Mad Hatters NYC

Ramones and the Birth of Punk at Queens Museum

“The Ramones all originate from Forest Hills and kids who grew up there either became musicians, degenerates or dentists. The Ramones are a little of each.”
—Tommy Ramone, first press release

Ramones at Queens MuseumIt took my brother-in-law, a young Malaysian student attending university in Cleveland, Ohio, to introduce me to, arguably, the greatest and most influential American Punk Rock band of all time: The Ramones.

I was, of course, no stranger to Punk Rock music. Spanning the last years of grade school and throughout much of high school, I was the exemplification of the tag-along little brother, eagerly mimicking every detail of my (blood-related) elder sibling’s burgeoning persona. From skateboarding to music to clothing, he was my often involuntary, occasionally reluctant, teacher. And what an odd education it was, indeed! Back in those days, my brother was taken with the strange combination of early punk, hip-hop and hardcore rap, a revolutionary genre still in its nascence. Maybe it was endemic to the geography — Indianapolis — or maybe it was the skate culture of the time, but one minute I’d hear Sex Pistols or Misfits or Dead Kennedys and the next it would be De La Soul or Public Enemy or NWA. Or it would be a hybrid, like Beastie Boys, straddling those disparate worlds.

But no Ramones. I don’t recall hearing even a single song. It’s possible my memory fails me. Or maybe, just maybe, my brother simply withheld them out of spite, because they were so damned good and I was such an infuriating little pest.

Ramones at Queens MuseumRamones at Queens MuseumRamones at Queens MuseumRamones at Queens MuseumCoinciding with the 40th Anniversary of the release of their self-titled debut album, The Ramones exhibit at Queens Museum — a partnership with the Grammy Museum — is loosely broken into three parts: origin, ascendancy, and lasting influence. It’s a fascinating look at a complicated and contradictory group of artists, reflecting both their rebelliousness and prominent renunciation of corporate rock, while also illustrating their incredible branding and marketing savvy.  You’ll find such treasures as amazing black-and-white photographs, cover artwork for their albums, tour memorabilia and Ramones-inspired art.  Go check it out!

Tip: Free Parking can be found at Queens Museum (I completely understand your disbelief, but it’s true!). Just make sure you reach your destination well before opening to ensure availability. By the time we left, there was a line to get into the exhibit, and the parking lot was complete madness.

New York City Building, Meridian Rd

Wednesday – Sunday 11am-5pm

Pair it with:

Lunch at PappaRich

Papparich NYCPapparich NYCBeing married to a Malaysian for over a decade, cultivating an adventurous palate through years of traveling around Southeast Asia and personally experiencing the dishes of Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, and Penang, I believe I am modestly qualified to claim I know the cuisine intimately. That being said, very few of the Malaysian restaurants in New York City offer dishes even resembling those I’ve tasted in the land from which they originated. Our absolute favorites, of which the chain, PappaRich, would not be included, will most certainly be covered in later posts. Not that PappaRich is bad. On the contrary, I’d take it over many, many others, and I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up at their Nasi Lemak or Beef Rendang or Curry Laksa, which we found quite satisfying. But I’d likely recommend it to a Malay cuisine novice. Everything is laid out advantageously in simplest terms on the menu, and ordering is glossy-photo, by-the-numbers stress-free. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but that same accessibility also works to dilute the charms of contemplating the more sophisticated and challenging dishes, which, unfortunately, fall by the wayside in the name of convenience.

39-16 Prince Street

Sunday – Thursday 11am to 10pm
Friday & Saturday 11am to 11pm

– J.

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[…] year for the Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!: Ramones and the Birth of Punk exhibit.  (That post can be found here.)  As expected, we found a bounty of fantastic memorabilia on display.  But the exhibit also […]