Lest anyone think this is going to be one of those underhandedly positive "tips for singles" articles (my favorite is here - like I needed to be told not to buy a pound of fresh basil when I was single) or some sort of Oprah-esque treatise on the value of "me time" don't worry, it won't be. This is entirely about the pure, unadulterated, (sometimes misanthropic) joy of spending time by oneself. With that, here are my 10 favorite things to do solo in the Slope...
#10 - Go to a diner and read the paper. My diner of choice is the Park Cafe on 7th Ave at Union - mainly because I've never waited for a table but also because they have more kinds of pancakes than anywhere else I've been in the 'nabe.
#9 - Drink Alone Sometimes you want to go where no one knows your name, or talks to you, or even looks directly at you. O'Connors is my favorite place to have a drink alone. It's dive-y, cheap and usually quiet. The experience is downright meditative.
#8 - Gamble Alone I've never been to 5th Avenue Bingo but a friend who once made the mistake of taking a date there tells me that you run the risk of being kicked out if you even whisper. So go by yourself. They have snacks and old ladies and it's so authentic they don't even have a website. I had to refer to someone else's flickr stream to even get a sense of the place (5th Ave between 7th and 8th street).
#7 - Eat Noodles Alone There are two kinds of restaurants I feel comfortable in alone - diners and restaurants with counters. But I also don't like high counters because I'm short and my feet dangle and I feel nervous when I'm eye level with people of normal height. Also, I love ramen. Thus my great fondness for Naruto Ramen on 5th Ave. They have a low counter and delicious cheap noodles. It's my happy place.
#6 - Go hang out with animals. As zoo's go, the one in Prospect Park isn't that amazing. The whole place basically amounts to a "fauna of the mid-atlantic region" building at a regular zoo with half a petting zoo out back. But there's usually no one there and you can get very close to the animals (once this alpaca tried to eat my coat, but that's neither here nor there). It's a great place to get away from other humans but not be alone - you can commune with otters and check out some primates that are so Brooklyn their dessert of choice is cupcakes.
#5 - Get Annoyed Alone Target on the weekend or the DMV at the Atlantic Center any time are terrible, terrible places. You might be tempted to bring a friend or significant other with you for company but I guarantee, some serious stress will be externalized and your misery will increase exponentially. The NY State DMV website even includes the following disclaimer in red about the Brooklyn office: "Due to space and security concerns, we ask that only the individuals who are transacting business enter the processing area of this office." That shit is no joke. Bring an ipod, don't make eye contact with anyone, get in and get out.
#4. Donuts! This is simple: go alone so you can eat as many as you want free from judgement, or god forbid, having to share. I like the 7th Ave Donut Shop.
#3 Girly salon stuff. I like the experience of going to nail parlor because there are usually a lot of other people in the room, but hardly anyone speaks. Kind of like a library but without the studying. My fave pedicure is Element Beauty Lounge - they have a great trashy magazine selection and I always leave marvelling at the way my toenails look like polished little gemstones.
#2 Linger I love cats, but I don't have one. Thus I like to look longingly at other people's cats. Sometimes if I'm walking down 5th Ave with a friend I feel like I can't stand and stare into the window of 5th Avenue Cat Clinic as long as I'd like to.
#1 See a movie at the Pavilion. If you've never gone to a movie by yourself, you're missing out. I could do a top ten list on this topic alone. You can see whatever movie you want, you don't have to share popcorn, you can glare at the people chatting away behind you without your friend/date/whoever thinking you should be in therapy for anger management. Besides, until recently in certain screening rooms at the Pavilion you'd be lucky to find two seats next to one another that weren't broken, gross or otherwise fucked up.