Saturday, August 31, 2013

I know every mile will be worth my while


Dear reader, I am pleased to inform you that I am drafting this post in New York City from a comfy chair in my friend Molly's dining room. I'm staying with her in Brooklyn for 5 nights before flying on to France.  It's great spending time with my far-flung friend and seeing a little more of this amazing city.  I visited another friend in Upper East Side Manhattan in 2010 and saw most of the things you're supposed to see in New York, but I never made it more than halfway across the bridge to Brooklyn.  Until now!
Molly suggested taking the Staten Island Ferry on my first afternoon (it's free!) to see the Statue of Liberty and get a cool ocean breeze.

I left Portland on Monday night with my backpack, purse, and a 64-pound suitcase carrying everything I deemed necessary for a year of life abroad.  I planned to stow that suitcase at JFK Airport and return for it 5 days later on my continuing flight to France, but apparently the JFK employees who know things don't arrive until after 5:30 AM, which is when I found myself lumbering around the airport with more than half my weight in luggage and less than half my usual hours of sleep.  After an hour-long back-and-forth journey between the various terminals (by train) looking for the mythical land of Bag Storage, I gave up and decided to take my chances with the subway system.
Did you know that not every stop in the Metro has escalator/elevator options?  I didn't.  This is the most populous city in the United States--how could it possibly not be completely wheel-chair- / feeble-tourist-friendly?  Between the 5 trains it took to get to Molly's neighborhood there were 3 staircases I had no choice but to slowly (oh god so slowly...with people piling up behind me) haul and inch and sweat my way up or down.  Two generous men helped me out with the worst of the inclines, for nothing more than a high five and a winded, "Thank you" each.  My bruises and beefed-up biceps will remind me for a while how bad of a choice it was to try taking the subway from JFK to Prospect Park with a 64-pound suitcase.
9/11 Memorial at sunset.

 But before I knew it, the nightmare was over and I was sleeping off my red eye flight and bad decisions in Molly's bunkbed.  Yes, bunkbed.  No, I'm not visiting a child-friend.  Molly is subletting her current apartment from a globetrotting German family, and she got the little daughter's room.  I'm not going to lie: bunkbed sleepovers with one of your best friends are rad at any age.  Highly recommended.  We also have air conditioning,  laundry, and all of the bizarre artwork a person could ever wish to gaze upon.  It's been a pretty great situation for me as a visitor, and I think for Molly as a subletter.
I've spent the last couple of days seeing how Molly lives--following her to work, eating at her favorite restaurants (CafĂ© Dada was incredible!), and then going off to do touristy NY things while she works.  I rode the subway to Manhattan yesterday and walked through Central Park to the American Natural History Museum.  The day before, I spent 4 hours in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.  I now have 14 nasty mosquito bites, but I think it was worth it.  The BBG was crazy--like plant-Disneyland.  There was SO much to see, from cherry tree fields to desert greenhouses to bonsai showrooms to a Japanese garden to a forest trail.  I loved it!  Getting into the parks here has been a great way to combat the heat/humidity/smell/noise/crowds factors I'm not used to in NY.

Everything is sticky, costs 3x what it should, and smells like feet, but I am incredibly happy to be here!  Next up: my flight to France, immigration, and meeting my host family...!
Oh you know we be havin' Disney sing-along night.

1 comment:

  1. Did you have New York style pizza like in the movies where its a huge slice and you can fold it and eat it?!
    And also is that the pentel pocket brush type pen(the clear one) that is on the sketch book with the flowers?