You know what I like about New York? People talk to each other.
If you look nice, someone is guaranteed to say, "You look nice."
If you air a question in the subway, more than one person will answer immediately - of any race, any age, any gender.
For instance, on the way home from seeing an apartment, we got on the wrong line and looking at the map I said to my cousin, "I don't see 86th street on this one." The guy sitting nearby overheard and said, "You need to get out right here and change to the 5 - right here!" And we jumped out before the doors closed.
Then, on the 5, after a minute I let out a sigh - more from entering the cool carriage from the hot platform than anything - and another guy nearby heard me, indicated to the half seat next to him and said, "Come sit here, there's space" and he squished over and I sat. Later on, the train braked really hard, a few people nearly toppled, and he shot out his arm in front of me thinking I was going to fall off the seat, and I laughed and said, "I'm ok, I'm ok."
Next stop, a couple of mothers got on with their toddlers in strollers. The kids were eating crackers and the mothers were quaffing chilled water. Pretty soon, as she leaned over the top of the stroller the mother wondered out loud if her son had finished his snack, and someone with a better view commented helpfully, "Sure, he's finished it. Maybe he needs a bit of water, his face is red..." So the mother gave him his sucky cup as if taking a suggestion from a stranger was the most natural thing.
Did I ever tell you that the only person who ever spoke to me in 6 years on the Tube was a jazz musician from New York?
The other day, an older lady and I were nearly shopping together at Macy's:
"Have you seen this? It's pretty."
"Oh look at this, it's in your size. Try it on."
Just one comment and you might enjoy a pleasant exchange and a laugh with a friendly random person as many times as you care to venture.
A teaser of the clothing I've been acquiring:
Ann Taylor Loft (didn't buy this outfit, though I did get a couple of summer suits for upcoming interviews)
Jones New York Signature - look no sleeves - and white!
Next blog I will try to show you the others.
We're having a summer heatwave here which started on Saturday but might end tomorrow. It's wiping out my cousin but my energy levels are still way up there. We went out today and he couldn't believe how active I was, until he remembered my Texas factor.
I guess 15 years in the Lone Star State is enough to harden anyone to heat, but I thought that 6 years in the London greyness would have reset my system.
The other good thing about the heat, the activity, the sun, and the food, is I am going back down a size and shaping back up, a process that started almost as soon as I got here, so promptly I was quite shocked - but I do feel much healthier and less bloated.
My cousin (Ryan) is a gym buff and has no problem pointing out what bits he thinks I need to sculpt! Bring it on.
Good news on progress:
Went to surrender my TX drivers license, but got a bit emotional at having to part with it because for the past few years it has been like a friend. I'd take it out and look at that Lone Star flag and I'd remember good times.
Anyway, I can't get a NY license yet because they require my Texas records (all clean) so when that comes through later this week I can go back and get it done.
Then Ryan took me to open an account, the service was friendly and happy and everything's free, so I walked out smiling.
All of this was accomplished before 1pm.
As the temps were over 100 today, when we got back home it was 97 and we didn't venture out for the rest of the day. Stayed in basking in the A/C. He's lucky, his job is supervisory so he only has to lay out the plans early in the morning, and then his team takes over and he is free to go.
Oh, nearly forgot to mention, I found a place already!
It's in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, a residential enclave by the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, full of neater than usual brownstone rowhouses, sweet cottagey houses on cute streets as well as wide avenues lined with pretty little churches and quirky mansions built in the early 20th century as summer escapes for wealthy Manhattanites. The community areas feel villagey and the neighbors are helpful and friendly. Amenities are right on my doorstep or round the corner - subway, express bus, laundry service, pharmacy, groceries, banks, tennis, gym. A park overlooking the bay is a couple minutes' walk away too with bike trails.
The apartment is on the top floor of a quaint little house. It's small but spacious enough for two petite girls, with many original details. It's simple yet feminine, homey and peaceful.
As soon as I mentioned I'd read a listing there he jumped right on the idea and said it was a good area - being like the big brother I never had, and also having discerning tastes, Ryan doesn't want to leave me anywhere he doesn't approve of - anywhere with an iffy walk to the subway, a smell in the elevator, a badly lit hallway, whatever. The minute we drove into Bay Ridge it felt right. I said, "I want to be here", and I was praying my potential roommate would pick me. We clicked very quickly as we share not only many interests but many feelings about things. So I'll be moving in before the end of the month. Also, we both studied art history...
Only 10 days and things are falling into place. Next up: getting a job.
(And Ryan is the best cousin in the world.)