Friday, September 28, 2012

One Man's Trash

Last Saturday, my good friend Alex and I went on an adventure. I first heard about Dead Horse Bay here, and I knew that I needed to visit this place when I moved to the city. I never assumed that I'd be able to find someone as intrigued by treasure hunting as I am, but Alex is definitely that kind of guy. We set out just a little after high tide (unfortunately), but we still got a great glimpse of the bay and all of the washed up rubbish.

**Brief history**
Dead Horse Bay got its name from nearby horse rendering plants in the early-mid 19th century. When horses from NYC could no longer be used to cart around people and supplies, they sent them out to Brooklyn to make them into glue. Well, the plants shut down, but the name stuck. Then, in the late 19th century, the area transformed into a landfill, and it remained as such until the 1930s when it was capped off. Something happened in the 1950s, and the cap burst, spewing a century's worth of garbage all over the bay. Unlike most dry landfills, the garbage in this place has been floating in and out with the tide for over 50 years, and although I still wouldn't consider it "clean," it wasn't nearly as smelly/gross as I thought it would be.

Everything about the day - the weather, the skies, the breeze - was absolutely perfect. Our walk through the overgrown grasses and trees leading out to the bay felt almost magical. It transported us out of New York City and into a world unlike anything I've ever seen before.

Old glass bottles, bricks, and leather shoe soles littered the beach. Since most people have never heard of Dead Horse Bay (and let's be honest, the name is a little intimidating), we had the beach completely to ourselves.

 We filled up a garbage bag with our own beachy treasures and took it all back to Alex's place to sanitize and polish. All-in-all, we came away with some really cool things, and I stare at my broken dishes and bottle of grape juice and wonder just who used them back in the day. It was such a uniquely awesome experience, and I feel even more connected to this city after rummaging through its garbage.

All of these pictures are courtesy of Alex, whose photography skills far outshine mine. Fortunately for me, his phone died in the middle of our trip, so I coaxed him into taking pictures with my phone as part of an elaborate scheme. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Portrait of Two Men

Man one:

He's vaguely obnoxious, and yet adorably so. As we ride in the crowded subway from Flushing to Manhattan, he uses his friend/lover as a make-shift seat, aware of this annoyance and yet no better after getting shoved off. I overhear bits of scrambled conversations - plans for the upcoming week, a reflection on the US Open, and a general mockery of the guy he is with. In fewer than ten minutes worth of observation, I know his personality, and I am grateful that I shared a car with him.

We pull into Times' Square, and he prepares to exit the train by facing himself toward one set of doors. Those aren't the doors that will open when we stop, though, and he lets out an exasperated sigh at his failed attempt to thwart the subway system.

"Seriously?" he challenges.

"You must not be from around here," I retort. I don't usually interact with strangers on the subway, but this was an exception. I knew my sarcasm would serve me well.

"HA!" He laughed, half sincere, and half smart alec, and we walk in different directions down the platform.

Man two:

After dinner at Carnegie Deli, my sister and brother-in-law each had half of their pastrami sandwiches left in takeout containers. We hypothesized about sharing the food with the less fortunate, but only I was 100% serious about the task. When we tried to enter Gershwin Theatre with the food, the ticket-taker said we had to dispose of the half-pastrami half-rueben outside, and I knew it was time to fulfill my mission to feed the homeless on a Tuesday night. I took the sack and began a triumphant walk down 51st Street, looking for anyone who looked to be homeless and who also chose to stay out in the rain, instead of crowding under Starbucks awnings or retreating to the underground. He sat - half-leaning - on the brick wall, strands of wet hair peeking out from his loose wool cap.

I walked up very casually and explained the situation. The way his face lit up, you would think I offered him a lot more than somebody's meager leftovers, but hey, a meal's a meal.

"Thank you, and God bless you," he expressed as we turned back toward the theatre.

 Now, I always want to share my leftovers with the homeless.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Home Cooking in the Village

 Greenwich Village is one of my favorite neighborhoods in this city. Everything is so eclectic and homey, and the quaint cobbled streets are adorable. 

The other day I decided to go to Chelsea Market (which, as the name might suggest, is actually in Chelsea... but it's close enough to also be considered the Village). With a mix of Anthropologie, gourmet cooking shops/grocery stores, fancy restaurants, and a fantastic bookstore, I was basically in Emily heaven.


I wandered through aisles of delicious-looking vegetables and exotic truffle oils before remembering that my kitchen is literally 20 square feet big and currently infested with roaches.

That won't stop me from dreaming about a time where delectable meals are a regular occurrence at my house. You're all invited to squeeze into my (slightly larger) living room to partake of something delicious.