Friday, August 31, 2007

Supposedly Solved Mystery of the Park Slope Bride

It's always a little less exciting when you learn all the facts, but here they (reportedly) are in the Brooklyn Paper.

The story still made for great photos, though.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

So nice they named it twice.


I have offcially lived in this fine city one full year. Am I still a "new" New Yorker? Probably. Maybe. Some days.

Some days I am totally satisfied to ride the subway and judge each neighborhood from below by the quality of the passengers getting on and off the train. Some days I revel in the sameness of my tiny daily routine within the boundaries of one of the craziest places on Earth. Some days I offer directions to a tourist with pride. I wave in passing to people that I now know in my neighborhood. (Mostly people with dogs. I know the dog's names, but not the people's.) We say hello to our next door neighbors and they say hi back.

I have memorized the sounds and rythms of the streets around here, and I am not afraid to call it home. I ceremoniously turned in my out-of-state drivers license to the DMV yesterday and obtained a New York one. And for the first time in a long, long time my license will have my home address on it. This if the first time in 5 years that I haven't had to worry about where I am going to live after the year is up... we have no where else to be but here. And that, my friends, is contentment.

This time last year, Rick, doggy and I were driving (once again) across our United States. It was rainy almost the whole way from Illinois to New York, and we stopped in Motel 6's and Red Roof Inns each night because they have a very liberal pets policy. And they are cheap. When we finally drove into Brooklyn, and more specifically Greenpoint, I was on a knifes edge of sanity. I thank all my stars that Nicole was here and living just down the street from our nasty sublet apartment. I don't know how well I would have faired without her. And poor Jack. She spent so much time in the car. See, I had packed our Subaru to the gills and left only a shepherd-sized hole on one side of the backseat. She hates the car, even today. I think that last ride cross-country really traumatized her. Our sublet wasn't ready for another couple of days, so we had to stay in a hotel. And no hotel would take Jack. We ended up at the JFK Airport Marriot for like three nights. Ugh, what hell. They weren't even going to let us stay there with the dog, except that when they told me "no, we only take small dogs" I burst out crying so loud that they signed us in so I wouldn't frighten the other guests. But we made it out alive and only a little battle-ragged.

Now, here I am. I still crane my neck every morning to see the Statue of Liberty in the harbor as the F train climbs out of the tunnel and pulls into Smith/9th Street station. I get my directional bearings by locating the Empire State Building.
I have secret places in the city that I love to visit. I know how to find a public restroom in Manhattan in a heartbeat. I turn off my iPod and eavesdrop on subway conversations, which can be far more interesting that music sometimes. I sing to myself when walking without shame. I stand on line, not in line. I take my coffee regular. I am blissfully in the company of millions of Liberals who hate George W. Bush just as much as I do. No one gives a shit that I am an athiest. I can find any book I want at the Strand. I know to avoid Times Square at all costs. I walk fast. I wave at FDNY firetrucks as they drive by. I don't go a day without stopping to appreciate the place that I now call home.

Sure, there are rats in the subways and drunks sleeping on the park benches. There are also amazing violinists in the park. You take the good with the bad.

This has been kind of a mish-mash blog post, but I was really just writing as things came to me. I guess I still get to be a "new" New Yorker, but even if I don't I still get to share funny, silly, sad, and interesting city goings-on with you all.

Bottom line: I love this city. I don't ever want to leave.

The happy couple in Central Park.
August 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

My 30th Trip Around the Sun

My college friend and fellow blogger Lambhat wished me a "happy 30th trip around the sun" on Friday, which was indeed my 30th birthday. I liked it - both the phrase, and my birthday. I shall recount for you the past couple of days that I have spent in my new decade...

Friday: The Day Of. I awoke to a cold, rainy oh-shit-are-the-subways-broken-again morning. No, the subways were not broken again, but that didn't stop me from calling a car service to take me to my 90-minute birthday massage. I emerged from the fancy-pants spa two hours later with jello for muscles and a strong desire to sleep. It was pouring, and about 40 degrees colder than it had been for the entire week prior. I stepped in puddles, cursed, felt the magic of the massage quickly dripping off onto the wet streets, gave up, and hailed a cab. The cabbie bitched at me when I told him that I needed to go back to Brooklyn. He said it was a good thing I was beautiful or he would have kicked me out of the cab. (Note to non-New Yorkers: this is illegal. No cabbie can refuse to take you anywhere unless it's, like, Florida.) I told him to shut up and drive, since it was my 30th birthday. He responded that he would charge me double. Whatever. Just take me some so I can nap.

Once home, Husband and I went to the greasy spoon diner for breakfast. Then I napped, for 3 hours. Now that is a birthday.

Cut to Saturday. I went to my music lesson, but instead of being in Williamsburg it was in Wall Street. Going to that part of Manhattan is always sort of a treat for me because if you look past all the Rite Aids and Ann Taylor Lofts and tourists with their guide books held firm like bibles, you see the oldest part of the city. You see the narrow, winding cobblestone streets. You can imagine the sort of New York from long, long ago... the kind of New York that Pete Hamill writes about with such loving detail. Beyond all the street barriers are the ghosts and echos of what made this city, and if the day is right, you can hear them. After my lesson, feeling very moved by all of this, I went down the water's edge, to Battery Park. This is tourist central, for it is where you catch the boat to Liberty and to Ellis Island. I am also always very moved by both of the landmarks, because I like to let my thoughts wander on various ancestors arriving in the harbor. I am terribly sentimental about history.

As I stood leaning against the rail, watching the boats pass and staring into space in the warm sunshine, I decided that I was going to play my cello for these wandering tourists. I've never played in front of anyone, really, except for my teacher and my husband. And I've really only been studying for 8 months, so I am nowhere near good. But out came the cello, and I played a few scales and shoved my case under the bench so people wouldn't think I was trying to earn money with my shaky attempt at public performance. Some around me perked up a little to listen, some ignored me. I played a few wrong notes, but all in all it was a delightful experience. I played what few songs I know very slowly and mournfully (they sound better that way) and when the people moved on and new listeners moved in, I played the same mournful songs again. (Thus discovering one secret to busking.) After about half an hour I was hot and beginning to get sunburned so I packed up and headed to the subway. On my way down the stairs, I heard someone say "Hey! There's that girl who was practicing by the water!" I was secretly proud that a) she knew I was just practicing and therefore did not judge my crappy sound and b) that I had dared to do it in the first place.

As I boarded the subway, a pirate exited. I don't know if he was a real pirate, having been separated from his vessel and therefore forced to take public transport, but a pirate nonetheless. Once inside the subway, it was discovered that he has left behind a very beautiful and complex balloon hat that quickly became the fascination of a young brother and sister across from me.

I love New York. I really, really do.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Good thing I have the day off...

We awoke this morning (I'd say around 4:00 or 5:00 am) to torrential, slamming rains; wild non-stop lightning, and the loudest thunder I have ever heard. Ever. (And let me remind you that Chicago offers up some pretty impressive thunderstorms.) Some crazy, unpredicted storm had cruised into the Tri-state and decided to wreck us.

After we (okay, after Rick) sopped upped the puddles of rain that had streamed in our open windows, we finally got back to sleep as the storm wore off. When we woke back up around 9:00, we found out that every single subway line in the city was completely screwed. The G train (our neighborhood train) was down. The F train, which I use to go to work, was down. And as of 2:00, they are still down. Along with the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, E, Q, R, M, etc etc etc...

The MTA issued notices for people to just stay home. To not even try to go to work. Great. The greatest city in the world, and we are crippled by 3 inches of rain. Okay, so three inches of rain that fell with in 45 minutes.

As much as I sound like I am bitching, I actually kind of like the excitement, because it's my day off.