Archive for the ‘ Brooklyn ’ Category

The Week of the Hurricane

Part I: The storm

One week ago today, I was holding a marathon cooking-fest, trying to make sure my husband and I would have plenty to eat should we loose power in the impending storm, which by that point, we had decided to take seriously. Zucchini fritters, roasted chicken and vegetables, plus bottles of water in the freezer that we could use to keep our food cold should our refrigerator stop working. All of last Sunday felt like a waiting game which persisted into Monday. Businesses were closed across the city, and the sky was a relentless gray. Rain fell lightly off and on, but much of the morning we were waiting for “it” to happen, unsure of exactly what “it” looked like, but fully confident “it” hadn’t arrived yet. Then came the winds. Wind strength can be hard to gauge in a Brooklyn apartment when there are few trees outside to witness swaying. But this wind, we heard. Not whistling or howling, or any word you’d usually use to describe the sound. This was a creaking,  a heavy sound, like someone was walking on our ceiling. Chuck said it sounded like we were on a boat getting rocked back and forth. (This wind, we would learn later, uprooted 300 tress in Prospect Park that night, just 5 blocks from our apartment.)

We kept waiting all through Monday. The lights flicked on and off, but always came back. The rain remained a light sprinkle. The streetlight in front of our window shuddered. After making another dinner, and watching a movie, and drinking a bottle of red wine, and discovering it was not yet 10 PM, we consulted the amateur hurricane tracking studio we’d assembled in our living room and determined that the center of the storm had passed us and the worst was over. When the creaking quieted, we ventured outside for the first time in 24 hours. Our short walk around the block yielded what you’d expect: lots of downed tree limbs, taped windows, nearly every business closed, (Der Kommissar, which slung beers and sausages throughout the night, being the exception,) and a still quiet rarely experienced in New York. I snapped a few photos of an empty 5th Ave. that night.

And then the trees started shuddering again and we got ourselves back safely indoors. We followed every newsfeed we could. The New York Times. Facebook. Twitter. The actual TV news. We heard about green lightening. The exploding power station on 14th street. The evacuation of hospitals that had lost power. The darkened lower Manhattan. The news was worse with each post. We went to bed, grateful for heat and power, unsure what we would find in the morning.
I woke up to this view out our front window:



I stayed home sick today, and thought I’d watch a movie on the couch tonight–take things easy. Right around midnight, just as my movie was ending, I heard a loud boom and saw a flash outside my window. At first, I thought fireworks were going off on the street. Then I realized that made no sense. When I ran to the window and saw another flash and the street clouded with smoke, I thought the building on the corner was on fire.

As soon as I opened the front door, I smelled gas, and saw two firetrucks parked in front of the building. My next thought was that it must be a gas line, like what recently happened outside of San Francisco. Getting closer to the action, I realized that wasn’t it at all. It was a cab with the front blown to bits.

When I first got down there, it was still smoking. Firefighters had surrounded it and were spraying it down. The front and passenger doors were both open, and someone told me the driver had run off.

By the time I returned with my camera, the firefighters had finished ripping apart the front of the car. I don’t know what they found, but I was relieved not to see any bomb squad appear.

So much for a quiet night.

See more photos

Weekend… At Last

This week took forever. One of those weeks where Monday felt like Friday, as did every subsequent day. By the time I made it to yesterday I felt I deserved at least 2 paychecks. Sigh. Of. Relief.

This weekend is going to be a quiet one. Got a lot done around the house today, and am spending the early evening watching episodes of Mad Men and working on X-mas knitting. Tonight I was invited to meet friends in 2 different bars, both of which happen to be less than 3 blocks from my new apartment. Apparently, my new neighborhood is up-and-coming enough to still have cheap (by NY standards) drinks. This works out especially well since the F/G trains aren’t running this weekend, and they provide my usual weekend transit (although, that’s changing now that the R train is near).

Speaking of up-and-coming though, rumor has it that Cleveland may be the new New York. At least, as far as being an artist goes. I can neither confirm nor deny this. What I can say is that living here, even with a full time-full benefits job, still leaves me and most of my highly educated friends living paycheck to paycheck. And that, to me, makes cities in the sweet heartland where you can buy full houses for 1/5 the price of a Manhattan studio sound just a tad more appealing.

Duty Calls

Quick post before I run out the door to attend to my important responsibilities as the girlfriend of a man in a band. At the entry level, this position entails going to shows, and dancing if it is appropriate. (In the case of Little,Big, dancing is always appropriate. However, if you are with someone who lets loose on an acoustic guitar, this may not be an expectation for you.) As you advance through the ranks, the expectations pile up: bring friends! (Coordinator level), take photos! (Creative Director level), sell merch! (Assistant Director level). Ladies and gentleman, tonight I have been promoted to Director, as I am in charge of all of the above. While the position is unpaid, the perks are pretty great. I must be on my way though. My boss is pretty strict, and I wouldn’t want to disappoint him.

Vibrating Walls

I woke up very early this morning to the sound of jackhammers pounding in to the pavement in front of the apartment.

At least, that is what I thought I work up to. Would I have been so lucky. Instead, just as it happens in that scary story about the babysitter, the sound was coming from inside the house. Our water pipe in the bathroom wall, to be specific. Apparently, the hot water had built up–pressure like a geyser-overflowed its boundaries, and caused the plumbing to go haywire.

While I was a work, a pro came to assess the situation. Drained the pool of water in the pipe. Called it a day.

Well guess what. By the time I got home it sounded like we had little children playing pattycake on the inside of our walls. Another call to the landlady, and another call in to the pipe guy. In the meantime, I’ll be brushing my teeth in a bucket. Wish me luck.

Marathon Sunday

This is the 5th November I’ve lived in Brooklyn, and every year, I get a few invitations to watch the marathon. My reaction to this is normally “why?” The idea of getting up early in the morning–and you have to get up very early to avoid travel disruptions–to stand in the cold and watch people that I’ve never met run down the street somehow never seemed appealing.

Today, things were different. First: I live in a new apartment that is literally 3 doors down from the marathon route. I could have watched the whole thing from my window if I’d wanted to. Plus, no getting up early to travel. Second: time change! I slept until 9, felt like I was sleeping until 10, and was down on 4th Ave., coffee in hand, by 9:45, just in time to get a nice warm spot in the sun, right on the curb.

The crowd around me passed the time waiting for the runners by nodding their heads to the rock band that had set up across the street, in front of my beloved Tofu Food. The band played “Dead Flowers” as the first folks rolled by in wheelchairs and other special accommodation vehicles. The crowd cheered them on. Then the police pushed us back on to the sidewalk, clearing a path on their motorcycles. Finally the runners came. The first group of 6-8 men ran in a pack, one man just inches ahead of the others. We waited awhile for the next group. The runners trickled in slowly at first, and then there was a sea of them, and the band played more classic rock and roll, and the crowd shouted people’s names and countries: Guatamala, France, Denmark, Germany, Chile, Michigan. As it got later, the runners became more creative, dressed as brides, the statue of liberty, a hot dog, a banana. Unconcerned about winning, they went out of their way to high-five the little boy who jumped up and down with excitement as they ran past.

There was a hypnotic quality to the event as the runners faces blurred together and they kept streaming by, as wide as the 6-lane road. I found it hard to believe there were this many people in the world that would want to run 26 miles. Not to mention the work beyond the desire: how many hours they must have trained, how far they had traveled, what it would be like to board the Staten Island Ferry with your fellow runners at 6 AM, what it would feel like to high five us and know you still had 21 miles to go…

While it’s unlikely I’ll ever become a runner, I think could become a sports fan. That is, as long as the sport is willing to come to me.