Wednesday, March 25, 2009


A few weeks ago I started regularly taking the B61 bus. It travels between from Queens Plaza in Long Island City to Ikea in Redhook, and provides me a pleasant alternative to taking the G train to such places as the 7, E, and L trains, as well as Kristin's house.

The weather has just changed, so I am not sure how I would have liked waiting for the bus in very cold temperatures. This time of year, though, I can't think of any more pleasant place to wait around than sunny Manhattan Avenue in late March. In my neighborhood, you can watch the older Polish ladies go about their business, appreciate the subtleties of the 99 cent stores' window displays, and generally check in with the daily activity of the neighborhood while you wait.

Today, for example, the bus was quite late (I also like how you can check the schedule to see how long until the next bus), but the 20 minutes I stood waiting was infinitely better than if I had been standing in the cold, dank tunnel of the G train.

Taking the B61 has also given me a much better understanding of Brooklyn neighborhoods. I like to watch how the streets evolve as the bus goes down Manhattan, through McCarren Park, down Driggs and over to Wythe. It's interesting the proximity of different communities, and who gets on the bus when and who gets off.

Here are some highlights of the scenery from the segment of the B61 route that I frequently travel:
-I like the Sweetleaf Cafe on Jackson Ave, just before the bus turns left over the bridge into Brooklyn
-Traveling over the Pulaski bridge
-As you descend down the bridge, to your right, the final alphabetical streets of Greenpoint I rarely see otherwise: Eagle, Clay, Box, and Ash streets.
-McCarren Park Dog Run and immediately after
-the onion shaped orthodox church
-there is a beautiful iron gate at the stop right after the bus turns onto Wythe -- lots of people always get out here
-Driving by Peter Lugar's restaurant at night and looking in to see all the waitstaff in white shirts and black ties.
-Going under the overpass, looking to the west and seeing the Williamsburg bridge lit up.

It costs $2 for a ride on the B61 plus a free transfer to or from any subway....for now.

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