Posts Tagged ‘summer’
I moved to New York last summer and took a month-long sublet in Bushwick, or as my striving neighbors liked to call it, East Williamsburg. It was August, and the city was experiencing record high temperatures. We all trudged through the heavy heat, wondering when the wave would end.
My temporary home was half of a faded duplex that I shared with two young actresses who were my age, but who made me feel much older. I rarely saw them; while I was at the office during the day, they slept off the previous night’s debauchery on the living room couch and floor, surrounded by empty beer and liquor bottles. When I got home in the evening, they were gone, out at their waitressing jobs until the early morning.
Our landlords, a boisterous Puerto Rican family, lived in the other half of the duplex. For the first weeks of my stay, I tried to resist greeting them with a “¿Como estan?” But in Bushwick, reminders of Mexico were thankfully everywhere: taco and torta counters run by short men in white aprons in the back of corner stores; girls in tight tank tops on the sidewalk gossiping in Spanish; thumping cumbia and reggaeton music snaking through my window.
Photo by Guillaume Gaudet
I walked forty blocks from Columbia University’s Journalism School to a friend’s apartment on the Upper West Side the other day. It took longer than I thought it would, and it became colder than I thought it would get, but I’m obsessed with taking advantage of New York whenever it’s warm by walking as much as I can. On the Upper West Side, the avenues are long and the streets are calm. The apartment buildings tony and majestic, the sidewalks crowded with cafes and bakeries. I feel serene, if not a little bored, in this neighborhood. There’s an older Jewish feeling here, and not too much diversity until you reach the buzzing upper echelons of Harlem. There, I laugh at the street vendors, promise the Senegalese hair-braiding women I’ll come back another time and walk and walk.
Photo by Paul Riley
I’ve been shuttled around like a latchkey kid this past week in New York, arriving in Brooklyn to crash with a friend then later moving to stay with other friends in Manhattan.
I’d always been skeptical of Brooklyn the district, wary of the brigades of hipsters and the warnings of higher crime rates. But I fell in infatuation last week — with the neighborhood of Fort Greene/Clinton Hill, this charming, stunningly gorgeous area with grand historic brownstones and row houses that line tree-crowded streets. The avenues are wide and shaded and eventually lead to a lush, flowering park. The background noise is never too loud, except when there’s construction, and kids and bikes are everywhere.
My friend E’s apartment is in a four-floor building, one apartment to each floor, the homes large and roomy with hardwood floors and fire escape terraces. Little jars of jam with ingredients like apple and sage dot E’s place, her roommate is a jam maker. Outside, gentrification is slowly leaving its mark, trendy coffee shops and clothing boutiques mingling with an old school White Castle fast food restaurant. White guys in nerdy glasses and skinny jeans on snazzy bikes ride alongside low-slung cars blaring rap music driven by young black men. I say hello to the older black women (Fort Greene is a traditionally black neighborhood) who limp by me on their walkers up to the doors of apartments that have been in their families for years and joke with the construction workers at White Castle before heading into the subway station with other 20-something artsy, creative kids. I ask for directions from a hip shaggy haired couple, who kindly direct me on my way.
Photo via Neighborhoodr