The Brooklyn-based “luxurious booger pop” band (+ its canine member, Thunder) share their thoughts on the borough’s best spots
Brooklyn Bridge Park
KEVIN URVALEK: I like it because I like to play basketball a lot in my free time, and they have the best basketball courts in the city there. They have a really nice pavilion and it’s all in the shade, so you can play all times of the year and the courts are never wet.
It’s just my favorite place to go on weekends, out of any place in Brooklyn. It’s beautiful, it’s right on the water, you can see all of Battery Park and the whole southern skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. Afterwards, there are really good places in Brooklyn Heights to hang out and get food and stuff. It’s just one of the most nice places in the city.
And it’s really good competition — people are really good at basketball there. People know different basketball hoops. Most parks have double rims There, they have breakaway rims. So when you hold onto it, it comes down, and it’s easier to shoot on it… and this has nothing to do with music.
EDDIE KUSPIEL: It does a little bit, because every time Kevin gets hurt playing basketball…
KEVIN: If you’re gonna come to Brooklyn, it’s a dope-ass place to go.
RAY MCGALE: While we’re on the record talking about basketball, Color Tongue will challenge any band out there in basketball. And we’ll definitely win — because we have Kevin, and he’s gonna do most of the work.
GEORGE MIATA: It’s right off the Morgan stop. It’s the greatest bodega of all time. They have the greatest sandwiches. They have this one called The Godfather that’s just out of this world. It’s roast beef and mozzarella [said in an Italian accent] on garlic bread.
RAY: Say mozzarella again.
GEORGE: Mozzarella. Sorry, it’s in there. Except when I say mozzarella sticks — it doesn’t really roll off the tongue. My grandmother never said mozzarella sticks.
51 Morgan Ave, (718) 386-2380
GEORGE: My first time moving into Brooklyn, Eddie had already lived here for a year, in Bushwick, and then we moved off the Lorimer stop in Williamsburg.
[Duck Duck] was the local watering hole. We used to go there and play darts all the time. We were working on an EP, and it was before Ray and Kevin were in the band — it was just me and Eddie. We were transitioning our sound from a reggae-rock band to, like, something else.
KEVIN: Thank God.
GEORGE: Kevin hates ska. I wouldn’t put us in that category, but we were heavily influenced by Sublime.
EDDIE: We liked punk and Jamaican music… a lot. And… yeah.
GEORGE: But that’s the only bar I’ve ever had where it was like, oh, let’s go to our patented bar. That was the spot. If we had recorded something, we’d go there to celebrate. It was a cool thing to be living in the city for the first time in your adult life and having a place to go that’s right around the corner.
161 Montrose Ave, (347) 799-1449, duckduckbar.com
Maria Hernandez Park
EDDIE: I like the park a lot — it reminds me of when I’m not working.
When I was an intern for a production company and first came to the city, I remember going to Tompkins Square Park and walking around, and I would always look at people people running or at the dog park or playing at the guitar. And I would be like, what the fuck do you do where you don’t have to be at work wanting to kill yourself at 11 o’clock, and it’s Tuesday, and you don’t think any of this is worth it.
Now I’m freelance, and I get a month or two off in between when I’m finding gigs. I get to walk Thunder more, and I get to go for a run and I get to go actually get sun on my skin, which people in New York don’t often get to do.
Every time I’m [at the park], it’s when I’m not working, and that’s when I’m happy.
Knickerbocker Ave & Starr St, nycgovparks.org/parks/maria-hernandez-park
Saint Vitus Bar
RAY: It’s the Greenpoint metal bar. I was a metalhead in high school, and I am still to this day.
KEVIN: Like, your hat is made out of metal.
RAY: It’s aluminum — don’t paint me as a rich man, Kevin. But yeah, we’re definitely not a metal band by any stretch, but that’s kind of my personality that I’ll try to interject every time we write a song — make it heavier, make it heavier. That’s what kind of keeps me in touch still with my heavy, metal-y side of things.
There’s always very interesting shows there. After the Grammys — or whatever it was where they did that shitty bootleg Nirvana reunion with Paul McCartney — they did a secret show there. So they’ll do big shows like that, but like, we played there one Monday night.
It’s really cool. They have the upside down crosses and stuff like that — it’s very tongue-in-cheek. The place has a great sense of what they are. It’s such a fun bar to see a show at or hang out. It’s a good time.
1120 Manhattan Ave, saintvitusbar.com
EDDIE: I had taken Thunder [Eddie and George’s dog and the unofficial fifth member of Color Tongue] to 101 on a Friday, and a couple days later it was 4th of July. He has severe anxiety, and we were all hanging out and Kevin was going to meet us at 101. We took Thunder for a walk to try and get him to chill out, and he beelined right for 101 — like, okay, if i have to be out in the real world, I’m gonna go there. He went there for safety.
GEORGE: He just pulled the whole way.
EDDIE: He’s buddies with all the bartenders there — they all know him. That bar’s great.
101 Wilson Ave, (718) 497-1098, 101wilsonbar.com
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Feature image: Ben Curry
[This interview has been edited and condensed.]