August 22, 2009

First Day in the City

I made it! I now officially live in New York, New York. The bit of time in Rolla was nice, but I was so anxious about my upcoming move that I can't say I truly enjoyed it for all it was worth. Wednesday night i didn't sleep at all, but simply stayed up all night listening to the Theme from New York, New York. You know: "These little town blues are melting away- I'll make a brand new start of it in old New York."

Thursday could not have gone more perfectly. Sleep deprived, I was able to manufacture some Z's on the ride to the airport. My dad helped me unload my three bags, and I was off. The flight was a bit early, and my "guide" Dave was waiting for me when I arrived. We managed to only mildly irritate riders on the M60 bus with all of our luggage, and met my land lord Charles at the house. My room is actually better than I imagined; I have a couch, a desk, a dresser, two closets, a fireplace, two mirrors, and a full-size bed. I'm still not settled in yet, so I won't post any photos of the actual room, but just know that it is adorable.

Dave left to go back to his apartment for the afternoon, so I roamed the Lenox Ave./125th corridor a bit and bought some essentials. The neighborhood is really a very vibrant place. There are ladies listening to Michael Jackson on their stoops in the middle of the day, children playing basketball across the street, vendors selling shaved ice and mangoes at every corner, and delis on every block. I really enjoy just soaking up the energy of the residents and the streets, knowing that I'm about to become apart of that buzzing, alive vibe.

Dave soon returned, though, and took me to the Broadway Show "Burn The Floor." It was quite excellent, and completely free thanks to his generosity. We also got to wander around Times Square for a bit, which was also a very fun experience. I know it's nothing but a "tourist" attraction, but I kind of like the endless masses of people from all over having the shared experience of seeing the same attraction
s and feeling the same excitement.

Although Dave didn't stay for the show, he was a southern gentleman and came back to deliver me to my front porch. Of course he took pictures of the entire experience so that I could "show my mother." Here's me in front of my house on the first night. Notice the pretty flowers to the right. :)Today I stayed around until two, and met up with a friend of a friend to go shopping. We were to meet at the 125th subway stop, so I headed down there around 1:45 and waited for him to show up. I learned two things: 1) It is not easy to find somebody you have never met on a crowded street corner and 2) There is not necessarily any great spot to wait for said person on a street corner. I managed to snag a spot under the Starbucks awning, where I met quite a few interesting characters. I was next to a lady who would yell at other women about how they had "Nappy Hair!" or "You can't get a man with a weave as bad as that!" She was, of course, offering her hair braiding services to passerbys. She did manage to snag a client, so she picked up her chair and left. Her spot was not vacant for long. A minute later, a gentleman carrying a black trash bag stands next to me. He starts muttering "Newport. Newports. Newport." to people as the round the corner. I'm sitting here thinking "Is this guy saying Newports? Like the cigarettes? Can't be" and was making a mental note to look up slang variations on Newport. Ten minutes pass, and someone says "How much?" He tells him said price, and they start making a deal. I scoot over, as this is making me a little uncomfortable. He pulls something out of the sack, and what do you know- it's a pack of Newport cigarettes! I kind of just chuckled to myself, and soon Brad was calling.

We rode the train to the Bronx to shop at a Target. We got off at the wrong stop, but I enjoyed walking the distance, seeing the neighborhood, and getting to know him. I had one mission for the entire day: buy a fan. My room doesn't have air conditioning (it could, but I'm a cheapskate) so a fan is crucial. We saw a few good deals on the way, but decided we would wait until after Target to stop. By the time we finished, we were pretty beat, so we just headed back to my room, then to get some lunch. Luckily I met one of my hall mates whom pointed me in the direction of a discount housewares store on 125th, Gem, and was able to continue my mission. The store was packed full of goods, and was fairly cheap. I managed to buy a fan, and they did the neatest thing. I know I'm from the country, but seriously, I just thought this was so neat: After purchasing the fan, the lady said "Go to the front, and they'll make a handle for you." Thinking "Okay?" I trudged to the front of the store. The guy wrapped twine around the box, and then attached this metal/cardboard hook tot he box creating a perfectly comfortable handle. I triumphantly marched the five blocks home past street corner preachers and bodega groceries to my room.

Aaaah, sweet relief.

I was almost planning on resting and unpacking this evening, but decided to be adventurous and did my first solo subway ride. I rode down to Lincoln Square in midtown to see a movie, Adam. Despite my mother's wishes, I did ride the subway after ten 'o clock at night. I saw a police officer at every stop, and a few on the walk home . I managed to not get lost-yay!- and had a wonderful gentleman talk to me on the phone on my journey to 130th. :-)

The movie was fantastic, and very fitting. It's about a romance in New York City (where I live now!) and about going out, finding your own path, doing what you love despite the odds (hey! that's me!) In it there was a song by 'The Weepies' that I've heard, but never really listened to. It had a very fitting line, though-

"I can't really say
Why everybody wishes they were somewhere else
But in the end, the only steps that matter
Are the ones you take all by yourself"

I hope you enjoy the music. Rain drops are falling on the tree outside of my window, the temperature is dropping, and my fan is still going. I'm off to enjoy all of the above.