Queens

I went to buy a used acoustic guitar from Craigslist. This ladies’ daughter had attempted to play, but gave it up and so the guitar just sat around. I was just looking for something decent, but inexpensive, it seemed to be a good deal. So I took the J train out to Queens. The day was really muggy and you could see the haze looking over to Manhattan.

Empire State building barely visible

It was the first time I’d been further East/Northeast on the J train and it goes behind a few miles of hill that’s mainly covered by an old cemetery. The train is still elevated all through the area and most of the neighborhoods were made up of old three story town homes. Right before the J train met the E train it went back underground and I got out at a station that was newer in a retro futuristic way, with vertical orange brick tiles, a platform that narrowed on the ends like you were in an airplane fuselage, and escalators with a constant loop of a woman’s then a man’s voice reminding passengers not to let their children get swallowed by the hungry metal teeth of the automated stairs.

I connected with the E and headed West towards Manhattan for a few stops and exited at the Forest Hills stop. The area was decent but nondescript, and slightly familiar. I walked a few blocks and remembered driving nearby a few months back to buy my bed frame. I was connecting more dots on the map.

I met the lady with the guitar but that turned out to be a disappointment. It was supposedly played just a handful of times, but the back of the neck had some major gouges taken out of the wood. This was the only part I had not seen pictures of. I went lowball on my offer, explaining that this would affect smooth playability. She was in no mood to negotiate and I was not desperate for the guitar, so I walked. Quite literally actually, I crossed a freeway to a park and then went further West to the site of the 1964 World’s Fair, Flushing Meadows, home of the tennis U.S. Open, and Citi Field where the Mets play.

The Himalayas

This massive globe is called the Unisphere and there used to be fountains underneath it. I’m not sure if they still start it up in the summer, but today would have been a nice day for it. I’m sure there were more crowds when it opened in ’64 but now it’s a good place for lots of families to picnic and play soccer. These pictures are two little kids on mini scooters that were racing around the Unisphere. It’s never too early to get your kids into motorized vehicles.

I went past Arthur Ashe stadium and caught the 7 train from next to Citi field and headed South through Queens and towards Brooklyn.

On the way I stopped off on Roosevelt Ave, where the train runs overhead and most every business seems to be hispanic, with tons of street food and people everywhere. There was the occasional Chinese dive restaurant and a Korean guy shouted some Spanish at me, “Massaje! Coger!” Not today.

Cartoons and Cigars

Sorry, we’re all out.

The Question is What’s the smallest park you can build.
Answer Triangle. Look close, that’s the name on the sign.

New York Driving School: We teach you how to honk your horn and curse out drivers in 57 different languages.

I veered off Roosevelt and went further West, and the wind was picking up. There have been lots of thunder showeres the past few days and it looked like one would arrive soon. I passed through some decent looking neighborhoods with some cool old buildings and grabbed a beer at a Mexican restaurant just as the downpour started.

And it poured heavy, so I stuck around for another beer. And another. When I left the air was hot and so heavy with moisture that the outdoors smelled like a steam sauna. Walking down the road I had this view of Manhattan as the sun was setting and I cut back over to Roosevelt to catch the subway.

The funny thing was the neighborhood no longer had a latin flavor, everything was kababs and halal and Middle Eastern script. The very last food cart I noticed before I entered the subway station advertised Potala Momos. I had no idea what they were, but I noticed these Asian guys eating dumplings and another sign on the cart that said: “MCA aka Adam Yauch is a friend of Tibet”. Of course, momos are Tibetan, everyone knows that.

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