Tag Archives: Cartography

Day five: Red Hook with Jackie

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Last summer we rode the bouncing Ikea ferry from Manhattan to Red Hook for dinner. It was the first time I had been to this area and instantly had visions of buying some giant house in which all of our friends could live. I’d also purchase a yellow school bus and drop everyone off at work in the morning. It’s in the flood zone so I’ve changed my mind but my love for this area remains. At times it feels colonial, far from the commerce of the city, with the air and light of the Hebrides in my dreams. Independent boutiques and cupcakes shops are scattered about artists’ studios and an occasional loathsome bus depot. And then you reach the bright blue and yellow glowing Ikea where, walking though the aisles of potential home, you can have that same exact anxiety attack you had in Oakland.

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Day two: Park Slope



A few of the items I acquired in Park Slope today.

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Day one: North along Bedford to Williamsburg

Washington and St. Johns to and from MacCarren Park: north on Bedford, returning south along Driggs/Lee/Nostrand.

One of the eight pages of labels I created last night for today’s blocks. Each is divided into the four or three streets that define it.

So far I’ve gathered items ranging from calling cards to envelopes to graf stickers. It’s cold and gloves are a necessity, thankfully. My room will be full of paper.

The city feels so much larger now that I have begun, although soon I will find a rhythm. As the routes decrease in size and intensity, expect more stories about the nuances of the neighborhoods and the moments passed.

My first taste of being an outsider in an insular neighborhood was while walking through the Hasidic section of Williamsburg. All of the mens’ eyes looked away as we crossed paths and many of the mothers with prams simply ignored me or questioned me with a glance. The school girls, of course, were incredibly curious and often simply stared. I tried to imagine what they each thought based on our mutually superficial exchanges. These imaginary conversations ¬†inspired in me a nostalgia for the simplicity of childhood. A smaller world. The lifetime of a single day. Actions with no purpose. Connections based on a whim.

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