Adventures in New York. First stop: Harlem

10 Apr

It feels so good to write again. 

When I don’t write for a while, it feels like I’m underwater. And when I start typing, it feels like I can breathe again. (Although full disclaimer, I rewrote that sentence like 6 times until it sounded right, and then I remembered why writing is awful and annoying. But I’m okay now, because I think it came out all right.)

 

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                   “I WROTE A SENTENCE! I CAN DO ANYTHING!”

 

Work was actually pretty great yesterday. I’ve been told that in the “real world” your superiors won’t praise you for doing your job. You should just hope for not being called out on being incompetent. And just focus on laying low and soaking it in when you’re new. Then once you know what you’re doing you can shine. Today, I am happy to say that I was BASICALLY INVISIBLE! And I am so happy. It was the first time in about 3 weeks that I didn’t have some sort of emergency where I needed someone to save me. It was quiet. It was neutral. It was a tad boring. But good! Progress!

Yesterday was also free ice cream cones day at Ben and Jerry’s, so I hope you took advantage of that. 

I’m only working three days this week. Monday, my husband (that word is so awkward. I never used boyfriend when I started seeing Ari, I said “Oh, uh this guy I’m dating”, can I call for a motion to be able to use the phrase “This guy I’m married to.” That feels a lot more natural) and I stayed in like non-productive members of society and watched Pulp Fiction and SNL all day. Then we went to a fancy restaurant for no special reason. Because we’re young and impulsive, and hey who needs to pay rent anyways? You can pay rent when you’re dead! Says people who don’t understand how rent, death or phrases work.

 

Today was not a work day. I had some things to do since I lost my wallet on the subway last week (it’s black and it has my license in it, if you find it.) The universe deemed it not necessary to return it to me. So I decided to finally get a new license and go to the DMV. This meshed perfectly well with an idea that I had been thinking about since apparently writing specifically about my job doesn’t seem like a good idea and writing about married like seems like writing a blog about how it feels to win the lottery, no one wants to read that.     

 

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…In that they both cause you to have more money…and looser morals.

I had been thinking about writing more about living in NY. My other blogs, when I was in London and this one largely took place in Maryland, I decided that I would write about interesting things to do in New York City, center of the universe. I had ordered these books off Amazon like “Forgotten NY” and “Odd NY” to find some hidden gems. First stop: Harlem. Second stop: Harlem DMV.

Okay, the DMV wasn’t really part of the tour, but it was the closest one and I needed a new license. Plus, I had never been to Harlem. I’ve always been one of the people Louis CK describes in this video. That I would get to Harlem and get stabbed in the face. But I know that’s silly, I could get stabbed in the face anywhere! Especially by my own hand. Because we got crazy sharp knives as wedding presents and I keep opening packages towards me instead of away. 

So I flipped through my Odd NY book and found that right on 125th there was an abandoned subway tunnel where the “subway mole people” used to live in the 70s, 80s and 90s before Guiliani shipped them off to a homeless farm! And there was cool old graffiti and probably some exposed needles.

 

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                         “Fun!”

Unfortunately, I didn’t read the actual description of the tunnels until I was on the train heading south.

 

“Intrepid urban explorers can access The Freedom Tunnel through a semi-hidden entrance in Riverside Park

at 125th Street. You do so at your own risk (meaning, don’t sue the city, or these authors, if you get clobbered,

rolled, or sexually assaulted). Once submerged, watch out for discarded needles, not to mention the Amtrak

trains that hurtle along the tracks. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for menacing types.”

 

Needless to say, I decided that maybe today was not the best for face-stabbings, getting sexually assaulted OR confronting “menacing types.” Maybe I will do the Freedom Tunnel after I do all my other NY exploring. 

The book had other cool things, like voodoo shops in the Village, climbing clock towers on Broadway, exposed mummified bodies on Cabrini and the Mermaid Parade on Coney Island. I’m sure I could get face stabbed on any of those as well – the joy of NYC!

But Harlem was actually really nice. There are a couple of things I noticed:

1. You can see the sky more here, since there aren’t a lot of super tall buildings.

2. The buildings that are there are old and beautiful. Some even dated back to 1891, according to some of their dedications. They were so pretty that it was almost sad to see the bottom floor housing a Wendy’s. But what do I know? Maybe when it was built it had the 1891 equivalent of a Wendy’s. Although, it wouldn’t be called Wendy’s since that name was only popularized in 1904. It would be whatever the 1890 version was…so…Mabel’s? Evelyn’s?

3. There is art. Everywhere, Here is some art. And some weird things I saw as well. 

 

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Seen outside TJ Maxx. Is that new couple wearing kippas? Why do these children look            so judgmental?

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        I think this is trying to say that Michael Jackson is Jesus.

 

So Harlem is cool. Yes I didn’t do anything but walk along 125th. And I didn’t go to the face-stabby, rape Theme-park. But it’s interesting. And there’s a Gap Factory store. I would definitely go back there. 

The DMV was boring. But actually pretty efficient, if you were wondering. You had a ticket. They called your number (two hours after I got there but still…) Waiting for your number is like the most boring, most painful game of Bingo. Except you know when they’re going to call your number. And it’s in two hours. And the man next to you smells like an old taxi that caught fire. But I have an interim license. So I don’t have to bring my passport to bars anymore. 

Oh, and another thing about Harlem. it smells really good. Mostly because of the street vendors selling, like oils that smell like different things (such as Vanilla, Butt Naked, Barack Obama, Orange Blossom, you know, normal things). But also because there are like 40 Popeye’s on each corner, and I was totally jonesing for some Fish and Chips. So that’s how I spend the rest of my day. 

 

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Have a lovely night my ducklings!

One Response to “Adventures in New York. First stop: Harlem”

  1. Anonymous April 10, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

    Thank you Aviva! as always, a pleasure to read!

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