Saying goodbye to Harlem was much harder than saying goodbye to Greenpoint. I took Ettice to a goodbye dinner last night at Chez Lucienne on Lenox Avenue. We were sitting outside, right next to the street where we could watch people and had good food, a lot of fun and a lot of wine.
I nearly overslept in the morning. I had set my alarm to 6:30, but pm instead of am. I woke up and checked the time at 7:10. I wanted to be in Crown Heights at about 10 am to pick up the key before my new hostess, Rachael, left for work. That meant to catch a train at 9 am. I managed, but once again used the wrong entrance end ended up on the northbound platform.
I was doing two trips with part of my luggage on each. Easy because I did not have to change trains but time consuming because it’s just a long way from Harlem to Crown Height. Rachael welcomed me and I felt comfortable at her place at once. The neighborhood looks friendly and is well equipped with restaurants and shops. The apartment is nice and well designed. My room is small but cute. Rachael is great. She showed me around the apartment, explained recycling and composting, gave me recommendations about neighborhood places. Then I unpacked, she left for work.
Here I am: https://de.airbnb.com/rooms/428226
I went back to Harlem to get the rest of my luggage. But first I had a little lunch at Harlem Shake: a Harlem Burger Classic (with cheese and pickles) and a Watermelon Cooler. Then I went “home” on Astor Row one last time. It felt strange. I had become used to this street with the Astor houses having front porches and front gardens on one side, Brownstones on the other side and both sides lined by trees. I packed my leftover groceries, washed the dishes, left Ettice a note and the keys – and pulled the door closed.
My suitcase was still heavy, although part of my luggage was already gone. I could use the elevator at 135th Street station but had to carry it out of Franklin Avenue station and upstairs in Rachael’s house on Park Place.
After having unpacked my suitcase and arranged my new home I set out for a neighborhood excursion. I walked up Franklin Avenue. It is nice and very friendly in the southern part but becomes a bit gritty towards Atlantic Avenue. Atlantic is not an Avenue to walk on. It is lined by gas stations, parkings, car repairs and restaurant supplies shops. At Washington Avenue – the border between Crown Heights and Prospect Heights – I turned south and walked down to Eastern Parkway. Washington is busy and has as well a lot of restaurants and shops. Eastern Parkway is elegant and has Brooklyn Museum.
It leads to Grand Army Plaza and Prospect Park. I walked around Grand Army Plaza and had a look at the Library and the arch .
From there I walked up Underhill Avenue into Prospect Heights to Park Place. In Prospect Heights, west of Washington Avenue, the Brownstones are bigger and more elegant. In Crown Heights, east of Washington Avenue the scenery becomes more basic. Tenement houses are standing between Brownstones. But it feels perfectly safe and lively, due to the colorful buildings and the variety of restaurants and shops.
On Franklin Avenue I bought some groceries. I got my so far favorite cereal but no bread. Shops on Franklin either sell Baguettes or packed bread. Need to ask Rachael about it. Getting back “home” I had achieved a notion of what to find where and felt comfortable in y part of Crown Heights.
The rest of the day was spent with emails, homework and dinner. I had coconut noodles with shrimps at the Sweet Basil Thai restaurant around the corner. Six thick and fresh shrimps on a bed of noodles and green peppers in a bit of spicy coconut sauce. Good!