Print Story First weekend in a new home
By aphrael (Mon Sep 05, 2011 at 10:21:10 AM EST) (all tags)
I have a nasty new blister.

This isn't a surprise; I've been in NYC five days and have done a lot of walking. (Which is also not a surprise).

Wednesday night:, 2.4 miles
Thursday: main walk, 10.0 miles.
Friday,, miscellaneous walks, 6.5 miles
Saturday,, including mostly pointless neighborhood tours which revealed that the local conception of the 'neighborhood' is rather cramped, 11.8 miles.
Sunday, main walk,, including a long morning greet-the-day walk with a great view of manhattan from up on a cliff, 9.6 miles.
Sunday, dessert walk,, 1.6 miles.

So, total, 41.9 miles since arriving in NYC at 7pm on Wednesday (not including a bunch of 1-2 block trips that aren't really recordable). (Surprisingly, there's actually elevation gain involved, which isn't clear from gmap-pedometer. Morningside Heights - the neighborhood where Columbia is located - is on a hill, with a very steep bluff on the east side seperating it from Harlem, with a still noticeable but gentler slope seperating it from Manhattanville to the north. (On the south, the slope is very gentle, and extends out over 30 blocks or so, making it mostly not noticeable). Our flat is in a building which is about halfway up the slope in the north/south direction, and more importantly is near the top of the slope in the east/west direction, meaning that it's basically downhill to go anywhere (and uphill to come back).

today will mostly be a day off, but we still have to go check out all the local grocery stores. (The organized tour which supposedly fulfilled this purpose ... didn't.)


The humidity is taking some getting used to. As I've said before, it's not bad humidity - it's nothing like the heavy humid air of Nassau, for example, where I could feel the air hanging around me. But ... I feel like I'm constantly covered in a sheen of sweat which won't evaporate, and when I go anywhere, I come home with a soaking wet shirt. (This creates an odd effect when walking into an air ocnditioned building, for sure: hmm. my stomoach and back are now COLD.) There are many things which I adapt to better than J- does, but I sweat a lot more than he does, meaning (a) I'm dripping a lot more than he is and (b) I need a lot more water than he does. Since right now I'm having trouble getting cold water, that's another problem; room-temp still water is much less pleasing to drink so I'm much less likely to go to the trouble of doing it.


Our building is somewhat old, so it suffers from many of the problems of old buildings: the cabinets have been repainted enough times, and the wood has warped enough, that it can be difficult to get them to open, and none of them close fully; the faucets are all somewhat leaky and require extra effort to turn off after they've been used; the carpet is old and tattered, and the tile in the tiled part of the flat looks ancient. None of these surprise me; I'm still overwhelmed, though, by the sense of how big the place is. And I'm utterly astonished (even though I predicted it) that it's quieter inside than it was in our place in Redwood City; the wall of brick buildings between us and the major roads muffles most of the traffic noise, and (except for the occasional tourist bus) there's very little traffic on our street because it's only three blocks long and it's basically impossible to go anywhere on it. (In Redwood City, we lived on the major street and the fact that the traffic had to accelerate under a rail bridge meant it was constantly noisy).


We're mostly moved in and unpacked. No pictures on the wall, but the trunk with the pictures hasn't arrived yet. Nor have I unpacked my books - I cannot, as I would have nowhere to unpack them into. We spent some time yesterday ordering additional furniture to supplement the furnishings (as the place is 'furnished' but only to a minimal level): a bookcase, a computer desk (for me to use so I can work from home in one corner of the flat), and two kitchen islands (because while we have plentiful cabinet space we have basically no counter space and this is a problem for any interesting cooking). We'll be here for at least two years, so it seems like a reasonable investment, and depending on where we go next, we may be able to take them with us.


J-'s school (a subunit of Columbia) had a bunch of orientation activities we signed up for. (1) a tour of neighborhood eateries and groceries, which started 40 minutes late because the person running it didn't show and they had to scramble to find a replacement. It basically turned into a walk around the perimeter of a 25x2 block area, without much useful information. (2) a tour of the college and of columbia university, which started on time but involved one person trying to lead a herd of 125 people, meaning he couldn't be heard at all - and, worse, many of the areas of the two campuses were inaccessible because they were closed for labor day weekend. (ponder the absurdity: the official tour for new students can't go everywhere it might want to go because it was scheduled to be on a day that those places were closed. wtf?) (3) a tour of neighborhood hangouts (eg, bars) which was derailed by the person who was supposed to be giving it not showing up, someone else getting drafted at the last minute, and the crowd being too large and unweildy to be interesting. This tour walked around the same 25x2 perimeter as the first tour. (4) a tour of dessert places which was advertised as, we're going to take the train downtown and go to nice dessert places in the city ... but which in fact walked around the same 25x2 perimeter.

We bailed on the last one a little bit into it and instead went downtown to Chinatown, where J- had found a very, very good ice cream place. That was a nice excursion. :) We also ate out a lot for the first couple of days - the kitchen wasn't really set up and in working order, and we hadn't gone grocery shopping, until saturday night. Really the best meal we had was at, which we found by a random walk in the east village after we walked to the southern tip of the island; it was very good pub food. We also had a decent brunch on Saturday at a brunch place near Columbia, and some nice ethiopian at a place J- remembered from when he was out here in April. On the other side of the coin were a mediocre brunch on Friday after moving in and a lousy dinner at's_Restaurant Tom's Restaurant, whose fame (thanks to Seinfeld) makes decent food unnecessary to attract customers. (I got a great deal of amusement over its association with Tom's Diner, an association which nobody else even seemed aware of. This might be a sign that I'm older than most of Columbia's students).


The weather service is advertising a flash flood warning for today. This could be ... entertaining. Perhaps more so because we're on top of a hill.

(In the places I've been, there's been very little hurricane damage visible - some downed trees which are still there, on the sidewalk, a week later - but that's about it.)


J- starts school tomorrow. I have two weeks off, much of which I imagine will be spent walking. :)

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First weekend in a new home | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
How's the water? by lm (2.00 / 0) #1 Mon Sep 05, 2011 at 12:58:56 PM EST
My wife and I dropped our daughter off on Staten Island just over a week ago. We spent the night. In the morning I took a shower and felt like I needed a shower to take off the results of the first shower. Dunno if that's an NYC wide thing or something peculiar to SI or to the pipes of the hotel we stayed at.

. . .

By Nike! That's a lot of walking!

. . .

It generally takes a while to feel like a new spread is a home rather than a place that you just happen to be staying. I hope the  furniture and whatnot helps you settle in to feel like it's your place quickly.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
we've not noticed any issues with the water by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 08:34:57 AM EST
so it doesn't seem to be an NYC wide thing.

there is an issue with lead in some of the older pipes (no surprise), so they say to run water for 30secs before using it for drinking/cooking etc, and ot only use cold water for same. but otherwise the water is very, very clean; they basically bought up a lot of the land in the watershed ot prevent development.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
it's not bad humidity by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 07:11:57 AM EST
Wait until July. NYC gets the same weather as DC in the summer.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

First weekend in a new home | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback