I am often responsible for my unhappiness. I can start a list in my head of why I will hate something or think a situation will not improve and then start building a wall that is impenetrable to the notion of change or things improving. When that happens, perhaps for self-preservation or as a reward to my inner whiney quitter kid, I will bail. So on the Friday that I was attending a movie in Greenpoint a neighborhood in Brooklyn, a few things started going wrong, and I got my cinder blocks out to build my wall.
The borough of Brooklyn in New York City is massive, and I do not pretend to know my way around all of it. I can do a small portion of downtown. From Borough Hall I can tell you how to get to Shake Shack or Nordstrom's Rack. I can get to Ikea on the shuttle or using MTA. I actually could walk to Red Hook from downtown in a pinch because I love Ikea but that is for another post. I have a pretty good mental picture of the area around the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and the Museum, but you have now exhausted what I know about Brooklyn. So as I followed the directions to Greenpoint, I was a total tourist.
The journey to Greenpoint involved a few trains that I know very little about. The subway system in New York is numbered and lettered: A -G and M-R excluding O and 1-7. When I first moved to New York I took the 1, 2, and 3 trains every day. I later branched out to the 4, 5, and 6 trains. My journey this evening to what was becoming Timbuktu involved the 7 and G trains. Yikes!
After walking to the E, I caught a train headed in the wrong direction and realized I left my lawn chair at home. Aagh! I put a mental nail in my mouth and started looking for lumber to further build my wall. I wanted to just give up and go home, but I had a blister on my foot that demanded it have a break for at least another hour before I embarked on the two-hour journey home. Finally after a few false starts and very crowded trains I reached Greenpoint.
Coming to see a film in Greenpoint was very interesting to me. I was used to seeing parodies in the papers and on the train about life in Greenpoint. I wondered how true it was. It has a designation as a "hipster" neighborhood. I was dressed kind of bohemian, but nothing I was wearing came from Urban Outfitters and if you add to that my age, I wondered if I was going to be a walking red thumb.
Upon exiting the train station, I realized riding my bike would have helped me fit in more. It seemed as if everyone was either riding a bike or carrying a box of pizza. In that respect, it reminded me of a college town on a Sunday night where everyone is hurrying back to their dorm with food for a long night of studying. Maybe people in Greenpoint just don't cook. The area that I saw was a real mix of an old neighborhood with people who have lived in their homes for generations and new businesses like hot yoga, multipurpose lofts, industrial businesses, and manufacturing coalescing to make a community.
The walk down Greenpoint Ave. to Transmitter Park was filled with an array of international shops and businesses. The Polish Hall is across the street from the Spanish Radio offices and the Hot Yoga spot. The edgy skateboard shop is near the stone importer and an industrial looking loft space for rent place. It was an intriguing mix of urban and inner city. This street reminded me a little of the vibe back home in Hamtramck, Michigan, with fewer older ladies in babushkas and more twenty some things carrying pizza boxes and riding bicycles.
I was grumpy as I finally hobbled into Transmitter Park in Greenpoint Brooklyn. When I arrived there, I was a little underwhelmed. The park area was small, and the grass was not as well-maintained as the grass at other parks in the city. It was truly urban, and as a Detroit girl, I know what it feels like to sit on lawn like that. As a lifelong Detroiter now living in New York, I am amazed at the amount of money that is available for the upkeep of aesthetics. I guess I still view park maintenance as aesthetics. I remember visiting parks in Detroit as a child and running in the grass as a fun experience. But Detroit filed for bankruptcy in 2013, and in the years leading up to filing, the residents became accustomed to non-vital services being reduced or eliminated. The care of parks was part of that reduction. Often, the grass in Detroit parks would only be cut twice a season. One day, you would pass a park and the grass would be waist high, and then the next day it would be mowed to the dirt because it would not be cut again until the following year. So, living here in New York, it is often strange to see such a beautiful and well-maintained park system throughout the five boroughs. The grass at Transmitter Park, however, reminded me of home, and I was surprised! It was thatch!
Late spring 2016 in NYC has been dry and we have not had many days of consecutive rain which helps places like Transmitter Park. Suffice it to say, the area for the screening was hard, dry, and dusty. In my mind, I had on safety goggles and was unloading a load of lumber to build my wall up even higher. In actuality I unpacked my stuff and laid out my blanket and then went to investigate the park. I lamented that I forgot my beach chair. But I had a pillow and the view to my right was of the lovely sunset against the New York skyline. The view to my left was of Greenpoint Avenue, accompanied by a glimpse into the heart of the hipster nation.
Okay, the view does live up to the description on the www.nycparks.com website as exciting and breathtaking. The boardwalk was nice, and in a town of eight million, a small crowd in a park is pleasant. Maybe this would not be too bad.
I purchased a Subway sub in honor of the movie (entitled Subway) and brought along just a few other things. I forgot the salad dressing but I was on the "think positive" bus for the moment.
What I Packed in My Picnic Basket
(I always pack a warm sweater to bring to outdoor events especially those that are near the water. I have yet to not need it. I figure on the day that it is too warm to wear I will just sit on it. Lol!)
I settled in and was glad I brought my pillow to sit on because it was helping with my comfort. The lawn was filling up and there were French pop tunes in the air. Then I noticed a large group of people up front smoking! I really dislike smoking at events like this. Although films in parks are held outdoors, the smoke is usually blown into the crowd and you can be trapped with smoke in your face for hours. The people next to me settled in and had two unleashed dogs. My mental wall was 10 feet tall now, and I was getting out my tools to start dry walling. What could make this "fun" evening even worse?
The film for that evening was a very popular and famous French Film entitled Subway. It was released in 1986 and is one of the early films of director Luc Besson. It has an all-star cast of Isabelle Adjani, Christopher Lambert, Jean Reno and many other familiar faces. The film was so engaging and classically French - I loved it. I think the French have an approach to comedy that is effortless and nonchalant yet so amusing. This film was not a comedy but it had moments of sheer hilarity. It was everything that you could hope for in a 1980s film and more. I checked and this film is available on Amazon - I'd love for someone to tell me what they think about it.
I loved that I stayed to see this great film which was the fourth film presented this season by Films on the Green. Check out their website frenchculture.org to see their schedule because they show films in other cities through the US. All the films are shown with English subtitles so you will not be lost if you do not speak French. I have mentioned my love of this festival before so please check it out I think you would enjoy it as well.
Joy is a choice, give it a try.