The other day I met this really friendly guy, JJ, in the Washington square park. He overheard me talking to this couple next to me. He tells me he is going to Amsterdam in a few weeks. He shows me the apartment he is going to rent. Darn, they really under charged my guests in my apartment.
JJ is is a musician. He also has a 9 to 5 job to pay for most of his expenses. After a long and hard day at work he usually goes to the park to jam with other musicians to unwind.
When I cross the park a few days later I see JJ with a couple of guys jamming.The crowd is getting bigger and bigger. Lots of people are familiar with the lyrics and join in. The guys sure know how to entertain. What strikes me, they play just for fun, instead of making money. It’s almost midnight when they stop. JJ invites me for a drink at the Reggio’s café, a bar Bob Dylan use to hang out.
Making music has always kept JJ going. In good and bad times. It helps him to relax after day at work. He does not have to keep up an appearance like on his 9-5 job. He tells me a story about a timid boy who asked if he could sing too. The boy seemed to have a golden voice. One of the treasures of an open stage in the park.
After we met, I saw JJ preform twice with two different groups of musicians. Some are pretty good musicians. Like the guitar player who played at my request some blue grass. Lots of people in the park enjoy the free music.
The beauty of making music is that it does not matter what kind of job you have neither is it based on race, sex, salary, education, religion, ethnicity or disability.
Suddenly the homeless man is a band-member. Music bonds. -Bregje-
Tonight is my last night at 1, 5th Ave. The night sift doorman is in the lobby. I ask him if I could sleep at Keith’s place tonight. Little surprised his asks me if I know the guy. I tell him that I’m sure he won’t mind, he’s never there. ‘Just give him a buzz please.’
Unbelievably, Keith Richard bought his apartment on 1, 5th Avenue two year ago for $10 million. Mr. Richard has only used his apartment a couple of times over the past years and is now selling for $12,23 million.
I’ll bet Mr. Richard will not mind me using his place for just one night. Can you imagine me pretending to be miss Richard for one night without Mr. Richard being around. That would be a great way to end this wonderfull stay in New York.
Bye Bye New York. Gonna miss you… Thank you for the marvelous time. I’ll hope to be back soon. -Bregje-
‘How are you today?’ is the most common way people will greet you. Irrespective of if you know the person or not. Just an answer like ‘Fine, how are you?’ will do. They do not expect an extended explanation. Back in time I use to make up some weird answer to see if they were even listening. Don’t even bother, most of the time they do not. A sufficient farewell would either be ‘Bye’ or ‘Have a good one’. But of course there are many more. If a momentary conversation has taken place one can use ‘Nice to meet you’ or ‘Nice talking to you’. It’s that simple. Make sure that if you come across someone on the street and you are in company of others, do not forget to introduce them. If not, they consider you being very rude.
‘Please’ is the magic word. We Dutch do not use that word as often. Not that we are not polite, we just pay more attention to the tone you use.
Different cultures have different codes on social behavior. Typically, you shake hands when you meet someone. This is common most everywhere. But one additional thing is, here it is common to hug a person, even when you first met. Just a light hug, where you just put arm around his or her back and just touch your head lightly. Cheek kissing is very common in most parts of the world except for English-speaking Canada, the United States and Asia. A single kiss is acceptable in the United States, but it’s mostly a big-city phenomenon. Like when I was introduced to the owner of the ‘Omars la Ranita’. Here it’s not done to kiss anybody else, except your partner, on the lips. Even not your own kids! So many cultures, so many habits on whether to kiss or not.
Except for French kissing, this seems universal as far as I know. -Bregje-
Out of the blue I came up with the idea to use some ‘old school’ advertising on finding myself an other home swap over Christmas, by handing out some flyers in the neighborhood. Actually I came up with the idea when I noticed that Jack’s has a bulletin board.
As always the firemen were helpful finding me a printing service. They send me to Stapples.
After explaining briefly my purpose to this Leah girl, she helped me create a smart looking flyer. The hardest part was coming up with a catchy text in such a short notice. Since I was running out of time to get it all printed in time I just had to accept the fact that it could not be fully considered this time.
The whole deal will cost me only $20.68 for 50 copies. Can’t wait to see the result. They will be ready by tomorrow afternoon.
Gonna spend all day Sunday on handing out my flyers around the neighborhood. I might ask Isabel and Douglas to help me since they know everybody in ‘The Village’. -Bregje-
First of all I am not an expert. Like I wrote on my first blog I like to show you my experiences though my own eyes.
I love the way they mix the old with the new buildings and transforming industrial buildings into a new purpose. Historic buildings restored and transformed. A mix of new and old, beautiful and shabby, original and bland, industrial and residential.
We’ve seen it happen in Smithfield’s in London, the Pearl district in Portland, the Kødbyen in Copenhagen, the Meatpacking and Chelsea district of Manhattan, DUMBO and Williamsburg in Brooklyn and so on.
One of the high lights in the Meatpacking district is the High Line. The High Line is an elevated freight rail line transformed into a public park on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York. Founded in 1999 by community residents, who fought for the High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under the threat of demolition.
And true to the history of New York, it’s a constantly changing landscape. So this Livin’ The High Line feature will always be a work-in-progress, just as the city itself is. -Bregje-
New Yorkers versus the rest of the country fashion wise. We all know the (oversized) American men and women wearing sweaters and shorts of their favorite sports teams. New York City is different. New York City is regarded as the fashion Capital of the United States. I do not know about the rest of the world, but we definitely dress down compared to New York.
You’ll see all kind of styles on the street. There is something about the New Yorkers. Especially in a upper class neighborhoods men and women sure know how to dress well. I have to admit if I would spend a week salary on one outfit I would look smart too. But it’s not only the amount of money they spend on their cloth, it is the way they wear their cloth. It’s the whole package deal what makes them look good. Being in good shape, self conscious, elegant, well dressed and having an own personal style.
In comparison with other parts of the world being gay is (still) social accepted here. So are the drags, transvestites and transgenders. Walking around in their flamboyant outfits gives a colorful image to the streets.
Being mistaken for a New Yorker, by asked for directions all the time, must prove that I also look stoning and stylish… -Bregje-
It is striking to see the amount of couples around here having this huge age gap. I am not talking about a few years but more like several decennia. The other day I was walking behind this lady in her late 50’s and her way younger boyfriend in his 30’s. A cougar or m.i.l.f. with her toy boy as they would been called.
I catch myself on having a bias based on my own sociocultural perspective.I have that same feeling when I see an older man with a girl of his daughters age or with a gay couple with an enormous age gap. I even have this feeling when I see a tall woman with a shorter man. It’s their life’s and in no way it affects me, but still this feeling comes over me. It’s kind of weird to realize that you don’t agree on your own prejudices thoughts.
The other day I also met two elderly gay men, both being engaged with younger man. I am talking about men in their 80’s dating guys in their 40’s. Gay age gaps like that are nothing new and are much more common compared to straight relationships. Like Oscar Wilde, he was 36 when he became involved with the 22-year-old Lord Alfred Douglas.
I did a bit of research on this topic, it intrigues me. Nothing based on facts, but just by browsing the Internet. Why would someone date someone else half their age? I read somewhere: ‘we don’t look at age per se, instead we think of life stage. We also consider shared core values, background, lifestyle, goals, personality and attraction.’ I find that hard to believe. When there is a huge age gap how can you share the same goals and core values. Look at the core values of your parents and your own even though they raised you. There will always be this generation gap. And what about the assumption that the attraction is either based on a mutually satisfactory financial agreement, a daddy/ mommy fetish or a mid-life crisis.
Myself, I rather have a relationship or affair with a man about my own age in the same stage of life. But that’s what I prefer. I do understand all the obvious reasons to date a younger man but that just does not suit me.
Or maybe I do have to get my cards out and consider to find myself a toy boy. You never know after all….- by Bregje
The other day I met Douglas, Isabel’s significant other.
Douglas is one of a kind. He is quite a storyteller and just like Isabel he knows everybody on the block.
I just moved into this beautiful Art Deco landmark building on 5th Ave.
Douglas and I share the love of art deco architecture. One subjects leads to an other and Douglas tells me he use to be an hairdresser in the old days. Back in 1957, when men still wore hats. His salon was on the second floor of the former fancy Fifth Avenue Hotel at 24 5th Avenue. An upper class salon. Some of his clientele were Sibel Shephert and Bette Midler, but also the cast of the musical hair who were guests at the hotel. Douglas tells me he got fed up with all his clients wining about their private lives. Like their lesbian affairs, their troubled children, medical issues and and so on. Finally he gave up his salon feeling more like a shrink than a hairdresser.
I don’t know about our own hairdressers training but students here have to take two test before becoming an hairdresser. One practical on their cutting-skills and one written test proving that they know all the facial bones and nerves by heart. It takes 1000 hours equivalent to 6 month of training. The average life for a straight hairdresser is seven year. Gay men usually still kicking it for longer period of time cause they don’t get fed up that easily with the female intimacies, according to Douglas.
The defining principle of law is the requirement that every hairdresser takes a blood tests every year. That would be fine if the hairdresser is more Catholic than the Pope but it’s ridiculous when he or she lives a promiscuous life. And what about their clients life’s?
Why this topic. I am invited to a dinner party. I asked around what to bring. First I went into the flower shop but ran back out when I heard the price on a tiny bunch of French lavender. Sweet baby Jesus they charge twenty dollar! Wine it would be, even though the prices on alcohol are outraged as well. Curios and exited what to expect I arrive with a bottle of wine at seven. According to the doormen the dinner party is on the roof. Luckily I changed into my little black dress, still being underdressed. There aren’t many people yet. I introduce myself to the hostess. I am quite surprised that Nathalie herself is not trowing the party but one of her neighbors. Since Nathalie is not there yet I excuse my self and go down to Nathalie’s. Guess what! I went to the wrong party! Nathalie is having a dinner get together with friends and I am invited.
Apparently I interpret the word ‘diner party’ differently. Luckily I did not give my precious wine to the wrong hostess.
For me speaking a foreign language like English is easier than listing to a foreign language. When I speak I use words, phrases and expressions I know. Reading is the hardest part for me.
Not all peoples have the same experience. The other day I spoke to a woman who finds reading so much easier.
I write most of my reports on my IPhone. Luckily I can switch my phone to English. This makes writing so much easier. Although it will not correct words sounding similar but with different meanings like ‘allowed’ and ‘aloud’.
I just realized that when I first arrived in New York, and also last year when I visited San Fransisco, I am surprised how easily words and phrases pop out of my mouth. After a week or so I start feeling ashamed and get more and more frustrated of not being able to express my self the way I can express myself in my native language ‘Dutch’.
Trying to find the right words, even in my sleep, can be really tiring.
Diner is nice. Nathalie’s friend is from Bagdad and is also not a native speaker. He chares his embracing moment. Growing up he learned English by watching American movies like the Tarantino’s. Back in Irak he once referred to an Afro American soldier as a ‘nigger’. Not knowing the impact of his word choice. He did not know he would be insulting the man. He liked this man!
I remember being seventeen and getting into the ‘Taco Tico’ a Mexican restaurant with some friends. Obvious they had been cleaning, the whole place smelt like ammonia. Instead of saying it smelled like ammonia I said: It’s smells like a maniac’. -Bregje-