It would only make sense that as soon as I secured
my most optimal commute in nearly 15 years, my office would move to midtown
(and yes, this is a half-assed complaint from someone who doesn't go into the
office daily, though that will likely change. Maybe not with Yahoo-like
severity, but I will likely feel the need to switch to a majority of time in-office
rather than in-home). 25 minutes door-to-door is a record (if the J comes
within the first few minutes of waiting) and I haven't had a transfer-free
journey since 2004 or so. But I will enjoy the next five months while I can.
The only saving grace may be the Señor Frogs in the basement of the new
building. Maybe it'll be like when I worked at the Post and we got 20% off the
Au Bon Pain on the ground floor and I got sick and sluggish every afternoon
from over-carbing but this time it'll be on chimichangas and Redheaded Sluts (I had to look that one up).
Back to living the urban dream, i.e. gross
supermarkets with cramped aisles, no selection, overpriced everything and surly
staff. Actually the C-Town, two blocks away, isn't that horrible (neither was
the Associated, one block up Myrtle in Clinton Hill) and larger than it looks
from the outside, it's never crowded and the cashiers are ok. And you have to
hand it to them for being on Facebook (recent cover image above) and having an
app, which is more than one would expect from a utilitarian regional chain.
Plus, they're known for Krasdale, the classiest of
store brands. And the subject of one of my favorite recent graffitis.
first person I saw upon entering the store was a girl with a Keep Calm and
Carry on tote bag. Ugh, why? She said excuse me when I passed by too closely (not
sure if it's parka season to blame or underestimating my girth) and we brushed
against each other, and it was said in such a quiet, guileless way that I
realized she was just a kid. Kids with their 2008 quotes on totes doing no harm
and me being the judger. Carry on. YOLO.
I tested C Town on four needs: Fage yogurt, Wasa
crackers, sherry vinegar, smoked salmon. I got one. At least the three for $5
yogurt was a good deal. And they do have smoked salmon at the small deli
counter; I'm just opposed to waiting for things to be cut for me (part of the
reason why I don't find artisanal shops or old-fashioned butchers to be that
fun). And somehow I ended up with liverwurst.
Something frivolous, mildly
grotesque, and uncharacteristic is the hallmark of new grocery store visit.
When I got my first apartment toward the end of my freshman year in college, I
bought a pack of hot cross buns, overly sweet glaze and filled with raisins and
hard, candied fruit during my visit to the neighborhood grocery store on 14th
and Morrison, now long gone with a name I can't remember. Now in its place
there is one of those Northwest woodsy, inoffensive strip malls that pretends
not to be a strip mall. I only know this because I picked up a hard-to-find
bottle of wine in a shop there two birthdays ago.
Despite the lack of hearty crackers and fancy vinegar, I found solace in the spelling quirks. Bockoy, daycon, swichard sound fantastical, right?
And Old Bay categorized as ethnic.
Major aside while I'm thinking about grocery shopping: I've officially become a cranky New
York old-timer because I liked Rossman Farms, this glorified 24-hour bodega
under the BQE, better when it was a shithole, I lived down the street and had a
teenager try to mug me across the street. They still have dirt cheap produce
out front that will go bad if you don't use it immediately, but they've also
started doing that annoying thing where they package vegetables together in
large amounts and charge large amounts when I only want three radishes not 20.
It all changed when they put in a small cheese section, added organics in the
corner and installed sliding glass doors instead of the clear plastic flaps
that smack you in the face (oh, weird, those were back on my last visit a few
weeks ago now that I think about it). Now there are lines and lots of white
people. Obviously, I'm a white person, no harm there, but White People who leave carts and
strollers unattended and in the way (these are the same people getting robbed
at Trader Joe's) with no regard for anyone else who needs to get by and then
give dirty looks when you touch fruit from the same section they are standing
in front of and staring at full of inaction. (I really hate it when people put
stuff on the counter before I'm done being checked out–I mean counters, not
conveyor belts, which they don't have–but I'll do it to these types because
they're all selfish personal-space-valuing transplants and I know it will upset
It doesn't have to be like that. My favorite Western Beef on the Ridgewood/Williamsburg border did slowly add organics, better beer, and my canary in the coalmine, Fage yogurt, but it's still kind of a dump in the best possible way. Likely because it's hard to get to and not on a subway line.
The stores aren't fully to blame for needlessly upscaling Look at Roland, the everything brand, getting all fancy with tamarind and fig balsamic glazes.
And while I do prefer Fairway or Wegmans with their illusions of plenty (I could live without Fairway's clientele, however), I would hate to see the C Towns transform into New Brooklyn.
From my building's basement gym, there is still a splotch of original graffiti visible in a blocked off wing that's under construction.
Soon those walls will likely be improved with the graffiti-inspired art that graces the rest of the habitable sections of the apartment.