Life on the Rails: Prologue

Sorry about that false alarm back in December, but things are finally back on track!

After months of hemming and hawing I officially took the plunge, and am moving to San Francisco. In my continued spirit of procrastination, I figured the best way to move across the country would be to take a train and stop in several cities along the way.

Of course before doing that, I had to say goodbye to the East Coast!

DC

I feel like I did a pretty bad job saying goodbye to DC. I missed seeing a handful of friends, and I never even fully wrote my DC bucket list let alone completed everything on it.

One thing I did get to do was check out the African-American Museum of History and Culture, which was amazing. Thanks to my sister Katie (Break and Bake) for scoring the tickets! I barely had enough time to get through the history section let alone go upstairs for the cultural half though, so even that was a failure.

I guess what I’m saying is that I really need to go back to DC at some point. It won’t be for a while though, because I also definitely left DC like t(-_-t).

PA

If I did a bad job saying goodbye to DC, I did even worse saying goodbye to PA. I didn’t go to a single Wawa!

I really should have scheduled more PA time considering that I showed up like an hour late to friendship hangouts with my friends Zack and James, and I only saw one of my aunts. GUESS THEY’LL ALL HAVE TO VISIT ME IN SAN FRANCISCO.

NYC

The first thing I did when I got to NYC was walk 8 miles. I was just so full of energy that I didn’t know what else to do. I walked from the Port Authority to Central Park and up and around the Central Park reservoir. When I was done I still had some time to kill before meeting people for Happy Hour, so I went to Prospect Park for even more wandering in nature. It felt a little weird spending all my time in the city trying to seclude myself, but considering how much time I’m going to spend crammed in with others, every second of solitude counts.


Ever since it opened, all I wanted to do while in NYC was to go to Hinterlands, which is Stuart Wellington from the Flop House’s bar. In the past my friends Luke and Paolo would complain that it was too inconvenient, so we’d go to somewhere in Bed-Stuy instead. Since this was my going away party, I put my foot down. They weren’t wrong about it being inconvenient, but It was definitely worth it.

The bar itself is awesome, with funk and R&B music playing and a bathroom papered with different RPG Guides and Monster Manuals. I was more than ok just hanging out and enjoying the bar, but then Stuart showed up to bartend and my friend Paolo immediately blew up my spot. Luckily Stuart was exactly the cool party dude he claims to be and actually gave me a free t-shirt (or a dramatic discount on drinks, I’m not positive)

Plan your campaign as you pee!

Our happy hour accidentally ran late, and we were out until about midnight. Luke and his girlfriend Emily tapped out, but Paolo and I grabbed another beer before I passed out on his couch. Still, I managed to wake up at 6 AM, get showered and dressed and make it out the door with plenty of time to catch my 8 AM bus.

Boston

My trip to Boston started out inauspicious enough. Despite giving myself over an hour to get there I still managed to miss my bus when it took over 20 minutes for a 7 train to show up. It was entirely my fault for trusting such a shitty train line instead of just taking the C train.

When I finally made it to Boston – two hours later than I expected – I met up with my friend Cal to hit up some breweries. We started at his apartment where I awkwardly crashed a pot luck his wife was hosting for her fellow marathon runners and tried some beers from Trillium Brewing Co.

Once we hit the road we stopped at Lord Hobo for some delicious IPAs, and Mystic Brewery for some much more experimental belgian style beers. I wound up buying a bottle of “The Null” at Mystic a smoked quad they made in collaboration with Backlash Beer, another Mass. brewery, that was fucking delicious.

Cal took this photo to taunt our friend Krysti. My amazing hair was a bonus.

Cal had to get dinner with his family, so I ended my brewery tour by meeting my friend Shreya at Sommerville Brewing Company. Sommerville apparently has a Niles Crane beer, but it wasn’t on draft. Instead I got their malty and delicious winter warmer and Shreya and I just watched some Frasier to make up for it.

On Sunday Shreya and I agreed we were going to do cultural things and then get ramen for dinner instead of watching the Super Bowl. We went to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Boston Public Library and the Mapparium. I took 0 photos because I’m a terrible traveler, and also photos of the Mapparium are forbidden. It was a little weird how dead everything was in the city. Public transit was like a ghost town, and all the museums were close to empty.

Oh wait, I took one museum photo!

After a morning of museums we snuck a to-go order of tater tots smothered in mushrooms and gravy into a showing of I Am Not Your Negro. We housed the food almost immediately, which was good because the both of us spent almost the entire movie being transfixed or sobbing uncontrollably. I can’t even begin to write a full review of I Am Not Your Negro,  there’s way too much to unpack, but when the credits began to roll the audience was dead silent. Slowly, we came out of our collective daze deeply shaken but ready to take on the future.

Shreya and I probably spent too much time drinking after the movie, but we had a lot to process and one bartender offered us shots because Shreya is a rockstar fighting to defend science. We were too late for ramen, and while waiting on Indian food found ourselves in a bar with too many tvs to ignore, so we saw the Patriots take the game into overtime. We left before they officially won, but the loud cheers all around us as we walked back to her place confirmed the obvious.

The only photo of Boston I took

NYC Redux

My original plan was to go from Boston to NYC and immediately hop on a train for New Orleans, but then Amtrak decided to start doing construction on the line between Atlanta and New Orleans, so I could either take a 17 hour bus ride or spend 3 extra days in NYC and take a direct 30 hour train ride. I definitely made the smart call.

I kept up my museum kick by hitting up the Met and doing the 3 guided tours Nate DiMeo has released as their artist in residence. I generally hate The Met, and DiMeo does a fantastic job providing historical context for the pieces he discusses and in the process demystifies the museum itself. It repeatedly forces you to ask the question “why is this even here?”

“Seriously, fuck these bottles” – shorter Nate DiMeo

On Wednesday, I went out to the Brooklyn Museum with a quick detour to check out the abandoned City Hall subway station (I actually tried to take a photo, but the light is all messed up so my phone couldn’t do shit. Just rest assured it was beautiful.). They were still exhibiting Iggy Pop Life Class, which is just sketches of Iggy Pop from a life-drawing class and is 100% my aesthetic.

Sketch by Guno Park

Wednesday night is when I first started hearing rumblings about a snow storm, but based on every other weather event that people get paranoid about I wasn’t really concerned. When I woke up on Thursday to about two inches of snow on the ground my opinion changed a little bit. Luckily Amtrak is on top of its shit, and the only cancellation  was a local train to Albany.

Suck it, snow!

Next Time:

Life on the Rails: The Road to NoLa

 

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