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Sunday Morning
Dispatches from New York

I’m not hungover, just tired. It’s 9:39 on a Sunday morning and I’m sipping coffee and watching the rain. There are so few people on the pavement it feels like there must be an explanation other than the time.

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The Wash
Dispatches from New York

College Park Laundromat
Image courtesy of LaurenProfeta on Flickr

I see a spinning pile of froth through impact resistant glass windows – many windows one froth. Little $1.75 portals to a land called clean.

Maybe one day I will be an old man who goes to laundromats and stares at women putting their dirty panties in the machines. Maybe I’ll start a website devoted to this subject while I am still young enough to maintain an erection and feel self disgust. Maybe I’ll just move to an apartment with a washer-dryer.

There’s reggaeton. There are damp easy-iron shirts hung over the back of my chair and I’m leaning forward and scribbling while a slow burning ache develops midway between my shoulderblades and tailbone. The sun is going down.

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Dispatches from New York

To commemorate 2 months of having left Miami for browner pastures, I present all the random junk I’ve collected off the streets during my wandering. Join me after the jump.

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An evening of eye contact

this has very little to do with anything

The eyes of New Yorkers are all rabbits in the forest. The slightest glance will send their heads snapping left or right to feign interest in the nearest wall or shrub, denying you the pleasure (if you can call it that) of eye contact. If I lived in a Tex Avery cartoon their eyeballs would fly out, bounce against the nearest set of bricks, then land back in their heads again while their expressions remained an unchanged pout.

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Trinity Church

Where Wall Street ends, God begins. This is Trinity Episcopal Church) on Broadway.

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Week 4 in nyc

taken by John Spain

July comes like an AMEX statement – not unexpected and not desired. 2 interviews during the week, neither of which were interviews per-se. Filling out forms at a temp agency that either treats their temps somewhat humanely or is good at lying. This was preceded by lunch with a guy who seems to think he can line me up a job at a major non-profit but not for a few months, possibly with some volunteering between now and then. In short: progress was made but I’m no closer to making next month’s rent.

The city is lonesome. “Animal Tropical”: are in town and on the metaphorical couch for the weekend. The bassist just left to wander and eat a “good meal,” both being commendable tourist goals. I mulled this before realizing that people here fall for one another quickly not just because it makes rent cheaper but because you need to fall in love to keep make this city feel magical, lest you wind up spending most of your time alone.

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Heat and the City

It is hot. Unlike Miami, wherein you spend your life racing from one AC-filled enclosure to another, few places here in New York have central AC. This unavoidably leaves every nook and cranny of you sticky and damp, possibly even a gushing river valley of damp and nasty and gross. The filthy crannies are flooded anew, like the Nile Delta, washing bacteria in nutrients needed for survival and an environment that speeds replication. The result: delicious, delicious B.O.

You think these thoughts while on a crowded subway with your face jammed into the back of a salaryman’s neck, wondering whether he or someone else will spray-n-wash the sweatstains out of his collar. Right now I think these thoughts sitting lotus-like in front of a box fan and wondering when I’ll feel like moving again.

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JS at TJ's
In which our hero seeks employment

So I go shopping at Trader Joe’s on my second or third day in NYC and notice a “Hiring” sign. If you’ve never been to TJ’s, imagine a store where everything is cheap, everyone is perky as hell, there is virtually nothing you actually need on the shelves, and yet there are way too many goddamn people. The grand marketing scheme of TJ’s is that the thrift involved, combined with the cheeriness of the staff, will make up for an inconsistent selection and insane lines. In other words, whereas places like Fresh Market will try to woo you with a shopping experience designed to resemble an artisanal gourmand’s cellar, TJ’s decor basically looks like a cafeteria and costs about as much as well.

When I heard they were hiring I figured why not — a year’s worth of managing a service window at a non-profit might have prepared me for this zoo, and if nothing else I could work there a couple of days a week so as to keep my head above water. I also wanted to wear a shitty flower print shirt and get free expired cheese. What can I say, I’m easy to please.

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Tips on Relocating from Miami to NYC

Fundamentally Miami is not very different from New York. They are each incredibly diverse places with many people of different nationalities. Furthermore they are both places where things are “happening,” things like drug transactions and stabbings. Both also have clubs that you can’t get into. In essence, anything that’s creepy can and does happen in both, only with an added volume in New York and an added ennui in Miami. Thus creepy things in Miami just make you laugh whereas in New York they make you want to get in a shower with all your clothes on and never leave.

With that in mind please follow these simple tips to ensure a safe and rewarding relocation to New York until such a point as you give up and go back to Miami to live on your parents’ couch again:

- For ventilation purposes many apartments have windows directly situated above their toilets. Do not be alarmed by this or by the pervert that lives directly across from you – both are perfectly normal.

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Week one: John's Miami to New York "adventures"

I flew to New York this past Monday via the first one-way ticket I have ever purchased. I spent the flight reading The Great Gatsby and pretending not to smell the old lady farts that occurred like clockwork every 10 minutes.

My phone is the receptacle for these thoughts although it is nearly impossible to draw from my pocket. It has to go past my keychain, which is flush with NYC apartment keys and my own from Miami. There are three tiny keys I found on the streets of Rome that I nearly lost when walking on the featureless expanse of Miller Drive, on which I live. Correction, lived.

There comes a moment before every flight where I debate necessity. A long moment, like all moments are on planes, where everything you do is hurrying along only to wait. Today I’m not worrying about the flight itself (even though Spirit Air makes chicken buses seem like luxury liners) but of the destination. The whole of the last 24 hours has been doubt caused at least in part by exhaustion and now illness. No doubt this will continue, abetted by the realization that the people waiting for the plane are all the sorts I will be sharing a city with. There are lots of New Yawkers waiting, chewing their words like a dog would chew a chain and throwing their weight around.

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Leaving, writing, navelgazing

Yesterday I tore everything I own from wherever it was hiding and stared at it intently before putting it into one of two places: a pile (store, ship, gift, goodwill) or right back where it came from. In-between, I walked to the park across the street with a curly haired blonde girl and watched her swing while her daschund chased iguanas through poinciana petals and around the canal.

I thought to myself, as I walked through air so thick with humidity it was edible, of writing and plans for leaving the tropics. There’s a point to this navelgazing, I promise.

Of my 29 years alive I’ve spent 25 here. In my 18th year the first thing I read in my undergraduate career at UM was an old Playboy article given to me by my English 102 professor. The students there were essentially the dumbest I would share a classroom with in my 4 years there and every word of it was lost on them.

The article was about how the greatest threat and most intimidating thing to an author is a blank page needing filling. As someone who had been writing since he was 12, every word rang true.

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