Knitting in my neighbor’s yard.

I smiled a bit when reading Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitters Almanac this weekend. Writing about her apprehension about moving to the United States in 1937, she wrote:

“My idea of this country had been gathered from her traveling citizens, from the movies, and from ‘Babbit.’…I was convinced that we should have to live in a shabby brownstone walkup with four families to share the facilities; that we should spend our summers panting on the front steps, or walking along something called a boardwalk eating popcorn and cotton candy, and our vacations in a landscape strongly resembling the Jersey Flats. I knew we could never aspire to Cadillacs, to estates on Long Island, and the cool Adirondacks in the summer.”

I smiled because anyone who has read kids’ books from a certain era (like the All-of-a-Kind Family series, and yes, click through to read the cute review of it), or were forced into watching too much early Woody Allen (Radio Days, anyone?) has a similar view of New York. I moved to New York in 1996, 59 years after Elizabeth Zimmermann came to the U.S., and even I thought of New York like that. But the funny thing is that it sort of still is. Despite all the carping about gentrification of the city, people here still sit on their front steps, multi-families still share apartments, we still go to the boardwalk, and Adam and I even go to the Jersey Shore every summer. (Though I think EZ meant the Jersey in the UK.) And by and large, I think that’s great. Elizabeth Zimmermann saw it as something to dread, saying that she saw the Statue of Liberty with “apprehensive gloom,” before launching into that description above, but I think it’s something to savor, and something to love about New York.

For every person like EZ, who sees stoop-sitting in the heat as some kind of urban misery, there’s someone who loves it. I don’t always; sometimes I just am dying to go on vacation. But actually, I often do love it–I love going to Coney Island, I love going to the Shore, I love eating bodega popsicles, I love eating outside for dinner, I love picnics in Central Park, I love walking around in the hot evenings, and I love how the city seems to belong to me. There’s a stillness in the heat that always seems filled with hope, for me and every other New York immigrant who comes to the city with their own dreams and images of what it will be live here.

There is nothing like New York in the summer, and for all of the heat and madness, I love summer in the city.

Posted in personal, Printed Matter, Uncategorized at June 16th, 2008.

New Shawl 

I smell like DEET…ahh the smell of summer.

* Random political thought: Why doesn’t Obama pick Al Gore for veep?  I know that my knitting blog, which has three readers, is the most influential place to put this idea. Anyway. My suggestion for McCain is Condoleeza Rice. Or Joe Lieberman.

* Random political thought #2: Oddly, the most thoughtful column I read about the weird use and connotations of phrases like “white working class”  was in AM New York.  

* Random weather thought: Heat waves reminds me INXS’ Never Tear Us Apart. I’m not totally sure why–since I am somewhat notorious for my lack of pop culture, particularly music, knowledge–INXS made an impression on my brain, but there you go. By the way, one of my friends calls Never Tear Us Apart “the middle-school dance song.” “Don’t ask me / what you know is true / Don’t have to tell you / I love your precious heaaaart” Ha! Now it’s stuck in your head too.

* Random summer thought: That INXS song always reminds me of a summer I spent in Boston.

* Random summer thought #2: That summer always makes me think of all the John Updike I read that year. Favorite John Updike book: Too Far to Go.  

* Random John Updike thought: When I waited to have John Updike sign his book of collected short stories a few years ago, I waited in a very very long line, and one woman said, “Reading one of his stories is what made me realized I had to get divorced,” and then a man in front of me said, “Really? One of his stories was why I decided to get married.”

And on that cheerful (or not) note…here’s to knitting on the subway, a surpringly air-conditioned oasis in the sweltering city.

Posted in personal, Uncategorized at June 12th, 2008.

Knit New York 

I used to work near this store, and I have always thought it is a little weird. They did, however, have the idea of offering free knitting lessons in Bryant Park in the summer, which is a smart way to get new customers. The staff here is always nice, but it’s one of those cafe/knitting stores, which means that there are a bunch of tables and not as much room for yarn. Personally, I am opposed to the cafe/knitting combo, because it always seems to take up room that could be better used, and it never seems to generate that much additional business.

The store also has a bit of an odd layout. In the front room, they only have a couple of balls out of each color of yarn (I think the rest of the yarn might be in the drawers below) and then they have a weird back room with shelves of yarn. It’s the issue of abundance again–it never feels fully stocked. It’s near Union Square, but enough of a walk that it’s not that near Union Square. Also, it has very little sock yarn, which is always what I look at if I just want to buy a ball or two of something.

I know these reviews are kind of crappy–I need to develop some sort of bullet point system for evaluating stores: diversity of yarn lines in brands / weights / color / fiber; location; amount of yarn available; staff; etc. But I haven’t. Anyway, it’s worth popping in if you’re in the area, but not worth making a trip out of your way to go to, I think.

Knit New York


address: 307 East 14th St., / New York, NY / 10003

phone: 212-387-0707


Posted in Uncategorized, Yarn Stores at June 1st, 2008.