Near the village, the peaceful village…

New York Marathon Day – time to play avoid the street closures, security checks, sniffer dogs and choppers. Not that there’s anything wrong with Marathon-ing, it’s just that 50,000 runners in various flouro, lycra outfits can make it difficult to cross the street. The race ran through our neighbourhood, about 3 blocks up and the closest we got to it was passing overhead on the J train en route to The Village. The mass of seething, running, sportswear made it’s impressive way straight down Bedford as we sailed overhead and onto the Williamsburg Bridge. I reported yesterday that Winter had commenced with weather for t-shirts and sunburn for Pip. Today, the weather was grey and struggled to reach 9ºC with a chilling wind that insisted we take our heavy coats out.

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Today was to be our serious exploration of the The Villages – West and East. Washington Square and NYU were where we chose to start, wading knee deep through the squirrels and pigeons where we came upon a guy with a sign claiming to sell jokes for a buck – if you don’t laugh, they’re free. Since Pip bought it, I guess it’s fine to relate it to you… It’s a New York joke, so it starts with a “So…”. “So I’m up in Queens and I’m at a gas station and there aren’t any other white people around and I’m feeling a bit exposed and stared at. In fact, I think I’m being discriminated against. So I say to the gas station attendant, “What’s the matter here – you’re all acting like you’ve never seen a guy in a ski mask with a gun before?”. Must’ve been the delivery that made us laugh – anyway, it’s our joke now but we’ll sell it on for $1.50. As well as the joke guy, there was a fellow with pigeons all over him and a busker who somehow managed to get his grand piano into the park to play for loose change. Washington Square Park is beautiful in fall with red and golden leaves, the huge arch (that I sadly admit to having recognised from one of season finales of Glee – I only saw the ad though, really!), the fountain, and the impressive NYU campus surrounding it.

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We travailed the streets seeking respite only in shoe stores, record shops, artists’ markets and cafés, admiring street entertainers, such as a doo-wap group called Groundstone that managed to sell Pip, a long time secret Doo-wap fancier (apparently) their CD, and ooh-ing and aah-ing at the beautiful storesf and people. Café Dante lured us in for a brunch so authentically Italian it required a cannoli to complete. We pushed on and Number Big Son disappeared into a couple of record stores – lured by the sweet smell of vinyl – while Pip and I continued the explorations. Another 6 or 7 hours walking and we returned to the sub-terrain for a train home. Dinner was prepared at home and we found ourselves, courtesy of an extra hour courtesy of the end of daylight saving, ready for bed at a reasonable hour. >

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