Babies, dogs and peace

Do you see her in the distance, her lamp beside the golden door?

Ah, Brooklyn! I can understand why it’s so hyped! Emily took me there today which gave me a wonderfully peaceful first impression of New York. I’d totally move to Brooklyn.

It’s full of precious babies, adorable dogs but not full as in crowded even though Brooklyn, being roughly one fourth of Hamburg’s size, is home to more than 2 million people. Enjoying the relaxed vibe, we strolled along the promenade in perfect sunshine – let me briefly give you an idea about the temperatures. Before I came to D.C., it was below zero there. On my first day, it was +13. Then it went down to 5 and a heavy gusts of wind knocked out the power at Safeway, the local grocery store (which is why I had to, in darkness, buy my birthday balloon for Emily). I left the capital in something around 10 degrees for Philadelphia which is only two hours north but it was freezing there. Then, I went 90 minutes north of that to find spring New York with nearly 20 degrees today.

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I was expecting New York to be extremely overwhelming and exhausting but it wasn’t because I had the best of guides, Emily, with me. I just had to follow her around and she showed me all the best places. We walked down to the pier where there is a large space for any Brooklynite to go and play sports at. I think that is such a great idea. It was full of mostly young people playing basketball, tennis or working out on the outdoor gym stations. We also tried that, such fun! It’s practically on the water and all for free.

Emily then took me to Park Slope, her old neighborhood. Such a lovely place: The street, with only limited traffic, and lots of greenery around, is buzzing with cute little shops including a stationery shop where I literally wanted to buy 90 % of things and a bookstore which has not only a cat in residence but also the most amazing children’s books. My new favorite is “The Day the Crayons quit” but I also want to have “The 50 states” to educate myself further on the U.S.

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After a walk in Prospect Park we ended up at Emily’s favorite bagel place. I wanted to excel at assimilation and ordered “The Elvis” but it was so much peanut butter I couldn’t finish it. On our way home we stopped at a costume shop because German carnival is coming up! (Emily was the most patient costume shopping friend imagineable.) I found a costume I like to wear next week as I am literally landing less than 24 hours before throwing myself into a crazy Cologne carnival celebration (4Cs!). We’ll see how that works with jetlag.

Because of my by now widely known interest in foreign food retailing, Emily took me to Trader Joe’s. It owned by the German Aldi but it looks nicer than Aldi. The prices are also higher than at Aldi – you could buy a clementine for 2,50 dollars. One clementine! What fascinated me most was the bags of hard cooked peeled eggs. I don’t even know what to say.

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