I have been thinking of the words that I would use to describe my trip and I keep using the word amazing. As in 'causing great surprise or wonder; startlingly impressive.' And it was. I felt so fully in the moment every step of the way, I just wanted to take it all in and absorb everything. And I loved the experience.
I took along one of my oldest friends and ace, Sonya and she was the best photographer ever, which is a feat for her since the simple thought of taking photos makes her nervous! The first day that we got there, after enduring a woman who told ALL of her niece's business on the shuttle (Do we need to know that Nautica is 15 and had a baby because she is looking for love?) and eyeing a passenger that immediately asked for a barf bag as soon as we got on the plane (I flinched whenever he passed by because I thought he was going to throw up all over me), and a 25 minute delay, we finally got to the Big Apple.
They sent a driver to pick us up from the airport and he walked so super, extra fast to the car, he was not playing in that heat! We also went to Union Square Park where they were holding a rally for Trayvon Martin.
We literally checked in, put our bags down and were back on the streets in about 30 minutes. Once we got outside, we were taking photos and a guy stopped and began talking to us. He walked with us to the corner, told us about a couple of great places to eat and introduced us to some people. We thanked him and moved on, we had shopping to do!
Things just got real. Sonya's feet hurt and she stopped and bought some house shoes from Duane Reade to walk around in and of course no one blinked an eye.
And we walked. And walked some more. And walked again. I noticed that everyone in New York always looks so "easy breezy" in their simple flowy dresses and skirts and flats. They looked so fresh and I just felt hot as hell. We went to all of the little shops up and down Broadway and on 5th Avenue, we went to to Topshop and Joe Fresh and an open air market and I found: nothing. Not a single item tickled my fancy. By this time we were hungry so we had a slice at Ben's Pizza close to the hotel and it was so yummy!
As we were leaving Ben's we ran into the guy, Steve, that we had met earlier in the day. We had mentioned the hotel that we were staying at to him and he had gone by and left his number for us to call him. We then sat on a bench at the playground and Steve regaled us with stories about all of the residents and shop owners in the neighborhood. I told him that I was going to call him the mayor and he said that that is exactly what people called him, the Mayor of Soho. I expressed to Steve my desire to go to Brooklyn while we were in the city and he said, "You want to go to Brooklyn? Come on, I'll take you to Brooklyn." Now, I know what you're thinking, "Juanette, stranger danger!" But I really did feel a positive energy from Steve so I threw caution to the wind and agreed to let him take us to Brooklyn. We rode in this:
Do killers kill people in food truck vans with a clothing line printed on the side? I think not. This is Steve's work truck. He told us beforehand that it didn't have air conditioning so we would have to ride with the doors open. He had a folding chair in the middle that my friend Sonya rode on and he asked me if I wanted to use the seat belt. I asked, "Where is it?" and he told me that it was broken. Wait, what?!?!?
The sweaty adventurers
So off we went, over the Brooklyn Bridge, past Junior's Deli and the Barclays Center, down Nostrand Avenue and along Linden Boulevard. I kept singing "Back in the days on the boulevard on Linden" by A Tribe Called Quest (which is on my iPod by the way) as Steve pointed out all of the sights and told us about all of the great landmarks in the area. He showed us the Brooklyn Museum, we ventured into Bed-Stuy and down Flatbush Avenue. We drove around for hours until we came upon an all night deli and I was able to get me a slice of cheesecake and a cold bottle of water and then we called it a night. I was tired, I was sweaty (my clothes were soaked through like I had been at a club that played all of my favorite songs) but I was happy.
Grinning from ear to ear at my adventure. And loved every minute.
Part Two: My photoshoot coming up next!