Hi! So it looks like maybe every other day is the goal I'm going to be aiming for. Even in a month as quiet and relatively empty as June has been, writing for an hour each day has proven to be incredibly difficult. I spent the better part of yesterday in the city with Sara Z for her b-day and it was an incredibly exhausting day (I did not expect to be out in the sun for hours and was not hydrated enough...) but it was also awesome and full of new adventures for me and for Sara. I will definitely be writing about that today.
We started off taking a ferry to Governor's island where a group called Figment has artists come and install interactive art pieces. Not only was the art really cool and fun to play with, but the island used to be owned by the army or something and so there are all these buildings (including a library and gigantic fort, which is called Castle Williams) that are closed but still in excellent condition, being kept up by the city and what not. There are all these bikes that are free to ride around the island, and little cafe areas everywhere and a mini-beach and when ferrys drive past the wake makes the water crash up and over the seawall and you can stand at the fence and cool off your feet. It's a place I wish we had had more time to explore, because it really was beautiful but by the time we got there there was definitely a "packing up" vibe, and we were in the middle of a game of mini-golf on a course where each hole was designed by a different artist when men in golf carts with megaphones started driving around telling everyone the last ferry would be leaving soon and we had to head toward the docks.
Then we ventured into Chinatown, where I had also never been, and I honestly felt like I was in Epcot. I thought there was no way that Chinatown could really exist in the middle of New York (alright, so it's not the middle, but still. It was a weird dose of culture shock...) and we went to this vegetarian Dim Sum place. I had never had Dim Sum before, but the food was delicious (Sara was less impressed) even though the service was... weird. It was getting late so we had to part ways at that point, Sara apparently headed to a museum that was open until about 9 and I headed to Penn station, met up with Jeremy, and headed back to Montclair.
I used to go into New York all the time when I was in high school, and pretty much every winter and summer through the first couple years of college. The problem with those trips was that they never covered much of the city. For the most part, they consisted of heading straight from Grand Central to my destination, which was almost always a Broadway theatre. Sometimes I would walk around to Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Plaza and the Nintendo store, but rarely. In the past two or three years, however, I have explored whole new (to me, at least) sections of the city, starting with Greenwich Village on a trip with Goucher people about two years ago. Sarah (different Sarah.) and Eric and I headed straight from Times Square for the Village, where we had never been, and explored our hearts out. We were at Oscar Wilde bookstore the weekend it was closing. We had lunch at some hole in the wall where I got black bean soup. We sniffed the air at Magnolia's bakery (that was about all we could afford...) and then topped off the night with dinner at a bar/restaurant I couldn't find again if I tried. It was the first genuinely spontaneous day in the city I had ever experienced. Then last summer I followed Margaret and Hannah to a theatre where they had been putting in slave labor hours, and I passed Ground Zero for the first time ever- before or after 9/11. I couldn't stay long.
And just a couple weeks ago Margaret, Ben and I wandered about Chelsea before a Bowling for Soup concert at the Highline Ballroom. It's only starting to dawn on me now that I have barely even scraped the surface of what New York City really is, and even though none of the city makes me nearly as nervous as it's supposed to, I'm starting to realize how unfamiliar I really am with the greatest city in the world. Instead of depressing me, this actually makes me really really excited. This means that
1. New York does NOT have to drain my pockets. I spent MAYBE thirty bucks all day yesterday. The less expensive, the better, and actually I would wager good money that the off-broadway scene is way cooler than seeing Wicked sixty thousand times.
2. There is a ton of stuff to discover. Governor's Island is what really brought this home for me. My camera also died early in our time there, which bummed me out but also meant I wasn't seeing everything through a screen, but witnessing it first hand and participating in a lot of different installations that I may not have participated in if I was busy documenting it in photos.
3. Times Square is kind of boring. You can only wander through Toys R Us so many times--and this experience is made worse when your pockets are empty--before it becomes sort of depressing. Also, my old trips into the City were really consumer-centric, as in, the worth of the trip could be measured in what I brought home from it, in a tangible sense. These new trips I spend the train ride home thinking and mulling over the things I've seen and been a part of, and realizing all over again how New York really is something I just want to be a part of. Broadway is great, but discovering a new restaurant is even better, and experiencing art and meeting really interesting people for free is best of all.
Anyhow. I'm really pleased with these trips that have me riding the subway all over creation, and figuring out how to get back to Penn station without spending too much money, and walking until my feet are numb and collapsing into bed when I get home. I'm really excited to take other people on these adventures with me, especially Ali who has gone on more than one trip with me where most of the pictures we take are of billboards. I think she really would have loved the Figment experience, and so would Jer. I would have loved to explore the buildings more, Jer would love the bike riding, Ali would love all the art and the water...
I've also never done a few incredibly touristy things in New York, like visiting the Empire State Building, going inside the Statue of Liberty, and seeing the Imagine Memorial in Central Park. These are all on my bucket list.
On that same note, while I was sitting in Borders waiting for Sara to arrive, I came up with a new idea: A Shame list. This would be a list of things we're embarrassed we haven't done yet. Like, never going inside the Empire State Building or never reading Animal Farm or never seeing Singin' in the Rain. This is more than just a bucket list. This is a different, albeit similar, kind of list. I'm going to be building my shame list soon, and hopefully start working on it with Margaret soon after that. Exploring New York is part of my shame list, and I'm so happy that I've begun chipping away at it.
Of course, this will get easier once I'm working in the Village three days a week... which begins this coming Monday!
I'm about twenty minutes away from the end of my hour, and I don't know what else to write about. I got a new scanner/printer today, and it's a much bigger deal than it should be. This is only the second printer I have ever owned and the first one was so brilliant that I cringe to think that I had to swap it out. I'm going to be giving my old printer (which was a high school graduation gift from my Grammy) to my sister, who will probably be heading to college herself in about a year and even if she stays at home she will need a printer of her own. It's the best printer ever- I have literally never had a problem with it- and if Caitlin doesn't want it, and Lauryn doesn't want it, then I will keep it and have two printers just for the hell of it until they stop making ink for the original printer. That's how good this sucker was. The problem, of course, was that this old trooper didn't print photos very well and it didn't have a scanner... which is what led me to the printer section at Target in the first place.
But this new printer (his name is Winston.) has a scanner, and it's wireless, and it has its own email address that I can send things to it from anywhere in the world and it will print. Like a fax machine, only sexier. Also, this new printer is an HP, just like the old one, so I feel like at least I'm keeping it in the family. I guess. If Winston is anywhere near as reliable as the old Printer, then I will have him for at least six years without any problems.
I guess that's all I've got to say today. With any luck, I'll be back tomorrow.