I started the morning in Park Slope, covered in graffiti. Fifty minutes later I’m on the corner of 78th and Lex, straightening my tie for the upper crust.
It’s a weird thing to see so many people reading the paper. NYC subways, I guess, are one of the last great hopes of the print newspaper industry. You need to kill time, you need to multitask, and you don’t have phone service. You need to hold something and read it and make yourself industrious, or at least distracted. Or occupied. If nothing else, it theoretically staves off Crazy. Like the front page headline should always say, “MAN READING, DON’T TALK TO HIM.” Actually, that is front page news.
Now I’m caffeinating and wondering why New York’s a supposedly scary place. It’s not a scary place; it’s just a big place. It’s like any other place--or any other worthwhile thing--in that its initial impression is more daunting than its second one. Come in from JFK, it’s a chaotic race. Then you get locked in your neighborhood and everything’s familiar, comfortable, even inviting. You commute on an underground steel tube with hundreds of different strangers going hundreds of different directions, it’s easy to feel lost, even if you know your direction. But then you get out, see your destination, and everything slows. You’re here. Another harmless, autonomous sphere you’re meant to be in. Things make sense.
It’s not a scary place; it just wants you to look closer.
My phone and computer are already on low battery. Also, I have no idea how to get on the internet even though everyone is always on the internet. Also, I can’t sit still even though I’m supposed to sit still.
Trip 561, Chris 3
I’ve now seen 4 apartments with 4 different landlords/brokers and have been informed that all 4 apartments are absolutely the best I’ll find now, anywhere, anytime, ever. Also, I should live in Spanish Harlem, and the Giants are the best. And so are the Jets. And the city of Boston can go to hell. And there’s no way to find anything with four stable walls in my price range without leaving the city and, possibly, the country. These are the facts, as 4 brokers have told them to me.
Also, I’m not seeing my apartment.
I’m looking at apartments now in Chelsea, and will learn later that I’m in “Little Gay-aly.” So why are these apartments shown unfurnished?
So far everything every broker/landlord has said has turned out to be true, and everything has turned out to be false. I’m not finding the place, and almost everything worthwhile’s out of my price range. But the price ranges aren’t changing that much. I’m noticing stuff in Chelsea that’s similar to E 93rd street. I guess you just have to look.
Get a call: “Go to the East Village. Two just popped up. They’re in your price range.”
So now I’m in the center of the East Village, looking at some bizarre linoleum-lined apartment. And I’m thinking I don’t need the padded walls just yet. And now I’m upstairs, looking at the other one. And I’m seeing its space and I’m seeing its warmth and its renovation and I’m nodding and Jason, my confidante, is nodding, and I’m seeing its price, and I’m smiling and now Jason asks me and now I’m saying it:
“Jason, I’m home.”
Trip 1,173, Chris 1,000
Back in Brooklyn in the darkest corner of a faceless sushi dive, and I’m celebrating by myself. My cell phone’s dead. My computer’s dead. I have practically no means of communication to tell everyone or anyone that today I found my new home, the first place I’ll live outside Tennessee. So I tell my waitress, who looks enough like Lucy Liu that I think I’m getting Punk’d. She smiles like she doesn’t understand and walks off.
Maybe it is Lucy Liu.
A bucket of ice suddenly on the table. “Here,” Lucy says. “It has bubbles. Like champagne. Congratulations!”
And you know what? It did have bubbles like champagne. And now I’m definitely getting Punk’d.
Something AM, Wednesday
Lights out, Brooklyn. I'm sleeping like I haven’t in years.