Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Everyday i take the L train to work. my stop is Union Square. i board the train at the DeKalb station in Brooklyn, and while this might not mean a lot to the average reader, it means i am about 10 stops away from my destination. this is about the maximum number of stops one wants between one's self and work. had it been eleven stops, my life would be vastly different.

on the L train, there is a 50/50 chance of me finding a seat. the train either arrives full or empty, and it's nearly impossible to predict its capacity upon arrival.

when i sit, i am able to close my eyes and sleep for 15 to 20 minutes, or failing that i watch the people enter the board the train. the closer and closer we get to Williamsburg, the more fashionably eccentric the people become and i realize that yes that girl IS wearing a green necktie as a bandana, yes that guy IS 6 foot 1 and skinnier than the pole he's holding, yes that girl IS wearing fishnet stalkings to work as a barista, and yes that guy spent 45 minutes to get his hair to look like he just rolled out of bed.

upon arrival at Union Square about 80% of the train's riders disembark and make their way up the stairs en masse. i try to usurp the crowds and head to the unpopular stairs which would normally transfer me to the NRQ trains, but bypass the trains and pop up the relatively deserted stairs and find myself in the midst of union square proper.

i pass by a dog park that reeks and begs to be cleaned with rain, local artists setting up their works for sale (most of which are really quite shitty [i'm talking portraits of J-Lo and Fergie]), and three days a week a farmer's market. sometimes i buy apples and peruse the bonzai trees for 5 bucks and think always of the Karate Kid movies (2 and 3).

I usually pass the same homeless man sleeping in a doorway, always wearing a blue plaid flannel shirt, unbuttoned, bald, bearded. occasionally i fall into Au Bon Pain to get a bagel or a yogurt. there is always the same couple sitting by the big front window, an older white man and a younger asian woman. they are always reviewing documents on the table and i wonder what it is they are discussing: a thesis? real estate? a divorce?

i pass a deli that sells flowers outside, always a rainbow in white buckets.

the empire state building, which i can see from the DeKalb station all the way in Brooklyn, is stoic and silent every morning. i watch it as i walk north on 5th avenue to my building thinking this is my life, and it is wonderful


Shayna said...

i swear i left a comment for this post...where is it?

njm said...

there was a double entry, and i deleted the wrong one! sorry!

Shayna said...

well then you got the message- visit the hawthorne valley farm stand. they're biodynamic and they make highschoolers (like a 15 year old me) scrub their cheese. they can be identified by their gauzy scarves and berets.

Anonymous said...

I am new to the area and wondering how safe the area around Dekalb Station in Brooklyn is during rush hour commute time. I am a single female so I would like to know about the surrounding area. Thanks!

njm said...

yeah it seems perfectly safe. there are a lot of families who live in the area, so in the earlier part of the morning there are kids going to school and mothers taking smaller kids to their destinations, all this in addition to yuppies getting to work. the area looks rougher than it actually is, and the 38 and 13 busses drop you right off at the dekalb station, so you won't have to walk if your apt. is far away. feel free to email if you want.

njm said...