Cortelyou on the Q

So it’s been over a month since my last post and this isn’t quite turning out to be your everyday blog. Nor have I undertaken any more travel, journeys on trains or had any real adventure. Not a very exciting life I know! Nevertheless here’s another blog entry and one in which I hope to share with you all aspects of my recent move away from Manhattan.

Yup, I’m now in far and distant Brooklyn or ‘across the river’ as people in Manhattan refer to it. Been living here for a little over 2 months since my return from India in the summer. Brooklyn is a huge borough as you can imagine and I haven’t had the time or inclination to explore most parts of it. So I shall keep this discourse limited to the little neighborhood that I belong to. More specifically Argyle Rd which is just off Cortelyou Rd which is in between Flatbush Ave and Coney Island Ave which is south of Prospect Park and in relation to ‘the city’, southeast of Manhattan !! And if you’ve had it with all those names, this should make it easier for you..

I share a 5 bedroom apartment with Matt, Lara, Renata & Meghan (seated L to R in pic below). Matt and Renata are in the same program as me at Parsons. Meghan is studying law and Lara is a creative writing graduate from The New School. Lara is Phillipino and that makes the 2 of us the only non-‘goras’ in the apartment.

No that wasn’t taken in our apartment (I wish!) but at this really nice restaurant a minute’s walk from our place called ‘Picket Fences’. Our apartment looks more like this – the drawing room i.e. I forget what this space is referred to as in the US though – living room maybe?

And that’s my little space within the apartment..

Cortelyou road which runs east-west is where all the shops, stores and eating joints are located as also the subway station. It’s the hub of all activity essentially. The roads running north-south are all residential and Argyle – where I live – is one such road. That’s my building from the outside and what the rest of the street looks like. We’re well into Fall as you can see..

The other side of Argyle (across Cortelyou) is the prettier side actually and is made up of independent Victorian style houses complete with driveways, backyards and what have you.

Other than Picket Fences, there’s another nice eatery called ‘The Farm’ and although I haven’t eaten there yet it appears to be quite snooty. Picket Fences on the other hand is more casual and chilled out. There’s also ‘Vox Pop’, the local book store cum coffee shop and of course ‘Cornerstone’ which is the local pub located right outside the subway station and always a draw when your walking back home after a long day. I’ve only been there once and I have to say its quite nice and cozy. Has a lovely carved wooden ceiling, a pool table and jazz bands playing thrice a week. While the neighborhood itself has a good ethnic mix of Asians, Hispanics, Whites and Blacks, you almost never see the white population walking the thoroughfare that makes up Cortelyou Rd. Funnily enough they somehow seem to emerge from the woodwork and make up most of the clientele of these very joints! Meanwhile, Cortelyou on a normal sort of day looks something like this..

I often ask myself what I miss the most about living in Manhattan. Its got to be the commute or the lack of it! While Grove St in the West Village offered me a 10 min brisk walk to school, I’m now 40-45 mins away living in Brooklyn. Took a bit getting used to but now I really don’t mind it so much and besides I’ve learnt to appreciate the subway system of NYC that much more. The Q train runs tirelessly through the week and weekend, all through the night, has a good frequency and has never let me down to date. Besides, Cortelyou Rd station reminds me of some of the stations in Bombay – notably Mahalaxmi, Parel & Matunga which have their station buildings located on a higher level where the road crosses over the tracks. With the neighborhood buildings at an elevation it also reminds me of the section between Charni Rd and Bombay Central!!

My journey to Union Sq (the stop for school) takes 25 minutes and is a mix of tunnel and surface running. The best part of the journey of course is crossing the Manhattan Bridge which has splendid views of Brooklyn Bridge, the city skyline and the Statue of Liberty silhouetted further away. It makes for an even prettier sight by night.

2 months on and I’ve gotten used to my new neighborhood and the added commute. Brooklyn is home to me now. Ever so often though I can’t help but look back and miss my little room on 61 Grove. Goodbye old friend..

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