The Asphalt Jungle

Garden at the Merchant's House.

I just finished watching The Asphalt Jungle, my random film noir movie from the Brooklyn Library for the week (hey, that would make a good blog…I shouldn’t make more blogs). Oh my god, what a supremely depressing ending. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, although you know that in film noirs most people are going to die by the end of the movie, usually in some horribly ironic way. Now I’m rewatching with commentary, which is being done by a film professor, who is giving a lecture on the history of film and not really talking about the film itself. Hmm…now he’s talking about boxers and Hemingway. I don’t know what’s going on. Now he’s talking about “quest narratives.” I don’t know if I can handle this.

Merchant's House Museum. Sorry for the negative body language.

Last Saturday, I met up with friends at the Merchant’s House Museum. Built in 1832, the Federalist-style brick house is really standing alone on the block on the Bowery as a memory of the area’s aristocratic past. Almost all the other buildings from that period have been torn down, but it is still there due to eccentric residents who just didn’t want to leave, even when their friends moved to the new fancy parts of town. We got a guided tour of three floors of the place, where details like the hot air balloon design on the dining chairs were pointed out. Apparently they have a Victorian mourning period in October, where they cover all the mirrors and windows in black and even have a funeral with a Victorian casket, which is carried down to the Marble Cemetery. I really want to go to that. A lot of people claim the place is haunted, but I didn’t experience anything. By the way, I live only a block from a cemetery with over 600,000 graves. Where are my spirit visitors??? Maybe they’re not interested in spooking while I laze on the couch admiring Sterling Hayden.

Remains of Colonnade Row.

After our tour, we went to get lunch, and on the way walked by this interesting building. As its really close to work, I see it a lot, but had never bothered to research why there was this somewhat grimy Greek-inspired building with a sloped roof. It turns out that it is Colonnade Row, which, like the Merchant’s House, was built in the early 1830s. The marble for the building was cut by convicts at Sing Sing, and after completion Colonnade Row became one of the city’s most glamorous addresses. Most of the row was torn down when all the rich people decided Murray Hill was a cooler place to live and it fell into disrepair.

Street creature.

I had a wonderful prickly pear margarita with lunch, probably the best margarita that I’ve had in NYC. Although that makes it sound like I drink them all the time, which I’m much too cheap to do. After lunch, we took a walk on the Lower East Side, and saw this unsettling graffiti friend.

Hester Street Market.

We ended up at the Hester Street Market, which was a chill mix of food, vintage clothes, antiques, and crafts. I’m saving all my money for summer clothes, so I didn’t buy anything. Although if I could find cheap, vintage summer clothes, that would be great, but I might just have to actually spend money. Horrors!

East Village roof view.

We got some happy hour drinks (it was the weekend!), and then went to Elizabeth’s apartment to hang out on her roof. She has a great view of Manhattan, where you can see both the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. We could also see neighbors who had astroturf on their roof and were having a dinner party. Jealous.

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you all enjoy your day off.

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