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Blerg, blogging is getting to be a bit of a chore! But when you consider that I recently finished a 48-page thesis and got accepted to be an assistant teaching English in France for next year, there are obviously things on my mind besides this blog. In fact, I’m worrying that I won’t finish all the neighborhoods before I graduate, because I’m moving back to California on May 15th. That leaves only five weekends for 17 neighborhoods. I think I may have to pick the ones I am most serious about investigating and leave the rest for another time. I considered bequeathing this project to friends who are staying in New York, but I know that it won’t be the same. Weighing the options, I think I will just leave this project open-ended for a while and hope that life leads me back to New York after my time in France so that I can finish it!
I went to Stuyvesant Town and Alphabet City on February 21st. I knew that Stuyvesant Town was not the most happening neighborhood in New York, and that’s the reason there aren’t many photos of Stuy Town in the photo set. (I actually took a lot more, but the pictures are mostly of buildings and trees, so I thought I would spare you and just keep those to enjoy for myself. :D) However, Stuy Town looks to be a great place to live, and I have heard from friends that it is really a wonderful experience. I did see some cute things, like kids playing on an astroturf field (a little sad haha) and a scarf warming up a chilly pole.
So, although there wasn’t much to see, I was glad that I got out and saw a new neighborhood that I otherwise would never had bothered to explore. And, because Stuy Town was so small, I combined it with Alphabet City for the day’s adventure. One of the first amazing things I saw upon crossing the border from Stuy Town onto 14th St. was this window display.
It may look totally innocuous to you. But I know this lady’s face. The weird part is, I do not know this woman. I know her face and business-casual-dressed torso, because I once used that face and torso in a blog post (whose location I will not disclose) about my summer internship last year! She was on page 6 of my search for “business casual” but since those results change all the time, here is her individual result page. The name of the image on that site is “BCstylishwoman.jpg” hahahaha. If only this lady knew how much I feel that I know her.
Anyway, Alphabet City is great. It is named so because it encompasses Avenues A, B, C and D (the D is for Dangerous!), which run north-south on most of the east side of lower Manhattan. I remember reading about Alphabet City in Francine Pascal’s Fearless book series in my youth. Oh, there are so many things I could say about those books. I think they were a fairly crucial part of my decision to come to NYU, which may not say anything good about that decision haha. The main character in Fearless is named Gaia, and she was born without the gene that makes people feel fear. Her father raised her to be a fighting machine, taking advantage of her natural fearlessness to make her the epitome of girl power. Gaia’s first love interest, Sam, goes to NYU, and I think I fell in love with him and with their relationship, too. When I first came to NYU, I realized that I lived in the dorm that Francine Pascal vaguely describes Sam to live in in the series. It made me giddy to walk down the same streets that Gaia ran down in pursuit of secret agenty evils in a New York City that, although purportedly belonging to the early 2000s, recalled the danger and crime of a very 1980s Manhattan. All of this is to say that, in Fearless, Alphabet City is the site of some very shady and scary dealings, and walking down the empty but safe streets there brought my mind back to the imaginative fervor I felt in losing myself in the books.
Today, Alphabet City is a very Puerto Rican-dominated neighborhood, and there is pride all over the place, which I love! You can look through the slideshow above to see some of the murals using the Puerto Rican flag. After I finished my wandering, I met up with a friend for Pommes Frites (Belgian fries with absolutely glorious sauces) and bubble tea in the East Village, one of my favorite neighborhoods. I actually inadvertently recreated the Pommes Frites experience at home tonight, by seasoning and baking some potato wedges and sampling them with a ginger-carrot dressing my roommate got with her afternoon sushi. Survey says: A++.
I will leave you now with my most interesting find, which actually kind of spills over into East Village territory: Obscura Antiques. This video mostly speaks for itself, but I had an interesting conversation with the store attendant, who said that none of the pieces in the store was most recent than I think 1870 or so (I hope I have that right). They had everything from Victorian shoes to old pharmaceuticals and period jackets. Enjoy, and see if you can hear the German music playing in the background. And don’t hate on my poor video editing skills.
Also, I would just like to say that the next blog I create will be using Blogger. WordPress is far too interested in making me pay for things like custom template support and detailed analytics tracking, among other things! Plus, I had to use my Google account to upload the video to YouTube anyway, so why not keep everything under the same roof? (Blogger is owned by Google.)
P.S. I planned to plug/discuss the cool walking tours offered over at SoundWalk.com (who, incidentally, is great at PR and Twitter outreach), but attention spans are only so long! Stay tuned for that next time!