I went to New York this week for a training session. You can do a lot worse than to get sent to New York for training in December. I went up a day early, just for fun. I made it to Grand Central Station around 10 a.m., at which time I was offered a prostitute while taking this picture, and I thought, well, there’s something you don’t encounter just every day of the week.
And then I took a train to Brooklyn, because although Manhattan at Christmas is all they say it is and more, I’ve already done that. I wanted to see something different this time.
I started with breakfast in Carroll Gardens. I was cold and hungry and had been up since four a.m., and it was good enough that I wanted to call people and tell them about it. They put eggs and bacon on these giant buns with arugula. That is so Brooklyn.
I went to Pratt and wandered around the sculpture garden, and then walked and walked and walked and ended up at the Brooklyn Public Library, where a spiritual choir was doing a Christmas show.
From there I wandered a couple of miles (briskly wandered, because Brooklyn in December awaiting a Snow Event can be a bit chilly) to my hip little hotel with the weathered oak floors and rooftop view. Even better, it was walking distance from there to the Brooklyn Bridge. I strolled through the charming Brooklyn Heights brownstones and along the water at Brooklyn Bridge Park. For a solid five minutes along the waterfront, I did not encounter another soul. Five minutes of solitude is not remarkable. Five minutes of solitude in a city of eight million people with a view of this magnitude definitely is.
That five minutes of solitude also indicated something like, “that white girl be cray,” because not for no reason was everyone else in Brooklyn bundled up at home drinking hot chocolate and waiting for the snow.
It started to snow while I walked along the water, and it was snowing hard by the time I made it to the bridge. (I love this sweet little view of a bridge tucked under the bridge, don’t you?) and by the time I made it on foot to the place where you can climb up and cross over it, it was getting dark, and it was very snowy indeed. Snowy, and magical. For those who haven’t been, the Brooklyn Bridge is over a mile across, and it’s pretty steeply sloped, with beautiful wooden planks and lovely skyline views heading into Manhattan.
Snowy wooden planks + steep incline + my black Frye boots = a situation similar to walking on an oil slick in a skating rink. I abandoned my plan of walking to Soho for dinner, but not before taking a thousand pictures. (I know. You totally can’t see the snow in any of these.)
Instead, I ducked into a place billed as having the best pizza in New York so I could warm up. I figured that kind of advertising was bound to mean “tourist pizza,” which is fine because, pizza. But everyone in there looked sort of local, and in fact the man next to me, Brooklyn born and raised, saw that I’d ordered a calzone and insisted that I take a slice of his pizza, as it was the best in New York. (It was good. Better than good. Sadly, though, it was vegan, and therefore I can’t really compare it with actual pizza, which has cheese as a central requirement.) I was touched by the gesture, though. People in Manhattan don’t behave that way.
In between two days of training near Times Square, I did the requisite Manhattan window-shopping and tree-admiring. The clouds parted and the rain stopped for a few hours, and it wasn’t even all that cold. (The windows were all just okay, except for Anthropologie’s Russian fairy tale themed winter wonderland, with exquisite giant animals made from spools of thread.)
I was going to hop off the southbound subway on the way back to my hotel for a drink at Balthazar, because it is good sport to see if you can come across someone famous there. (No success thus far, but it happens!) My train didn’t stop in Soho, though, and I was instantly delighted and determined that it would be more fun to take another nighttime walk in Brooklyn than to change trains and head back for Manhattan.
Brooklyn even has hip seventies-graphic-fab Christmas lights.
I googled restaurants from the subway stop and found a tiny little Italian place where Marilyn Monroe and the Brooklyn Dodgers used to eat dinner. I’ll bet they’ve changed absolutely nothing since those days. Dinner was perfect, and then I wandered along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade as the flurries started again.
I figured, heck, I’m a writer, I can probably telecommute from here, right? and so I looked at the charming Brooklyn Heights apartments posted in the window of a real estate office on a shopping street. The typical rent is, of course, way, way, way more than I make in a month. So that’s not happening. I’m putting it on my wish list though.
A Brooklyn brownstone, and the best pizza in the city, and a view of the bridge in the snow.
Someone tell Santa.