Monday, August 2, 2010

Northeast by Northeast

Day Four

What says "travel" better than a torrential down pour? Upon waking up, it was lovely. The air was cool, the sound of the rain on the roof, dripping off the branches that framed my windows, the smell of cedar and pine and dew. Lovely.

Then I woke up and realized I was leaving today and a trek to the train station and later through the streets of New York was not what I had ordered. So, what do you do when it's raining? Play Candyland of course! We also played Scattergories, where I schooled everyone in the art of same letter words.

Finally, it was time to leave my family and head into the City. I always loved travelling by train until I was stuck on one for 9 hours from Washington, D.C. to Boston. That kind of killed the love affair, although I can now say I still love the short trips even when you have to change trains. The total travel time from the Poconos to NYC is about 2 hours. Not bad at all. You go most of the way before you have to change trains in Secaucus to NY Penn Station so there is plenty of time to read or whatever else it is you do to occupy my time.

Current love that I brought Stephen King's magnum opus: 5 (out of 5)

The current plan is to head to the Clocktower Gallery where James Franco has a very avant garde art show running, then to the boroughs to eat and be merry.

The NJ Transit smells like perm.

I've been to New York City several times. I don't claim to be a connoisseur or have the knowledge of say, a local; but I do stare at the MTA everyday (as it is my shower curtain) so I think I know my way around. I am wrong. The platforms must be at least 100 degrees. It is so hot and I am dragging god knows how much weight behind me (King's opus is now at a 3). I catch the A downtown and get off at Canal to walk to the gallery. It is 4 PM and the show closes at 5 PM. I have no idea where I am. In my mind, Canal St is Chinatown and Chinatown only. I call my friend for directions to the gallery but they sound complicated and I'm starting to sweat through my shirt so I give up. I'll just catch a cab. Surely there are cabs on Canal. There aren't. It's shift change, not to mention rush hour and I wander all over Tribeca trying to flag one down. No luck. Eventually, I've been at this at least half an hour; I've sweat through my shirt and my pants are sticking to me (It's just as hot topside as it was on the platform), my suitcase has broken (though I won't discover the wheel has a huge chunk missing along with the bearings until later), and I'm dragging dead weight. A black sedan tries to pick me up. Fuck it, I'm going to Starbucks. 10 minutes later, she arrives (out of the subway entrance right in front of me!) and off we go to change.

Praise be! The subway entrance at Starbucks is the one we need to head to Brooklyn. She lives in Prospect Heights on the most wonderful street ever. Maybe I just have a soft spot for poorly names neighborhoods or maybe I'm delirious from the heat. Either way, I fall in love instantly. Has that ever happened to you? I hope so. The four (street) blocks to her apartment are hard on me with the broken suit case and Stephen Fucking King in my bag (love of "Under the Dome": 1), however they are lined with all kinds of things to see. The bakery, the coffee shop, the dry cleaner, the 24-hour green grocer, the pizza place, several mom & pop restaurants. I'm in love! I don't even mind the 2 flights of stairs we walk up to her apartment. My friend and her husband are awesome! "Every thing's coming up Milhouse!"

After I change, we head to a really adorable bar near their house (the one thing I didn't take a picture of so I have no idea what it was called- help!) and meet up with their neighbors. I would definitely go back here, though be warned: a lot of places are cash only. While we finished our beers, a giant chicken walked into the bar. No really. Literally. It was a candy gram, delivering (dirty) birthday wishes to another patron. Fun!

After that, we headed to what I'm told is the only good Indian place in Brooklyn, Bombay Masala. I couldn't believe how inexpensive it was and moderately busy at 9 PM. We split the vegetarian dinner for two which easily fed the three of us with left overs. We started with the samosas (I've been craving them something fierce) and vegetable pakoras. Then the owner brought all of us some complimentary soup (I think it was just a veggie soup) which was okay but in no way compared to the Mulligatawny- so yummy! For our entrees we had the Alu Motir Gobi (potatoes, cauliflower, and peas) and the Chana Ponir (homemade cheese and peas) with a lot of garlic naan. For desert, the owner brought us all some rose infused rice pudding. I could have kissed him it was so good!

After that, it was late so we watched TV an drank Asian beers I had never heard of while watching "The State". Tomorrow is a big day, and we'll need all the rest we can get!

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