling up its gates. So I toss out my clip and head back to hand in my rolls of film.

Once I drop off my film, I usually head to this Spot called “Mochii” around the corner on East 7th Street. My friend put me on to this stuff called mochi ice cream, which is ice cream wrapped in Japanese rice paper. It makes for a chewy and springy texture in addition to the refreshing creamy treat. I ordered some mango, lychee, and lemon citrus mochi. I saw the cashier going straight to work as she pulled out each one, all individually wrapped into cute little powdered domes, and split them straight down the middle. When they came out they looked like bright bursts of flavor, it’s as if I could taste them with just my eyes alone. The cashier suggested I wait 5 minutes for them to soften up since they were straight out of the freezer, of course, I had to test that so I ate one right away and it was rock hard but full of refreshing flavor. I saw this as an opportunity to smoke the dog walker jay so I sat on a stoop near Mochii and I lit her up. The best part about the Lower East Side is no one cares about smoking weed, as long as you’re respectful that is. Yeah sure I got a couple of dirty looks here and there but this is New York, it kinda comes with the territory. Besides I was to busy stuffing my face with the now perfectly creamy mochi ice cream between taking drags of the jay. It definitely wasn’t my most glorious moment but it sure as hell was satisfying. Once the mochi was devoured, I made my way back to a bike to see if I could break my record back home, this time with a blunt in hand.

-Rafael Hernandez

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