Brooklyn Beginnings

It was in the back of a long, black car with several large jars of pickled garbanzo beans next to my feet while I signed the rental agreement. Those could be fermented eye balls for all I know. I glanced at the jars trying to imagine what animal has eyes that small. Cats? I watched people walk by quickly to the right of me, never once looking in or stopping to notice their surroundings. Homing pigeons on a path to quickly get from point A to B. I easily could have been murdered in this back seat and no one would know. The thrill of it was like nothing I'd felt before, but the bravado of taking the chance while I penned my name on that paper made me feel immortal. Besides, this man with a large black hat and long curls at his ears was short. I could take him. I think.

Moving to Brooklyn blindly, not knowing a single soul, was a big risk. A scary, invigorating, and exciting one. The pull to this borough for us was shortening our commute from 2 hours and $150 a month (per person!) to 30 minutes and $25 a month. The hope was that our life living in Brooklyn would afford us more time, money, and interest in exploring New York instead of living in its buildings, tunnels, and trains like worker ants. The workday journey from Long Island began before the sun rose and ended in the dark of the night by the time we got home.

I handed him the signed rental agreement. He refused to shake my hand. It was several weeks later that I learned I was dealing with a Hasidic Jewish man and they have rules. Lots of rules. This was the start of our life in Brooklyn.