Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spring Storm in Harlem Town

I've only got one more week until my mom and dad drive up here in their big old suburban and help me move back down south. That's only seven more days to fill up with all the things in New York I've never had time to do! I don't think it's even possible. Anyway, I've got to get organized about it, because yesterday I wasted all my time just wandering around the streets of Harlem. I did laundry, so that was useful, and then I decided to try and find a thrift shop where I could donate a bunch of stuff I've been winnowing out of my belongings (the suburban will only be able to fit so much stuff!) but the closest ones that came up on a google search turned out to not exist (a common problem with businesses in Harlem) so I ended up walking all the way across town to the east side, where there is a big Goodwill store. But over there, there is also a lot of scary neighborhoods. Maybe they just seem scary to me because I'm not from there, but it seems like there are more poor loiterers, beggars, and "street" guys over there. I made sure to walk quickly and with a purpose, eyes making contact with no one. I passed groups of men loitering under "No Loitering" signs, and guys playing chess in a housing project playground, men doing the "Harlem shuffle," and I passed a lot of really interesting churches, but I didn't have my camera, so I might have to go back!

As I walked, I encountered one of the problems with life on Manhattan. No matter which way you walk, the wind is blowing against you. Scientists ought to come here and study this phenomenon, because it is truly perplexing. The liner of my rolling cart acted as a sail, and the dust from the streets pelted my eyes, but when I could open them, I looked downtown and saw a big storm rolling up the island. Skyscrapers in the distance were ensconced in a dark blue haze, and the clouds were lowering. It was a long walk, but I dropped off the items and then hightailed it home, arriving just before big fat drops of rain began to fall.

But I was going out to meet friends downtown, so I quickly got ready and then dashed out the door and over to the subway. I didn't even bring an umbrella, but it was okay because when I arrived at Grand Central Station and came up from the underground, the rain had come and gone already. While the storm rolled up the island of Manhattan, I had passed underneath it and come out the other side. Ah, spring weather!

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