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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

the resurrection - summer in the city

A resurrection of the blog, yes, but also of the self...

It's been free 3 weeks already that I've been free. Thought I'd start chronicling some activities and thoughts here.

The last two days have been good ones in the city--how life in the city should be. Went into Manhattan yesterday, late morning, to play some pickup soccer, on the Sara Roosevelt fields in the Lower East Side. The same fields where I play in the NYCoedSoccer league, and where Steve Nash had his "Showdown in Chinatown" "pickup" soccer game, featuring himself, Baron Davis, Jason Kidd, Claudio Reyna, and Thierry Henry. We swung by to try to watch some of it--I went straight from watching Germany beat Turkey in the Euro semis--but there were too many people around and on the fences to really see any of the action.

After soccer, walked back to Union Square and finished the first chapter of "Death and Life of Great American Cities." Just started it that morning, on the train going into the city. Figured it would be a good companion piece to "The Power Broker," which I started last week.

Coming back to Brooklyn from Union Square, stopped by the skatepark set up in the BAM parking lot, as part of the Afro Punk festival. Going back there this afternoon, for my first volunteer activity--holding it down at a voter registration booth for a few hrs.

Even then the day wasn't over. Anj had some softball games scheduled to be played in Randall's Island, so I headed back into the city and all the way uptown on the 4, to 125th and Lexington. But before a bus could come to take me across to the island, got word that the games were just scrimmages, and might not last long. So instead I wandered back west along 125th St, and down through Marcus Garvey Park and 5th Ave to 116th, and caught a crosstown bus across 116th to 3rd Ave, where I'd looked up some Mexican spots to check out.

Noticed already the resonances of reading Jane Jacobs, of observing the urban environment(s): 125th was vibrant, raucous, whereas 5th Ave south of Marcus Garvey was pretty desolate. Fine in the late afternoon, but prob not inviting at night.

I'll have to make it over to Randall's Island at some point while reading "The Power Broker." Everyone, at least everyone who lives in, or is interested in, New York City, should read at least the introduction to that book. The climax of Caro's introduction is his description of Moses's "autonomous sovereign state", whose seat of power was the Triborough Bridge Authority's offices on Randall's Island.

Enjoyed the trip to 116th St: found a couple nice spots to eat and drink, and checked out a small soccer shop.

Today has been all in Brooklyn, but did get out of the neighborhood. Took the B25 up Fulton, which with its detour to Atlantic drops me conveniently on the edge of Prospect Heights. Walked down Washington and dropped in to say hello at Shambhala, then continued down to the Brooklyn Museum. I'd planned to buy tickets for the Murakami exhibit later this week, but discovered the museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Contemplated taking the bus out on Eastern Parkway, to hang out and read a bit around the Eastern Parkway & Kingston area that I'd driven past last week.

But decided against that--plan to bike out and through there sometime anyways--and since it's Tuesday, figured a better use of time would be to visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Walked through, from the Eastern Parkway entrance south to the Flatbush Ave gate. Sat in the Cherry Esplanade and finished a chapter of "The Power Broker", and thought parts of the Garden looked familiar from "Brooklyn Babylon". Got to watch that one again.

Emerged on Flatbush, and figured I'd try to find NYC Swag, so walked all the way down to Parkside, stopping on the way to get some lunch at the branch of Ali's Roti Shop. Decided against a full roti, and instead got a double and some phoulourie. Eventually found the storefront for NYC Swag, but it wasn't open, so hopped back on the B41, stopped at Pintchik's for some home and garden supplies, and then caught the 2-3 back home.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're a UCB MFE grad living in NYC?

How is the job market -- have there been many layoffs among former MFE students?