Saturday, April 28, 2007

A city that never sleeps.. ‘til Brooklyn.

The place where I’ve been staying these last few days has been great, but my host Audra is still only present in emails. Right around the corner from Washington Square, at the southern end of 5th Avenue, my New York digs on West 8th Street are right in the thick of it.

I can walk to Wall Street in 20 minutes, Time Square in 40 and the water is about 30 minutes in either direction. Manhattan is a relatively easy place to navigate around. Avenues run north-south, streets run east-west. The distance between blocks on streets is shorter than avenues, each district waves flags of pride featuring its adopted name and the subway system is the quickest way to get around. Over the last 20 years, the city has been cleaned up and gentrified. Walk around the old artist areas of Greenwich, East Village and Soho, where all the huge studio apartments once ruled, and you’ll find ritzy clothing stores, “honest to goodness” not Starbucks (but really are if you ask), cafes and wheatgrass juice bars. I explore and find a couple of cafes, some of which had been recommended by friends who have visited NY before. I send an email thanking Audra for the accommodation and double check if I was meant to be sleeping on the couch rather than her bed. I hardly know this person, but she is totally cool with me just hanging in her apartment, using her stuff and eating the food in the fridge that would otherwise be going off.

On my third night in town, Audra came back to New York and took me out to dinner. This is the first time since the Grand Canyon that we’ve met, so we spend most of the meal sussing each other out. She works as a location manager in film & TV and has been up in Rhode Island working on her latest job, only coming back to her apartment in NYC every five days or so. She has worked on a bunch of other projects in the past (most notably The Gates), and has a true love for her job. We chat about the joys of meeting random people, discovering a stranger’s personality and how everyone has an interesting story, even if it’s just one. We go out for a drink (at an Australian bar), and I introduce her to Coopers. My homesickness grows.

4 comments:

cindigodotcom said...

I just finished Marching Powder. Thanks for the recommendation, it was a great book.

Lisa Wan said...

Hey Dude,

Thought I might say hello!
It was awesome meeting you, wish you all the best of luck and adventures for your travels!
And, if you ever come across mass marketed herbal medicine, let me know.

Michelle said...

Hey Dan,
Was just thinking, if you're interested in heading the the South I've got family a plenty in South Carolina and Georgia who I could probably hook you up with.
If you're interested chuck me an email and I'll see what I can do.

Andre de Cavaignac said...

Hey Dan,
Hope your trip is going well.

Don't know if you remember me, I met you out at Esperanto one day in NYC. I had your site bookmarked and just came by to see how things have been going.

I'm still interested in chatting with you about your trip and how you did it, as I'd like to do one too....

Give me a shout when you get a chance me---decav---com (put that one together, I don't want to put my address out here because I don't feel like getting spammed).

Cheers,
Andre