Thursday, August 31, 2006

Post 1: Shoes and rats

Okay, okay – I have been very negligent with the promised New York blog, and apparently it’s highly anticipated. So here it is…

Things have been going pretty smoothly. Our place is spacious, our neighbourhood has a 24-hour grocery, Trader Joe’s has $4 pinot grigio and vinho verde, and the subway is user-friendly. Our roommates have yet to check in, which is nice, except that we could use their broom and their cutlery and whatever else they may be bringing with them that we are trying to avoid having to buy. Also, half of my stuff is being held up in the Toronto airport waiting for stand-by cargo room on a flight to Laguardia.

New Yorkers are eminently, consummately, unabashedly open and helpful. Whenever I ask someone a question on the subway or the street I always get a big, enthusiastic answer back – and of course even better when it’s in a thick Brooklyn accent. People aren’t TGIFriday’s-nice, and they aren’t Southern hospitality-nice, they’re just friendly and direct: “You want the L-train, sweetheaht. That’s ovah theah.”

Of course living in Manhattan, Grace and I have both discovered, to our horror, that we are pathetically unfashionable and frumpy, that every article of clothing we own is old and tired, that our hair is boring, and that our shoes are worn out. So we’ve both given ourselves haircuts and taken advantage of the cheap fashions. In fact, the walk from school to home is probably only about 40 minutes, but we’ve never made it in less than 2½ hours, because we are unable to walk past a single shoe or clothing store.

Despite all the walking, I’m not sure whether I’ll be losing a few pounds here, or gaining a few since Grace and I have taken to eating several Oreos before and after every meal. And yes, that includes breakfast.

There have been some truly New York moments, like hailing a cab in the rain and listening to Frank Sinatra all the way down 5th avenue, or seeing a young woman step on a giant rat and scream in City Hall park. I made the mistake of asking for 100g of black forest ham at the deli the other day. The guy looked at me like I was being a smart ass. I guess if you trade in ounces and pounds, asking for 100 of anything sounds a bit absurd.

School has yet to start, but I managed to get into the class being taught by Julia Kristeva, which will be sort of like getting to watch Freud lecture. There’s no New School university bookstore per se, but the old men selling used books on the street have multiple copies of Kierkegaard and Sartre.

I will post again soon. Do email since it’s always nice to hear what’s going on back home.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Here it is... first blog, and a way of keeping track of all of my movements, as stipulated by my Department of Homeland Security-issued DS-2019 visa. I will try to post often, or certainly whenever I can, namely when I have managed to make it home to the dorm, fire up the laptop, and pour myself a glass of $4/bottle vinho verde. I love this city!