I met CJ’s boyfriend on the very last morning I stayed in his basement. I actually had no idea CJ even had a boyfriend, but I figured it out once I saw him walking out of the room in his underwear. He was a lanky fellow, handsome and friendly. I could see what CJ saw in him. We spoke briefly and CJ told me they were heading to the park and would I like to go with them? I originally had plans to head to the Brooklyn Museum* (a plan that sadly never came to fruition), so I declined and left for the L, but not before hitting the corner Mexican place for some breakfast. A quesadilla later, I headed for the train, but after realizing that all the construction currently hamstringing MTA would result in my arriving at the museum at most an hour ahead of closing time, I decided to head for Prospect Park.
I remembered Mark always singing Prospect’s praises but had never been there myself, so I figured it was a good a day as any to check it out. Now, personally I have to say that Central Park continues to reign high as my favorite NYC park. However, Prospect is definitely a great place to visit, especially with groups. It’s wide-spread and full of fields excellent for BBQs and playing sports/games and picnics galore, which is exactly what I encountered. They had a nice nature center, a carousel, a few gazebos and bridges, and even Asian brides being photographer for their weddings! Alright, so maybe that last thing was just a fluke… The other thing I encountered was a severe lack of food carts! For all of the park’s beauty, I was famished by the time I got out, driven to a point of near madness by the scent of burgers on the grill (I admit, this vegetarian does guiltily enjoy the smell of meat barbecuing). It basically caused me to rush quickly out of the park in order to nourish myself before fainting.
Wound up hunting down some tasty middle eastern food and before I knew it, it was time to head back to CJ’s to switch couches (CJ’s family was going to be crashing with him, so it was time for me to start staying at Tyler’s in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan, which can only be described as “yuppie light”). After an unpleasant time of packing and lugging my bags all over NYC, I made it to Grand Central Station and then after that, Tyler’s apartment over the loud Irish pub down below.
Staying with Tyler was a good idea at the time, but for whatever reason, turned out to be stranger than originally anticipated. We’d been talking online for the good part of a year now, but sometimes online conversations just don’t translate clearly once in person. I can’t be sure if it was just him, just me, or a combination of both of us. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy being around him, but something was off. Something I still can’t put my finger on. And that’s the trouble with staying at someone’s house when you’re in a different town. Sometimes it works out perfectly. Other times you’re wondering why on earth you’re in the place you’re at to begin with. This isn’t only with friends, but with strangers as well. I’ve slept on over 10 different surfaces (beds, couches, etc) since I left home and I am finally beginning to understand and accept that you can’t win em all. In face, i’ll be writing an article soon about my CouchSurfing experiences for a travel site i’ve recently begin contributing to, so more on that soon!
That night, we grabbed some food at the hummus place down the road (good hummus, good cocktails, unimpressive falafel), watched a few minutes of Entrapment, and because there’s no one quite like Catherine Zeta-Jones to get you in the mood, and had a ahem, moment, on the living room love seat right before his roommate came in. So maybe there wasn’t much need for words between us, after all…
(Part 6 coming up real soon! I’m in New Orleans and I have MAJOR writing catch-up to do in the next few days…)
* = If you are ever more successful than I am at visiting the Brooklyn Museum, make sure to check out the super rad Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, which is what I was dying to see!)