The weekend in New York went well. It could've been better if I weren't worried about this Arendt thing, but I'm starting to see that worry, neurosis, and minor setback is going to be my ever-present companion in life rather than simply a temporary college-related disorder. The alternatives are grim--a career as a barista at Starbuck's might relieve my constant dread of incomplete projects.
Friday night, Julia and I went to a UChicago young alumni reunion at a place where the music was excessively loud as though to encourage us to spontaneously grind against each other. An odd choice for a U of C event. However, Chicago's newly-acquired immense wealth means that there was an open bar to ease us into the evening. I was able to strike at least one person off my I Know Everything About You From Your Blog Even Though We've Never Met list though, which was nice.
The next afternoon, we toured key areas of Brooklyn--Park Slope, Williamsburg, and Brighton Beach. Babies and puppies were omnipresent, though not in Brighton Beach. I do not fully understand the phenomenon of Park Slope. Julia says that it's not a new thing to raise children in the city, and Phoebe says it's an outgrowth of the Upper East Side, which ran out of space. I, on the other hand, am inspired by my recent discovery of the shocking republicanism in FDR's New Deal speeches (ask, and I will expound), and think this is some new manifestation of civic republicanism. Think about it--the public-ness (ok, in the form of stroller socialization, but still), the civic engagement (ok, in the form of recycling, but still), the effort to restore an idealized past of the location. (These might also be signs of incipient totalitarianism, but let's sideline that possibility for now.) The emphasis on raising children is key to all this. (Whereas the obsession with buying stuff to represent your lifestyle is a problematic outlier.) Anyway, the theory is still nascent and unformed (uninformed?). I really don't understand how such a baby density arose.
Brighton Beach was an extremely discomforting alternate reality--my life had my parents moved to New York instead of Chicago. It was a little too intensely Russian for me. We had a difficult time finding lunch in Brighton Beach, largely due to the fact that everything looked either filthy or offered such delicacies as "boiled cabbage and potatoes" on the menu.
Or, "scrambled eggs with stuff." We did end up eating at this place though, and allowing for our decision to pass on the veal tongue and the "rock of lamb," what I did get was pretty good:
And blintzes with caviar. (Julia was disgusted by this, but this is because her tastes are underdeveloped.)
Then we wandered around some more, and discovered some other excellent culinary options we'd missed:
And a bookstore boasting the following neighborhood niche:
The rest of the trip was spent variously eating, partying, meeting up with a high school friend, and schlepping back to Penn Station. Now I'm back to work and worrying. Life is good.