Bill’s older daughter, Bill and I drove to New York on Saturday to visit his younger daughter, who moved there last month. Her apartment is in Queens, her building one in a row of two-story buildings just on the edge of an industrial area. After we saw her new digs we set out on foot to find somewhere to eat a late lunch. We walked to the top of her block, past the corner Bodega and turned right onto Troutman Street. Within four or five blocks, and about five minutes, we left Queens behind and entered Brooklyn via Bushwick.
It was as if, crossing the street into Bushwick, a switch had been flipped from off to on. We went from walking along a residential, nondescript street to one lined with restaurants and cafes. Art covered most of the buildings, created by The Bushwick Collective. We even saw a guide giving a large group of people a tour.
We popped into a couple of restaurants, looked over their menus, before deciding to eat at Montana’s Trail House. They were serving brunch, we wanted lunch, but after our server very patiently described, in great detail, several of their dishes we were all on board. We ate fried chicken, salmon pastrami, eggs and root vegetable hash and fried yukons. The food was very good, the atmosphere homey.
Afterward we stopped at a cafe and ordered coffee to go. We wandered the streets, taking photos every few feet and ended up in a park where kids played basketball on several courts and dogs barked and played in a designated area. Boys with skateboards used the low cement wall bordering the park’s sidewalk as a ramp to practice their jumps. It was damp, and chilly, and we all wrapped our hands around our hot cups of coffee.
We took our time exploring the neighborhood, walked and talked with each other, commented on what we were seeing, pointing from one wall of art to another. Bill’s daughter was familiar with some of the area, some of it was new to all of us. The overall tone was a lot quieter than what I’m used to when visiting Manhattan. There was traffic but there wasn’t a lot of racing cars and blaring horns. There were people out and about but they weren’t walking in droves, intent on getting where ever it is they go, making navigating the streets painless.
If Bill’s daughter’s apartment, big by New York City standards, was just a few blocks over she’d probably be paying twice what she’s paying for it in Queens; being so close to a cool, hip neighborhood gives her all the benefits without the cost. And gives us a new borough to explore.