Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Smell of Corpses, Hipsters, Brooklyn

I spent this weekend away. Away, away. Brooklyn, away.

It’s not that Manhattan isn’t enough for me. It definitely is. But with all the hype about Brooklyn, and all my self-deluded assurances that no, no it’s not that great, and not that much cheaper than here, because if I come to look and find this is true and still I renewed my lease in the East Village apartment which sometimes smells like chlorine and we don’t have a pool and our doorman is really a masturbating lady-bum who camps out in front of the complex with a sheet over her head—I suppose because if she can’t see us, then we can’t see her, nor her vigorous hand movements,---well, then I’ll just cry.

So because we couldn’t go mooch of our parents, we took advantage of the beautiful weather and drove to Brooklyn to finally scope it out. You know, for next year maybe. After all, what could be more of a natural progression from the East Village?

Saturday was spent at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. We were planning to go anyway for some lush greenery, flowering trees, dangling our legs over the pools in the Japanese gardens. But when we heard that the once in a bajillion year event of a vomit-inducing bloom of a corpse flower was there, well, let’s just say wild horses couldn’t drag us away.

We blew by the children’s garden; the pineapple sage, soybeans, sweet potatoes and cola nuts. Beyond the Dr. Seuss weeping hemlock. Before the flopping coy in a feeding frenzy.

In the conservatory, we found it after a long line. A four foot tall, single plant bursting one flower with peeling petals, the inside stalk looking like a giant ear of weird corn. As we got closer, we braced our stomachs to fill our nostrils.

But, get this. We couldn’t smell anything. We inched closer and still, nothing.

Finally, we were upon in, gasping in great breaths through our nose and yet, no smell at all. What a rip! I mean, we got in free because my company owns most things on the planet, but still…

We found out later that the flower had caused a stink when it first opened on Thursday, but it had dissipated by the time we were there on Saturday morning. It’s probably for the best anyway.

Sunday we went to our first McCarren pool party because Beirut was playing and we couldn’t go on wearing the shirts and buying the cds we do unless we visited the motherland. As if Brooklyn Brewery pilsner, the adjacent park, and watching hipsters play jerky dodge ball wasn’t enough. The show was really great and really free, and when it got too hot, we just slipped past the fence and took off our socks and shoes and joined the kids playing in the spraying animal-shaped spouts.

Something about being there felt very communal and laid-back. It was a nice change from the frenetic pace of Manhattan-proper. There, people were just kind of lying around, smiling and drinking, and at worst, trying to out-ironic each other with their bangs.

The best moment was the following exchange by the slip and slide:

“Hey, that guy looks like that guy on Entourage. The one that gets punched in Vegas. The one from Austin Powers”

“You mean Seth Green?”

“Yeah, that guy over there.”

“You mean the really short, balding guy with glasses?”

“Yeah. I mean, the hair he’s got is kind of red.”

On our way back we checked out the scene on Bedford and imagined what we would do if we lived there. Where we would eat, where we would shop. I ended up buying a new pair of earrings and a bag just to practice.

So, I’m a Brooklyn believer after this weekend. People seemed happier, more grass, bigger sky, smaller skyline. Tyler reminded me of his friend and a conversation they had regarding the notion of happiness related to a finite group of varied options. Where people don’t second-guess their decisions or want for others because they’re sated. No problem picking this over that. Something about how people can’t be bombarded with too much, and it got us thinking of how sometimes Manhattan seems much too much. All that choice leaves us indecisive, and lots of room for error.

I wonder if it’s another avenue to happiness. Brooklyn, that is. Where free concerts, cheap lager, and even, supposed-to-smell-putrid--but-don’t flowers flourish.


David said...


We don't want to be infiltrated by New Yorkers!

Man the bridges!!

Anonymous said...

The stinky plant didn't even stink? Lame!

themarina said...

As much as I love hanging out in the city, I love spending my "quiet time" away from the hustle and bustle. Sure, sometimes I miss city living (like when I'm trying to get home on transit after a concert that doesn't end until 1AM) but other than that, I love living in the outskirts. However, many would disagree, just as everyone is different.

NotCarrie said...

I've only been to Brooklyn once and for a brief moment. I was in NYC in January and so cold we rode the subway there just for something to do, haha.