I first met Roxy Marj (Roxanne Asami) at Jenny Kwok's moving sale a few years back, when Jenny was leaving Brooklyn for Istanbul. At the time we were both selling our work on cut + paste, Jenny's site, the granddaddy of all online hand made marketplaces. Although I haven't seen Roxy that much since I met her, we've been keeping up with each other online. She has such a great aesthetic, is a wonderful illustrator and has the best sense of humor. When I found out that Roxy was also having a moving sale, because she too was leaving Brooklyn for lands far off, I knew I had to go. We won't be able to make her going away party next weekend since we'll be in L.A., so I wanted to say goodbye, and also see what she had to offer. If you didn't know, artists have the best yard sales.
As a newcomer to nyc you will quickly get used to reading the MTA's weekend service advisories. Flush with tax revenue from the economic boom of the past several years, they've been fastidiously repairing every mile of track in the enormous subway system. In addition, most of the major stations have been undergoing sorely needed renovations. So as a result, the MTA works on certain lines for several months at a time, closing down lines on the weekends and re-routing your trip. If you live near a line that has a local and an express train, they will close down one track as they work on the other. b and I have gotten so used to seeing the posters in the A/C station that we use, we've stopped reading them carefully. The usual deal is- C (local) train not running, A (express) train runs as a local train. okay- so we didn't read the signs yesterday, hopped on the A train, and it bypassed the first local stop. We got out at the next stop, knowing if we stayed on it would go too far past where we wanted to be. Getting out, we saw that there was yellow tape across the entrance to the local tracks. That meant no local service at all! So we decided to walk the rest of the way, through Crown Heights. Along the way we found several *free* boxes set out on the sidewalk. b scored a jackpot on *hacker manual* zines. Further along, as we entered Prospect Heights, there were multi-family sales in front of large apartment buildings. I found b a pair of new flip-flops for a dollar.
Roxy held her stoop sale in front of her friend's apartment in Prospect Heights, the building coincidentally being named "the Roxana." when we arrived Roxy was goofing around with two neighborhood girls, Alana and Aleeza. they asked me to guess their names, and looking into Alana's face I said "Alison." pretty close, huh? Later on they were joined by their older brother Ari. I bonded with the kids over being Jewish and having facebook and twitter accounts. while there I amassed a great pile of books, clothing, fabric, art supplies and jewelry. I feel ridiculously honored to own four of Roxy's unfinished sketch books. I've been planning on starting a new one myself, so it will be fun to use these.
b started acting kind of grumpy, and I explained to Roxy that he was hungry. What do you know, she offers him a slice of her pitza (pizza made on home made pita) from Zaytoons. We had eaten at their Carroll Gardens location the other day, and fell in instant love. So good, so fresh, (they bake their pita bread fresh per order) pretty cheap, and so welcoming. I felt like friends had invited me into their home for lunch. So after filling up two bags with loot, we said goodbye to Roxy and walked to Vanderbilt Ave. for a late lunch. Such a variety of choices, but we decided on Le Gamin Cafe. Another great spot that has multiple nyc locations. b had the croque madame and I had the quiche du jour. Really authentically frenchie spot down to all the details- quiche made the correct way with cream, snails on the menu, beverages like sour lemonade and cafe au lait served in a bowl. an adorable little vintage aluminum condiment tray on the table, with salt, pepper and a tiny glass dish of mustard.
I had a few things I had to pick up before we went home, so we walked across to Park Slope to find a Duane Reade. (nyc's big pharmacy chain, which kicks the other chain's butts) Heading west, I found another free box and scored a lightweight summer dress. Choosing to walk down 5th ave., the street has a decided lack of big-chain pharmacies. It isn't until you get into the South Slope that you find them. Alas, only a Rite Aid, but they had what I needed. We kept walking south on 5th, finding several new bars and restaurants, as the neighborhood bleeds into Sunset Park. We finally headed back up 6th., one of my favorite streets, as it's partially commercial but mainly residential. So it's one of the major north-south avenues in Park Slope, but it has a quieter, tree-lined feel. And then home.