Archive for the 'city' Category


Saturday, October 13th, 2007

When I stepped out for lunch yesterday, this is what I saw:

at home in the unfamiliar

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

I’ve been feeling challenged by our new neighborhood. In New York you can move a couple of miles and be in a different world. And I am.

Our part of Crown Heights is mainly Caribbean and the corner stores carry unfamiliar foods: stacks of dried fish, pickled meats in open buckets, eight kinds of yam, as well as roots I don’t recognize. Things smell strange to me, and I don’t feel at home.

Last Saturday we were plopped on the couch, watching TV, when we heard gun shots. I turned to M and said “There’s nothing else that sounds like that, right?” When we looked out the window there were people hanging out on the street corner, chatting. Some cops ran by. Street life continued. End of story.

When I traveled in Italy, I kept trying to figure out whether the people yelling in the street were fighting. I’m doing the same thing here, struggling to understand what the street life dynamics are. I don’t so much feel unsafe as unskilled. I don’t understand what’s going on around me, I can’t read the signs, it’s as if I don’t know the language, and I can’t quite relax.

A friend told me that in every place she’s moved to – “EVERY place”, she repeated – she has felt like she’s made a terrible mistake and simply won’t be able to tolerate living there.

I don’t feel that way. I love the apartment, and there’s no question that it was the right choice to move here. But I can’t stop vigilantly attempting to understand what is going on around me. I want to make the pieces of this new world fit so that I can file them away and stop paying attention. I think it’s going to take me a while, like learning a new language.

market day

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

Saturday was the farmers market at McCarren Park. There was a live band playing; I saw a toddler doing the butt-squat dance.

There were lines for fresh milk and for chicken. I bought tomatoes and corn. It felt like taking a tiny, colorful, glorious vacation.

the nabe

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Now that I only have 3 weeks left in this neighborhood I’m feeling equally sentimental about the many ‘must try’ places that are about to be abandoned unexperienced, as I am about my favorites, like Maggie Brown. Especially Sunday brunch on the terrace.

And I’m trying not to order Thai food every single night, knowing that there won’t be Thai in the new hood. How will we survive?


Saturday, August 11th, 2007

Tis done. There remains paperwork to fax, and a lease to sign, but we’ve paid our deposit and we have a new home.

There were 20 minutes of real despair when I stood outside the building waiting for the broker, thinking that he wasn’t going to show up, wouldn’t call me, that we had missed our chance. But he arrived, and the sky was blue, and a crew was cleaning up the park across the street.

It hasn’t sunk in – I’m still tensed up and furrowy, doing my usual horizon scan for things to worry about. A little yoga might help. Sleeping in felt great. The growing garage sale pile is making me as happy as if it were my own growing treasure.

Change is frightening, and freeing at the same time.

secret garden

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

Searching for a new home is a full-time job that is sucking my will to live. Also, it cuts into blogging time. Hear me groan.

I keep walking past this garden.

It’s private, and there’s a little bench on which I often see a cat. I’m going to go sit in that garden. Please have someone call me when they’ve found me a new home.


Saturday, July 21st, 2007

I saw this image over at Midge’s Mind, part of a series of eerie underwater sculptures by Jason de Caires Taylor. I find it haunting and beautiful.

underwater sculpture

It reminded me of this sculpture called Welcome by Raphael Zollinger, presently on the campus of the Pratt Institute here in Brooklyn.

It really creeps me out that people walk by unconcerned. In the same way that it bothers me to think of a circle of figures waiting forever expectant, unseen on the ocean bed.

city summer

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

I’m back online after being internet-less for several days. Dark times.

It’s been hot and humid. Last Thursday I was walking down a new-to-me street and saw that some people had opened a fire hydrant which was gushing across the road. The day before I had seen some boys running under the spray from a hydrant and I’d been too shy to take a picture.

This time I resolved to be bold. A woman called out that there was a motorcycle that couldn’t pass without being soaked. Just as this big guy sat on the hydrant to contain the water I caught his eye and made the international sign of picture snapping while raising my eyebrows in query.

He smiled, and posed, and just as I was about to put away the camera he called out “Show me!” and then “You go, girl!” when I showed him the display.


Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

I came out of the subway on 59th Street. To my left a business man was handing cash to some children at a lemonade stand. To my right the Plaza Hotel, wrapped in scaffolding for it’s transformation into million-dollar shoe box condos. The monogrammed linens and dishes were auctioned off long ago, but outside there is still this:

Maybe the little girls were raising money to save Eloise‘s home.

summer storm

Friday, June 29th, 2007

From my window: traffic and lightning.