The Awful Man-Made, OR Why We Like to Marvel at Shiny Things

Fireworks, if you think about it, are funny things.

Promise people a bunch of shiny explosions in the sky, and crowds will turn up. Children will scream with delight and ask parents to buy them glowsticks. Drunken frat boys will sing and hug and hug each other. Couples will make out like it’s their last night on earth. And all because of these fireworks.

I assume it’s the entertainment and not the supposed patriotic background that drags people out there for them, because even I, literally the least patriotic person I can think of, dragged myself out of my building on a sweltering, busy-as-fuck Wednesday night to go see fireworks on the Hudson at the edge of West Village, even when Thursday was going to be an early work day. I can’t for the life of me figure out why I went.

Blame it on the natural human tendency to marvel at shiny things, I suppose.

It’s hilarious — no one bothers to do this sort of thing for stars, and stars are easily 42 billion times more amazing. They exist on their own, burn in space, swell and contract and explode and send out bursts of X-rays as they die. There are so damn many of them. And they’re so damn beautiful. But no, we collect on the banks of the Hudson to see expensive, exploding mini-rockets that some people put together in a lab.

Maybe it’s something about the human effort attached? Something about our awesome and awful capability; something about the wonder of the man-made? Maybe it’s the fact that someone could put that shit together in a lab that’s so amazing, that someone could get those colors and patterns and glittering distributions to appear out of nothingness.

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Explored part of Greenwich Village with the roommate and another friend Wednesday evening, just before fireworks time. Just south of Washington Square Park is this lovely little area of bars and restaurants.

And it has such a great atmosphere. It’s lively but calming. Young and aged at once. I felt it the most keenly at the moment I stepped in the center of the road and took this shot. I’m going to have to go back soon.

I’m very quickly realizing that Greenwich Village is the part of town I’m drawn most strongly towards. Going to file this realization away in my head for the future — just in case I actually decide to move here, as I’ve been pondering for a while now.

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Saw this on a sidewalk near NYU:

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Going back to campus tomorrow morning, just for a visit, since I’m beginning to forget what fresh air smells like (and also what trees look like)…

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In other news:

Today in the elevator of my building, I ran into a guy who was holding onto a bagged lunch…and a pinecone. A pinecone. It wasn’t even a normal-sized one; it was a monster. I briefly thought of asking him where he got it, what he was planning on doing with it, etc., but ended up spending my 30 seconds in that confined space with him in total silence. This is the problem with my building. My roommate and I have had so many awkward, uncomfortable run-ins with some less-than-courteous fellow residents that it’s really turned us off of interacting with most of them. So upset I missed a chance to ask about a pinecone. That shit doesn’t happen every day. People seem to lose their enchantment with pinecones after age eight.

Not me.

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Foraging: 

Tried out Indian Creperie near the intersection of Bleecker St. and MacDougal St. They serve mainly moderately-priced dosas and slightly undersized — price-wise — portions of vegetable and chicken biryani.

Also TMagic on MacDougal St., which serves bubble tea, but honestly, it was underwhelming and not nearly sweet enough. I am, however, angry at myself for knowing that I’ll probably go again, anyway.

I have this problem with bubble tea, and it’s called I do not know when to stop. Normally, applying normal-person logic, I’d order tea somewhere, drink it, make a judgment, and depending on said judgment, either go again or never go again. Not me. I order tea somewhere, get really excited to have found a new bubble tea place, and keep returning just because of bubble tea. The fact of bubble tea alone is enough to pull me somewhere. It’s really, really sad. But actually.

Speaking of bubble tea, it’s surprisingly good at Valent & Cook, some kind of deli/marketplace combo on 5th Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets. It’s sweeter than most but still has the clear flavor of black tea. A pleasant surprise.

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Currently on heavy rotation: “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons. And “Geboren um zu leben” (Born to Live) by Unheilig, a guilty pleasure. A friend showed it to me purely because of its title’s parallel to Lana del Rey’s “Born to Die,” and then said it was crappy music.  But then I ended up loving it. Oops. Questionable taste, I suppose.

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