I’m sure you’re all wondering about where I’m living in New York, so I took a few pictures of my street and apartment. Above is the stretch of railroad apartments I inhabit. I’m on the third floor above the orange awning. Behind me while I take this picture is a park with a running track and ice cream vendors and to my left is a skate park.
This is the other side of my street from a little further down the block. As you can see, there’s a big difference between the old and new apartments here. Based on the rent I’m paying to live in their shadows, I can’t imagine how much those behemoths must cost. It has to be a lot, because most of them are empty. I read that there are these “shadow apartments” around town where the rent is too high for people in this economy, but they refuse to lower the price in anticipation of a new housing market. There are even some fancy grocery stores in my neighborhood for the future residents of the high rises. It’s kind of weird, because the shelves are absolutely packed there with row after row of boxes and cans perfectly arranged without one missing.
Here is my bedroom with my only pieces of furniture. Behind me in this shot is a decent-sized closet and to the right I have my suitcase serving as a nightstand. I don’t think I completely unpacked from France until arriving in Brooklyn and that suitcase will probably be following me around forever. Or until the baggage handlers destroy it completely.
As you can see, the kitchen is much more decorated, as my roommate has been living in this apartment for 3 years. It’s so nice to be living somewhere with a refrigerator, stove, and microwave after living without them in France. All I need is a coffee machine, which I plan to purchase once employed.
I’ve been exploring Williamsburg, Brooklyn more as the weather has cooled down and it’s getting more appealing. On Friday night, me and Elizabeth checked out some of the thrift stores and a weird mini-mall. One of the thrift stores had the exact some decor and harsh lighting like all the ones in Oklahoma. I also got an amazing French toast bagel at a shop decorated with a mural of robots carrying bagels.
I found another space invader in what I think was Greenpoint. All these Brooklyn neighborhoods are blending together right now. This one was on a building that seemed abandoned. Elizabeth suggested it could be a space invader headquarters.
I took a little tour of Broadway on Saturday, starting at the far south with Battery Park. I counted at least five men dressed as the Statue of Liberty for photos and saw the real sculpture through the somewhat cloudy air. The park also has the above globe sculpture that used to stand between the Twin Towers and was pieced back together after being recovered.
I then went to the American Indian Museum, which is a part of the Smithsonian Institution and is housed in the old U.S. Custom House. I thought the beaux-art building was a strange setting, representing the arrival of more and more Europeans to what used to be the American Indian’s country. The collection was interesting, though, and I found the exhibit on women’s clothing traditions to be good and the paintings by Andrea Carlson to be kind of disturbing, but engaging. I then continued up Broadway, passing the Charging Bull and its fans. I was too slow with my camera to capture the Mexican wrestler who was challenging it.
I came upon Trinity Church and explored its cemetery. The church is from the 19th century, but the cemetery dates from the 17th and is where Alexander Hamilton is buried. The time difference is due to the fire of 1776 which destroyed the original church. The spire of the new church was once the highest point in town, but now you can barely see the sky standing outside of it, surrounded by skyscrapers.
I kept walking, and as construction cranes appeared on the left I knew I was passing Ground Zero. I later saw the plans for a memorial and was a little confused. It’s as if they can’t pick one idea and are crowding them all into one space. I think they should build a memorial park, thereby creating a beautiful space for reflection. But I guess the demand for office is space is great. Anyway, there already is a powerful memorial across the street in the form of St. Paul’s Chapel. The rescuers and recovers who worked on the site used the chapel as a place of rest and the benches are still marked and worn down from their boots and gear. I was surprised and moved to look up and see in the center a banner from my home state, saying “Oklahoma Loves You.” I hope whatever memorial takes the place of the void will be as effective as the one in the Oklahoma City.
I eventually made it up to Union Square and took the subway back to Brooklyn. That night I went to Central Park to see the free production of The Baccahe in the Delacorte Theatre. I was interested to see what they would do with the incredibly disturbing Greek play, but somehow it was tame. The lead who played Dionysus was apparently in the musical Spring Awakening, and he had the look of the statue physically, but was just boring. Plus, his weird lipstick smear combined with his random fits of cackling laughter made me think he was going to turn to the audience and scream “WHY SO SERIOUS??” I will say that the set was cool, complete with lots of smoke and fire, although besides that I was just unimpressed by the acting, the Phillip Glass music, and the choreography.
I attempted to see the free Grizzly Bear concert on Sunday, but so did 10,000 other people and I wasn’t about to stand in line for hours for a band I’m a casual listener of. However, there was no line for free hummus samples on in Union Square and we also explored some of the stores in SoHo.
The weekdays have been mostly full of job interviews and freelance work. I find that applying for jobs is a full-time job in itself. I really hope something works out soon. But until then, I’ll use my freedom for exploring the city, whether it’s watching mismatched, awkward amateur wrestling matches in Washington Square or coveting cheese at Murray’s.