Monday, December 31, 2007

Lost on the Streets

December 31, 2007

I think I know my way around Hoboken, but I keep getting lost looking for grocery stores. Last Thursday, when I got off the bus from upstate NY, I decided to take advantage of the Thursday Senior Citizen discounts I’d discovered at a local supermarket the previous week. It was a nice day; I needed a walk, and I knew approximately where the place was. I decided I’d use the opportunity of this walk to drop in on the offices of a young man I met when apartment hunting – the realtor who’d shown me the place I didn’t take in October.

I walked over toward the river (the Hudson, to you Alabamians reading this) which is where I had remembered the market. I walked past the beauty salon where I’d gotten my hair done – subject for another blog post – three weeks ago. Dragging my trusty shopping cart, I went down past the post office where I have bought stamps and sent packages. No grocery.

I knew it had to be over there somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. In some desperation I turned and headed west, but before I knew it I was on the famed Washington Street and knew I was going the wrong way. Never mind, the realtor's office was just a few blocks from there, so I headed that way to ask my new young friend where the store was. When I arrived at his office I was greeted warmly and given directions. After exchanging pleasantries and directing him to my blog, I retraced my steps back toward the river and found the place.

Within a few days it was time for more food. This time I decided to go to the A & P, in hopes of better prices than the other place, which, even with its discount, was way more expensive than I had come to expect in Alabama. It seems everything's except schools organic here, and that means pretty prices.

I had been to the A & P twice, getting lost the second time. I know where it is, I swear I do, but if you come at it from the wrong side you can't see it. I know that sounds crazy. I know I don't have the best sense of direction in the world, but getting lost time and time again just isn't like me. I have trouble picking out landmarks in Hoboken for some reason. The main drag, Washington Street, is easy enough to find but there is a sameness even to the look of this town. Uptown and downtown, the buildings look alike. Maybe I'm too used to using azalea bushes or magnolia trees as landmarks, I don't know. Because on Saturday I couldn't find it again. I realized I'd gone too far west when the cliffs of Jersey City -- the Palisades -- loomed close. I turned around and looked carefully on both sides as I walked back over the familiar streets (which all look rather alike).

Finally I saw a couple of teenage boys who looked like they knew their way around. They told me to go one block over and two blocks up. Sure enough, I came upon the back of the building, just as I had the other time I overshot my goal, and went inside to get groceries.

I spent very frugally, coming in under $30, but in the line I remembered that what I really wanted was Craisins and I hadn't gotten them. Craisins, if you read my food blog you'll know, are my downfall, and the elegant "dried cranberries" in the organic food stores just don't have that chemical crunch and acidity that Craisins do. I have to walk all the way to the A & P to find them, and then I never remember that that was what I came for in the first place.

This means I'll have to go to the A & P again soon, if I can find it. I'm told there is a Shop-Rite somewhere the other side of the A & P, but I have yet to see it. All this exploring is interesting, and I'm learning too. I keep in mind that you have to get lost a little when you're finding yourself.


Craig said...

(Whoops, deleted the comment because of a bad link)

I think you'll find this very helpful... a walking guide to Hoboken.

Anonymous said...

Why not map quest a city map for yourself? In Nov. when in Smoke for a UAB implant session and going on to a wedding in Lincoln, which is not far from Talladega Int Raceway, I used it to locate the ceremonial church. Thing was that there were 11 of the named churches within a 5 mile radius all on the same road....hmmmmm.
With the address, I was able to select the right one and take a shorter, different route than the invitation's map. I also found
Kingston, GA, in like fashion to do a bit of scooter shopping. That place is no bigger than Marbury,AL! Try Kingston, it's my kinda town (except there is no Bay)! On Mapquest you can go to
"street level" on areial view and actually see the buildings. I suppose that accuracy could take some of the zip out of the adventure though.
I just had a vision......Night Stranger with a grocery cart....bag lady style? Ha! No, I think not, more like a hunter after its prey, circling before the attack. Which ever, the edibles toted back to the lair reward all that walking energy.
Maybe the blog oughta be called "Finding the A&P in the Ho",
or even "Craisins in the Ho".