All posts by Piercing Ken

I'm a Freelance Music Photojournalist from NYC and Founder of the Heavy Metal website; I created this blog site to showcase the other things in life that keep my interest or catch my attention. Believe me that is a lot of stuff to talk about when it comes down to it. I hope you enjoy what we are delivering because there is so much to share as a resident of this bustling metropolis.

“Place Yer Bets”, “Place Yer Bets”

Last month I was in Atlantic City and wandering around the premises of the hotel after a not too productive session of slot machine play. I must admit that while the thrill of winning always appeals to me, the actual visuals of some of the slot machines really piques my interest but therein lies the dilemma – You are NOT allowed to take photographs on the casino floor.  That bothered me a little bit as a photographer since there are so many cool machines out there.  I have seen a Star Wars and Star Trek one, an Ebay one and many, many more.  I am sure that even KISS has its own machine but I just have not seen it yet.  Moving along.  As I wandered the hotel lobby I happened upon this icon of the hotels history and snapped a shot. It was apparently the first ever slot machine to be installed. Feel free to utter awed sighs of amazement.

The plaque above this relic reads “This is the first legal slot machine in Atlantic City and was installed on the Resort’s International casino floor in 1978. It can be identified as the first machine by the number 1 on the lower right side of the cabinet. Since that time more than 14,900 different machines……” Sadly I blocked the rest of the sign but I guess it’s pretty safe to say that there are now over that many machines in this particular casino floor and since there are numerous casinos to enjoy on the Atlantic City Boardwalk we are likely talking about a couple of hundred thousand in total. That is surely a lot of money coming in and all the more reason that we should finally have gambling of this kind be legal in New York State. I think casinos on the West Side highway would be awesome for tourism. Something to think about.

How To See This: Go to Atlantic City, NJ to the Resort’s International hotel and casino and wander the lobby until you chance upon it.

“Rushing” It In Atlantic City NJ :)

I was enjoying some away from the Big Apple time in Atlantic City, NJ the other day and for some odd reason I could not get Rush or any of their incredible music out of my mind. I wonder what made that happen….

Perhaps I listen to too much music in my life as I pursue music journalist greatness. There are worse ways to spend the time in all honesty. Whatever the case may be this was a complete mystery to me and one that I hope to eventually solve.

OK back to the tasks at hand. Have a nice day.

PiercingMetal Pregaming Guide: Nice Guy Eddie’s

My next suggestion in my spaces to have a decent hang with one’s friends pre-concert would find me remaining down here on the Lower East Side, or the LES for all you folks that Twitter your brains out and offering up for your chill time – Nice Guy Eddie’s. Their located on the corner of Avenue A and Houston Street and are the perfect spot to kick back a few with your friends if you are heading to the Mercury Lounge or even the couple of blocks away Arlene’s Grocery, Piano’s and The Living Room. I realize that there are a score more venues in that region but I could be here all day lining them out so you get the overall picture.

I didn’t shoot any pics on the inside of the place since it was kind of crowded and I didn’t want to appear too “touristy” myself. I was actually hitting a show with Skeleton Pete and we braved it together to see how different it was from the bar we had hit in the past that was just across the street. They didn’t have any food and tonight we were hungry so to Eddie’s we ventured. The bar has a cool Happy Hour which amounts to two for one beers and unlike some places that end this special at 7pm, Eddie’s goes until 8pm. That helps if the bands you are seeing are hitting the stage a little late. The food we’ve tried at Eddie’s was pretty much the burgers and I had no complaint about them. They dished out a fine one and one of my friends had said that their wings were also commendable.

Eddie’s is a full on Rock and Roll bar when it comes to the sounds blasting out of their jukebox. During my times there I have heard not only Ramones and Joan Jett, but also The Clash, Stones and my favorite of them all – KISS. That makes Eddies a cool and somewhat rocking place for a decent Happy Hour without question. Good food, great music, close to where you need to be and wait there is more; they are also very known for the mural that is on the Houston Street side of the place. It depicts KISS in their “Destroyer” regalia and its a superb photo opportunity. Check it out.

That’s all I have for you in this little concert themed Zagat guide of mine. I hope you drop into the place when hitting these venues because it keeps the value on the reasonable side and we all need to save money nowadays. Stay tuned for more, I have some other suggestions for you up my sleeve and I think you will like them.

UPDATE: 6/18/2012 – The other day I learned about the closing of Nice Guy Eddie’s after being in business for eighteen years. It’s going to become some sort of upscale Hipster lounge or so I am told by some of the staff. I went there one final time the day before they closed and scream about this horrible news on my personal blog. You can check that out and do some screaming yourself if you enjoyed this place by clicking HERE.

Pounding The Pavement Of The Steel Pier, Atlantic City, NJ

One of the things that I wanted to do with the PiercingKen blog site when I launched it was to showcase some of the photography that I found myself doing while on various travel or visiting adventures.  I felt that it would be fun to present that sort of thing to the interested eye and since I have a few people that I communicate with from around the world, it couldn’t hurt to inspire their future visiting plans.  Recently I was in Atlantic City, NJ for a couple of days – it was a family outing, and since I am not much for the gaming machines, I decided to wander the Boardwalk with my little snappy camera in hand and see what I could find.  We were staying in a hotel not too far from the Steel Pier amusement park and this is exactly what it sounds like.  A giant pier with an amusement part on it that goes right out over the Atlantic Ocean.  It’s pretty awesome, so I snapped a bunch of images and will let you wander the pier with me.  I won’t have much to say for this one since they speak for themselves in terms of what ride it is.

I’ll start this little narrative with a view from the hall of the hotel where I was staying.  We were in Resorts in case you were wondering.

steel pier, steel pier amusement part, atlantic city new jersey

A slightly different view of the same vantage point.

steel pier, steel pier amusement part, atlantic city new jersey

But first a word from our sponsor.

steel pier, steel pier amusement part, atlantic city new jersey
Continue reading Pounding The Pavement Of The Steel Pier, Atlantic City, NJ

PiercingMetal Pregaming Guide: Smith’s Bar

Logo - Smiths Bar

If I had to think back to when I first went to Smith’s Bar, I will say that it was after a job interview from Hell and I was meeting a then friend for a cold beverage and to catch up. I was not anywhere close to having yet, and as I reflect upon that day, I was not really writing for the website that got me started either. Anyway, I digress. At the time of this meetup, Smith’s was really a different looking place. They had a bunch of tables on the side and one of those hot meat counters that we used to see a lot in places like Blarney Stone. I loved those since you could get some corned beef, turkey or roast beef for a reasonable sum and a few cold beers and then go off to whatever it was you were doing.

smiths bar,
Smith’s Bar NYC

I liked the bar and remembered it when I started doing my music scribe thing and began to use it as my own launching point for diner and beverage before going off to B.B. King Blues Club and the Nokia Theatre. Slowly but surely the word started to spread thanks to the growing Social Nets and many other Metal peeps began to use this space as well for their own pre-gaming. On the other side of Smith’s was a larger restaurant side and while you could get food on either of the sides, there were more tables and room over on the opposite side for larger groups. It was your typical NYC bar and had a certain sleazy charm to it. The crowd was a regular person crowd and when I was there with a Metal compliment of friends I never had an issue. The shot below shows off the new restaurant space look and I will explain that in the next paragraph.

smiths bar
Smith’s Bar NYC

Of course in time things do change and Smith’s eventually got a makeover that made the place look a lot nicer and I guess more appealing at the end of the day. They dumped the meat counter for standing tables and cleared a few of the other parts in the main bar that had become part of my memory and things I liked to see. Granted it was roomier now and while I didn’t snap any shots of that for this narrative I will say that they definitely classed it up a bit. Welcome tourists I reckon we should say. They often had music in the restaurant space and the players would be against the front window over there. Now there was a small stage that was a much better option in my opinion. They don’t seem to move the tables back at all when bands are playing and that can be a little annoying in my humble opinion. They changed the menu around and yeah prices went up a little bit too but it was still a good launching point for the Metal and Hard Rock gigs for sure. Now with tools like Twitter one is able to say where they are going before a show and reach numerous friends/fans. I have used it for this purpose a lot.

smiths bar
Smith’s Bar NYC

At the time of this writing I can safely say that this is probably the most visited bar in my personal record. One of these days I will snare one of their shirts because I like the look of them. You can see where Smith’s is exactly by clicking their website link below but please know its right on the corner of 8th Avenue and 44th Street. Mark it on your agenda items if you are going to B.B’s or Nokia.

Official Website: