Sometimes it's awfully nice when you can't go home.
The landlord is selling our house, which is unfortunate, and he showed it to some prospective buyers this afternoon. So I left the house in the morning and couldn't return until late afternoon. You can see a whole lot with 5 hours to kill in New York. It's like a world tour.
I went up to Park Slope first thing, the highly gentrified Brooklyn neighborhood to our east and north. Park Slope's yuppie-dom had never really bothered me as much as some; I certainly like going for walks in a place that's a little nicer to look at than run-down industrial Gowanus. Today, for whatever reason, it did. Possibly because I had gone up there yesterday and Thursday -- I had the two days off after leaving Discover -- and seen the black women pushing around white babies in strollers, presumably while the high-powered parents were at work. Possibly because a New York slice was $5.50 instead of the $3 it would be a couple blocks away, outside of the neighborhood. Possibly because of the $32 screen-printed tees at Brooklyn Industries, of which there are two stores in Park Slope. (Scoffs).
Ridiculousness aside, there are hidden treasures, including my barber shop. I hadn't been for a couple months because for a couple months I couldn't afford anything that wasn't at the very top of the priority list. It's a great place, though, run by a handful of old Italian guys. The first time I went they had the Yankees game on the radio. Today it was too early for that, so they had 50's crooners playing. Let me tell you -- there are both off-putting and soothing elements to your barber singing along to the Rat Pack as he trims your hair. My cut is a little too short; when it gets clipped too tightly the ovalness of my head becomes more evident. But no real complaints.
From there I went to the Lower East side, and then up to the Upper West side to read at Riverside Park. Not as different as they used to be, but still a pretty wide gap. In the Lower East side I felt like people were judging me because I wasn't dressed in high enough style. In the Upper West side I felt like people were judging me for eating Subway, and not something more expensive and/or organic. I suppose that would go for both places, though.
All in all, though, I know that I heard English, French, Swedish, and Japanese today, as well as a few tongues I couldn't pick out. I watched other people's kids playing baseball near the river. They were pretty good. It's getting plenty cool now, but that's ok, too. I have brandy now.