crown heights and other rooms

7 Sep


Another mad week has gone by and I’m not sure if I’m the better or the worse for it! The week was spent preparing an intense beat report on Crown Heights, celebrating Katya’s birthday, getting over the shock of Sarah Palin, going through the maddening process of registering for Obama / McCain lottery tix, thinking way too much about too few things, visiting Dali and Picasso at the MOMA, and getting lost amongst 3 million people at the Crown Heights West Indian-American Labor Day parade

Let’s start at the very beginning shall we?

Monday was Labor Day, the culmination of a long weekend when 80% of New Yorkers go away for the weekend, and the other 20% visit the West Indian-American Labor Day parade which takes place in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Seeing as Crown Heights is my beat, I thought it was in my best interests – in the name of journalistic research of course – to visit the parade, gawk at the women, eat unhealthy food and get lost in the crowd. I did that all … and generally in that order.

Yes, I’m going all techno-phile on you guys this week, with a slideshow to entertain you in case my words get boring! Hover over the pics to read the captions.

The parade rocked, but after three hours of being bombarded by food, colors, oddly dressed people, police baracades, music and lewd dancing manouvres, I decided to get horribly lost in the crowds and spend an hour looking for subway to get home. Bad move on my part, seeing as the others managed to use their CU press passes to get into the parade and dance with the floats. Journalists. Really.

The rest of the week was a mad rush to get information on crime, education, politics, social services, architecture and the location of a secret treasure buried in the 1600s in our beat, as well as an interview with a New York State Senator and a discovery of the existence of Elvis in Brooklyn – all in preparation for the beat report. With that harrowing assignment over, it was to class the next day! Only to get another assignment!

Luckily, this time the assignment was not to prove the existence of aliens in our community, but rather to write on immigration. In my opinion, aliens would’ve been easier. To get away from the horrors of our looming deadline, we decided to escape to the charming neighbourhood of Greenwich Village on Friday evening to celebrate Katya’s birthday in an obscure but pretty awesome little bar called The Other Room. It was definitely a success, as evidenced by the fact that around 30 J-school students were persuaded to remain there until the early hours of the morning and not move onto other places, as is usually the case.

Me? I got sandwiched between Alex and Tim who promptly set about mocking my South African accent, buying me a glass of wine with my bag of Ziplocked quarters to spare me the embaressment, and generally being lewd and crude. It was great. We departed in the rain at roughly 2am – Zee, Tim and I, and proceeded to get rained out in the one hour trek to find a subway, discover it was locked, hail a taxi, negotiate with the driver and then walk home after being dropped off. My look was not meant to be “drowned rat”, but somehow it ended up that way.

This afternoon, in another attempt to avoid my assignment / laundry / the gym and my thoughts, we went to visit Dali and Picasso at the MoMA, which was packed full of fawning art critics, and young kids, two of whom referred to Dali’s work as “sloppy”. Despite the violent urge to hurt some people, I was still deeply impressed by Dali’s artwork – the great depth of color, the level of detail, the beautiful absurdity of it all. It was another shelf opened.

And that, is that … for the moment. Don’t ask me why I’m writing this at 11.38 on a Saturday night … the tail end of hurricane weather has forced me inside to sit at my computer, organise my life and face school head on … or at least until bedtime. Let’s see what tomorrow brings. Below, a map of Crown Heights North for those interested … I had to prepare it for the class website and I’m testing it here to see if it works.

View Larger Map

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