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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

City Life 101


So I decided to be industrious last night. Only NYC residents will even get the references (but since I'm the only person reading this, I don't think it matters anyway). I decided to try shopping up in the Marble Hill area of Manhattan/the Bronx. (Very interesting history, the link is worth checking out). Now, NYers know that the Marble Hill Target used to be the only one in a ten-mile radius of Manhattan (before the 116th and Manhattan Ave. store popped up). Up until this summer, if you wanted your Tar-get (think French) fix, you had to head Uptown to the Bronx or South onto Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Since then two Targets have sprung up in my general vicinity and although the new one is much closer to me, my mind still defaults to 225th Street. Anyway, I decided to try and kill two birds with one stone and do some supermarket shopping at Stop N Shop at the same time. I'm addicted to their muffins-it started in college; I can't get enough of them. Unfortunately for me, the occurrence of Stop N Shops in the city is even sparser than Target, primarily in outlying areas of The Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. So I was being both ambitious and pragmatic with my "two-for-one" mentality.


The thing is, the Stop N Shop/Target thing ended up being kind of difficult, for some obvious reasons but also some not so obvious ones. Like it probably wouldn't have been such a hassle in the summer- less clothing and baggage (my purse would have been smaller), it would have been better if I'd gone in the daytime, if I'd brought my own shopping bags (like I'd planned to), if I'd known where exactly I was going, if my back hadn't already been hurting, if I didn't have my lunch bag with me and been dressed for work, etc. And then there are the obvious things like, I should have gotten a cab, I should have come earlier instead of at damn near eight p.m., I should have written a list instead of relying on my memory, etc.


But I didn't die and I didn't exactly feel like "I'll never do this again". I got off at 231st Street and walked about three or four blocks to Stop N Shop only to discover, as is appropriate, that the muffin pickins are pretty slim by 7:30 at night. Which again makes sense if they're fresh-made every day. So I grabbed six muffins and bounced thinking that Target was back about 5 blocks. Try 10. I could have, and maybe should have walked up to 238th St. and taken the 1 train back two stops to Target. But I walked. Someone I asked for directions along the way directed me through the Marble Hill Houses. I was thinking as she spoke, I rarely cut through the PJs in my own neighborhood; I'm certainly not cutting through in the Bx. Especially not at night. (My sense of fear clearly still resides in late 1980's/early '90s NYC). But that bit of cowardice on my part added about three blocks to my walk making it about the equivalent of walking from Bedford Park Blvd. to Fordham Road (since I'm in a Bx mindset) or to be more current, where I used to live on 131st to Settepani Restaurant on 120th. Normally not so bad a walk at all- but after work, in my winter coat, carrying my heavy @ss purse (that my doctor said I have to give up) and my half empty lunch bag, I felt like one of those African ladies carrying her child on her back and her market goods on her head. (Speaking of African, there was a nice African Import/Export shop over there on Broadway that might be nice to revisit).


So I was kind of tired and hungry by the time I got to Target. I was reminded that you should never grocery shop on an empty stomach. Again at Target, the pickins were slim and all they had was whole milk Lactaid, which I don't drink anymore. The Lean Cuisines and Smart Food dinners were on sale. The Dreyers ice cream was on sale but the stock was depleted. There were some cleaning products on sale but I couldn't carry them…. Overall it looked like there was a good sale on for those adequately prepared (read: not me). Ultimately, I bought about three bags worth of sale items and then climbed back on the iron horse. And so though the trip wasn't a complete waste of time, I felt acutely aware of the fact that I could have had it all (2 plus hours worth) done in about 45 minutes if I could drive (which I can't). Or if I had a man that could drive (which I don't)…but that's a whole other ball of wax.


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