I got to Allison's house late last night. It was a full day of flying on almost no sleep. A. had spent the night to take me to the airport early and he wasn't feeling well so we didn't get to bed until late. And then, per usual, I didn't sleep because I was scared I wouldn't wake up in time to leave. Consequently I was dozing in the Denver airport on my three hour layover and it was only the fact that my book kept falling on the floor and waking me up that kept me alert enough to make the flight to NYC.
Of course I don't sleep on planes. Don't know why, it just won't happen.
I was so thrilled to finally meet Allison who has been one of my "I tell everything to" best friends for the last 4 years. But until last night we had only connected via e-mail or the phone. So when I got here we had to stay up and drink tea and chat until about 1 a.m. and then I passed out. I woke up early this morning because it really doesn't matter where I am, I'm still going to wake with the dawn.
Ali made me a cup of tea and left for work at 8a.m. and I swear I was going to get up and try my luck at getting myself into the city. She got me a metrocard and everything. My friend Stephanie was planning her day around me coming to visit her. But I went back to sleep and just couldn't wake up. I kept opening my eyes and looking at the clock, 9:30, 10:30, 11:30. And I kept going back to sleep. I had some really wild dreams about shoot outs from helicopters around the Statue of Liberty and I was swimming in the water off my friend Marcia's dock which was attached to her house at the end of a long pier.
So you can see why I didn't want to get up.
But I finally did at 12:30 and then it took me another hour and a half to motivate myself into the shower and get dressed. At 2:00 I finally called Stephanie and we decided that tomorrow would be better. I set off to discover Allison's neighborhood - I think it's called Greenpoint, because there's a lot of signs on the businesses that say "Greenpoint". I also wandered over to Williamsburg.
Along the way, there and back, I heard people speaking in Polish, Hebrew, French, Italian, Spanish and English with an Australian accent.
I saw lots of people walking no less than 5 German Shepherds. Apparently that is a popular breed here. I saw lots of other people with dogs as well. The biggest difference between Los Angeles and Brooklyn is that here people have their dogs on leashes and in LA they carry them in their purses.
I saw lots and lots of health food stores all prominently featuring Myoplex. I'm not kidding when I say lots, I mean like two on every block.
I am fascinated by the grates that open up in the sidewalk revealing ramps and stairs that go under the buildings. We don't have anything like that where I live, and I live in an urban/city area much like this, where commercial properties and residential properties line the streets.
Everytime I walked past a small tree planted in a square of dirt on the sidewalk I would silently say to myself, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." At least for the first couple of miles and then I started to annoy myself. It's easy to imagine Frannie and her mother walking down the street here at the turn of the century.
I could tell when I left the predominantly Polish neighborhood that Allison lives in and wandered through Williamsburg and down into a neighborhood where people were speaking Spanish and I saw some pretty good looking guacamole being eaten at a sidewalk restaurant serving "California style" tacos and Mexican food. It's interesting how one mile changes the language of the signs in the windows.
I was oggled and hissed at by numerous men on the street. This does not happen to me in Los Angeles. It has always happened to me in New York. I remember walking downt he street in Manhattan and being throw by the continuous commentary of men I walked by. It's not threatening or offensive, well I guess it could be considered offensive if I stopped to give it any rhythm, but it is very very weird.
I think that it doesn't happen so much in LA because no one is walking around. Everyone is driving, and as I mentioned before I pay no attention to people honking or attempting to run me down, so maybe it is happening, but I'm pointedly ignoring it. I like the walking here. I like the community. I like all the little stores and the churches and the kids playing in the park. It's all very alive.
After all that walking I'm really tired again so I stopped at the market to get stuff to make for dinner because I don't think I can go out and walk anymore today.
There will be more walking tomorrow only it will be in Manhattan.