Weird Things that I Do

As is the fate of most New Yorkers, I end up spending a lot of time by myself.  Fortunately, I can entertain myself for hours on end with various degrees of nonsense.  With the emergence of this delicious weather and a little bit of money in my pocket (thank you, birthday and Uncle Sam) I have, of late, rekindled my long and passionate love affair with shopping.  I realize that “shopping” and “New York” conjures up cinematic images of celebrities, 5th avenue, Louis Vitton flagships and the like, so perhaps “browsing” is the more appropriate word choice.  The reality at hand is: I am a Social Worker, live in Brooklyn (read slightly cheaper borough) and come from a long line of “thrifty” types (to put it nicely).  Let’s just say that any restaurant apart from Dairy Queen, Sonic or Chili’s is referred to by my father as “yuppy.”

The past couple of Fridays I’ve had the leisurely pleasure of walking home (Ft. Greene) from work (Bed Stuy).  If you are into walkabouts and can hold your own in the “less predictable” areas of the city there are bargains, treasures and plenty of weirdness to be found.  Here are a a few gems from my recent strolls down Fulton St., some classier than others:

Family Dollar (1090 Fulton St.)–this store is like Walgreens (another fave of mine), only with more candy and $5 scented candles (God, I am turning into my mother).  I realize this is a low-budget chain, but $6.50 for a multipack box of tampax deserves some props (am I right, ladies?)

Last week I finally visited the Kelso Brewery and was disheartened to learn that they no longer offer tours but happy to learn they sell growlers of their delicious brewskis….and that the guy who works there is hot.

Walking tour side note: Capital One bank (858 Fulton St.) has no ATM fees for ING customers….but having only thirty dollars in my account made that a moot point.

The further west on Fulton, the more hipster-y bars, farm-to-table type restaurants (so predictable) and a surprising amount of bakeries.  Never one to turn down a sweet, I decided the neighborly thing to do was sample from one of these delightfully cutesy storefronts.  I settled for a giant piece of strawberry shortcake from Essential Cakes (886 Fulton St.), which hit all kinds of spots, though not surpassing the Cake Man Raven’s (708 Fulton St.) red velvet slice o’ heaven.  The Raven should be on everyone’s bucket list fo sho.

There’s a new restaurant about to open on Fulton and Classon called Alice’s Arbor.  I just like that it looks like a boat from the outside.  Am I right?

If you look just past Alice’s you’ll see a smaller, stand-alone hotel in the background.  I have a strange fascination with New York hotels (and schools and grocery stores for that matter..pretty much any institution requiring a large surface area to function).  I’m always a little surprised when I see hotels outside of Times Square.  And surprised that (warning: NYC snobbery coming out here) there are actually tourists educated enough to expand their horizons outside of said neighborhood.  At any rate, the ole’ “Pleasant Stay” looked like it had some stories to tell.  I scoured the internet hoping for at least a good ghost story, murder mystery plot or  famous-artist-in-hiding situation.  The story I found on the Clinton Hill blog was unfortunately more melancholy than murder mystery.  One commenter remarks:

“the hotel is used by cumberland hospital as a housing location for their patients who have aids”  Eyemaze.net stated something similar…that it’s an SRO/halfway house for people with HIV/AIDS.

Another factoid I found was an album by artist Vanessa Boyd entitled “Pleasant Stay Hotel.”  Though I couldn’t find any confirmation that she was inspired by the original, she does live in New York and the album cover seems oddly familiar…

Coincidence?  I think not.  I’ll leave you with this sultry little number from Ms. Boyd’s album

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