On the streets of New York City

There is one thing I will never be able to get used to while living here. Seeing homeless people on the streets.

I remember the first time I saw a homeless person and really understanding what his situation was. I was visiting New York City with my family and I was around 13 years old. Everytime I’d see someone begging for money I’d point them out to my mom asking her give them some change. Eventually my mom told me that we can’t give some to everyone, there are so many.
We were there in February and it was freezing cold. We were walking near Central Park when an older man walked up to us and asked if we had any spare clothing since he was cold. My mom had just bought these soft, bright neon green gloves. She gave them to the man. He was too cold to put them on, so my mom assisted him. The mental picture of the man walking away with bright neon gloves will never leave my mind. Such a small thing to be happy about and thankful for.

Coming from a country that has very little poverty, and almost no homeless people, I still find it difficult now to look upon all these poor people. I still want to stop by every single one and give them change. But I don’t anymore, my mom was right.. there are so many.

Being in a big city like this is so different. When walking along the street I see so many people. So many different individuals. I’ve always liked imagining where they’re coming from, or where they’re going. What’s their story?
Sometimes I think about how everyone was a baby once. It’s an oddly comforting thought. No matter how people are now, whatever they’ve done or where they’ve ended up, they were a baby once. An innocent child that was not yet programmed. It had no prejudice, it did not judge. It wanted to give every homeless person money, simply because they saw that he/she needed it.

I like to think about how many people there are in the world. Everyone is the center in their world. Just as I’m sitting here writing this, a woman I passed yesterday, who was to my story just an extra, is now dealing with something, or doing something that is important to her storyline.

When you’re in a store in Reykjavík and you run into someone you know it’s not uncommon. We aren’t that many. So whenever I’m at the movies, or at the pool it’s even kind of likely that I’ll see someone I know. We are only around 330.000. There are way more people in Brooklyn alone!
A strange thought that then sometimes comes to mind when I’m at a public place in Reykjavík is “There are so many Icelandic people I don’t know!”.

And now I’m in an enormous city and I know so few people. There are so many storylines. Many of them have their main character, their hero… on the street.

Last night I went to the store that’s about 3 minutes away from our apartment. On the way I was stopped by a man. He looked my age. Around 23 years old. He was asking for food. This really hit me hard. How is it that he is here, at 10 pm begging for food. Where are his people? How did he end up here? What is his story?
As I sit here writing this I’m thinking where did he end up. Is he homeless? Did he eat? When was the last time he ate? Should I have found him after I’d been to the store? How will the hero of this story survive?

I will never get used to seeing homeless people. I’ve lived so long without.

Cats vs. dogs

After having lived here for a couple of weeks now there is one thing that I know for sure… dogs run this town. Everywhere I go there are dogs. You would think that in a big city like this not too many people have room for a dog in their tiny New York apartment. But dogs of all sizes rule these streets.
Where are all the cats? Those of you who have ever lived in Reykjavík know that cats basically own it. Downtown Reykjavík is filled with cats. I miss them.

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New York dog toilet

Now here’s the real question. Which animal do I prefer? Cats vs. dogs. It is impossible to answer… I haven’t had a dog (“thanks mom!”), but I’ve had quite a few cats. Dogs love you so much, they are always excited to see you and would like nothing more than to hang out with you. They do however need a lot of attention, you have to walk them and make sure they aren’t by themselves for too long.
Cats are way more self-reliant. They go in and out as they please. If they want contact with you it will be on their terms. They can however be dicks. Because of their need for independence they do not care about you if you piss them off in some way. Which actually is kind of fair. Well, in conclusion: I have no idea.

The reason this post is dedicated to cats and dogs is that I am in the city of dogs but I have found the cats. Here is the best cafe in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Cat Cafe.

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To be fair it is not really great for getting a cup of coffee or something to eat. I was just there I don’t even know what they offer, I was more interested in the CATS I guess.

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A couple of days ago I stumbled upon their website and I knew I had to go there. They are a non-profit organization that holds a great deal of adoptable cats.
Before I visited I even filled out a form applying for a volunteer position at the cafe. I am currently waiting a response. This means I might get to be around these lovely kitties some more. Hopefully I’ll be able to help out there a couple of times a week!

I’ve never considered volunteering before. Usually you look for a job that pays. I guess we humans are selfish in that way, like cats.
Now, of course, is a great time to volunteer. I’m not allowed to work here and I have a lot of free time on my hands. What better way to spend my time than to snuggle up with a bunch of cats!

Since Reykjavík is the city of cats, maybe I should open up a cat cafe there! Nobody steal my idea please. Or maybe do. There are so many cats looking for a home in Iceland, we could do with some cat cafes.

I want to give a special shout-out to my favourite snuggler today, I don’t know his name but here’s his cute face. He was a dick to the other cats when they tried to get my attention. It was sweet. Come to think of it he looks kind of evil.

If you decide to comment your opinion on cats vs. dogs please give specific reason as to why you prefer one species over the other.

For this post I have picked a soundtrack from a film. It is Awesome mix vol. 1 from Guardians of the Galaxy. I have listened to it countless times. It is amazing.

All roads lead to The Promenade

Being from Iceland I am definitely enjoying the extra 10-15 degrees in September. I have now been here for almost a week and I realized that almost every day I have ended up going to the Promenade. The Brooklyn Heights Promenade is a pedestrian walkway where you get a great view of Manhattan.

Whether it is just to walk the “nicer” way home, to get some sun, or to go running, it never fails. While I’m here I want to explore New York and especially Brooklyn, The Promenade will however always be my first favorite place.

At the end of the Promenade we’ve found the best pizza place in Brooklyn. Granted we haven’t been to all of them, but after this one I feel like we don’t need to.

It is the lovely Julianna’s!

This is a small pizza place in the best location.. right by the Promenade. It’s a walk-in only restaurant so there will be a cue, but it’s worth the wait. What’s really special about this place is that the 84 year old owner, Patsy, is often there. He was last night and you can see how much he cares about his little pizzeria.

Of course after such a great meal you always need something sweet. Just a few steps down the street you’ll find the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Even when I’ve been here during winter, when the humid air freezes up your hair, I still get a scoop. It’s so delicious.

Now the blog might start to seem like I’m posting to advertise for certain places.. but it’s all just for me to remember them.

At the end of every blog I’ve decided to dedicate it to an artist. As you can imagine I like to listen to some music while writing.

This blog’s artists are JóiPé and Króli. They are taking Iceland by storm right now. The hottest in Icelandic Hip Hop at the moment. Keep it up. Their latest album Gerviglingur is good. Listen to it.