Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Time is different here in Brooklyn. I stayed up till 1 a.m., got out of bed at 8:15, and felt like I'd had a more or less early night and decent morning's start.

We ended up having a really good day yesterday, apartment hunting-wise. In the morning P and I took the A train up to Inwood, which is the northern tip of the island of Manhattan, above Washington Heights. It's a relatively quiet area (for Manhattan), on a spit of land surrounded on three sides by the Hudson River, Spuyten Duyvil Creek, and the Harlem River. Development came fairly late to Inwood: in the 1950s there was still a working farm in the neighborhood. Now, of course, it is fully urban, but there's still something slightly dreamy and out-of-the-way about it. The Hudson River edge is entirely park, wild and steep, and the spire of the Cloisters rises up over the apartment buildings. As P and I wound our way up the hilly old-growth walkways of Inwood Hill Park, we heard a wren call, and then as we caught our first glimpse of the Hudson a fog descended on us, a vague drizzle began falling, and we stood there in the small rain, peering across the expanse into dim New Jersey and feeling very much as if we'd stumbled into Brigadoon.

Despite the odd dreaminess of the landscape, the neighborhood proper is lively and busy, in a self-contained, slightly provincial way. It's got a strong Dominican presence, and P and I had a great mofongo lunch--chicken coated with mashed green plantains and then deep-fried--which we ate at an outdoor counter while watching kids playing basketball in a blocked-off street in front of their school. Then we walked over to the apartment building and waited for the broker to show up. Eventually he did, and showed us two apartments, both of which were nice enough, but felt as if they were designed for a couple rather than a pair of roommates. P was beginning to feel glum, as he was loving the neighborhood, but then the broker brought us over to a third place, in a different building, which turned out to be just the ticket: first floor, big common living area, decent-sized bedrooms, clean kitchen, private entrance, and a completely hideous tiled floor, which perhaps accounts for the affordable price. When P laid out his financial situation, the broker seemed okay with it; and I do think a certain number of Columbia students rent in the neighborhood, so perhaps that accounts for his attitude.

So we'll see: P and his roommate filled out the lease application forms last night, James has offered to be their guarantor, P is nervous and all of a-flutter, and we're hoping. The apartment is half a block from Fort Tryon Park (where the Cloisters are), around the corner from the subway station, and the express train will get him to the 42nd Street theater district in half an hour. There's a canoe club down the street, along the Hudson, where he could meet other paddlers. We were amused to notice that the neighborhood appears to have a large number of Red Sox fans--possibly because the team was home to baseball's first Dominican superstars (Papi, Manny, and Pedro). All in all, Inwood seems like a really good fit for an essentially non-urban theater kid from northern New England who needs to find a haven for himself in the city.

I don't know what we'll be up to today. I want to go birthday shopping for James, so I may wander through some local thrift stores, though the heat is supposed to spike and I might need to stop for lemonade on every block. Last night we went out for Hawaiian food for dinner; tonight we're promised Cameroonian French. I do love, love, love eating out in New York City.


Ruth said...

Oh I am sending positive eneergy to you both.
The food choices sound absolutely splendiferous..envy...
We had so much fun with our first Writing Group meeting.

nancy said...

Half a block from the Cloisters?! Lucky guy.