12 May 2007...7:16 pm

Artistically Challenging Stirrup Jeans

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Time Out New York did a feature this past week on the best walks in the city, which I was psyched about. I super love walking, and exploring at a pedestrian pace, on a human scale–I think it comes from travelling in countries where I don’t speak the language, or at least not very well, and my social anxiety and fear of embarrassing myself make taxis and buses prohibitively intimidating. Ask a dusty, taciturn, big-bellied bus driver how to get to Sololá? Pienso que no.

Also, now I have a pedometer. Leeeee! And I have finished finals. So there’s lots of good sunny time in Brooklyn. But was I going to do one of the ToNY walks?

Ulysses S. Grant’s final resting place is a hot walking spot.”

My decision was made.

I chafe against predetermined exploration, anyway, (even though Max and I have grand plans for a Stoner’s Walk) and it would definitely have been impossible to drink the Milanese cappuccino from a defunct Madison Avenue cafe to which ToNY aimed walkers, so I evaluated my priorities. I considered my ultimate destination–Gowanus, starting from Williamsburg–and also my ultimate preoccupation on any May morning when the air’s already sultry: pretty dresses.

You should do this walk. You should not do this walk wearing consignment Grasshoppers. They will smell irreversibly atrocious.

The route is about five and a half miles and took me–with stops and an extended mournful look at my bicycle, which was robbed of its seat and rear wheel in Prospect Heights (it looks ridiculously undignified, like a senior citizen who forgot to put his pants on)–about three hours. Also, there’s no reason for you to go all the way to Gowanus, even though if this were a magazine and especially if this were a cool magazine, I’d probably advise “catching” some “artistically challenging material” at the “Issue Project Room.” Also, guess I’d do that if I wrote for Zagat’s.

So. I started south on Bedford Avenue and walked through Williamsburg, the real Williamsburg, where everyone was scurrying around on foot or in minivan getting ready for Shabbos. If they were really rushed, they probably didn’t have time to eat and just picked up a little drive-thru Glatt kosher chinese food at “Chinese Checkers.” (I think keyboards explode if you spell “through” with all its letters in the context of mono-saturated fats).

I turned right on Rutledge, which turns into Classon, at which point the neighborhood begins to change. Blue Bass was started across the street from Pratt by some pretty young ladies last fall, and I really love their things, especially the things that are wee sweaters and sailor shirts for babies. I touched one, and something Lego-ish fell off. Sara Hodges, proprietress, was very nice about it.

I kept walking down Classon, hellooo western fringes of Bed Stuy, and turned right on the little spit of Quincy street that ends in the old Brooklyn Trolley building turned Broken Angel, the eerie building that needs an urban arts patron to the tune of $1.4 million. (Site-Meter indicates that I have a fabulously wealthy readership that loves sea glass). The Salvation Army at 22 Quincy isn’t anything special, just several dank moth-bally rooms where I seriously considered buying a yellow bathing suit with white buttons. Honestly, it was the yellow and not the potential salvation (read: private-part skin falling off due to mysterious used bathing suit disease) that finally convinced me to walk away. A series of courteous gentlemen, though, did inform me in turn that all furniture was half-off. Another one told me my fly was down. All very helpful.

I trudged along, one teeny acid-washed skirt wealthier. My armpits were nearing super-saturation, so I dripped all over the counter and ordered a beverage at Muddy Waters, just north of Grand Army Plaza. Hootie Couture, on Flatbush, has lovely gowns and dresses that probably thrill the pubescent crowd that descends after it gobbles up American Apparel across the street. Everyone writes about Allison Houtte so I don’t really need to, but on Friday she was keeping her store icy cold like a mint julep on Kentucky Derby day (she’s from Florida/I’m out of my element here) and charming everyone who came in. Also, she kept trilling “If anyone wants some goooodies, come right up! I have caaaandy!”

At the (second, yes, second) Salvation Army down the block there was a different sort of lady clientele, exemplified by a sturdy old woman in a very sensible polo shirt who was paralyzingly confused about whether she’d purchased the other identical polo shirts on the counter before her.

“What?! They’re yours! Take them!” the cashier kept repeating, and the woman didn’t respond, just kind of jabbed her finger at the price tag. Finally, she used a very, very small voice to say “I want to pay less,” even though she’d already paid–more.

By that point, I wanted to pay less, too, but I kept the dream alive and paid $2.99 debit for a smoking hot pair of Ralph Lauren STIRRUP JEANS. I was smelly and redeemed.


  • Max Silvestri

    They don’t make Grasshoppers for men. That’s a shame. (Right?)

  • They don’t make the gray perforated leather velcro hightops I want for women. In terms of ankle support, that’s a shame-r.

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