Dennis on the Road

Friday, August 01, 2008

No Sleep in Brooklyn

It's been ages since I've written anything on this blog. Sadly, I've been writing very little, and Facebook is where my pictures go these days. With little travel and no racing, the primary topics for posts, the inspiration hasn't been there. (I really should be writing about education, but I don't think a blog is the right place for that.)

But coming to Brooklyn has given me the spark of inspiration to write this post that few will likely ever read.

I'm nearly 40, and sadly, this is my first time in Brooklyn. It's exactly the paradox I expected, at once inviting and friendly, and simultaneously hard on the newcomer. If my first hours here are any sign of what is to come, I'll be experiencing both extremes in spades.

From Laguardia, I began testing my navigation and transit skills. With lots of questions, I figured the bus, two subways, and walk to the hostel recommended by Yuji and Momo. After dropping my stuff off, Yuji, Momo, and Youme came to pick me up for a late dinner.

Yuji wins the prize for one of the most interesting people I've known. Two summers ago he pedaled up from LA on a piece of shit Huffy most folks wouldn't ride around the block. He ended up staying w/ me for over two weeks and was adopted by the Oakland cycling community. With everyone's help, he rode away on a bike suitable for the journey he would undertake, riding up to Alaska and taking a right turn to cross North America. He arrived in NYC intending to stay for a couple weeks. But he fell in love with Momo, settled in, and 6 weeks ago Youme Pace came in to this world. (Yep: the name is a contraction of first and second person pronouns with the middle name being the Italian word for Peace.)

We walked to the restaurant where they were both working when they met. For most of the friends there, it was the first time meeting Youme. We were greeted like rock stars and fed what is, by far, the best food of this trip so far. The night was wonderful and would be reason enough for this journey. It also helped to balance out the hell of the next couple hours.

I walked back the the Glenwood Hotel. The website promised a quirky, basic, but "safe and clean" hostel. At $30 a night in Brooklyn, my hopes weren't high, but I figured I would only be in and out for some sleep and shower, so the budget route was the way to go. What I found was hell! As soon as I walked to my "room" (in quotes since it was actually a partitioned 8'x5' box in a huge room taking up the entire floor. The "walls" of the rooms were about 8 feet high so every sound of a warehouse of people, all of whom seemed awake and talking at 3 AM would come in.) There was no window. No fan. The temp in my space approached 100 degrees in the middle of the night. Being drenched in sweat was no fun. The prospect of showing in the one communal stall shared by the 50 or so people sleeping on that floor was gross, but the bugs were the final straw. Not just one or two, but a whole army of little critters, came out when the light went off. I turned the light on, picked the bugs out of my leg hair, went on line to find another place, went to the street, and hailed a taxi. A 3 AM escape. While searching for a new hotel on-line, I jotted a quick review of the Glenwood.
Like another reviewer... I wish I had read the reviews posted here. The only good thing about this place is that it has wireless so I can write this. It is 3 AM. I am dripping in sweat. There is no fan, no air, no breeze, only humidity and noise. TV's and conversations are loud enough to render my earplugs useless. DON'T COME HERE. I came here to save money, but now I would pay anything to escape (which I will tomorrow.)
After sleeping in late, my adventure began again. My 1 mile walk from the hotel to the restaurant where Yuji now works was exactly what I had pictured Brooklyn to be. The day was already hot, guiding me to what ever side of the street had the most shade. I stopped in a friendly neighborhood cafe and picked up the Village Voice. Such a simple pleasure, but thoroughly enjoyable, especially w/ a good education section.

This was followed by another delicious Japanese lunch and an even longer and hotter walk, finally taking an air conditioned break near in a cafe near Prospect Park to write this. Now it is on to Sydney and Deberah's house for a Wedding Eve celebration.


At 5:20 AM, Blogger mi said...

Ah, Brooklyn! I passed a couple of nights there last week and while in Red Hook said to my companions: this reminds me of North Oakland!

Hope the temperatures lay off you during the remainder of your time in New York!


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