Now that it’s getting warmer, it’s nice to walk around Sunnyside again, even in the rain. Sokin and I went out for a stroll around the neighborhood last night, looking to have dinner and dessert.
We approached a grocery store I didn’t recognize… five blocks away becomes the unknown. Three small dogs were tied out front, yapping uncomfortably at the rain. A black one on the end set up the most ungodly howl. “We’re stopping here until the owner comes out,” I told Sokin. The dog quieted down under my umbrella, and started shivering.
We had no solid idea where we were going for dinner. We gave pub after pub a pass. “It’s crammed,” he would say, peering into the smoky dark. Outside a Latin club, women wore heels half as high as their bare knees and clustered together in the chill. Outside the Korean restaurant, a huge crowd waited for the valets with yellow hip-hop jackets. A portent of the wedding season’s approach.
Further proof I really oughtn’t to leave this neighborhood, ever: Sokin and I found a studio a few blocks away which offers accordion lessons. Advertises them in the posters cramming its front windows, incredibly enough, from which also issued great Latin percussion. I stood and gawked through a narrow patch of posterless window at the group of men handling drums and chekeres inside, who looked back with mild consternation.
To put this in perspective, in Los Angeles there was one accordion studio, if you could find it, and it was a half-hour’s drive from me. Sunnyside really has everything you could possibly want within a few blocks. Laundromats, clubs, hairdressers, pool halls, movie theaters, grocery stores big and small. Move another three blocks to the east and you find the same accoutrements with the ethnic makeup of the owners shuffled: a Colombian-owned market, a Chinese restaurant, Russian hairdressers; a Turkish-owned market, an Italian restaurant, Ecuadorian hairdressers.
I’d been out that afternoon enjoying my other latest stroke of unbelievable luck. By complete sheer utter random dumb-lucky fortunate serendipitous happenstance, I caught a glimpse of a storefront that said “DANCE” off the 40th St. stop of the 7 train. New place to find shoes, I thought, and headed that way. It turned out I was luckier than that. I’d missed the telltale “Stay Cool!” slogan across the awning, that faint echo of “all your base are belong to us” in its perky misappropriation of idiom… There is a Dance Dance Revolution arcade in my own freakin’ backyard! I spent all afternoon there Saturday, and spent my week’s dancing allowance on the game. I’m not going to write any more about the experience now; I’m trying to pitch an article about it to the Village Voice, seeing as the Playstation version comes out in the U.S. next week. However, I’ll probably end up putting whatever gets cut back in here. The game is frightfully addictive and more available than Wednesday swing at Hush, so I’m sure as hell not going to stop doing it anytime soon.
Sunnyside! The crocuses are blooming! There’s great junk at the curb on Thursdays! The man at Sunny Grocery is willing to give you credit, even if you walk in at midnight looking like hell and buy only milk!
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Oh, I can rhapsodize, but I’m not too thrilled about the crowd of drunk men talking loudly at the end of my alley. “street culture.” feh.