Weekend Roam: Williamsburg

April 18, 2013

Helen Holmes for WSN

Firstly, I would just like to state that anything I have to say about Williamsburg — while no doubt stingingly acerbic and hilarious — will be absolutely irrelevant in comparison to my account of the absolute cutest thing in the world that has ever happened to anyone ever. Oh, you pet seven kittens today? I beat you. Oh, you just took a picture of a dog eating a cupcake on a rainbow? Sorry, you lose. I swear on my hedgehog that the story I am about to tell is the 100 percent truth.

I was walking down a side street in Williamsburg in the gloomy rain, the kind of spitting rain that doesn’t bother to come to actual drops because it’s too lazy. I was chatting with my dad on the phone about housing for next year. My nose was running and my hair was matted down my head in an incredibly fetching manner. I looked up and noticed someone walking toward me. This someone was a little boy who looked to be about 8 years old — guessing age is my Achilles’ heel. He was dressed in a blue coat and held a bouquet of yellow daffodils in his hand.

“Hold on, Dad,” I said, as I cupped my hand over the phone. “Hey buddy,” I said to the boy, absolutely overwhelmed by this devastatingly precious human. “Who are those for?” “My mom,” he replied, smiling. I briefly considered kidnapping or adoption. Then, before my eyes, he divided the bouquet in two and handed me six perfect, freshly cut daffodils. I almost cried. He walked away and I stood in the rain for a second, temporarily paralyzed by his kindness. I buried my nose in the flowers: they smelled perfect.

But enough of this touchy-feely business — I’m almost making myself hurl just rereading that. Seriously, I thought things like this only happened to Anne of Green Gables, but apparently yellow daffodils sometimes befall weirdos wearing cutoff shorts in the rain as well. Good to know. In any case, when I got off the G train, I kind of wished I hadn’t. It was dark and wet, and weird guys kept asking me if I had a cigarette.

Things only got worse as I made my way up Union Avenue. A pleasant-looking woman in a yellow fleece stopped to talk to me as I lingered on the corner by a convenience store. First she asked me if I had seen the hot guy who had just walked by, then she asked me if I could lend her some money: “I’m tryin’ to come up with $5,000 to prove that my father is also the father of my babies … I need that test, which ends with an ‘A.’” “A DNA test?” I ventured haplessly. “That’s it,” she said with a huge smile on her face.

I was nearly catatonic with gratitude when I happened upon Brooklyn Cupcake, which, unlike the creepy Hell’s Kitchen cafe, was populated by cheery cashiers and tiny babies in strollers begging their moms for baked goodies. Some guy behind the counter wearing a hairnet sang, “This cupcake is goin’ in my belly,” to his co-workers as I munched on the most delicious vanilla cupcake with sprinkles I’d ever tasted. As I wandered around afterwards, among a healthy mix of gourmet bagel shops, humble townhouses and cheap pizza parlors, I couldn’t help but think that this was one of the weirdest places I’ve been so far. Which means I’ll definitely be back.

Helen Holmes is a deputy features editor. Email her at hholmes@nyunews.com.

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