Hoboken to Brooklyn

Brooklyn reminded me of a brighter, wider, mural-smothered Fitzroy, Melbourne, combined with Paddington or West End in Brisbane.

I actually left from Hoboken, New Jersey, the day I went to stay in Brooklyn. I got an ‘everything’ breakfast bagel first at Bagels on The Hudson (amazing), had coffee, said my goodbyes and got the bus through the Lincoln Tunnel . With my backpacker bag weighing me down and my little backpack on the front of me, somehow I fit on the bus without feeling like I was going to squash anyone. Out of place nonetheless (people use suitcases in New York apparently). From Hoboken to Manhattan, it’s only about twenty minutes.

I procrastinated a little in the city before catching the L train over to East Williamsburg, where I was to stay at the New York Loft Hostel. Best hostel I’ve ever stayed in too – the rooms are in a warehouse, great common areas and kitchen, live music.

While I had been pumping on adrenalin the whole time I’d been in New York so far, passers-by with their asymmetric haircuts, offensive tote-bags and serious coffee-seeking habits were my kind of people. Though I was surprised that the streets were so wide and empty as I made it to Varet street to drop my bags off, the artwork at every corner was delectable.

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I met Sylwia from the UK in my three-bunk room. She’d had a recommendation from a friend to check out Roberta’s for pizza, and I was starving; so we meandered around the corner to a secretive doorway marked by some rusty window bars and an ATM.

We delved into deep topics after the first glass of red from the bottle we had bought to share, essentially to celebrate our mutual holiday mode. I was as content as though I was catching up with an old friend. We each got the special pizza of the evening and devoured the the whole lot. Roberta’s also has a garden and a bakery, and they do catering. Gold pizza goodness, guys.

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It’s rocket. It’s arugula. Same same it turns out.

Back at the Loft, our third roommate Elise had arrived from Canada, and greeted us with a groggy hello. I crashed.

A wine-headache ensued the next morning, but who cares, because I woke up to look out a Brooklyn-warehouse window to perfect sunshine (that I hadn’t seen since arriving in the States). In the warehouse windows opposite a guy boxed a bag with a ferocity I just didn’t have yet, sweat dripping. I needed coffee.

Again just meandering to nearby, I checked out Swallow Cafe and Espresso Bar. I didn’t have a mac, or any form of laptop, so I guess I looked a little out-of-towner. But the latte I had was the best from the city I’d had so far (extra points for steaming almond milk just right).

I think I spent a fair portion of this day just aimlessly wandering, soaking in the very welcome warmth of the sun and the colour. My soundtrack was something like Al Green, Lurch & Chief, Ben Lee, The Paper Kites, The Velvet Underground, Highasakite,  The Kite String Tangle, Florence (always), and lots of Laura.

As all good things happen, that night I had planned to go to Blue Note Jazz Club, and so had Sylwia. With new friends, I sipped whiskey in a dark blue room to scat and jazz guitar.

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