Sunday, November 25, 2012

Autumn in New York

Originally Written 9/16

Our last full day in New York we got a late start and had the intention of taking it easy, and yet somehow ended up doing as much as any other day. 

Unlike previous days, we went to bed with no clear plans for the next day, woke up slowly and did not hurry out to get much done. There was a feeling that we'd done everything. Not everything that New York has to do, that would take months, but everything we needed to do this trip. Over a leisurely breakfast we decided to hit a nearby game store and then go down and get out of Manhattan, just so we could say we'd done it.

After a goof on the subway that had us at Union Square instead of Grand Central, we ended up at The Complete Stratagist at the base of the Empire State Building. Like a lot of stores in New York the small space was packed with as much as they could fit. In this case they were filling it with games of all kinds (except video): roll playing games, board games, card games, dice games, and everything else. Tech Support picked up a game we were interested in trying.

We took the subway down to the Brooklyn Bridge, and on a whim decided to stay on as it went by the abandoned City Hall Station again. This time, prepared, we saw more of the skylights and station. We got off at the next station and headed over to the bridge. Like many of the attractions in New York it was undergoing work, so for the first part of it we were walking between corrugated metal corridors, enjoying the feeling of cattle being herded and getting none of the view. "Imagine you are a tourist in New York..."

Eventually we got out though, and saw the views of the bay and the bridge and had a lovely walk.

Legs aching a bit, we found a park to sit in right on the other side and then went to a nearby Boba place and took it easy for a few more minutes. Fiddling around with our Smartphones, Tech Support figured out that we were actually ridiculously close to HP Lovecrafts Brookyln apartment, so we took a short stroll. He only lived there for a little while and it's still a rented apartment, so there wasn't much to see, but it was nice to see the area that he hated so much.

My guidebook promised interested graffiti if we crossed the Williamsburg bridge but had pitiful little in the way of explanation on how to get there. First we walked through a dark section of Williamsburg, the streets rich with graffiti and dark because of the elevated subway tracks overhead.

Then, we spent twenty minutes looking for the pedestrian walkway that would take us across. First we couldn't find any way on, and then we only found the bike path. Finally, with the Smartphones help again, we found the pedestrian walkway.

There was a fair amount of graffiti.

The Williamsburg bridge is longer than the Brooklyn Bridge, and we passed a colorful set of characters as we made our way across. Once at the other end my legs ached and we spent some time reorientating ourselves. We discovered a nearby Soba place with excellent reviews on yelp and thought about doing another Tenement Museum tour.

But neither were too happen, as the tours at the Tenement Museum were all sold out, and while sitting at another coffee shop we came up with a new plan: Go back to Brooklyn and to a used sci-fi book store that publishes out of print/copyright books. So back onto the subway we went, and then out to a quiet, warehouse filled part of Brooklyn by the river. 

The store, Singularity and Co, was awesome. It was like wandering through my childhood as I saw all the old yellow DAW paperbacks with their scantly clad barbarian characters on the covers. Time portals, time-space portals, rips in space time and doorways to other dimensions abounded in the back cover copy. I found the fantasy novel that made me stop reading fantasy, and the pern books by Anne McCaffrey I'd devoured when young. 

I had more fun pouring through the museum of my childhood but didn't have much luck finding any authors I was interested in. Tech Support, concerned I was bored, kept suggesting he was done and we leave. But I kept telling him we should stick around a little longer and the pile of books in his hands kept growing. Finally, when we were about to leave, Tech Support scored majorly with an out-of-print copy of a roll playing manual he loved, discovered off to one side of the store he hadn't explored. The store owner clearly didn't want to give it up, and even asked about hosting a game at the store. He was deflated to hear we were from Los Angeles.

We left pleased with our bounty of books. We walked a few blocks away and enjoyed a delicious dinner sitting at the bar at Vinegar Hill House. The older building reminded me of eating in England more than New England.

Next we went back on the Subway to see Catherine one more time, this time for her Birthday. To our surprise we ran into a MASSIVE street party, so thick with people we could barely work our way through it. When we made it to the bar Catherine was supposed to be at we discovered a private party had usurped her, and had to find our way to where they were now.

Instead we enjoyed drinking at a nearby bar and talking with Catherine, her mom and her friends. It turned Catherine wanted to go to Singularity and Co and Vinegar Hill House, so we heartily recommended both. We didn't part until after midnight.

We were only partially packed, so we kept getting ready to leave until 2am. Since I'd never really adapted to the time change I wasn't too tired, but I wasn't looking forward to waking up at 6:15am either. My Smartphone alarm clock helpfully informed me that it would be 4 hours and 15 minutes later.

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