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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pictures of Astoria and an Adventure in Williamsburg

I went for a walk today around Astoria, mainly because I had to get out of the house. One can only do so much apartment hunting before actually hearing back from any potential roommates. As a rule, I've pretty much decided to stick with apartment ads that were posted today or yesterday, on any given day. That way, I don't risk wasting my time with something that might be taken already. I've found a good deal of them in Brooklyn, around Crown Heights, Prospect Heights and Williamsburg. Most of them, there will be one to two other roommates. One is a 4 bed, it looks like. I've only gotten one response and it was an email telling me to call to set up an appointment tonight. So, I called left a message and they called back while I was typing this blog. That was an awesome story, going to see that place. Read on.

I walked through Astoria towards the Tri-Borough bridge and into a little park called, fittingly, Astoria Park. There's a walking path that circles the whole path, a running track, a few tennis courts, an outdoor pool with a diving area, a stadium, several park benches and a view of the East River. The Tri-Borough bridge is seen here on the right. It was peaceful, though a somewhat gloomy day. There are some ugly houses facing the park but some are quaint in a way.

After circling the park and getting some shots of the East River and the like, I hiked down 21st street to 30th avenue and on over to the above ground train at 31st street. 30th avenue boasts that it is the heart of Astoria and has all manner of stores as well as the hospital and the huge grocery Trade Fair (like Fair Trade with dyslexia...sorry, no more puns, I swear). I've been down here a few times and have even gotten off one stop early at the 30th avenue stop once or twice. I'm getting the hang of the neighborhood but I feel in a week or two I may be getting the hang of a new neighborhood in Brooklyn. I went to Crown Heights on Sunday night to have dinner with Karishma at her place with her roommate and her neighbors. I like it. It's close to the train and a decent ride into the city (If you switch to the N or the Q at Atlantic Avenue, you cross the Brooklyn Bridge above ground).

Last night I actually went to Williamsburg for dinner near the Bedford avenue stop and then five more stops in on the L train to view an apartment that I might live in. It was quite the bohemian lair. Off of the Morgan avenue stop on the L, there is a huge industrial sector with a lot of old warehouses being turned into lofts. After finding my bearings I walked up to this place thinking, "No, absolutely not," but I had to check it out nonetheless. As I approached the place, I could hear drums and a bass guitar wafting out of a basement room and I could see into tall windows along the sides of each loft on either side of the street. I was buzzed in and the stairwell smelled like fresh paint, a smell I almost confused for urine. My potential roommate was waiting at the top of the stairs and led me in. The hallway opened up in front of me. Bright fluorescent lights, high ceilings, plain walls and a series of identical doors lining the hallway, faint noises of music and talking wafted in from other rooms. The place looked really gloomy at first. Her place was full of stuff, her two roommates sat on the couch watching you tube videos. A local artist's work adorned the walls. She later explained that they were the work of one of the people who owned the coffee shop below (did I mention there was a coffee shop below?) and she just needed a place to store them.

She seemed very nice. I might go so far as to say "cool." The story was, her current roommates, a couple, were moving out and that was freeing up two rooms in a 3 bedroom space. All of these lofts look different according to her, and the landlords let you do whatever you want to your space. Some leave them open, others split them into rooms. This was split into three bedrooms, of course, a living space and a kitchen with the bathroom right off the kitchen. There was a great deal of clutter in the apartment but it was mostly attributed to the two that'll be moving out. There was a cat there who looks astonishingly exactly like my dad's cat, only with one surprising feature that I've only seen once on another cat: double paws! He was very nice. His name was Nan. He chewed on my finger.

I was so torn because I know that I'm going to need much quieter and cleaner lodgings but the place was so cool. And by cool I mean unique and that the tenant that I'd be sharing the place with was a cool person. At another time in my life maybe, a time that has already passed. I wish I'd had my camera with me to show you the neighborhood. There were three big warehouse lofts in my eye sight on that street and there was even a quarry at one end of the street. I felt like I was in a scene from Fight Club, like where the house on Paper St. was and that Tyler Durden was going to come out of the wood work and ask me to hit him as hard as I could at any moment.

I got hit up for change on the way to the subway and decided that I wouldn't call her back. There'll be plenty of other people calling her and I'll have plenty of other places to choose from.

With that said, it's back to the hunt for now. I leave you with this picture of the streets in Astoria where 30th avenue and 30th street cross. There's a lot of funniness with numbered streets and avenues...then you throw in numbered roads and it gets even more confusing. 25th road crosses 25th street but not 25th avenue, which is in an entirely different part of town.

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