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2004-10-30 - 11:13 a.m.

An evening out in Queens.

Last night was a first night out to explore Queens, and wow, did we ever get alot accomplished. I met up with Callie, one of the faculty from the English department who sings with me in Vocal Ensemble. Callie is from northern Alberta originally and got her Ph.D. at Toronto several years ago, and recently got tenure at Queens. Interesting. She's two years younger than me and tenured. Guess that's what happens when you don't take excursions across Europe. Anyway, she's highly talented, motivated, and most of all very funny.

We explored the Queens Center Mall. It didn't take long to discover that the Queens Center Mall shares the same banal comfort of any other mall in North America. We didn't stay long. Just long enough for me to procure shoes that walk that thin line between outrageous hip girl and dowdy professor. It can be done.

The air in the mall was stifling and so we hopped the subway, as if it were an amusement park ride, up to Jackson Heights. Jackson Heights is NYC's "new little India" (although how new it is, I'm not sure). Jackson Heights fills the senses. There is massive construction on the streets, dust and noise everywhere, the tired 7 train lumbering overhead.. But once removed from this chaos we entered a street covered with Christmas lights, bright signs, and bright colors, and musky spicy smells. We traipsed through a few stores and looked at wedding saris. Beautifully hand embroidered with necklaces and shoes of Indian gold. I would look very wrong in this clothing (and it wouldn't match my new walk-the-line shoes). But it was fantastic nevertheless.

After some window shopping, Callie introduced me to the Jackson Diner. WOW. This restaurant easily had a 30-foot ceilings, a floor full of open tables, and an army of waiters on hand. It has been MONTHS since I have eaten restaurant food that was so satisfying. The spicing was PERFECT! We enjoyed a dish with lamb and spinach, spiced with tomato and ginger. The lamb. Oh, the lamb! Heavenly.

Afterwards, Callie had a craving for sherry. So we went to the one bar in NYC that doesn't have any (err, not on purpose). We hopped the subway once again back to Forest Hills and went to a bar called The Network. Another brilliant discovery! I felt that I was back in Jena's little Pink Place. The music was quiet acid jazz, the lights were dimmed and pink, the decor slightly odd. I drank an apple martini (which tasted a bit like a toxic apple Jolly Rancher candy - but surprisingly good), and we just chatted. It was wonderful. There's a place just down the road where I can pop in for a drink!

What a successful evening. And the last great realization - the pub is situated halfway between me and Callie's new co-op, adding doubly to its potential.

I woke up this morning feeling like I've actually DONE something in Queens. I've seen some places, and know some spots to take people. There is hope!

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