Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Quest in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

So for today's wandering my mother actually gave me a quest, of sorts.  After she read an email about all my wandering everywhere, she suggested I go to the Williamsburg neighborhood here in Brooklyn and look for the apartment building her family lived in when she was born in the mid-40's.

She gave me the address 239 South 2nd Street, but said she thought it might've been torn down since she lived there (which wasn't very long, as her family moved quite a bit between Brooklyn and New Jersey, back and forth, but different places each time).

Then I looked at the MTA's website and examined the map of the subway system to see how to get to Williamsburg.  Good thing I didn't get an apartment there, the subway lines don't cross those that go to my office, except in Manhattan...  To get there from the apartment I had to go to Canal Street in Manhattan and transfer from the R to the J.

I took the J over the Williamsburg Bridge and got off at Marcy Avenue, which was close to South 5th Street and I new I had to go north.  It took a little walking and one wrong turn before I found South 2nd Street and the right blocks.  Unfortunately, the address my mother gave me didn't exist.  She said 239, but there was a 237, then right next to it a much newer building numbered 241.  Probably the old 239 and 241 had been torn down and one larger apartment building put up there, judging by the architecture, maybe in the 60s.

From there I wandered around Williamsburg a little.  There was a small park where I saw some guys, one with a camera, feeding pigeons, and more pigeons that I think I've seen at one time before, so I took a few photos of that.

When I was ready to head out of there, I found signs directing bicyclers onto the Williamsburg Bridge, so I followed those and ended up on the bike path on the bridge.  The sign clearly said no walkers, but I couldn't find any other obvious option, so I went on it, besides, there were other people walking up there, too.  As I got higher up I saw a parallel path on the other side of the bridge, with both walkers and bikers on it.

I took lots of photos on the bridge, of the bridge, and a few off the side.  Unfortunately the fences on the sides were much too high for me, so it was hard getting good photos outside of the bridge without fences in them.  A few places there was a little gap between sections of fence so I aimed my camera carefully through those to get a few decent photos.

A little after halfway over the bridge a number of bicyclists yelled at me for being on the bike path and not the walking path.  At the midway point there was a connection between the paths on both sides, so I went back to there and found the walking path that I was supposed to be on, and continued my walk.  It turns out that on the Manhattan side the paths are very clearly marked, include the part where they split into separate ones.  But on the Brooklyn side, they're completely separate entrances separated by a few streets and not so easy to find, hence my confusion...

Once over the bridge and into Manhattan, on the Lower East Side.  I made a quick turn off Delancey Street that I came in on in order to get some shade from the sun on a side street.  It's a really happening neighborhood there, lots and lots and lots of young people, restaurants, bars and shops of all kinds all over the place.  Very packed, especially the restaurants, I don't know if I saw any one of them that had any empty tables in sight of the front windows.

I just sort of wandered for a couple of hours, mostly staying a few blocks on either side of Broadway, working my way up.  Eventually I got uncomfortable, with my clothes getting a bit sweaty, and the worst was my undershorts sort of rode up a bit so my inner thighs were rubbing uncomfortably against my sweat-soaked jeans.

That was when I found the nearest subway station and headed back to Brooklyn so I could get a nice shower...

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