Astoria Life: New York Minutes

Musings from the Queen of Queens, or My 6 years of living in Queens and greater NYC, where I moved to work for the water department and ended up, among other things, traveling the world and appearing on a billboard on Times Square.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ciao, Adios, Sayonara, Au Revoir, Yassou and Khodafus!

Last night, I handed back the keys to Apt 10 at 28-08 Crescent Street in Astoria.

(Yes -- now that I don't live there, I will let you know where it is!)

I had moved all the furniture out with the help of FlatRate, repainted my lovely yellow and light green walls with a coat of light-colored paint, and cleaned the whole damn place.

I am a bit sad, there is a ton of memories, but they came from me, not the place. I made the place as great as it was, not the other way around.

Especially since, in all this time, the damn showerhead is STILL held up with twine! Apparently, they are going to renovate the place (they needed to about 6 years ago too, but then I went and moved in).

Worst. Superintendent. Ever. Even before his dumb criminal wife broke in.

I think it is only fitting that, as I leave Astoria, I end this blog. It captures my time in Astoria, my first NYC apartment, as I learned the ropes of the city and a whole helluva lot about my fellow human beings.

Did I learn EVERYTHING? Hell, NO -- and I never will. And neither will anyone else. But as long as we all keep on keepin' on, wherever that may be, it is all good.


JAO -- still in MA, probably still iving with his parents. I have not spoken to him since 2006.

DRS - was engaged to be married when he asked me out. Saw him 6 months ago on the UES holding a little baby.

JDM -- still see him around from time to time, don't really count him as a friend.

The fabulous HB -- finished her Dr.PH at Yale, went to Oxford, then lived in CO, and recently moved to TX

DMH - neighbor who moved back to Seattle to help care for her dad

CSF - moved to China 5 years ago. I still talk to him from time to time. He loves it there.

ED - don't talk to her. She left the Gotham Girls Roller Derby when she got preggy with her son, to whom she gave a terrible unisex name.

Sancho and Dulcie, the parakeets --- Dulcie passed away and I buried her in Athens Square Park. I gave Sancho to my cousin, who released him in a park in New Jersey with several other parakeets.

Susie and Harvey, the rabbits -- adopted them out to a nice guy in Queens, who had 2 sons who cared for 2 other rabbits.

George the bunny - passed away in 2007. I buried his whiskers under a flowering bush at my parents' home in Ewing, NJ this past weekend.

and so ....

Ciao, Adios, Sayonara, Au Revoir, Yassou and Khodafus to Astoria and this blog. You were both great to me, but it is time to part ways.

One last time ---

Onwards and upwards! (Better than backwards and downwards.)



Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Andie MacDowell at the gym

I saw Andie McDowell at the gym. She has a very distinct look so I knew it was her. She is nice. But I was never a fan.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Great poster

OK -- so after 6 years of walking by the Second Best antiques shop on Astoria Boulevard, I saw (and bought) the greatest poster ever.

(Because, a mere 2 days before FlateRate comes to move my stuff, I really need to go and buy more stuff to move.)

But is is well worth it. It is a vintage poster from April 1976 with a picture of a big red apple and the words:

"New York: You have to be a little crazy to live here, but you'd be nuts to live anywhere else."

That pretty much says it all.


Magic at the gym!

I saw Magic Johnson at a certain gym on the UWS today! He is soooooo tall!

I accidentally stole his water bottle because I thought it belonged to my client. He was nice about it when I gave it back and apologized.


Friday, May 21, 2010

La petit rose cafe

Back in the USA now ----

There is a new cafe right by Astoria World Manor on Astoria Boulevard (2522 Astoria Blvd)!! It is cute, clean and damn good because you can get a frappe for $1.50!!!

The guy working there was Greek and looked a bit like Hank Azaria. He said he also had a bar in Santorini, Greece, and a restaurant in Panama.

He told me that "yassou" is goodbye in Greek. I taught him to say "Khodafus", which is Urdu for goodbye (or yassou).

Which is fitting that I should learn this now, because as of next week, I move out of Astoria, which has the largest Greek population outside of Greece.

I have been here 6 years, and it has been kickass, but it is time for me to move on to the next part of my life, on the Upper West Side (for now anyway).

Also, my superintendent's wife is a bitch who broke into my house, even after I helped her crappy kids with homework for so long. Seriously, why should I stay in a former tenement putting up with crap?? I ASK you?

Yassou, Astoria.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Spitting Llama

I have found a kick-ass book exchange called the Spitting Llama! There is one in Copacabana. I traded 2 books for 1 new (to me) book. I got "Split Ends" by Rachel Barnes and read the whole thing. I also got a collection of stories printed in Seventeen magazine in the 1950s.

(BTW -- I had brought a bunch of books a neighbor had left under our mailboxes in Astoria. I read some, and brought the rest to trade.)

Back in La Paz, I found the main Spitting Llama near my hotel. I got "East of the Sun" from Julia Gregson (so good!) and "A Death in Brazil".

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Lago Titicaca

I love Copacabana, the beach town next to Lago Titicaca (the highest lake in the world and also named after an Incan king).

This is the premiere religous site in Bolivia, and people often bring their new cars to the cathedral here to be blessed.

I saw a monk, in long robes and a baseball cap, anointing a new taxi with alcohol. The car was decorated with flowers and streamers.

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Friday, May 07, 2010

and off to Machu Picchu!!!

I went to Machu Picchu today. It was worth the 10 hours' roundtrip, and even that was not too bad!

I got on Peru Rail at 7am in the town of Cusco, Peru. Apparently, heavy rains washed out most of the rail in Peru, so the first part of the journey was actually in a little coach. We drove through the Sacred Inca Valley (for which I have a tour tomorrow), seeing llamas, cows, pigs, dgs etc. In fact, there were even autorickshaws, which one of my coachmates told me are importaed from India!!

At Aguas Calientes, we boarded the actual train. It is the prettiest journey alongside a river.

When we got to Machu Picchu station, we met with a tour guide, boarded a bus (after crossing trhough the bustling Machu Picchu village), drove 20 minutes to Machu Picchu itself!!!!

This was the first time since coming to Peru that nobody came up to sell me anything!

Our guide, Mario, was fabulous. I was ecstatic to see chincilla and orchids, which people pay so much for in Manhattan and other such places, growing wild and free on the grounds.

I played with llama and alpaca -- one baby llama even came bounding down the stone steps to see me.

An awesome day!