I noticed even before I landed on American soil that my transplant and native New Yorker friends were making plans based on logistics. There were certain limitations to travel they were willing or not willing to do. Taking trips into Manhattan or other boroughs required killing more than one bird at a time and near the right metro line/neighborhood. For example, I could have met up with a girl had I said Bushwick instead of Brooklyn…They saved time by knowing which train cabin let you out near which set of stairs that popped you straight out the right exit because you never knew when you would lose that time again. Train traffic seemed the norm. I could stare at the Metro map as long as I wanted but I would still miss the better or easier connections my native friends saw.
One Sunday New York afternoon, I made the travel logistics of a NYC novice or perhaps I was a girl with too much time on her hands. I agreed to plans in Flushing and Bushwick in the same afternoon. Pleasing your tastebuds has a way of making you overly optimistic about time. While eating the best Korean brunch deep beyond the last metro stop in Flushing, I knew Brooklyn (while eating I had no idea I was actually going to Bushwick) was far away but my friend and the food made me think I could get there on time. We were off by 30 minutes. By the time my friend and I realized that it wasn’t a 40 minute ride but 1 hour and 11 minutes, we sat for another 15 minutes confirming I was definitely going to be late no matter which route I took, checking all possible ways I could be driven, bussed or G-trained to my destination. To add stress to my stress, my German bank card was not being read by the Bank of America ATMs in Flushing… my frustration momentarily made me think in racist terms: did the defect ATMs get sent to Flushing? While I was beginning to see myself in the same light as arriving late to a job interview (one procured through a recommendation), my friend felt more uncomfortable sending me to Brooklyn cashless and wanted me to try another ATM. I got on the 7 train cashless.
I was suppose to meet an artist friend at a gallery called Honey Ramka to write a review of their current show Control Panel for another artist James O. Clark. Knowing I was late and cashless, I decided to enjoy the sights and sounds of my first time on the G train. They included the following: one girl saying she thought G stood for Godard… I felt embarrassed for her, young art students with their portfolio bags, several off-season hats, and nearly everyone getting off at Nassau Ave. I raced out of Morgan Ave. not knowing I was in the heart of Bushwick. If someone had asked I would have guessed Williamsburg. I stood outside for 4 minutes fending off another tourist who wanted directions and I had to let her know this was my first time too. Checking my iPhone for guidance, I realized I was standing right in front of the building I needed to go into. This happens more often than you think as a traveler, you keep looking for buildings because you don’t know how they look like. I saw my friend slumped by the door with her excited pooch. The gallery was closed. My friend looked like a wilted flower from the heat and my lateness.
“What took you so long?… The Life on Mars gallery is still open… why don’t you go and check it out so you can get a sense of the space.”
I looked around Life on Mars. My initial stress had been relieved by the idea of visiting the gallery on another day but then I found out it was only open on the weekends. What transpired next was a series of phone tag which led to one of the gallery directors coming back to open the gallery… He had just taken the trash out back home. The sculpture below was 3D printed. I couldn’t express how bad I felt so I just silently walked around in loops clicking some photos and let my extrovert friend iron out the relations.
We walked out to what looked like the Bushwick of Instagram and Girls. My friend wanted me to see one of her pieces being shown in an artists space/ studio called Brooklyn Brush Studios. On the way there we stopped several times so she could snap photos of gloves on the streets. “Wow, there are three in one shot.” The amount of lone working gloves lying on the pavements were starting to freak me out. They were for one of her artist friends planning an art project on found gloves she said.
Brooklyn Brush Studios was locked so this time we both slumped down by the door and my friend ordered an Uber ride. We got up just in time as our butts were about to be hit by someone opening the door from within. Hooray, we got in. Friend cancelled Uber ride. Inside, we found another guy locked out of another room we all needed to get into and so the three of us waited again for someone to walk out… He was this kid with long-hair, wearing the baggy clothes combo of a fat janitor/city worker (he was skinny) but it looked cool on him as the pants we cut a little too high above the ankles showing off his socks. Yes, now I have a thing for guys who show-off their socks.
My friend asks, “What do you do?”
Socks: “I sell t-shirts.”
My friend was not impressed. She explained her piece to me as a cast of her hand representing the first time she reached our to her muse/her husband. She told me if I used a flash, I would be surprised. You can see the result of my surprise below. Rainbow light of love’s first touch.
Back outside we sat back down again in front of the door waiting for another Uber.
Another guy was standing in front of us texting and let us know, “My friend is gonna come out right now.”
We both stood up just as the door burst open with t-shirt selling guy and his huge dog on a leash.
Guy outside, “Great timing.”
I watched as the two of them strolled off into the depths of Bushwick.