Before there was a Starbucks on every corner of New York City there were laundromats and hardware stores and Greek diners and liquor stores and Irish bars. I went into this other neighborhood, where I never ended up living, and it doesn’t have a Starbucks (yet) but it doesn’t seem to have many of the other necessities either. There are, instead, several places to have my hair braided if I ever get that drunk and lots of West Indian takeouts.
But it was my day off and my dirty clothes were starting to ferment in the heat so off I went in search of a lundromat that wouldn’t wash the white t-shirts with the black socks and fold everything so I won’t have to go out and buy and iron. The one I used back in civilization (Williamsburg) was a miracle of compression techniques that turned my bulky bag of soiled undies into a clean little cube wrapped in cellophane even if they weren’t they looked clean. They even took the time to match all my socks, which are all black but of different species that I find difficult to tell apart in the morning and there’s nothing so irritating as finding you have mismatched socks when you have to stand at work all day.
There was nothing on Bedford or Franklin that wasn’t small, dark and filled with machines with names my grandmother would have recognized. Women chatted while they did their wash and their children played and I’m sure they would have welcomed me in to join, but you know – im English so nah, so I trudged on.
Nostrand Avenue in the other direction had what I was looking for — a nearly suburban spead of washingmachines and a counter to drop off my bag. Nostrand also has Jamaican restaurants and fish places that are appealing and a guy hacking open fruit (the big round green one) on the sidewalk so maybe, after all, I won’t starve.
The recent work of Olafur Eliasson has disappointed me with it’s textbook phenomenology but I have to say the Waterfalls have brought me back into his camp. They are absolutely thrilling and give a picture of what New York City should be even in this age of Bloomberg. Viewing two of them from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade this afternoon then the other two while walking along the riverfront park in DUMBO I thought they not only should be permanent but that, in a way, they’ve always been there and I just didn’t see them before, my eyes weren’t open. There is also the added advantage that I, a non-driver + ‘tourist’, know which bridge is the Brooklyn (the one with the waterfall) and which is the Manhattan.
As for this building, the freezer makes ice but the rest of the refrigerator doesn’t work; the front door doesn’t lock and neither does the mailbox, which is stuffed with former tenant’s mail (what happened to them?). I feel like a squatter except I’m paying rent. But the room is nice and doesn’t get too hot since I bought a window fan and put up sheets I swiped from Camp Laguardia for curtains.
This would make a good place for visiting artists. Oh actually… it seems to be already a place of visiting artists… like myself!
I also saw Wall-E today. More about that later… lets say though it is AMAZING and Cute. And I also fell asleep in Washington SQ Park for an hour and a half!!! And didn’t get robbed. Fo shizzle. I also bought Putney Swope on DVD cuz you can’t get it in the UK. In prep 2 educate Richie..somewhat. Fo’ shizzle.