Today started off with sleepimg in, well, just a bit. When I awoke, Becky wasn't there. I thought she had gone to the office already. Ten minutes later I hear someone walking up the stairs, open the door, and walk to my room. It's Becky and she has a ginormous Frappucino. She looks at my unapologetically and says, "I was desperate." As I mentioned in my previous blog, sleep has been scarce.
Mahin is going on a tour so Becky and I get ready and head off to the Goog at 9th Avenue, a few short blocks from the apartment. Becky and Mahin are leaving tonight and are very sad to go. I know that I will feel the same way (perhaps magnified?) on Sunday.
The Google NYC office is quite different than good ol' Mountain View. For one, the security is much tighter. We are directed to the Visitors entrance where we are checked and photographed. We get temporary badges, even though we are full fledged employees. We head to the elevators and quickly arrive at our destination. Wow! The NYC office. Upon moving to the front desk to check in, we are greeted by Jesse, a fellow MV-er. He asks us what we are doing here. I think in my head, 'Probably the same thing you are doing here - client visits.' Anyways, it was nice to see a familiar face.
We get our desks and walk and walk and walk to Section F. Jazzy Fresh! gets their own office. Or so we think. Jaime, an engineer, is also there. He, like most engineers, is an awkward turtle. It is hard for Becky and I to concentrate on our work - we are tired and are not looking forward to returning to the hum drum of the office rhythm.
Since I did not eat breakfast and I knew of the bomb cafe on the 8th floor, I lure Becky into going with me. We take the express elevator and are let out on the 8th floor. We are greeted by rows and rows of beverages. I strategically grab an Olde Brooklyn root beer - free souvenir! Unfortunately, breakfast is being cleared and I have to settle for a giant cookie and cereal. As we walk along, we see that there is a terrace. We walk out and are fixed on the beautiful view - the NYC skyline right there, Empire State Building and all. Really, truly awesome (makes the SF office's view of the GG pale in comparison.) Obviously, this is where we'll be having lunch.
We go on to our Snippets meeting. I heart VCing. When we return, again, motivation to do work is low. That's when Jaime asks, 'Are you going to the picnic?' Come again? 'Yeah, are you going to the picnic at Coney Island?' Well, now I am! I race to the receptionist who gives me a wrist band and tells me that people are taking the subway there. Ok, I can do this.
Becky and Mahin are unable to attend but I make a point to go. First, it's a Google picnic - it's gonna be good. Second, Coney Island will be torn down the following day (http://nymag.com/nymetro/realestate/features/14498/). This truly is my last chance to see a very historical site. I research the subway trains and am on my way. Take the A train and transfer to the F train at Jay Street. The F train takes you through Brooklyn. I take the opportunity to take pictures. There is a huge graveyard with rows and rows of tombstones and mausoleums. It's right next to a baseball field. Little leagers are playing. I think that the juxtaposition of the cemetary with the little boys baseball game is mildly amusing. I also notice that the subway stops in Brooklyn are considerably worse off than those of Manhattan. Tiles are frequently missing, chipped, bullet holed and some stations are nothing more than awnings on a cement block. I can't help to think how miserable those would be in the winter time. Amazingly, I reach my destination without a glitch.
As I emerge from the Coney Island station, I see a familiar landscape. Coney Island is like the Boardwalk only older and more ghetto. I walk across the street and see Nathan's - the famous hot dog place. I cannot stomach a dog right now so I just take a picture. I mosey on down to the beach and let the glass and cigarette ridden sand go between my toes. Aww, I love the coasts. I walk towards the ocean and the wind is whipping my hair. Great, snarls. I make my way to a rocky area and take some pictures. I stick my feet in the Atlantic. Super, that's three oceans to my feet! I walk along the shore and collect some shells for Miss Phoebe. She likes that sort of thing.
I continue to walk and am taken aback by the clientele at this here beach. Have you no shame? Or are these Jersey Shore peeps? I have never seen so much shake at a beach before. Deciding I've had enough of the overexposure, I walk along the wooden deck and look at the old skool food stands and shops. One catches my eye. I'm suckered in and buy some Coney Island merch for the folks at home. I eventually make my way to the ride area where the other Googlers are. First up, bumper cars! Seriously, I don't think I've been on bumper cars that rough. I'm definitely going to have bruises. But worth it for the fun! Next up, a crazy ride called 'Break Dance.' Basically, you sit in a car that twirls rapidly while you spin on a platform. 5 women got off the ride before it even started. It was me and the rando Googler guy. Again, fun. Last up, and a lame way to end my rides, was Dante's Inferno, or Coney Island's pathetic attempt at a haunted house. It was sad really. I didn't make it to the Cyclone, but did get pictures. It was getting hot and late and I knew I would burn. I made my way back to the station and got on the F train.
This ride, however, was entertaining. A crazy, cracked out lady was on the train talking smack to herself. Pure comedy. It made me feel like home, like I was on BART. The F train took us through Brooklyn again and was sure to sit on the other side to see more views. This time I take notice to the distinct, ethnic boroughs. I notice a Russian district (and I think of my friend Eddy) and I again see Borough Park, the isolated Hasidic Jewish community. I take out my Access NY book and read about Brooklyn. In addition to Russians and Jews, there are large Italian, Polish, and Hispanic communities there. If time permits, I would love to go explore more of Brooklyn on Saturday.
I make my way back to the Google office in time to see Mahin off. We take scooters through the building. Becky calls and they are off. I sit in the office and start to feel nervous/excited that I am now officially on my own in NYC. Excellent. I do some more work and make sure to stock up on free food and beverage. I exit and walk home.
I get to the apartment to find that it's mine and only mine for the weekend! Hot diggity! Damn, I wish I had some people here now! So I freshen up and make it a point not to plan anything. I will go out and let the night lead the way. I end up walking quite a bit - through Chelsea, Greenwich Village, East Village, SoHo, you name it. I am so excited I don't stop for dinner. I keep walking, exploring, observing, smiling. Happy to be there, free of any cares in the world. It's an amazing feeling, one that I don't experience often enough. It's almost midnight and I decide to stop in for a drink. I choose a place across the street from the aprtment, it's called 'Check In.' Very chic, very gay. As a woman, I am a mere 3% of the total female population in there. That's okay, I don't mind. Gimme a Ruby of Siam, stat! It goes down smooth, and it goes down fast. I have a busy day tomorrow so I head back up to plan subway trips to fabulous destinations. I decide to relax and draw myself a bath. Ahhhhhhh.
As I blog, I hear the pitter patter of rain on my sky light. It soon picks up to a faster pace. I look outside the window. No matter the weather, the city is still buzzing.