We flew out to New York from the Bay Area on Sunday. It may be the last 6 a.m. flight I ever take, because I have so poorly mastered the logistics of an early morning departure that I wind up getting almost no sleep the night before I leave. In the current instance, I wasted much of the eve of the trip screwing around with entirely gratuitous family history stuff; task avoidance if I’ve ever seen it, and believe me I have. The net effect was I was up until after two in the morning doing all manner of stuff I had planned on doing earlier and which I was convinced had to be done. I got about an hour of real sleep (Kate got a bit less), then got up for our cab ride to the airport. We did manage to sleep some on the plane.
Then we landed at Newark. Eamon and Sakura drove bravely through the rain from Brooklyn to pick us up and take us back to their place in Brooklyn (Cobble Hill, just down Court Street from the Borough Hall). We walked out into the storm to eat at a place on Atlantic Avenue, splashed back to the apartment, where I napped for an hour. Then, since the rain was still pounding down, we all took the subway to my brother John’s new place next to the Brooklyn Bridge. He and his wife, Dawn, had lived in the same apartment in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood for 20 years but just this past year landed a spot in a big co-op-type apartment building. We all hung out for a couple hours and checked out the new digs. Outside it had finally stopped raining. the Cobble Hill contingent walked home.
Next morning: No rain. We met John and his kids (Sean and Leah) for coffee and a post-breakfast bagel, then walked to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and up to the new park at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. Kate and I later cleared out and came down to visit her family in friends in what I describe as the northern Jersey shore area–Holmdel and Hazlet townships in Monmouth County. But let’s stay in New York for a minute: The strangest thing for me about our arrival wasn’t the sleepless haze that enveloped parts of the first day but the feeling that I’m visiting a place where my family, through John and Eamon, has put down roots. It feels like home territory, though my zip code still begins with a 9.
(Photo: east tower of the Brooklyn Bridge, shot from Evert Street outside the headquarters of the Watchtower Society (a.k.a. Jehovah’s Witnesses.) You think of the Witnesses as quaint fringe Bible thumpers? You probably won’t after reading about their immense and hugely valuable Brooklyn real-estate holdings and the part they’re playing in local property wheeling and dealing (involving that same new park I mentioned above.))