03 September 2014

NYC Day 5 - I Don't Even Know What to Say...

This morning, I started out with confidence.

We woke up with Nathan, who had a later start for his orientation today, and, after J had left for work and A had taken P to a playdate, we prepared for our big day.  I packed diapers, baby supplies, and bottles of water.  Nathan gathered his supplies, and we off we went.

We took the L train at Jefferson into Manhattan, and transferred to the 1 train at 6th/14th street.

mural in the train station at the Lincoln Center stop
We all got off at the Lincoln Center stop, and the girls got the see the outside of Juilliard, at least.  We were planning to go in, but Elsie, in particular, was so whiny, that I decided to take the girls to get something to eat, and then head up to Inwood.  We had two appointments there in the afternoon/evening, and I wanted to walk around and get a feel for the place.

We stopped in a "public space" - which was an indoor seating area that had maybe once been a restaurant, but was now open to everyone to stop in and sit.  I looked at my little list of potential places, and followed up with a call I had made the day before.  I was able to see a place in Inwood, at the very tippy top of Manhattan (207th Street) at 1:45.  It was 1 PM.

The girls and I hustled out of there, grabbed some nuts from a street vendor, and caught the 1 train uptown.  The trip took about 35 minutes, and, by then, the train had come out from underground.  We got off at the 207th street stop, almost the last 1 line stop in Manhattan before the train crossed the river into the Bronx.

We walked past street vendors and dollar shops, selling $2 tank tops and $1 flip flops until we came to Vermilyea Avenue.  We walked 1 block north and stopped at the apartment.  It was the same girl we had met a few days before, when we were last in the Washington Heights/Inwood area.  She showed us the place, on the first floor, which was renting for $1625.  It had two large bedrooms but no living space, and very little light.  I told her I'd let her know.

We then decided to walk around for a while.  The girls were hot, so we ducked into a variety store, which was selling clothing and bedding, from what we saw.  We were in search of sunhats for the girls, but we came up emptyhanded.  We did, however, stumble upon these special shirts:

Which, as Elsie said, "came with breasts."  When I asked the girls what kind of clothing they thought it was, Olivia decided it was a tunic.

We walked a little further south, to Dyckman, and passed a grocery with large quantities of rice:
By then, it was 2:30 PM.  We stopped at a Starbucks near the Dyckman A train stop to figure out what to do next.  The girls and I had some lunch, and rested and cooled off, and used the restroom.  We decided to walk around a little bit more before our 4:30 appointment.

We found a great little park on the southeast corner of the larger Inwood Park, and all three girls played and played.

My phone was almost out of batteries, so we walked back toward the Dyckman stop, and stopped at a little coffeehouse.  Which, once we were inside, turned out to also be a restaurant, so we sat down and I charged my phone while drinking some hot mint tea.  Elsie and Olivia had a croissant and danish, respectively.

It was getting close to 4:30, so I sent a text message to the broker I was planning to meet, and waited for a response.  Around 4:45, he got back to me, saying he had just gotten home to Queens from Inwood, and could we try again tomorrow?  I reminded him that he had made the appointment, and that I couldn't do tomorrow (we had thought about going to see places in Jersey City), but I would let him know if maybe Friday might work.  I then asked if he could give me approximate areas for places, so that I could at least walk around the area while I was there.  He didn't respond.

I was pretty down at this time - I had really liked the neighborhood and the park, and the old men sitting on benches who spoke to the girls in Spanish.  The little trendy restaurants were nice as well, but I really had enjoyed the big park with the big trees.

Around 5 PM, we got back on the train, this time the A line, to get to our next place.  We alighted at the 181st stop, and walked out into a bright station.  We rode a very long escalator up to the street level and looked around.  The neighborhood was very cute - not too kinetic and not too quiet - a good mix.  We walked down the hill and I realised that the address we had - Cabrini at 181st - was very close to the Hudson River.  We could see the bridge!

This one was listed as a 6th floor walk-up for $1250.  1200 square feet, living and dining room, and two bedrooms, with three exposures.  It was also listed "as-is," which meant not renovated, but it sounded like it had some potential.  I was very curious!

However, the more I walked around, the more I suspected that maybe this listing was a hoax.  Up on Cabrini drive, there were three or four "Castle Towers," with a private park, and doormen.  And parents coming down the hill bringing their children home from the Montessori School, with names like "Grass" and "Whisper."  (not really)

I had only had one email from this broker/landlord and he hadn't given me a phone number, so I emailed him again to let him know we would be waiting at the corner.  But 6:15 passed, and the girls were restless, so we stopped in another Starbucks to charge the phone and have a snack.

The longer the time passed, the sadder I felt.  I really liked the neighborhood - it was full of diverse families (granted, many with humungous incomes), but also many "normal" people, hanging out.  There was still the man on the corner (I think every neighborhood in New York has a man sitting on the corner), and kids playing in the streets, and moms hurrying by with strollers.

So, basically, I got stood up.  Twice.

I headed back downtown (we got to go down that long escalator):

and stopped at Columbus Circle (where I knew there was a grocery store and a clothing store), to get some clothes for the girls and pick up some groceries.  By the time we were all finished, it was after 9 PM.  I was feeling lightheaded and had a little vertigo.  I was anxious because I was in the city with all three girls and I had to get them all the way back to Brooklyn in one piece.

We took the 1 train downtown to 14th street, where we connected to the L train.  In order to do this, we disembarked from the 1 train, and then walked up a flight of stairs (me carrying the stroller) to a lo-o-ong tunnel, which took us down to another set of stairs.  I was feeling really wretched by now, but I bopped the stroller down to the platform.  We were met by two trains, doors open, neither of which were moving.  Apparently there was some malfunction, and the conductor whom I asked had no idea when it would be resolved.  The heat was pretty intense by this time, so I decided to head back up the stairs and see if there was another way back.

I saw the orange trains headed to Brooklyn, and thought I could connect with the L and take it back toward Bushwick.  But to get to it, I had to go back down and then up a different set of stairs, and with the baby, stroller, groceries, and girls, I thought that maybe I could just wait for the L.  The trains finally moved, and we waited for a new one to come.  It was so full, and filling even more with the long queue of people waiting at our stop, that we waited for the next one.

I got a few sideways glances with the children on the train, and then I realised that it was after 10 PM on a school night, and I was out with three little kids, two of which were school aged, and one which was clearly a baby who needed to be asleep.

Our stop couldn't come too soon.

We got off, and came in, and showered and went to bed.  At least the girls did.  I drank a lot lot lot of water.  And sat in the air conditioning.  And watched a not tired baby run around.  It was almost midnight when I finally went to bed.

New York is exhausting.

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