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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. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Prospect Park and Snug Harbor...

Fantastic weekend. A huge group of friends from the UU church were gathering in Prospect Park Saturday for a picnic to see off one of our friends who is leaving town to go grad school in Charlottesville, VA. I joined a little later because of not getting off work until 6, but after wandering for a bit, using a group of soccer players as my main landmark, I found the crowd near Nellie's Lawn, snacking on picnic food and passing around a book in which we were all writing recipes for our friend to take with her to VA. The idea of checking out the bandshell to see the music there had been considered but ultimately, as the crowd dwindled to about 8 of us, we all decided to go grab drinks in Prospect Heights at Soda. I had been here once before but had never seen the couch room and patio. Awesome vibe at this place and there were a couple of DJs that we got a laugh out of. Have you ever seen a DJ that doesn't move when he/she is spinning?

Anyway, I left around midnight because Sunday was Juneteenth and I had been roped into singing with the ensemble so I had to be up at 8am like usual. I had previously thought that the choir season was over but was okay with not sleeping in on Sunday...the guy who usually does music whenever our regular choir director isn't in is a really good guy who always picks good music to do. He's a composer as well and speaks French. It was a really fun service and we had some guests performing with us as well. One guy sang "What's Going on?" by Marvin Gaye and Bob Dylan song as well which escapes me at the moments, another guy sang A Woody Guthrie song, "Deportee." The service itself related Juneteenth not just to the ensuing civil rights struggle after the emancipation of all the slaves, but to all civil rights struggles from women's rights to LGBT rights as well.

Afterward, there was a pot luck picnic out in the street and some of the same friends I had hung out with Saturday all stuck around. The friend who had the going away party was planning on going to go to Snug Harbor on Staten Island and invited a ton of us to join. Snug Harbor is a cultural center and botanical Garden a short bus ride away from the ferry terminal in Staten Island. I had only vaguely heard of it before so I was excited to take an impromptu trip, especially one that involved a boat ride and a borough I never go to. My Sunday nap was looming but as I turned the idea over in my head a few times, I became much less interested in sleeping and much more interested in adventure.

So, I agreed and joined the group, Stephanie, Koren (who is moving soon), Markus, Lisa and myself and we all walked to Siggy's to get liquid refreshment and/or caffeine and water for the trip. It's starting to get hot up here these days and an afternoon in the sun would probably have been a little dicey without water. Then we walked down to Borough Hall, grabbed the 4 train to Bowling Green which is a short walk to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and from there hitched the ferry to Staten Island. Waiting for the bus once there was a bit of a spectacle. There was a long line of people all trying to get on the bus when it pulled up and what started out as a perfectly peaceful bus riding adventure devolved into a shouting match between a much older gentleman and the bus driver probably about the fact that a lot of people who were further back in line boarded the bus first through the back door. We decided ultimately to take a few cabs to Snug Harbor instead of watching the debacle unfold and wondering when they were going to just let us all board the bus and get underway.

A much better idea, we arrived at Snug Harbor in a matter of minutes and, though the clouds that we had watched getting darker from the ferry threatened to burst, we set off into the park gravitating toward a particularly cozy looking garden and an ivy covered walkway. The park was quiet that day and felt far removed from the din of the city. The gardens themselves are well kept and diverse, and the grounds are scattered with old buildings, the current use of which I never made the effort to discover, wanting mainly to say outdoors despite the threat of rain. Strolling further on we wound up in a hedge enclosed grassy area with two benches, perfect for whiling away the time doing spontaneous yoga poses until the sun came out and started to scorch again. From that point we sat for a while at a cafe in the park and re-hydrated, munching on some leftover risotto that Markus happened to be carrying with him.

I had my eye on the time and kept calculating how long it would take to get home and if I'd have time to squeeze in a nap. But, of course, I wanted to enjoy my day so I made my best effort not to preoccupy myself with such worries. The park closed at 5pm allegedly so we found the bus stop and waited, debating whether or not to just walk to the ferry terminal. The bus was yet again overcrowded but we made it back to the ferry terminal just in time to miss the 6pm ferry. They run every half hour so we cooled off in the waiting area's air conditioning and subsequently piled onto the next ferry, where I almost fell asleep, pulling into Battery Park city about fifteen minutes later.

Now, it didn't take much convincing for me to step into the adjacent beer garden with my friends to cap off the night, especially since it was only 7pm and I only needed an hour to get ready and 45 minutes to commute to work. The ride home from Whitehall St. alone would have taken only 20 minutes on the R train. This particular beer garden had burgers on the grill so Markus and I both had one along with two pitchers of beer between the five of us. While there, we witnessed yet more animosity in the vain of our earlier encounter with the angry bus riders. Some guy threw a patio chair and upon watching the drama the unfolded before us we surmised that the bartender who served us our pitcher had found out her boyfriend or husband (the chair thrower) had been cheating on her. I think it was the screaming of the phrase, "Get out of my life!" that tipped us off.

Post scuffle, I finished my glass and the conversation we were having and parted from my friends to go get ready for work. Bummed that I had to because I read later via facebook posts that there was double the adventure after I left, the details of which are still vague to me. Something about trespassing in construction sites and narrowly avoiding arrest. Oh when will I get a normal job schedule?

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