Sunday Sessions

The One in Which I Realize I Am a Now a Local

Before moving to DC, I had never lived anywhere with a mass transit system before. It took me some time (and a lot of stares) to realize people were not interested in conversing with me on their morning rush hour commutes.

These days, I’m veteran of the subways and the inveterate moods that come with them. I sigh at the tourists walking four across down the stairs, making it impossible for the locals to move around them. I stop to help folks who look overwhelmed by the tangle of routes on the maps. I have deep fondness for the buskers, dancers, and artists who frequent the platform and the cars of the system.

Last weekend, however, I found myself making a rookie mistake: I had hopped on a line that would require me to transfer at 42nd Street/Times Square. On a Saturday afternoon. In the middle of tourist season.

It was hot, I was sweaty, and I was already nearing my the end of my patience when the 2 Express train arrived. We packed onto the car—bodies pressed tightly against each other, the odors of our shared sweat pungent. I strained my neck to identify the locals—you always know your fellow locals—and we shared a look: Just hold out until 72nd street, none of these tourists will dare go up that far, the car will empty out and it will be just us again.

Before it was better, though, it got worse. A warbling voice rose from somewhere in the middle of the car: “Shame on all of you meat eaters! Your body is the graveyard of animals! Your grotesque habits have created climate change and it cannot be undone!”

I outwardly groaned.

I have suffered through shouting preachers at 8:30 AM, and intense political propaganda when I am dead tired after work, but not this, not today.

She continued: “Instead of feeding the world’s hungry and poorest, we use our food sources to feed the animals you will fatten up and slaughter! Leonardo DiCaprio convinced Netlfix to make a movie about it! If you don’t believe me, believe Leonardo DiCaprio!”

I stretched my neck again to find my fellow locals. Some had squeezed their eyes shut, others sighed. How much more of this could we take?

We tried to communicate with our glances: What should we do? What could we do? There was nowhere to move. We could not even see where the voice was coming from.

I pondered my own cynicism as the train and the woman barreled on. I am mostly vegetarian and I even I am extremely annoyed by this tactic. Should I have compassion for this woman with a cause? Should I honor her sense of dedication?

Eventually, the train pulled into 72nd street and a hard break sent bodies rushing into each other as we all tried to stay upright. The doors opened and as people rushed out; the voice stuttered to a stop, overtaken by the masses trying to exit the car.

Within seconds, the train car had cleared by more than half. I looked around and my fellow locals began to pull out books and phones to take up all their new hard-won personal space. The doors closed and we all held our breath, looking around at who remained.

Silence.

Turns out protesters don’t want to go above 72nd street either.

We breathed a collective sigh of relief.

To Read

Want to make and keep friends as an adult? Show up.

Will travel for coffee: Some people drink wine and taste the distinguishing notes right away—that’s how I feel about coffee. More often than not, if I’m exploring a new neighborhood its because I’m on the hunt for a cup of joe. This list from Eater hasn’t let me down yet.

Journalists are not the enemy.

I turned 34 yesterday and I have never felt the unraveling more keenly.

Mindful eating as a kind of prayer.

It drives me bonkers when waitstaff hand the check to David automatically. I’ll be glad when all restaurants do away with the concept of “ladies first.”

Read everything in this thread on our relationship with places, but if you need a place to start, start here.

An informative guide to Black hair.

Traveling through Penn Station? Shh, here’s an insider tip.

A fascinating (and troubling) look at the history of plastic bags. Like all bad things, corporations were involved from the start.

The startling thing about New York is the many ways it’s just like anywhere else.

Longer Reads

I finished Freshwater this week. To appreciate it is to know you are looking at something avant garde and finding meaning in it anyway.

How can so much about relationships, and family, and geopolitical disasters be contained in this one little tome? Exit West is perhaps the truest telling I’ve ever read of how two people can simply grow apart.

To Watch

We the Animals. I can’t remember the last time a film moved me in this way.

To Eat

This week, I met up for dinner with an buddy from DC. She suggested Osteria 106, which I would have never found on my own, hidden as it was along a residential street on the Upper West Side. We thought we’d just have a drink—for old times’ sake—but a shared bottle of wine turned into a shared plate of fried artichokes with lemon, which turned into a shared plate of cheesy gnocchi with walnuts (we sopped up the remaining cheese sauce with olive bread). There is a certain intimacy implied in sharing food—the knowledge you’re likely to clink forks, and that someone will always eat the last bite, and that the bad thing you’ve just eaten is a little less bad because you only at half as much.

This fried-bread panzanella seems the perfect way to say goodbye to summer.

Somebody get me this cheese plate right. now.

I am 100% here for these fresh takes on the humble tuna sandwich.

Yesterday we made an admirable go of the pie crawl, stopping at The Little Pie Company in Hell’s Kitchen, Petee’s Pie on the Lower East Side, and Four and Twenty Blackbirds in Gowanas? Park Slope? Prospect Park? (sorry, I don’t know Brooklyn that well yet). Across our journey, we had key lime, banana cream, matcha, coffee cream, black bottom oat, and salted caramel pies. They were worthy every dollar, and every sugary, creamy bite.

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