It’s been a little under two months since I’ve made Brooklyn my home for the summer – specifically, Bushwick.
I have seen things and felt emotions here that do not quite translate into words. It may be because I am not really sure what words I can aptly use to describe them. Perhaps it’s because I refuse to quarantine my thoughts into words that seem too one-dimensional, thereby losing the color and the contour of my thoughts. Or it’s because I just don’t know the right words to use in these situations.
I’m working to take the pretension out of my writing. How does one write with integrity? How can I substitute honesty in place of my arrogance? I’m trying to resolve these inner tensions. Maybe I can write in a different style. A stream-of-conscious narrative, maybe? I hated reading Charles Bukowski’s Post Office because of the protagonist’s utter stupidity – which translated to him talking exclusively about his dipsomaniac tendencies – but I did enjoy the profound honesty imbued in the tone. Unabashedly stupid, but therefore authentic.
Back to New York. It’s a lively city. No wonder this place is called the cultural hub, a mecca for cosmopolitan millennials. I’ve been to so many cafes here – in fact, I’m sitting in one right now drafting this post. Instead of droning on about the wondrous wonders of New York, I think this writing space will be better spent with recording some of my favorite places in New York and why.
-Starbucks near Astor Place. Open until midnight, don’t really have to buy coffee if you enter through the side. Best place to get work done.
-Think Coffee near Union Square. Coffee is great here, spacious room with pleasant amenities.
-Idea Coffee on 28th. Their lightbulb-inspired drink is phenomenal; however, it is also on the more costly side. Buy them at your own expense.
-Caffebene on 32th. I like this place, but their wi-fi started malfunctioning. Thus, I discontinued going there.
-The Bean on 1st Ave. Probably the most yuppie coffee shop in Manhattan. Got Ella Fitzgerald signage inside, and printers too!
-Take31 on 31st. Hipster Korean food with great ambience inside.
-Barn Joo near Union Square. Same atmosphere as Take31, but bigger.
-Shanghai Cafe in Chinatown. Dim sums are incredible, though it is a little bit disorganized – I would definitely come here by myself.
-Mulan in Flushing. Employees in Flushing take no bullshit – they will get things done on their time. Maybe I liked the unapologetic attitude of the waitresses that served us.
-Ray’s Candy Store near Thompkins Square Park. I always come back to this snug joint for some beignets and what have you. Ray is the man.
-Ivan Ramen on Clinton Street. Ivan Orkin, chef of Ivan Ramen, was featured on Chef’s Table for his dedication to ramen. He makes ramen aesthetic, not merely edible.
Recreation (for those seeking to culture themselves):
-Metrograph on Lower East Side. One of those indie movie joints that looks like it came straight out of a scene from La La Land. Wedged in between two brownstone buildings, Metrograph features independent movies at an affordable price. Bring your date, grandma, or just yourself to this theater, and pretend to know all about mise-en-scene, light contrast while watching a movie of your choice.
-Smalls Jazz Club in Greenwich Village. Been to this jazz club four times now. Great selection of music, even greater atmosphere. One of my favorite New York memories is ambling in here around 1AM by myself to listen to musicians from all over the city jam together.
-Mezzrow in Greenwich Village. Same thing as Smalls, except I got to meet one of my favorite jazz pianists, Johnny O’Neal. He’s a killer.
-Escape the Room in Midtown. Kind of forgot what the exact location is, but the intricacies of this particular Escape the Room is definitely worth a visit.