Sunday, November 14, 2010
Everybody, marvel at the fact that I am indeed surviving in New York. Let me tell you about my life:
First, I live on the first floor of a sort of crappy building. The first time I was shown the place a rat scurried across my foot as I walked towards the front stoop, and dashed into the basement. We have two rooms that are about 12'x12' each, plus a tiny kitchen and a bathroom. The shower is crazy: if you turn down the hot water it might actually get hotter and vice-versa. We have a crazy, loud-laughing, hyper-religious Jamaican woman to our right, and weight-lifting, macho firemen to our left. The firemen are by far the most annoying, with their bells and sirens and Brooklyn accented banter. A very loud bell goes off every time they open their doors, to make sure everyone knows that they're opening their doors, I guess. I thought the sirens would be enough to make sure everyone knows that a firetruck is about to leave the station, but I suppose the bell is a good back-up, just in case. Better safe than sorry!
On the bright side we have roof-top access, and the view is pretty good. Our location is actually great. We're in an up-and-coming neighborhood, which isn't so gentrified that it's obnoxious, but has enough bourgie comforts (coffee-shops, bars and bookstores) within walking distance. There are many people from "da Islands" who live here - a lot of "ya mon," reggae, and cricket going on. We just discovered the greatest jerk chicken shop in the world this afternoon. It's called "The Islands" and I highly recommend it!
Prospect Park, which was designed by the same team that created Central Park, is a 5 min walk away. It is massive, and quite pleasant. You can actually get lost in the woods here, and forget you're surrounded by 8 million people. The Brooklyn Museum and Library are equally close to us, and make life nicer. Even if we haven't taken advantage of them as much as we should, it's nice to know they're there.
I still work for Harlem Spirituals Inc. in Times Square. Depending on train traffic, it takes 30-45 minutes to get to work. I still like taking the metro, and take advantage of the time to read the New Yorker or something (I get the New Yorker free at work). Of course, there's often an interesting character on the train if you ever get bored.
I started off taking tours and critiquing them, and I impressed the owner with my writing and "analytical skills" (her words). Now I'm helping them redesign their website, and send out marketing material. It was more fun taking the tours, and I actually learned a little as a result.
People often ask me what I'm doing here. It's understood that everyone is here for a reason. I usually tell them I'm working for a tourism company, and they'll say, "No, what are you trying to do?" Unfortunately, I'm not trying to be an actor, or a writer, or a painter, or a comic, or even a stock-trader. This doens't make sense to anybody, so I guess it shouldn't make sense to me either.