Having Been Human
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Sun Apr 29 23:17:29 2012
Post-Park Hike

After hanging out at Gantry Plaza Park (a very nice place to relax, decent for people-watching too, wonderful view of Manhattan from Queens) for a bit, I decided to take a bit of a hike and see how close I could make it to home by foot before I either got tired ir it got too late to go get groceries before everyplace would be closed.

The hike

I did pretty well; made it from Long Island City to Downtown Brooklyn.

Along the way, I passed through the Chasidic neighbourhood south of Williamsburgh, which was interesting and disturbing. Gender segregation (took a photo of some signs that said things like "ABSOLUTELY NO WOMEN PERMITTED TO USE THIS ENTRANCE"), really stupid haircuts, but polite and studious people (one of whom stopped studdenly and I bummped into him and he apologised profusely). Not sure what impressions my giant Jewish-y cowboy hat made, although maybe I was mostly invisible to them. If I wasn't in a hurry I would've had dinner at one of the restaurants in the area, which seem to have a rather unique vibe. Also, having met Deborah Feldman recently, I was thinking of her as well as some of the (mostly-modern) Orthodox I've known throughout my life, my jewish cousins, and a few other people. Also I was recalling the arguments I've heard between rabbis of different branches of Judaism, conversations with friends talking about people in other branches, and all these debates on multiculturalism. Heavy thoughts.

It is a walk I would've liked company for, but that's pretty much true of all my time here so far; I haven't really made progress in making friends here. I'm still wondering if there exist in any significant numbers "my kind of people". I guess I wouldn't know, not having a way to meet people apart from starting up conversations in public places (which I have never been good at), knowing that there's probably a 2% chance I'll get along with someone and a 20% chance I'll have to shake off an unwanted would-be friendship. I regret that none of my past social ties are that useful for connecting with people in NYC.

Oh well. It was a good walk, great to see the park, and I got some more thinking done and saw more of the city.