austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Where the love-light gleams

The B train does not run on Sundays. We didn't know this, or understand the signs, correctly, so we missed one perfectly good train which would have got us nearer where we needed to go before we decided to give up and get a train that'd take us to the Q train. It would also have given us the time to get something warm to drink, which bunny_hugger could really have used, unfortunately, but we all make mistakes and this was one of mine. While waiting for the connection, though, we did see one of the Special historic trains, a subway car from it looked like the 50s but I'm no expert. It was going the opposite direction, though. Someone clapped as it arrived, but he might have been applauding the violinist playing on the platform.

We went over the Manhattan Bridge pretty close to sunset, so we were able to catch a glimpse of Jane's Carousel, in its jewel-box glass enclosure, where it survived Hurricane Sandy in reasonable good order. We were to meet bunny_hugger's brother at the Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street stop, although we managed to get lost several times trying to find the exit he wanted to meet us at, which he realized was not the best choice of exit anyway. We more often have met him in lower Manhattan, typically at West Fourth Street which, over the Christmas break, I dubbed as ``so crowded it's like the Times Square of Manhattan''. Her brother augmented this by saying West Fourth Street could be ``like Grand Central Station or something''.

He guided us, through gusts of wind sometimes exceeding Mach Six, down to a ramen noodles place he was enthusiastic about, and we'd be too in pretty short order. The menu was modest and not particularly vegetarian-friendly (I accidentally ordered one with a slice of meat in it) but it was a really good ramen noodle place. Huge bowl, fresh noodles, wonderful broth: there wasn't anything to do but drop one's eyeglasses into it.

I mention because bunny_hugger's brother did accidentally drop his eyeglasses in when he looked down to actually eat. And not just once; it was a couple of times, including at least once after he'd wedged the hinges a little so as to make the frames fit his head more securely. bunny_hugger observed later that her brother has the sort of aura of general hipness that this bit of physical comedy just comes out making him look the smoother, for just acting in the ways that look cool to accidentally drop your eyeglasses in your ramen.

He'd forgotten to bring a record meant for bunny_hugger, one he'd been meaning to give for ages, and she suggested that if it was all right we could just stop off at his apartment to pick it up. She hadn't seen his new place and did worry he was shy about showing it off, but he was happy to guide us down the streets (and point in the general direction of where most of Johnathan Lethem's Fortress of Solitude happens) to his building, a really neat apartment block that looks to date from before World War II. It's got those lovely little details like the notches in the walls where a planter should go, or small square tiles in the floor occasionally interrupting the pattern for stars or other astronomical elements, or the sign on the door of apartment 1-A warning that this is not the Super's apartment. The Super's apartment is labelled ``Super''.

His apartment's fine, an efficiency larger than the one I'd had up in Troy, with a row of closets on the entry hallway nearly three blocks long, and a bottle of hot sauce left on the floor of the living room because he hadn't quite got the place cleaned up yet. Perfectly nice spot, with his vibraphone and a keyboard set up, and two guitars hung beside the living room's windows, and not enough stuff on the walls to avoid distracting echo effects so he isn't ready to record stuff just yet.

bunny_hugger and I worried silently about overstaying our welcome but it was one of those bits where each little bit of time spent seemed to encourage him and us to spend a bit more. We talked a good bit, he and she played one of the guitars some, and accidentally re-flared a debate from over Christmas about whether regularly played instruments sound better. (He's certain that it does. bunny_hugger and I are skeptical, but can easily accept people believe regularly played instruments sound better.)

But the hour wound on, and we did have to go, and he lead us partway back to the subway station when we realized we'd left without the record again. So we tried again, this time with everything, and set out for the subway station another time. Given that it was getting past 9 pm we figured we weren't going to have the time to see the store windows after all, at least this time, and we instead went to Times Square and through the long tunnels beneath to the Port Authority. We did have two rounds of things planned for New Year's Eve.

Trivia: The Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company renamed itself the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) in March 1923, partly to escape the stigma of the Malbone Street train crash of November 1918, which killed at least 93 people. Source: 722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How They Transformed New York, Clifton Hood.

Currently Reading: Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, Richard Wrangham.


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