When attacking industrial New York with a Brit, Charles Dickens comes to mind. On Saturday, my dear British friend Fizgig (also a very talented actress and jeweler) met K-Pants and I for a Brooklyn adventure walk. To feast your eyes on Fizgig’s version of what happened, click here. My version of the truth is below.
Sometimes I need New York to show me a secret. After living here five years, I’m often on edge and apathetic. (Recognizing my issues is the first step, right?) My relationship with the subway—for instance—is incredibly rocky and bordering on emotionally abusive.
I’ve flipped off MTA employees (I love me some CityMini stroller: you can drive with one hand and flip the bird with the other). I’ve tried airing my frustrations in writing: All I get are do-not-reply-to-this-email messages. I don’t think counseling will work. The wheels on those tracks are grinding me down and pushing me toward the third rail.
But then on Saturday, as K-Pants and I escaped the transportation netherworld and our eyes adjusted to the light, Auntie Fizgig appeared with sweet fruit cake from Narnia, a dog who acts like a dressage horse, and plans for a walk filled with glass-tiled sidewalks, hidden, rusted alleys, and secret food-truck getaways.
Here’s Auntie Fizgig; just what the anti-cynicism doctor ordered:
And here’s Dressage Dog:
Armed with two cameras, K-Pants, and Dressage Dog, we headed to the Gowanus Canal—an area that is one of Brooklyn’s rough diamonds being polished.
The canal has been ridiculously polluted, but is on the mend. Here’s a photo of the Gowanus—kind of reminds you art history geeks of a dirty Flemish landscape painting, right?
Fizgig pushed us into a hidden parking lot where New York City street trucks go to rest up on the weekends. This is like sneaking up on your favorite celebrity in her local hangout.
Our gallant guide showed us a street mural by Shepard Fairey (of Obama poster fame).
Bright, bold textile prints…
Technicolor grafitti plays with nature…
…and the grafitti also poses as stained glass in the broken windows.
So, if you are in New York and looking for urban refreshment, sneak up on the Gowanus Canal. Just take the R train to Union Street and head west.