First Aid Kit
I don’t know why that is (laziness or simply a convenience, if there’s even a difference between the two), but what I really like over here is the fact that every other block has the same set of establishments, which – combined – I like to call my „first aid kit”. In any given district, no matter how fat or thin its inhabitants’ wallets are, the kit will be present. I have yet to find a district in which I would have trouble finding one of the places listed below – or even walk more than 2-3 blocks to locate them. My first aid kit consists of:
1. DDeli – which I already described at Just Like NY. It’s here that you will buy the basics 24/7: stuff like coffee, beer, ice cream, toilet paper is always available here. And since it’s open all the time, the homely look of most of those places doesn’t render them any less indispensible.
2. Pharmacy, which I also wrote about recently, where you will find lots of useful things: cosmetics, medicine, Halloween decorations, stockings, fake eyelashes, magazines and even cream cheese (which you may remember from my post about bagels).
3. „Nails”, or manicure & pedicure places – it’s incredible how many places like that are there in New York. I have to say that women here take really good care of their nails. Most of them get a manicure every couple of days. It’s due mostly to the low prices for the service. You can get a maniucre for as little as $8 (even if usually you will pay more then $10, including the tip – prices go much higher once you reach Manhattan).
4. Chinese food, or: more bang for a buck. Not only are the portions big, but the food is also actually tasty. Note that I’m not discussing whether the food is good for you. Usually, you pay $5 and cannot even eat everything you get. „Chinese” is always there for you. I don’t even want to know if what they call chicken is in fact chicken. What counts is that you can have a real feast for very little.
5. Laundromat. Most places here don’t have their own washing machines, so laundromats are es easy to find as all the places mentioned previously. There are many kinds: those so dingy you’re afraid to put your laundry into the machine, and those squeaky clean, fragrant, open 24/7, connected to Wi-fi and playing music to the beat of your revolving underwear.
A gym could be easily mentioned as the sixth type of place on my list, had it been not for the fact that it’s much easier to find one in Manhattan than in Brooklyn.
Why are all those places so easy to come across here? Americans are very convenient (lazy?) and they would never bother to walk more than 2-3 blocks to get what they see as their natural, everyday necessity. That’s another important trait of theirs – everything has to be close, within an arm’s reach, within a single click or a single card swipe. Too much trouble makes them resign from the service. Welcome to the world of easy consummerism. Which doesn’t bother me in the slightest.