It's Monday: I'm Back, But Barely

You know those Rapha videos that are supposed to convey suffering?  The ones were people on exquisite handmade bicycles ride across beautiful landscapes while wearing foppish scarves and facial expressions that make them look like they're trying to solve math problems in their heads while someone gently flicks their testicles with thumb and middle finger?  Well, that's not suffering.  That's a vacation.

No, if Rapha really want to capture a "suffer fest" then they should make a video of a move.  I don't mean one of those Portland moves where fifteen people portage a futon, a bunch of houseplants, and a litter box across town on their cargo bikes.  No, I mean a real grown-up move, with trucks and elevators and traffic and lawyers and people stepping barefoot on staples inadvertently dropped by the cable guy and then crashing through French doors.  Because this is not impressive:

Strap a couch on each of their backs though and maybe you're getting somewhere.

In any case, I'm pleased to report that my family and I have successfully moved from one residence to another, and we now live in a warren of boxes so labyrinthine that we must carry flags around with us lest we get lost going from the kitchen to the bathroom.  As for where we live now, I'll let you know as soon as I figure it out myself, but I can tell you that when I look out my living room I see the Statue of Liberty, and my study offers an unobscured view of the Empire State Building, and my bedroom balcony overlooks the polar bear habitat at the Bronx Zoo, and my indoor swimming pool has a glass bottom that overlooks the Goethals Bridge.  Also, I did notice that in the comments to last Monday's post a number of people speculated that I had relocated to Queens, which surprised me.  I mean, I said I was moving.  I didn't say I was giving up on life.

One thing's for sure though, which is that I no longer live in Brooklyn, and if you're wondering why then clearly you don't read the New York Times Real Estate section.  If you did, you'd know that a one bedroom apartment with a closet in which to store your one (1) baby costs well over half a million dollars:

Though to be fair, in this case the baby storage closet actually has its own closet:

But this apartment was different. “We both had that immediate feeling,” Ms. Fox said.

They loved the high ceilings, large windows and prewar character. They didn’t mind the fact that the bedroom was on the small side. The requisite extra room, in use as a child’s bedroom, had a closet. There was even a wood-burning fireplace. The asking price was $579,000, with maintenance in the high $800s.

"Extra room" is brokerese for "windowless firetrap."  I'm sorry to bore you with matters of real estate, but the truth is all New Yorkers are deeply obsessed with the subject, and when you're moving you become doubly so.

By the way, renting in Brooklyn is no better, since then you have to compete with Sandy-displaced Red Hookers who are looking for apartments with space for their chickens:

Yes, it's a familiar story here in New York.  A farm girl comes to the big city and settles Red Hook, where her rugged wardrobe and quirky country bumpkin ways are, by an accident of geography and demographics and the zeitgeist, the absolute height of urban chic:

Ms. Kirshner, 27, grew up on a farm in Washington State, home to goats, sheep and, yes, chickens, which when she was young she was charged with caring for. As an adult living in Brooklyn, she arranged to have chickens again, for the eggs, but mostly for fun. The four she currently has — Chicki Minaj, Hillary Chicken, Black Betty and Salt Hen Peppa, who is also called Cookie Dough — were born in New Jersey in May.

Then, a giant hurricane comes and threatens to sweep her chickens out to sea, but her neighbors rescue them just as they're up to their wattles in storm surge:

“On Monday night as I was getting the news that I’d lost pretty much all my belongings, I was also getting news that someone had heroically saved my chickens!” she said.

Ms. Swenson and her partner, Monica Byrne, who live above the restaurant, decided to huddle at home.

When the water began to rise, Ms. Byrne and Ms. Swenson headed over to the lot with the chickens and plunged into chest-deep water to save them.

“We had to,” Ms. Swenson said. “We’re big suckers.”

Suckers is right.  There is no way on Lob's red Earth that I'd risk my life--or even get the slightest bit wet for that matter--to save a bunch of pending Chik-fil-A sandwiches.  But then again, clearly I don't have what it takes to live in today's Brooklyn--by which I mean huge amounts of money and a willingness to die for barnyard fowl.

Nevertheless, I do owe Brooklyn a tremendous debt of gratitude for being the place that nurtured me my entire adult life.  Indeed, this past weekend I had what felt like sort of a symbolic "last ride" out of the borough.  Sure, my tires will roll upon it and I will pull over to surreptitiously pee on it many, many more times, but merely as a visitor, and perhaps never again as a resident.  As I rode along the Great Hipster Silk Route, I was stricken by the fact that roughly every 20 feet there was somebody photographing or filming something.  Either it was the woman taking pictures of "street art" on some warehouse-turned-luxury condo, or the shitty skateboarders filming each-other failing to land tricks off the Jersey barriers along the protected bike lane, or just the absurdly trendy couples snapping Instagram shots of one another's outfits.  Brooklyn is increasingly becoming a place of self-invention, and having invented a persona for myself over the years that is as fatuous and ersatz as any, I have now moved on, secure in myself, delighted by my new surroundings, and looking forward to pointing and laughing at the place from whence I came from a comfortable distance.

Speaking of laughing at stuff, a reader who was uncomfortable at the idea of laughing at someone's stolen bike recently sent me this photo:

I, however, have no such compunctions.  As they say, when life gives you lemons you make lemonade, and when life steals your artisanal bamboo bike you make an artisanal sign that's probably worth more than the bike itself.  It must be crippling to live the artisanal lifestyle.  First you spend a bunch of time making a bike out of sticks, and then it gets stolen so you spend a bunch more time making a fancy sign, then maybe someone finds the bike and you spend three more weeks making them a hand-lettered Certificate of Gratitude on parchment, and so forth.  It's a vicious cycle of arts and crafts.  At the very least, if you're going to turn your stolen bamboo bike into an art project, you should paint a decent "Wanted" poster:

The first place I'd look for the stolen bamboo bike would be in his droppings, though you'll be lucky to find anything rideable.

By the way, I did check the Threepenny Bikes website, and my favorite model is the "Hemp Mixte:"

Lugs are for bike frames.  Hemp joints are for Wednesdays--though I guess they couldn't be any worse than this bike, forwarded by another reader:

I'm not sure I'd agree with the seller's "sturdy" assessment:

Though it is a good candidate for some bicycle taxidermy, as forwarded by yet another reader:

It's the perfect accessory for your quasi-rural Brooklyn apartment.

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