Bartender Joshua Brandenburg has a bloodshot gaze, and no, it's not because he worked a double this weekend; the Royalton Hotel cocktail connoisseur popped a vessel in his right eye Saturday from a punch to the face. The accidental injury came while he was sparring at the Renzo Gracie Academy in Brooklyn, where he trains as a Muay Thai fighter. “I was supposed to catch the punch with my glove,” he says. “Not my eye.
"Fortunately, the lighting in the bar is very dark, so normally when I have black eyes or popped blood vessels or lacerations, you can’t see it.”
It wouldn’t be the first time Brandenburg showed up to his shift with an injury. He’s been behind the bar there for more than nine years, and a Muay Thai fighter for five of them. His current career is more forgiving of injuries than his previous occupation as an actor. A broken nose only helps in the audition room for boxing roles.
The rest of his weekend was spent camera in hand, shooting around New York. His focus is travel and street photos, but he also photographs Muay Thai fights and -- in the little remaining spare time he has -- even the occasional wedding.
If there's one thing his many pursuits have in common, it's a need for a speedy, steady hand, and an even quicker eye for human nature. If he can predict what the subjects he engages are about to do, he can dodge a punch, capture one on camera, or serve some up to a satisfied customer.