travel

Lit Only by a Neon Chandelier

I was up and about before 9 today, eating two mini Kind bars around Chinatown, headed towards my destination of Brooklyn. I had a heck of a time finding the pedestrian walkway. I walked under the overpass and frantically looked around and then down at Google maps. Well, I found it in due course. The first thing that happens on the walkway is people try to sell you water and hotdogs and pictures of Marilyn Monroe. Then, you probably notice the wood planks that you are going to be walking on. I did not want to trust the planks. I imagined meeting my watery grave in the East River. Of course, it was a ridiculous thing to be afraid of. If anything, you would die from the impact with the cars and highway below before drowning. It was shaping up to be a morbid morning.

It really looks like this sign was actually printed this way. I appreciate a sense of humor in law enforcement.

Of course, the romance of the Bridge caught up with me. I like going under stuff. When I was a kid, I liked tunnels. In particular, I remember that there was this tunnel we would go under on the way to LAX. I liked to watch the lights in there receding as we whizzed past in our taxi. As I approached the twin arches, I imagined myself emerging at the other end a different person. Yes, I do realize how ridiculous this all sounds, especially coming from a C-section baby.

As I walked along the street, I saw a tequila bar and maybe I smiled because it reminded me of a day that I felt happy. I wondered where all the good times had gone. Then, I wondered why I cared. A plastic takeout bag with a smiley face on it blew in the wind and ended up underneath a car. They weren’t gone, they were just changed.

I went to Prospect Park. At first I was like, “whatever, park.” But it’s a really nice park and a nice neighborhood. There are all these trails you can wander down, and you can be all alone if you want to, which is a nice change. I feel like these parks are necessary to keep people sane. I can always use some sanity, so I got into the experience. I saw a puddle and imagined that I was the puddle. It was nice. A lady walked by and smiled at me. Maybe we would all be happier if we made like puddles every now and then. There are a lot of little brown birds with orange chests. At Central Park, I once saw a bird with the prettiest orange beak. No connection.

I also walked along the fence by Greenwood Cemetery. I didn’t go in the cemetery. There were rolling hills and nice trees, grave stones in the shapes of spires, angels, and crosses.

I wasn’t feeling very shutter-happy during this time. I suppose I felt that nature and death were too intimate to be casually photographed by my iPhone.

Next, I got on the subway and headed towards the Lite Brite Neon Studio that I’d heard about. To no one’s surprise (I can’t read a map for my life), I couldn’t find it and even passed by it once. Finally, I located the street address, a nondescript industrial building across the street from a large Whole Foods. I went in and was greeted by a neon chandelier. It was otherwise an empty entrance with stairwells. I walked downstairs and found another neon chandelier. I was really excited at that point. I felt like I was in a video game. I found a room where a man inside appeared to be making neon signs. And there was another door that led into the workshop. Someone smiled at me when I walked in. Then, someone else politely told me that it was not open to the public, contrary to the impression that Atlas Obscura had given me. So I left, but oddly enough, was not disappointed. I’d made quite the trek into Brooklyn to get there, but at least I’d had some fun along the way. And there wasn’t another tourist in sight. Kudos to me for getting off the beaten path.

I decided that I wanted to see Coney Island. I got on the N-train, which was the right train, and the sign on there even said “Coney Island.” It seemed auspicious. However, we were not going to Coney Island at all. We ended up back in boring Manhattan. I got off at the first stop and transferred. I figured I’d see the Statue of Liberty for good measure. However, I was also tired from my Brooklyn adventures, so I just got on the Staten Island ferry, which was closer to me than that other ferry that takes you directly to the Statue. I wasn’t really in the mood for the whole history lesson either. I just wanted to see the thing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s