I am here:
I first woke up at 4:15 but fell asleep again until 8:30. So the jetlag did not spoil my day seriously. The rain had stopped but it was gray and cool outside. I walked out on the roof deck and enjoyed the view for a while. The Empire State Building across the East River to my left, Long Island City across Newtown Creek to my right. Not bad.
Nevertheless the day started with a problem: the key I had been given did not match the door. I tried to call Nichole on her cellphone but didn’t get a connection. I sent her a text. After about a quarter of an hour she answered it, telling me to leave the door unlocked. She would come home early and give me another key.
So I left, a bit uneasy. I should have tried the key last night – but I had been too tired to think. I walked down Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint’s commercial hub, in search of a place to have breakfast. Many of the places I had seen last night were closed. I found a simple diner offering breakfasts. The waitress told me what was on offer for lunch – it was 11am – but accepted my order of just a breakfast sandwich. It was nothing special but ok. Tomorrow I would be able to prepare my own breakfast. I continued walking down Manhattan Avenue to get acquainted with my neighborhood and to see where I can buy things. Greenpoint is known as a mainly polish neighborhood, so many shops not only have polish names but as well sell polish goods. There are lots of polish groceries, polish meat markets and polish pharmacies. But there is an hispanic influence as well. Mexican Restaurants and Deli Markets with latino Food and names. I came across a Metro PCS store – that’s the phone Company I had been recommended – and walked in. The Girl was talking spanish to another customer. She told me she is Dominican and does not really like New York. I told her what I wanted: a simple smartphone with a monthly plan without a contract. It was pretty easy. She showed me 3 phones on promotion and I chose the one most people did – according to what she told me. With it I took the cheapest plan. She made it ready to use for me and informed me about a lot of features. After about 20 minutes I left having my very first smartphone.
I walked back on Franklin. There I came across Word Bookstore and saw that next Tuesday there will be an International Crime Night. So I now have my first appointment. Several other events on their list are interesting as well. On Franklin there are some nice Cafés and smaller, more independent shops.
When I got back to Clay Street I found another key in the mail slot, successfully got in and spend some time understanding my phone. I did not succeed in connecting to my email account. This must be possible, every kid will be able to do so, but I will have to find out how.
Meanwhile it had got pretty warm and I decided to follow the Greenpoint Walking Tour in my Big Onion Guide. I saw the waterfront and a lot of pretty side streets. This must be the area where Francie Nolan, the Girl in “A Tree grows in Brooklyn” must have found the School she wanted to go to and where everything was so much nicer than in poor Williamsburg, where she lived.
My walk ended at McCarren Park. I walked through the Park to Bedford Avenue, the heart of hip Williamsburg. on North 6th Street I found Biblio Restaurant – listed as one of 10 literary restaurants for book nerds around the world. I had a late lunch there. Nice place, but I had expected some books in a literary restaurant.
Afterwards I took the bus home, and stopped at a supermarket to buy groceries. Basics are much more expensive than at home. I bought tea, oatmeal, milk and cheese for breakfast. One of the next days I will have to explore the polish meat markets to get some kind of sausage.
So this was my first day and yes I have not been to Manhattan yet. Maybe tomorrow. I should pay a visit to Strand Books at least 🙂