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Posts Tagged ‘new york’

October 19, 2005 Leave a comment

Weirdly, FreshDirect delivers to my zip code, but not to my apartment house. I couldn’t get home on Sunday night because I learned too late that the bus stops had been moved three avenues west (no mention of any changes on the MTA website). Yesterday, the 8am bus never came, and the 10:52pm was 25 minutes late.

Riverdale is definitely outside the radius of anyone in the city remotely caring about you. If NYC inhabitants ever secede from the rest of the country, they’re not taking us with them.

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The heart of things

July 13, 2005 Leave a comment

Things to miss about my ex-home in Manhattan while languishing in the north Bronx:

1. Thai food/Indian food/good Japanese food in general, sushi in particular/Mediterranean food/24 hour diners.

2. The ability to be 10 minutes away from a safe place to nap at almost any time. (Once or twice in the past few weeks I managed to fall asleep under a bush in Central Park, but this course of (in)action is probably untenable during winter/inclement weather.)

3. People I know/People vaguely in my age bracket. Cell phones reign supreme, but the lack of reception in Riverdale cuts me out of spontaneous get-togethers, and among my set there is rarely any other kind. And what’s with all these effing families?

4. Bookstores every two blocks, many open till midnight.

5. Movie theaters, any.

6. The subway. (which abandons me 32 streets and 7 avenues from home)

7. Civilized places to drink beer.

8. A gym nearby. (In Riverdale, we have “health clubs” associated with luxury apartment buildings. Unsurpisingly, these are patronized mainly by the depressing, loud-mouthed, obnoxiously demanding people who can afford to live there. And to get there, I would still need to take a bus. I hate the bus because it is maddeningly slow and notoriously unreliable. Quite often, the BxM 2 just never shows up, and there is nothing anyone can do about this. My mother prefers the bus to the train because she feels the whole aboveground transit experience is much safer and more pleasant. My mother obviously did not get enough MTV during her childhood.)

9. Minorities.

10. Not being a loser.

Trade-offs:
1. Lost: microwave oven. Gained: A toaster oven AND a toaster! (Overall: fine. Nothing else is ever quite like toast, and my family’s inability to understand the concept of a proper bread receptacle means that we need a toaster if we don’t want our sandwiches encased in dry, freezer-burned slabs of cardboard. Of course, there’s no way to quickly defrost or warm leftovers, but I no longer have to feel guilty about not buying dietetic TV dinners. Plus, I can always enjoy a slice – or three – of hot buttered toast while I wait. )

2. Lost: Time Warner basic service. Gained: Cablevision basic service. (Overall: probably a draw. Although I suspect that I don’t get the Sundance Channel anymore, the longer commute cuts down on the free time I would need to verify this. Or watch television in general.)

3. Lost: Central Park. Gained: Van Cortlandt Park. (Overall: Oh, please.)

4. Lost: the time needed to do fun things. Gained: the money needed to do fun things. (Overall: …sigh.)

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Civilization, discontents

February 28, 2005 Leave a comment

Having walked through “The Gates,” I can now relate the following thoughts:

1) They’re probably more impressive in the daylight.

2) While following a procession of gates, I was distracted by a nagging suspicion that the gates on the other side of the street were better.

3) After crossing the street, I realized they actually were better. (Further away from Central Park West, and in a fuller formation. No – really!)

4) After completing the journey, having stepped through a few hundred gates, I remained unchanged. Anticlimactic, in a way.

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I do love the dark, but I hate nature…

September 7, 2004 Leave a comment

So on Saturday, I went hiking on Bear mountain with Li, Paul, Mike C., and Mike C.’s friend John. This even though I am a city girl and therefore not so much scared of the Blair Witch as just unthrilled by nature in general.

Actually, I did try to get out of this trip, but my method of communication tends to be subtle hinting (“I don’t want to slow you guys down, what with my injured knee and all…”), and Li’s method of getting what she wants is to ignore anything I vaguely imply until she’s given me my marching orders (“We’re leaving between 12:30 and 1”). As her will is unquestionably stronger than mine, off we went.

Since most of us TKDers judged ourselves to be at least somewhat injured and/or out of shape, Li told Mike to keep things relatively easy. He claimed that the trail he had chosen was “moderate.” At that, a little warning chime went off in my head, but the first 15 minutes were fine. Then things went, well, not horribly wrong, but you know what they say about the best laid plans.

Lesson learned:

Don’t trust the person in the lead to follow the trail, unless that person is Paul or possibly me. Note that Li will never be in front, simply because she doesn’t feel like walking that fast. Mike will never be in front, despite being the keeper of the maddeningly vague (can you describe the landmark?) and inaccurate map, because he will never in a million years keep up with the rest of us (partly a conscious decision, even though I’m convinced he couldn’t do it if he tried). I will occasionally be in front, as pure blind unwillingness to be lost in the forest after dark without any flashlights or drinking water will drive me there. Basically, just don’t follow John, who, in a happy-go-lucky spurt of joy to be on a field trip, will run ahead and completely leave the trail behind. Eventually , we found ourselves hopelessly lost in the wilderness, climbing higher and higher up the mountain and unable to find our way out for 6 straight hours.

Li, Paul, and I were adamant about not being stuck in the forest after dark, since once it’s dark, you can’t see the trail markers or dangerous cliffs. Mike and John insisted that night would fall no matter what we did, so it would be useless to walk so fast and wear ourselves out. I think they have a different idea of what “fast” means, because they were hundreds of feet behind us, and I could have hiked for hours more, if I had been able to see where I was going. I guess I walk like a New Yorker even when there are rocks and fallen trees and deer in my way, and I have an injured leg. Huh. Maybe the martial arts training makes a difference after all.

Questions raised: Why do they make trail markers green? Are they supposed to be charmingly camouflaged? Were we traveling in circles? Why did the paths keep leading upward?

Yes, I really thought we would be killed by the Blair Witch and devoured by bears.

Paul led us out of the woods about 5 minutes after the sun set. Civilization! I have never been more happy to find a vegan-friendly take out menu in my life. And I am never leaving the city again*.

*Unless it’s for a really good barbecue, or something.

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Not like Mike

August 6, 2004 Leave a comment

My cube-mate Kam got his ass kicked yesterday in basketball by our coworker Steve! This is funny because Steve is an extremely laid back stoner. Basketball apparently is the one thing that fires him up, because he SLAMMED Kam’s face TWICE with the ball, REALLY HARD.

I admit I shouldn’t have laughed quite so hard at this story, but Steve seems like such a gentle, utterly mellow soul, and I can’t even imagine him running, much less violently elbowing Kam in the spleen. And yet he did.

Also this morning, Kam and Taylor told horror stories of their encounters with rats, roaches, mice, and other pests. From these tales, I must conclude that Queens, Chinatown, and 34th Street are all OVERRUN with GIANT MUTANT CRAWLY THINGS that JUST WON’T DIE. Good thing I am going to Chinatown later to have dinner with Karoline, who (how’s this for a twist?) will be my white chick guide to Chinatown’s crowded and fishy-smelling streets. I am going to ask the restaurant to provide me with as many forks as is humanly possible for me to wield. Chopsticks are for the sensitive, new-age types. Suckers.

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July 4th

July 5, 2004 Leave a comment

You know you’re at an Asian American’s barbecue when 1) Grilled FISH BALLS are on the menu, and 2) Through a freak defrosting accident, the burgers are made of ground pork, not beef. There’s ten of us on a suburban patio, eating Kam’s assorted meat simulacra, and none of us can ever legally be president. So far, I am the only one to have brought beer; the others, perversely, come bearing two coolersful of Mountain Dew. Loads of sugar, loads of caffeine, and it glows radioactively like something out of a sci-fi movie.

(Asian Americans love sci-fi. We are math geeks; we are over-enthusiastic. We just don’t know how to be laid back.)

(Lies.)

There is also a salad, which I blithely ignore.

Taylor is there. He procured my cell phone number two days before through the advanced interrogation technique of saying “Gimme your number, damnit!” I guess it was a long time coming.

We hung out in Central Park the day before, lying on towels on the Great Lawn. I read a book; he dozed. Upon waking, he said, “Good God, I’m a lazy fuck!” It was funny. I think I laughed. He is two months older than I am, but I feel like he’s younger.

I make a joke to Kam about eating his (fish) balls to prove I’m not a skirt, and he burps loudly in reply. Kam sits next to me at work, drinks a lot of Diet Pepsi, and is developing a Morse code that consists entirely of burping. He’s so soft-spoken that I’d never hear a word he said otherwise.

Sunday night, July 4th, on the 1 train back home. A bunch of kids (the lack of facial hair makes them look about 16) are whacking each other’s heads with rolled up newspapers. WHACK! SLAM! They’re really hitting hard. It’s all in good fun, and they are enjoying themselves, but I am afraid they will inflict papercuts on the tender flesh of their eyeballs, lacerate a cornea. I am old now, ancient, venerable. 27 and a half.

Their comic timing is quite good. Stooge-esque.

Feint. Parry. Fake. Double hit.

“Oh, shit-”

WHACK! -WHACK! -WHACK!

There are not enough seats for them to all sit next to each other, so one of them, the one with two rolled up newspapers in his hands like nunchaku, sits next to me and is momentarily safe.

“How long are you staying to?” he asks me.

“86th,” I answer. This is the truth. It’s just two stops away.

“Oooh, shit!” say his cohorts, laughing in anticipation.

He mutters a curse, good-naturedly.

“Can’t you stay till at least 116?”

I smile, I think, wearily. Across the aisle, one of the boys has opened his paper and is eyeing the ads for call girls and strip clubs.

“The amazing Kiki,” he reads aloud, “Shit, man, look at her tits.”

His seat mate looks over his shoulder, gets smacked upside the head.

“That’s one of them Asian girls,” he says.

I’m an Asian girl. Should I be offended? Do they mean for me to be? They are so young.

I want to say “When I was your age,” and have it sound like a joke. An elderly woman sits across from me (straggly white hair, a housecoated thing), huddling in on herself. She looks horrified, but for all I know she’s smiling ruefully inside her head; she’s wishing the same damn thing.