Sunday, March 3, 2013

"I am here" days

View of Brooklyn Bridge from IKEA ferry on *sparklingly []
{ Waiting for the IKEA ferry  |  Pier 11, Slip A, Manhattan  |  September 2012 }

This article about exploring New York "unplugged and on foot" from The New York Times described exactly the kind of "flaneurs" I want to take advantage of here...and anywhere. I love everything about the premise of this, the idea of going against the "reigning cults of productivity and connectivity" to:

+ Forage in the city: picking an area you don't know well and immersing yourself completely in it for the full day

+ "Give our gadgets a secular Sabbath"

+ "Revel in friendship and conversation"

+ "Be thickly in one place, not thinly everywhere."

+ "Nourish a single, rolling conversation among the group, not one-on-one side chats"

Rather than just admire the idea from afar, I decided to grab some like-minded urban adventurers to join in the fun and experience an "antidote to our frenetic, insatiable age" by spending a few hours rooting around Red Hook—a place in Brooklyn I've always wanted to putter about.

We met Saturday afternoon at the IKEA ferry boat terminal near the South Street Seaport for the (free! scenic!) East River crossing to Red Hook. Just like the article, we headed over to home/made bklyn down Van Brunt Street for brunch (highly recommend the kale salad topped with a warm bacon / mustard vinaigrette and poached egg), stopping to take photos (with an analog camera!) along the way. All through brunch, and a long walk that took us out of Red Hook and up through Columbia Street Waterfront District and Carroll Gardens, the four of us managed to keep our phones in our pockets AND stick to one conversation (okay...with a few minor slip-ups caused by walking two-by-two down a crowded sidewalk) for four and a half hours!

At the end of our afternoon I realized, not only did I NOT miss out by not checking my phone every few minutes, I was actually able to really enjoy my friends and the freedom of not having to keep clicking around. Red Hook ended up being as rough and tumble as I had heard, and I think had we not been on this mission I would have most certainly been scrolling around my phone while walking down abandoned streets, but instead, we noticed a million and one things and even though I didn't really fall in love with the neighborhood, at least I experienced it.

We are definitely doing this again—soon!


  1. THIS is the real NYC!!!!!!! bravo! you should check out green point at some time with their polish restaurants and delis...

    1. Thanks! And funny, we actually have Greenpoint on the list!

      I've always wanted to check it out——R's (Polish) friend has a steakhouse there so R has spent lots of time walking around/hanging out with him, but I've yet to go! A combination of that, the history, and this gorgeous looking "tea atelier" ( are all good reasons to go! :)

  2. oh cool! I was wondering what all those fb posts were about. :)

  3. Oh yaa, this a great real New York city, with Brasserie les Halles Restaurant, Barclays Center, javit Center, Citi Group, ST Johns University and Tribeca Parking.

    1. Oh, Steven, looks like you're stuck in the Disney version of NYC. Hope you manage to find the real one. (And, you might start by visiting Red Hook, which does not even remotely resemble what you've written above.)


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