I keep trying to “find” Long Island City, but unlike most NYC neighborhoods, it doesn’t suffice to just jump off at the nearest subway stop and roam. Or it does, but what you find is not what you expect to find. That is, instead of hipsters, I took in sights of gritty urbanity on a two-mile urban hike through LIC’s industrial stretch, from the Hunter’s Point 7 stop to the Socrates Sculpture Park, far down the vast stretch of Vernon Boulevard.

Which is not to say my meandering was entirely unenjoyable. In addition to documenting a lot of excellent graffiti, I happened upon the Taxi Depot, which, among other things, supplies olde tyme cabs (as in the picture above) to the film industry. If not for the van parked in front of it, the cab would have transported me back in time, I think.

Not content with the widespread press wrought by the Nano, the Tata Group just announced another big venture: a chain of tea shops for the 21st century.

An MSN reporter writes:

Tata Tea has forayed into the out-of-home beverage segment by unveiling its first outlet of Chai Unchai in Bangalore.

Sangeeta Talwar, executive-director, Tata Tea, said: “Chai Unchai is crafted as a retail space in the out-of home segment that connects with youth in an exciting and differentiated manner. The new adda or hangout is designed to be cool. It will neither be a kiosk nor a parlour but will have an ambience that is warm, friendly, unpretentious and fun.”

I’m interested to see their menu — will they kick it old school, or will they start to introduce new-fangled concoctions like bubble tea and smoothies? But ultimately, I’m a bit skeptical; if chains like this start pushing out the Everyman chaiwallah, an ineffably important part of Indian culture will fade from existence. The thought that the competing Moon Light Cafe and Sun Rise Cafe might give way to an outpost of Chai Unchai is amazingly depressing.