Tuesday, September 28, 2010

And the winner is...

So it turns out the contest was rigged. But how could I order another macchiato (and, face it, most of them have been pretty lackluster) when I could have one of these? Mine looked exactly like the one in the picture, complete with mason jar and syrupy bottom layer. And so I am throwing my Bushwick coffee support behind Little Skips, which, in addition to my delicious beverage, serves intriguing sandwiches (it is always important to remember to eat when you are on a caffeine tour), has an array of charmingly mismatched furniture, and sits practically under the elevated M tracks, putting me in mind of Alvy Singer's Coney Island childhood in Annie Hall. Some might say that the rumble of the trains is a deterrent to concentration, but I would certainly bring my laptop back to Little Skips for a cozy couple hours of proofreading.

The only downside is that they don't stay open very late (7 PM) though a sign announces longer hours are coming soon. (Another sign proclaims "No decaf" in no-smoking style. No problem!) At least the early hours impelled me to wander Bushwick for a while. I sometimes feel that learning new neighborhoods is like playing Super Mario Brothers. You have to navigate the terrain for a while before it gives up its bonus points and secret passageways and new worlds. For the first time I felt that Bushwick opened up a few of its secrets to me. I couldn't walk long owing to a confluence of rain and knee and impending darkness but I did take in some of the sights. For instance, I had read about the mansions on Bushwick Avenue but had never seen any of them for myself. There aren't a ton of them, but they are beautiful and eerie and I can especially imagine the one in its own lot right next to the subway tracks as the perfect setting for a mystery. I have also heard that Brooklyn was known as the borough of churches, and in Bushwick you can see why: it seems like there is a church on every block, from humble storefront to looming cathedral. And the public library I walked by was itself a temple. I also have to admit that I love some of the newer architecture going up around here. There is something awe-inspiring about the hulking Woodhull Hospital (though the Yelp reviews of it are anything but (who knew that hospitals had Yelp reviews?)), and another curved glass and brick nursing center on the end of a street otherwise filled with tiny or decomposing buildings.

By the time I got on the bus home (B43 < B48 but it'll do), it was completely dark. But I sort of liked it that way. There's something satisfying about eroding the borders between a new destination and home, some prolonging of the mystery. I will definitely be back soon.

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