a) MOTHERFUCKING STREET FOOD, I want to SAUNTER UP TO A GODDAMN PIZZA STOREFRONT WHEN I AM SAD AND RAVENOUS AND BROKE and buy two slices of cheese pizza THE SIZE OF MY FACE for a dollar apiece or ONE FIFTY FOR PEPPERONI, perfectly decadently crisp from sunning under the warming lights for an hour or two, A DOLLAR FIFTY FOR A MASSIVE SLICE OF PEPPERONI PIZZA I EAT ON MY WALK TO WORK THAT FEELS LIKE A BENEDICTION FROM GOD THEMSELF
and there’s Dumpling-Man-On-St-Marks dumplings (pork, fresh, covered in green onion slivers), fried fresh and crispy, $4.50 for a whole meal during after-school happy hour
and Mamoun’s Falafel, the only 100% vegetable meal that makes you Feel filled walking through the rain on a mournful summer evening, hot and crunchy and indulgent (I mean other falafel does this too, but I had a lot of good narratively important Mamoun’s experiences)
and 3am pierogi at Veselka, which is not exactly street food but the same level of cultural comfort food writ large
and those empanadas I had the the Bryant Park Holiday Market, full of spicy chicken and thick pastry and the only good peas I’ve ever digested
but most of FUCKING all, the food truck next to my subway stop for the R train in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the GODDAMN BEST GYRO I HAVE EVER EATEN, five dollars for a massive dripping meal-and-a-half of spicy, melt-in-your-mouth cheap cuts of lamb you watch the chefs chop hot on the grill (mocking you gently for coming by every day) rolled up in a heated slab of pita with fresh-chopped tomato and lettuce and covered in white sauce (tzatziki) and red sauce (a spicy magical guarded secret; NON-NYC GYRO SHOPS AND MEDITERRANEAN CAFES DO NOT SEEM TO HAVE OR COMPREHEND RED SAUCE) and you feel like a real person for the first time since the last time you put this in your goddamn mouth
I dream about good gyros and that halal food truck in particular almost weekly, three years later.
you can eat the greatest food you’ll ever eat in your life that will ruin you for cheap shock-you-into-being-alive food for the rest of your life for under five dollars walking the streets of New York.
and b) everything is huge and alive and narrative and will suck you into its orbit if you want it to. just walk up Broadway, from top to bottom. pace up and down St Marks. watch people. walk for miles. sit in a random cafe you picked for cheap decent refillable coffee and $1.50 bagels and okay wifi for four hours and your life is different forever. your life keeps getting different forever in three-hour increments, because there’s always narrative, there are always people who are larger than life, who change everything, who make you Want. you want to be as big, as magic, as pulling-others-into-one’s orbit as they are. and you walk down the street and there’s a free show happening in a tiny cafe you’ve never been to, so you go in, and a stranger buys you a beer. someone lets you cry into their coat. you help someone find a payphone to call their parents. you get a job interview by accident. New York is too big, all the time, and if that’s the sort of thing you want or know how to use, it’s intoxicating. it’s Everything. you can sit back and feed on the echoes, or you can grab it with your teeth and hang on. you can Be part of the narrative, because it’s always flowing past within reach. you fail at it, you find a different angle. magic you never asked for keeps happening. it doesn’t feed you. it doesn’t keep you from wanting to walk in front of a train. but it Is. it’s Big. it makes you feel like you can touch the pulse of the universe. like if you don’t mean anything, you can touch something that Does, and steal a little of the Feeling of that. you can eat that along with three dollar falafel. you’re part of the Story now. you just have to figure out how to ride it till you’re not just an extra with character.
I could ride the subway alone for the rest of my life and be fulfilled. god.
god, i’m a sucker for this, too. thanks for this, B, because the minute i saw this, the wheels started turning! this turned into something bigger than i had planned and whoa, just wowwie, thanks for that!
HOLD ME IN THIS, WILD, WILD, WORLD
Quite a few things fall within the top ten category of Annoyances in Emma Swan’s Life (trademark pending).
There’s the day to day stuff that barely scratches the top fifty. The skips that make her break a heel at least once a month fall into the top twenty-five.
Having no say whatsoever in chaperoning Henry’s eighth grade field trip to New York City? Well, that would be a top fifteen situation, if it weren’t for the fact that she managed to get out of work for this and spend some much needed quality time with her son.
Finding out she’s sharing a room with another chaperone? That’s definitely a top fifteen situation, because the last time Emma shared a room with anyone it was with her cousin, Anna, and she quickly found out that the girl was just as talkative asleep as she was awake.
Finding out she’s sharing a room with Mr. Killian Jones, Henry’s science teacher and cough guy Emma slept with exactly ten months ago and quickly put a stop to things because she so does not sleep with her son’s teachers? That quickly falls into a top ten situation.
Opening the door to see they’ve been crammed in the most economical size room - one double bed, one desk, one dresser with a television from the stone ages (or at least back when Henry was born) and one arm chair all fit perfectly like a Sims room, with just enough floor space for two people to walk single file?
Yeah, now she’s definitely tapped into the top five.