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forget a string of beads for manhattan, i'll sell you the whole brooklyn bridge for a decent glass of wine right about now

2012-05-30 - 8:52 p.m.

brooklyn 

bridge
© 2012 by elaine radford
brooklyn bridge

Our delayed SEA-JFK portion of the flight finally loaded not long after I left the postscript to yesterday's post, with the various Delta personnel making announcements scolding the passengers with too many bags for holding up the whole show. Apparently, the pilot was worried about beating some thunderstorms to New York. Well, that's all well and good, but it wasn't the passengers who told Delta Airlines to park KIX-JFK in Seattle for several hours and still code it as a direct flight. When the flight finally got underway, instead of treating the pax to a round of drinks for being delayed, the FA actually claimed that drinks were $7 -- yes, even in Economy Comfort, "because it's a domestic flight." Um, look it up, dude. It is an international coded flight DL 182 KIX- JFK which is why I got club room access for two and other bennies -- including, hello, free drinks on the JFK-SEA run on the way out. But I'm not going to debate these people. I gave him a coupon and then, when I have a chance, I'll just report it and see if I get a new coupon back, as I should, since I should not have been charged in the first place.

Turbulent flight, with the captain coming over the PA system from time to time to chat about all the thunderstorms he was trying to evade. TMI. If I let out a little scream when we hit a patch of turbulence while circling JFK, just remember that awful flight I was on when we were struck by lighting circling ATL. I am traumatized.

Somehow we landed, and I found my way to the hostel. Well, I think it calls itself a B&B, but the private rooms were gone, and I'm in an upper bunk bed in the dorm, so it's a hostel as far as I'm concerned. The included breakfast this morning was absolutely amazing, but I'm too tired to type out the entire description. Despite being jet-lagged beyond belief, I collapsed onto my bunk bed at 11:15 last night and then woke up cold to stare at the ceiling at 3:45. Eek.

J. had said that Tokyo was MUCH bigger than New York, and I see what he means. I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge today (and back again), and I pretty much covered all of Manhattan and a large part of Brooklyn in my wanderings throughout the day. I just don't think you could provide the same coverage in Tokyo. The Brooklyn Bridge stroll and views (both ways) were the best parts of the day. Going over, I had the views of the Manhattan skyline. In the evening, there was a very faint circular rainbow in the sky around one of the buildings, and even if you did not notice the circular rainbow, you would notice the two very bright rainbow patches (the so- called "sun dogs") that were very prominent in the afternoon sky. Most attractive. Times Square was pretty sad to somebody used to the bright lights of Vegas, and I was also disappointed in Little Italy. I enjoyed the stroll through the neighborhood and sitting in the outdoor cafe, and since it was Manhattan, apparently they're even allowed to get a little crazy and serve wine in public, but the pasta was completely meh.

Another issue is the very poor signage in the subway system. C. had said that they intend to fix it, but you wouldn't think they'd need 100 years to figure out that what they have doesn't work. As far as I can tell, if you are not already very familiar with an area, the only way to see if you're going on the right train is to get on the train and shove past and squint at that sign which is usually in letters too small or faint for people over 40 to read without fumbling for your glasses, and if you can elbow enough people out of the way to see the sign or the map, then perhaps you can see if your stop is on that train or if you have to hop off and go the other way. Paris has the best system. You just CAN'T get turned around, because as you walk down there is a picture of the entire subway line on the wall WITH THE NAMES OF ALL THE STOPS LISTED. So even if you didn't know which direction your stop might be, you can see at a glance if your stop is on that list. It just shouldn't be this hard.

Don't get me wrong. People are friendly and happy to tell you that you're on the wrong train, which you probably are. But it gets irritating to have to backtrack so much for no better reason than the subway managers are too damn cheap to paint some damn signs. This isn't some little hick burb where, most of the time, everybody riding the train is regulars and locals. This is New York City. I vote they act like it.

Brooklyn appears to be about like Queens when it comes to alcohol, that is, it's the forbidden fiend and you can't get there from here. I have not seen a liquor store anywhere in NYC other than Manhattan itself, where I saw one. When I came back for dinner, I walked around the neighborhood and scouted around for a restaurant, and it wasn't a pretty picture, folks. If a place doesn't care enough to get a liquor license back in New Orleans, you do NOT want to eat there. So I'm carrying my own bias with me but, honestly, some of these places look like little more than convenience stores. Convenience stores without BEER. Yes, even Mississippi wins against Brooklyn, at least in this neighborhood. I just now bought dinner off a truck from some guy, and I asked him if he knew where I could buy a beer. He pretended to not even understand what I meant. Oh, come on. Nobody's that Muslim. Even Osama bin Laden himself had heard of beer.

The reason I was buying dinner off the truck was pretty pathetic. I finally decided on the Chinese restaurant as the least creepy of the hole in the wall choices around the neighborhood, so I was going to eat there. Well, as I was about to step into the restaurant, a crazy lady started crying and told me that she was hungry. Oh for the love of cryin' out loud. I asked her what she wanted, and she said, won ton soup and an egg roll. Fine. I said to wait a minute and I would get it. Well, we all know where this is going. As the Divine Marquis said, no good deed goes unpunished. The crazy lady followed me inside. To be honest, I just kind of assumed that she wouldn't be allowed in the restaurant and when she started talking too loud, I asked her to be quiet so they wouldn't toss her out. I still got her food to go, as my little hint, but she did quiet down, and the restaurant help didn't seem too perturbed when she sat down at a table -- she probably does this every single day -- so it was probably OK. However, and I'm sorry if it makes the baby Jesus cry, but I had no intention of eating dinner with a homeless lady who talks too loud. So, now that I bought her the dinner to eat there, I couldn't eat there. And that's how I ended up at the food truck.

There's a guy I call the quiet guy staying here at the hostel, and I asked him if he knew of any good restaurants. He said no, and I found out later that it wasn't just because he wanted to be left alone. He actually went out and then came back with some bagels for dinner. He's even more pathetic at food- finding in Brooklyn than I am.

The kids running the hostel could probably make a good side income if they had an off-the-books bar. They'd get my business, that's for sure.

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