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4 Notes

The NYC Nomad Almost Gets “Knocked the F&$% Out”

I’m not a particularly confrontational person.  I’m even less confrontational when I’m standing outside Breukelen Coffee House on Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights holding two large coffees, one on top of the other with a bag of croissants squeezed between my elbow and my waist and an Iphone tucked into my waist band of my shorts after a Saturday morning run in my Vibram Five Fingers shoes.  I had gone on this run to pick up some breakfast for my host and I before the Crown Heights House Tour (which was amazing).

While in line, a girl asked me about my shoes and we started chatting.  See, I’m non-confrontation and friendly.  We talked in the coffee shop, which then lead out to the sidewalk which then led me to mistakenly bump into 3 black guys walking down the street.  I apologized, and my new friend and I continued our conversation laughing about something completely unrelated to the bump.  My other new “friend” didn’t quite see it that way.

He walked probably about 10 paces past us and then came back and asked me “What the F&%$ are you laughing at?”  If you can picture the initial description (coffee, pastries, phone, shoes), you’ll understand that I stopped laughing in my defenseless position.  I kept eye contact with him he asked again, “WHAT the F&*K are you laughing at?” to which I think I muttered, “we were just talking.”  He then told me “I would knock you the F$%& out.”  I didn’t really doubt him, but focused in on his teeth which made me think that maybe he had once been knocked the f out.  He was in my face and my adrenaline was certainly flowing, but I did all I could to ensure the situation didn’t escalate (read: kept my mouth shut) and he walked away after we stared at each other for a few seconds.  The girl I was with was upset (she lived across the street, deals with this it sounds like) and had a few words for them.  His final parting shot was something to the effect of “you are lucky you aren’t a *$%%& or I’d knock your bitch out too.”  (My internal monologue…um, that’s not my bitch.)  He said “this is still Franklin Avenue,” a nod to the gentrification of the neighborhood.

It’s a story, and a good one since I didn’t get knocked out, but it’s also really bums me out.  I understand that, in my outfit outside of that coffee shop, I was the very picture of gentrification.  And even though I don’t live in that neighborhood permanently I suppose I’m somehow contributing to it.  I tried to think for the rest of the day of something constructive I could have said, but really couldn’t come up with anything.  A friend suggested “can i sleep on your couch?”  Kidding aside, the anger sucks.  I admittedly have no concept about it, or where it comes from (I’m sure it comes from somewhere), or if it can go away.

But I hope it can, and I hope that sometimes it does, and I hope the next time I’m on Franklin Avenue someone doesn’t tell me they are going to knock me the fuck out.

P.S.  Tumblr should create a function to shield certain posts from my parents.

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3 Notes

The NYC Nomad on Columbus between 68th and 69th

Stayed

In my friend Shira’s apartment, an awesome one bedroom in a fantastic location. She was out of town for a few days so I had my own space for the first time in about 5 weeks which was quite nice.  She also has HDTV, cable, and solid library of books.  Look at her testimonial (I’m working on her for a written testimonial and I should get one considering I helped get a bookcase up 5 floors today).

Ate

Lansky’s Diner —thought this place had been around forever, but I was tipped off it opened two years ago as a “modern” old world deli.  I had matzo ball soup, a beer, two sliders, and chicken wings for $10.  If I lived in this hood, I’d eat here at least once a week.

Seven’s Turkish Grill — A Restaurant.com coupon allowed me to take a couple of friends here for dinner.  Yeni Raki & meze (small apps, like tapas) is probably one of my favorite combinations of food and alcohol.

Tourist Spots including Magnolia Bakery and Gray’s Papaya — obligatory spots for anyone “traveling” in NYC

Ran

In Central Park 3 days of the week.  I am building up some mileage on the Vibram 5 Fingers shoes.  I had a guy told me that I was crazy to be running in them and also that I had nice thighs.  I wasn’t sure how to react to that one at 830 in the morning.  

Played

Tennis with my friend Pauline (and sponsor of a week in July) at the River Club — one of the more unique places I’ll probably ever play tennis.

Listened

To Michael Smith, executive director of counterterrorism for the UN, for a talk titled “Terrorism, and what the UN is doing about it” at a Network 20/20 event. Interesting discussion, and drives home that governments need to cooperate around the world.

Rowed

On the Hudson, with New York Outriggers — free classes, sign up here.  Very cool canoes, originally used for efficiently getting around the Polynesian islands.  Don’t lean RIGHT!

Danced

At the Boom Boom Room after Callie and Nate’s (former hosts) incredible engagement party at The Standard Hotel.

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