Next stop: Utica Ave, Brooklyn

Photo: therealdeal
Photo: therealdeal

After work I took the train to Utica Ave for a travel writing class. I wasn’t sure what neighborhood it fell under. Normally, I don’t travel far into Brooklyn. A friend invited me, and she lives in Bed-Stuy, about 10 minutes away. Getting out of the train everything was of a similar dullness. The cloudy weather didn’t help. No bright colors emerged,  or maybe I was walking too fast, not noticing anything. I took the express train to get there quicker, but I was still a couple of blocks back from Nowhere Studios, where the event was starting soon.

Gray blocks lay out in front with random stores on the left. Some had bright lights and dramatic names— none I remember.

The brown brick buildings rose far up ahead, and around it neat grass. It covered an extended amount of land; I had forgotten about the stores and thought about an industrial complex.
Utica Avenue of the 1920s, emulates the feeling of never-ending blocks (though not the same place I was walking through). Photo: staticflickr

The sun had not fully descended and people were still going about their daily rituals of walking, smoking, buying food and driving around. I walked near a park where a group of men crowded around a table. I wasn’t sure what they were doing; maybe playing a game.

There was a whiff of marijuana in the air.

I kept walking and the blocks stretched like the dreams of never- ending blocks when you’re lost. I felt slightly out of place with my pink flats and my relaxed bear tote bag. Suddenly I was not old New York. I was the new kid, yet I’ve been living in New York City for most of my life. It stirs me to feel vulnerable in a strange neighborhood.

Up ahead a man popped his head out of a moving car to say, “You’re looking fine today!” I’m wasn’t  sure that was directed at me, but  there was no one else behind me.

Finally I got close to a main avenue with commercial blocks and busy traffic. I didn’t feel so alone. I made a turn and kept going. I almost decided to make a right on Atlantic Ave, but then realized it was the wrong way. I was waiting at the light to cross, when I saw a familiar girl holding a blue bike. I tapped her shoulder and in the process startled her. I’m always awkward at saying hello. She answered in small giggles.

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