and with that...
on the way to our late breakfast, I was instructed in the german efficient way of crossing the street. as we approached the diner, I noticed that there existed a consecutive collection of world wide cuisine. in a row, there were japanese, indian, romanian, irish/mexican, and turkish restaurants. if you disregard the laundromat and the pawn show, you also get burger king and subway. we select the irish/mexican place and were waited upon by a lady with a thick irish accent. all four of us were fawning over her accent. there's to be a linner date with my brother at 4:30 in battery park city, which is at the very bottom of manhattan. so I'm not really eating. I stole a fry or two here and there and I savored each fry. I played condiment terrorist and mixed like seven different sauces and spices and ate fries in dripping flavors of assorted permutations.
around 3:30, it's time to go for some dunch. I forsake the condiments for the big city. all I have is an address. like queens, battery park city is not on the grid. do you know how to find your way around manhattan below houston street? yeah... me either. so this was a challenge. I pop my prop cigarette into my mouth, hop on the subway and set to work figuring out where I'm going.
after a while, a crazy woman on the subway starts talking to me. first, she tells me that I can't smoke in here. next she asks me if she can bum a smoke. I told her that it's the only one I have. she asks again. I explained that it's not real, that there's no smoke in there, and that this cigarette is very important to me - I need it. she looked perturbed but kind of settled down at the same time. when she went to get off the subway, she yoinked it out of my mouth. I was sitting in the seat next to the door, so I couldn't go far when I chased her as far as I could while still keeping a food in the train door. I grabbed her arm and for about a second, tried to get the cigarette back. I realized that I could probably get it back, and make it back into the car in time. but that would have required a level of manhandling in which I wasn't interested. so I let her go... all the while cursing my disregard for the gift economy last night. wish I'd at least gotten a picture of/with her.
after lots of wandering and asking, I found my way to the proper building. lo and behold, I arrived before joe did. when he showed up, we entered the apartment, got covered in dog hair, talked about theatre, and ate chinese. I was surprised that this guy, who is a producer of plays in new york city, has oscar in his video collection. we had a great view out over the harbor around sunset
after dinner, around 8:30ish, joe and I left the dinner apartment and started walking and talking. again in my cool new yorkery recognizing stuff way, I noticed that we were a couple minute walk from the middle of nowhere. in that not so new yorkery way, I didn't realize that we'd just walked past the late world trade center. somehow it came up in conversation and I mentioned that I'd never been to ground zero. so we went back and I looked at the hole in the ground. a lot of people around me were taking pictures of it. it's always interesting for me when I'm in a situation in which I'm surrounded by people taking pictures but I'm not.
he showed me one of the neighborhoods to which he's considering moving. we saw a place to learn about edgey new agey low budgety filmmaking called dv dojo. we stopped and peed in one of the chi-chiest hotels in which I've ever set foot. it had purple lighting, angular steel urinals, and something like the machine for a sink. I kept trying to take pictures of it, but people kept walking in and peeing. fuckers.
when we stopped in a vegan restaurant to pee, I noticed the above tagging on the stall wall. darn those hippie haters. I probably wouldn't have noticed it but I knew that I'd soon be attending the rainbow gathering which is a hippie festival. despite the hippie fest, I still feel like more of a raver than a hippie... and I'm not really even a raver. speaking of vegan, if you get the chance, eat at the atlas cafe on 2nd ave and 4th. they have yummy looking vegan desserts and good smoothies. normally, I'm not a fan of vegan desserts as they tend to taste like crap. but these looked really good. if you eat there and try the desserts, let me know how it goes. and tell them I sent you. they promised me a bikini car wash as well.
we're still walkin' right along when we got a phone call from the parentals. it seems that our uncle died very unexpectedly about an hour earlier. we were fairly taken aback, and it really shook up the parents. I can only imagine how it must have impacted my cousins and the newly bereft bewidowed aunt. sure made me think - mostly about how it could happen to anyone. joe and I walked into the nearest bar and shot a shot to the recently deceased. I decided we should drink absolut. when asked, I said it's because what's more absolut than death? we briefly discussed "dying" and living on in peoples' memory and in the ongoing influence one can have over other people, even (and sometimes especially) when one is not present. I told him that I don't feel like the sum of my existence can be summarized in the affects I effect in other people. I feel like I live more for me than for others. he called me a fascist. so it goes
we stopped at various other places. to pee, to get snacks, to get drinks. but the only time we sat down was the atlas cafe. we never stopped for the sake of resting. in all of our walking, with all our pee stops, and everything else, we walked from battery park city to harlem.
the end of the walk was his walk. the walk he made over and over from columbialand to harlem. in about 6 blocks up and 2 blocks over, we went from ivory league to ebony league. he said that contemplating the socioeconomic transformation that takes place in those few blocks is one of the things that's inspired him over the last couple of years. I'd made that walk with him before, but it was cooler this time. a perfect end to our little outing.
both of us were whining about our feet hurting or blisters by the end of our 11ish mile, 6ish hour schlep. it hurt, but it was amazing. it was quite a tour of manhattan, it was an excellent bonding experience, we were beamingly proud of ourselves, it gave us impetus to drink that shot to our uncle. I'm not sure that I'd want to do that hike again. it was pretty tough - but it was something we'll never forget. at least I won't be on my feet much over the next few days.
I say I won't be on my feet much because when I went to sleep, I knew I was awaken in 4ish hours to head back to queens. why so early? to meet up with the bellydancers, to pack up, to scarf breakfast, to bid farewell to markus and deborah, to start The Big Schlep. to-morrow, we drive.
speaking of the bellydancers... for the record, desert sin made no such promise. however, if enough people bug them about it, maybe they'll buy me an ice cream cone or a vegan smoothie.