pssssst! brainfag is retired! i'm now at


New York in a (fairly large yet non-descript) nutshell

posted in Home Jabber on June 14, 2005

I'm only just past day three of my New York visit and it feels like I've condensed two weeks into it. Last thursday I woke up in Portland at 5am and arrived at Alec's house at 1:30am (NY time). I had a three hour layover in LAX, which had ridiculously huge lines waiting to go through the fucking awful & unorganized security gates. Portland had a more efficient system, but it was still slow and felt ridiculous. However, I do get a kick out of watching everyone take off their shoes.

Once in NY, I followed Alec's directions to the AirTrain and then to the A line on the subway. I rode the A for a LONG fucking time all the way up to 59th, where I sat and waited for a B or C train until 1am when a conductor finally asked me "Hey WHERE ARE YOU TRYIN TO GO??" The whole platform had cleared each time the A train came by, and although I thought it suspicious I'd be the ONLY one waiting for a B or C train, I was damn tired. And here I was being a clueless, jetlag-fatigued westcoast shlub with a big blinking Easy Target neon sign above my head. Turns out the A train's the only one running after 11.. oops.

I finally arrive at Alec's around 1:30am and am immediately informed by Alec that 4 people have been killed within a block this year. Sweet! We eat some boxed beans and rice and crash at 3am.

We wake up at 9am and take the subway to Chinatown to eat some mystery meat Dim Sum at an excellent & wholly bizarre little hidden shop. Then hoof it all around downtown, and finally take the subway to the Met museum. The Met has 3 MILLION things to look at (no, really), and we saw about 200 or so. They have a Max Ernst retrospective going on that was really cool.

Then it was onto zine production for MoCCA the next day. I had finished a third chapter of Brainfag 6 RIGHT before I left Portland, but the master copy I printed out had problems. I fixed these, and made another master and we went down to Kinko's at midnight. Once there I realized Alec's printer was printing in some weird low-quality mode and didn't make copies after all. (Which was good in the end because Kinko's waaay fucking expensive at 10cents a copy .. it would have cost me $50 for twenty copies of the zine!) Back to Alec's on the subway, it's now 1:30am or so, and I fuck around with his printer to no avail, finally giving up and printing it out as is. We didn't get to bed until somewhere around 4am! Dumb! I should have just given up and got some sleep.

For the first day of MoCCA I was a total fucking zombie. I mean, we got up at 5am west coast time, after I'd gotten maybe 8 hours of sleep across the last THREE days (been having bouts of insomnia lately), and here I am overwhelmed by not only New York madness, but now MoCCA condensed people comic-freak madness.

After MoCCA we were so tired we skipped the "famous cartoonist drinking parties" and went home and slept. The next day of MoCCA was definitely less crowded and therefore not miserably hot and stuffy. Also certainly more fun with a bit of sleep. Daniel Clowes showed up at the end of the day and I walked over and stared at him. I hate to be one more person asking to sign something (that human tendency has confused me anyway.. I don't like signing my own things, why would I want someone else to sign it? I just don't get it..)

After MoCCA we went with Robyn and Max and Melissa out to a vegetarian dumpling house, which was tasty and fun. Then back home to once again catch up on sleep.

The next day I roamed alone, spending the day laying low and walking around Alec's neighborhood. I did some laundry, drew a HUGE cathedral church, and then met Alec downtown after work at the AIGA building. We saw Star Wars which I was really surprised to enjoy, and then headed home again.

Overall my favorite part about New York so far is just busting ass around town, jumping on subway trains, squeezing between people, just gawking at the wide variety of folk, and inspecting just how the human animal survives in such an intense environment. I bought a week pass so I can take public transit whenever, wherever (in Manhattan at least), bus, subway, all week -- instead of $2 a ride.

6 comments on this entry

I dont know how anybody can live like that in NYC for very long. Every simple little thing is a frikkin ORDEAL, from just doing laundry to walking 4 blocks away.

Anonymous 6/14/05

Actually, everything seems to go smoothly here. Laundry was two blocks away, and HALF the price of laundry on Orcas. There's a subway stop two blocks away, also, and the subway kicks ass -- it takes you wherever you need to go FAST and dumps you out, whereupon you run above ground and onward to wherever. Run fast! Dodge taxi!

Things I've noticed:

  • Very few panhandlers. Maybe there's more outside Manhattan, but I've only seen a few on the subway, and most are doing something amazing like playing drums or violin or singing piercing African song.
  • Few Starbucks. Yay! I've only seen four downtown in hours of walking around.
  • NY is not nearly as dirty as I expected. Though there was a lady on the subway today that smelled to high hell of piss and cleared out a whole car by her stench alone.
  • People are actually friendly and helpful here. I think everyone spending so much to be here and dealing with a precariously surviving metropolis builds some weird camraderie.

There's more to note that I can't remember.

nate 6/14/05

Yeah, I really enjoyed my visit to NY. I'm not sure about living there but I could see spending a entire spring or a fall there.

Shawn 6/15/05

When I lived there I found the people to be the friendliest I have experienced in any city, even Portland. (With the exceptions of the jagoffs who beat the crap out of me a block from my house. )

Anonymous 6/15/05

It is a great place to visit, I think, but being fat and lazy, myself, the idea of walking to the laundromat once a week, shlepping 30 pounds of clothes, blecch. But it is a great place to be rich. Or be a skinny hippie. But anybody who is used to not relying on a car probably would mock me for my preferences, as they probably should.

New Jersey, though, is a pisshole.

Anonymous 6/15/05

That's the WHOLE POINT though "Anonymous"! If you DID walk to the laundromat, carrying 30 pounds of laundry with you (instead of DRIVING there) you would't BE fat and lazy! Hell yes I'll mock you! That's why HALF of America is overweight and out of shape!

alec 6/16/05

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