hot romance

just kidding, this has nothing to do with ho-ro (don’t worry, posts of this genre to come). i just wanted to show you some cute houses in my hood. steve and i play a game where we proclaim our top five whenever we see one we love. i think our top five’s are about 20 right now. in general, things i appreciate about the houses in ditmas park is the mish mash of architectural styles, the decay, and the steady war that the plant life has waged against its manmade intruders. no house or landscaping is quite like another, even though the entire neighborhood feels like a distinct organism with tightly drawn boundaries and defining style. that’s partly because the neighborhood was developed by one person, lewis h. pounds, an ohio-born “real estate man” who pioneered the suburban method of flattening all land and laying street, street plantings, and sewage infrastructure before developing any houses. he purchased the land from the van ditmarsen family farm in 1902, by which point the area surrounding ditmas park had already been opened up by new stage line connections from northern brooklyn (the brooklyn bridge was completed in the 1880s, which opened up brooklyn to suburbanization/urbanization).

most of the time when i’m describing ditmas park, i use the shock and awe vocabulary of “victorians!” “lawns and drive ways!” “in new york city!”. but beyond that, the total fanfare of architectural styles – bound by pounds’ form-based zoning regs – never gets old. there are shingle-style bungalows on 16th street around newkirk you would expect to find in california, or somewhere with real proactive sun – but are instead nestled between the Q train, multi-story walkups, and c town. then there’s the georgian/greek revival combo, defined by its tall ionic columns and primarily reserved for the churches around flatbush – but takes me back to college campuses in the south (but are apparently relics of christopher wren/british baroque architecture). there was also some norwegian architect who sprinkled a few spanish mission style houses throughout, because why not.

now that we’re in quarantine times, i’ve been going on even more house-gawking walks than usual, fantasizing about the lives lived in dwellings with actual “quadrants”. i love my tiny apartment like my firstborn but there is literally no where to go, nowhere to hide. and nowhere for steve to hide when i become hellbent on memorizing “one week” by barenaked ladies about 20 years too late.

floor scooter

last night i had a fantasy about the house i grew up in, using one of those floor scooters to survey the grounds (two floors!) at breakneck speed.

at the end of all of this, will we be nicer to each other? meaner? how many of us will be ensnared in the cuomo crush? will trump be dead? will i pony up for an overnight teeth whitening (ouch!!) regimen? will i devour my vile of star anise “because i can?”


goldfinch, glutiny, croissant ring, fleabag

17,549 step/124 step days, sore hips, records, house gawking, boxy-front-heavy, dirty trees, one cute one – art deco #s, borough park, secret diagonal street, hasids, quiet, magnolias, high bloom, peak bloom, ditmas trees, quiet streets, stroller sidewalk follies, zigzagging, umbrella shields, brook shields//laura linney were friends, instagram, instagram, instagram, my-boring-stories, “what page are you on?”, book race/I’m always losing, Amazon cart, slipper hunt, grout cleaner, matcha reviews, smoothie art, fridge reorg, plant reorg, minibar, kings county wine pick up, essential ingredients, masks, satin masks, john oliver jesus figure, recipes, recipes, recipes, alison roman everything, sunken lemons, bread too dry, garam masala, high protein milk, sunny runs, abs?, will run every day, just 30 minutes, hangovers, rain, savoring WFH, worried, anxious, productivity, online, email, email, email, job search, raise, saving, bank account, portugal, madewell, boho throw, screen, offline, green chair, lunyas, reading, goldfinch, new york, bad slang, las vegas, alone, loneliness, new yorker article, depressing ending, friends, family zoom, finding art, how do you find good art, camping, tea, logs, woodsmoke, soft pines, hard ground, zipping noises, fruit fly, podcasts, dirty john, vocal fry, laguna, college, alone on the beach, mom, string lights, fancy, pilcro, marzipan, grocery run.

^brain dump from quarantine sunday #3. below is a photo dump from the last week. pretty obsessed with it all. new york has never felt this simple and i’m enjoying it for now.

awkward lines lent

i told a few of you that i would be drawing all of the pretty houses in ditmas park for this blog and then mail you the hard copies. oh it’s just a little something!, she said. nothing fancy!, she said. but honestly having attempted 3 (and purchased $100 worth of framing supplies for my christmas gifts) i feel i will not be doing it any more until i fix the part of my brain that can do artsy things again. because the drawings aren’t great tbh. tbh also, i hate colored pencils. so little yield per stroke – so many awkward lines lent – the misery of textures.

as it appears i’ve slipped into the saga of my many failings again i’m going to stop here… going to try to embrace a style of writing that is not self-deprecating and prescriptive! would elizabeth warren hate on her sweet little house drawings and colored pencils? i don’t think so.

bye guys!

quarantine: preliminary thoughts

so this is a thing that’s happening – quarantine – due to a global pandemic. we’re on week three over here in ditmas and it’s honestly… a fraught delight? clearly not a delight that 2,000 people have already died in the US alone and that only privileged white collar workers like myself are able to get paid for the foreseeable future while working from home (and by the way, why aren’t we seeing this as a REAL TIME example of why democratic socialism might not be witchcraft after all?). but as a homebody who draws inspiration and relief from being able to work on my own schedule, avoid morning commute anxiety (it’s been THREE WEEKS since i’ve ridden a train), run or walk during my lunch break, and eat well because i actually have time to cook – quarantine is nice. now i’m back to feeling guilty about all of this because of the fuckedness of our system and its reliance on the working class to keep my precarious capitalist lifestyle afloat (i’d be lying if i told you i didn’t preemptively spend half my stimulus check on silk pj’s and tiny gold chains). but, in a vacuum, things are good and self preservation for me looks like keeping the news turned off as much as possible and checking in on my friends and loved ones more than i usually can and do. which has given me time to remember things – and people – that i only call up in ceremony of birthdays or my parents’ reminiscing or some other rare event. today i told my friend kate all of my imaginary friends names (too embarrassing to share here, but – “fingerhand”) from childhood, and last night i had a very visual pre-sleep daydream of my late grandma’s house in florida. the splotchiness of her skin, her finger-thin legs, the armadillos outside, and the mickey mouse oversized wife-beater (are we still using that term?) i had just gotten on our trip to disney world and wouldn’t take off (even when i got the chicken pox a few days later). i’m also getting clarity on what i really want in life… most specifically where i want it. it may not be ditmas for much longer. i love the thickness of the grime, the bodegas, and the oddities i’ve come to call beauty, but when the ground has fried rice all over it, you’re waiting in a 30 person line to buy toothpaste at walgreens, and it’s 20 degrees and cloudy for half of your days, it’s sad. i also want change. covid-19 is not the good kind of change, but it has caused a global reckoning that i hope will lead to fundamental change. in the meantime, i’ll be enjoying this fraught kind of peacefulness and cuomo brother jawlines.

unsolicited recommendations from this week:

read: “reality has endorsed bernie sanders,” the new yorker (in case for some reason you weren’t tempted by my full-sentence hyperlink above)

listen: “everything is always keep changing” podcast featuring cheryl strayed interviewing her mentor/professor, george saunders

watch: unorthodox on netflix, for everyone for many reasons, but especially if you’ve lived on the edge of flatbush/borough park, bushwick, williamsburg, or basically any gentrifying brooklyn neighborhood

listen: alison roman’s interview on the second life podcast, which was surprisingly reassuring that (acknowledging my/her privilege) taking risks, being underpaid, and making yourself uncomfortable in order to do the thing you love and are good at will pay off.

make: nytimes black bean chorizo casserole with pickled onions! …on a friday night, with your quarantine-era (i.e. tripled) cocktail of choice… it! was! so! good!