I am writing this while safely ensconced in my room, hiding from a party not of my own design. The door is locked to prevent intruders, and the lights are out to prevent their knowing of my presence. I would estimate that there are 40 people crammed into our relatively small apartment, and the inflow of new guests seems to be faster than the outflow of leaving guests. But my room is a paradise of free space, a private sanctuary from the ungodly crowd outside my portal. I'm not generally a social person in the best of circumstances, and a crowd of drunken strangers invading my apartment and wrecking up every inch of the common area is not the best of circumstances. I hear now my frat-boy roommate trying to organize something called a "Boat Race." All the more reason to stay in here, where it's dark and safe and (relatively)quiet.

I'm generally uncomfortable in gatherings where I don't know the majority of the people, and at this gathering I can safely say that I don't know anyone (my roommate included) well enough to be at ease with them. I'm also not much of a drinker, and especially not when I don't know the people I'm drinking with. So here I am. I might make an appearance later, when the dregs who don't know when it's time to leave are still hanging out. I can handle a smaller group. But I came back when the party was in full swing and it took me fifteen minutes to move the 20 feet from the entrance to my room; I can't handle that sort of crowd.

So here I am. Today I had a generalized sense of wanting to go do something, and no idea what I wanted to do. So I decided to get on the subway, make some random transfers, and see where I ended up. This plan changed, around the time I boarded the train, to a plan to go to Brooklyn and see what there was to see. I've heard good things about Williamsburg and DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), and thought I'd check the two neighborhoods out. Then I found myself at the 4th Street/Washington Square Park station, transfering to the A-C line and realized that I'd much rather be there than in Brooklyn, so why bother? Brooklyn will have to wait.

I got back above-ground and immediately headed east, past NYU Law, past Broadway, to the East Village. I visited a video game store I visit a lot there (note I saw visit a lot; I don't actually buy a lot there. They have a great selection of used games and systems (including old computers like Commodore 64s and Acorns and such) but they charge through the nose for them, way more than you'd pay on eBay for the same things. So I never end up buying things there). Then I decided to make it my goal to walk to Alphabet City.

As you know, Bob, New York above Houston street uses a rational system of number streets and avenues. Streets run east-west, avenues run north-south. Streets start at 1st street just above Houston and continue into the 200s in the Bronx. Avenues start on the east side of the Manhattan with 1st Avenue and run upward as you go West. But there's a problem with this; 1st Avenue is the eastern-most avenue for most of Manhattan's length, but the island pooches out further eastward a bit north of Houston. What to name those avenues? Letters, it turns out. Going East past 1st Avenue you come to Avenue A, Avenue B, Avenue C, and then Avenue D. This area of the Village is known as Alphabet City.

Walking along 8th Street, I ran into Dumpling Man. I'd heard of them in the context of a bitter struggle between them and rival East Village dumpling place Plump Dumpling. So I decided to sample their wares. I had half a dozen very tasty seared vegetarian dumplings with Red Monster sauce for about $5. Unfortunatel, I hadn't eaten in a while, so I was still a tad peckish. I started wandering, initially with the idea of finding Plump Dumpling and comparing the two dumpling joints. But what should I find across the street but Crif Dogs, the East Village's famous hot dog place. I went in and had a Vegie Special (Veggie Dog with diced cucumbers, tomatoes, jalapenos, and (in theory) onions. I ordered it without onions) and some tater tots. It was quite tasty, for a veggie dog. The decor was... interesting. There was a heavy sexual bent to the decoration. Innuendo based on hot dogs, condom machines on the wall, Crif Dog thong underpants for sale. Yet, as I sat there, at least three families brought their kids in to eat. I suppose the tastiness of the dogs outweighs the unsavory environment. Or maybe they're just open and honest about raunchy sexuality with their kids.

As I was leaving, I noticed a hand-made sign offering two kitties for adoption. I really wanted to take down the number. I love cats, and my apartment's actually big enough to accomodate them. Unfortunately, my lease says I can't have pets, and being caught with pets is an instant-eviction offense. That having been said, this building definitely has pets in it. Somebody owns an un-spayed kitty whose frustrated screams I hear occasionally in the afternoon, and somebody else keeps two huge huskies that they quite publically walk in and out of the building. I could probably get away with it. But then there's the other concern: For one, I'd have to take both cats, since the sign indicated that they couldn't be separated. I'm not comfortable taking on two cats at once, since I've never had a pet entirely of my own before. Further, I'm barely able to take care of myself, let alone another living thing. I'd really hate to forget to feed it for a few days (which is just the sort of absent-minded thing I'd do) and kill it, because then I'd never forgive myself.

So I passed up the kitties. I then started wandering toward Union Square to take the subway home, and ran into a movie theater. They were showing Wallace and Gromit, so I decided to go ahead and see that, since it came highly recommended. I loved it. It made me hungry, though; if it weren't for this party, I'd have braised some carrots or found something to do with the turnips and parsnips in my fridge.

And then I came home. So that was my day. Ta-da!

NOTE: This post was written around 12:30 this evening, but Typepad was down and I couldn't post it. As of now, the party has ended. The apartment is a disaster, and the whole place reaks of the sickly sweet scent of cheap booze. My room is the only sanctuary of cleanliness remaining. On the plus side, nobody seems to have taken any liberties with the toilet.


oh man! I would have taken the kitties! They could be your kitty-cat buddies! On a slightly less cute note, you have my complete sympathy on the cheap reak of booze in your's not a pleasant thing.

Every time I visit my fraternity house since I've graduated, I always smell that smell, and wonder to myself "How did I live here for two years?"

If I were to go back to my old co-op house, I would almost certainly smell the reek of cheap box wine (if that's not redundant) which had at some point been flung around with carefree and glamorous abandon. I'm pretty sure that the combination of the name Wilde House and the glamorous spilling of bottom-of-the-barrel red wine says absolutely all that is necessary to know about the character of the house.

Perhaps your apartment needs a name which, in combination with its current (or current as of this writing) evocative state, sums up its character. This is your new assignment.

Also, my cats do all right with the free-feed approach (i.e., leave a bowl of food out for them to eat from whenever they want). This basically means that you only have to remember to refill the dish an average of once a day, or every two days depending on the size of your dish. If you miss a usual dish-filling time it doesn't mean your cat will go hungry, it means your cat will get to the bottom of the bowl instead of only halfway down.

Cats are really pretty easy creatures to take care of. Indoor cats are particularly so, since you don't have to worry about them bringing home homicidal neighbor cats to get in fights with you. Eviction is definitely worth keeping in mind, but when the pets in question are cats I wouldn't worry about being insufficiently responsible.

Besides: cute.

The place is cleaned up now, so it doesn't apply as much, but I've always had a fondness for the name "Squalor Hollow." The booze smell lingers, however. Hum. The drink of choice seems to have been some sort of alcoholic fruit punch. Could the place be called Boone's Apartment, perhaps?

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on October 30, 2005 3:05 AM.

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