It is days like this that keep me falling in love with New York again and again.
The sun woke me this morning, sending rays bouncing through the apartment. Annoyed at the interruption, I rose to close the blinds when I discovered the beautiful sun rays painting the New Jersey coast of the Hudson River. Who can sleep with a day like this staring you in the face?
Took a look at the calendar. Nothing. Checked “the list”. Nada. I felt a lift of joy as I realized the day is clear and mine to enjoy.
NY1 predicted the weather would break 50 for the first time since… well I don’t recall, but too long. Now, what to do with this glorious day?
For those visiting New York, there are travelogues, blogs, books and magazines filled with things to keep you entertained while in the City. We have found that some of the best days are unplanned, inefficient wanderings that zig zag through a neighborhood.
With no clear plan, we started with fuel at our favorite Pizza-by-the-slice joint, Gotham, then headed to 50th where we would catch the One train. Crossing 51st we became distracted by a crew that has been working to replace water pipes along 8th and 9th Avenues. They have been at it since last fall. Today they were lifting an old pipe from below the ground. Tip wonders how old it is. I wonder what kind of materials they will replace it with.
After a few minutes we continue our trip, still with no real idea of where we are going.
Catching the One Uptown we rode as far as 86th street. We took the time to enjoy the subway art titled Westside Views. There are 40 works of ceramic glazed tile created by students of Grosvenor Community House. The art expresses views of life on the Westside. There are also a few poetry tiles supporting the art. Dates on the pieces are mostly ’87. I wish I could say thank you to the persons responsible for creating them and placing them there. I am falling in love with community art.
Coming out of the subway we encountered a man in a wheelchair yelling for food. We are suckers for anyone hungry so we looked around for the nearest food wagon and ordered chicken tacos. As we returned to the corner we discovered the man was gone. Now we had a mission to find the hungry man. It should not be difficult he was yelling rather loudly, but now he was nowhere in sight. After a few turns down the wrong side streets we finally found him hanging around outside a grocery store. Tip offers him a can of coke and three chicken tacos ($12). He says he doesn’t like tacos. So much for being a good Samaritan. We continued down the sidewalk carrying our tacos that will soon be cold. Shortly we came across a man collecting cans from the public trash. Tip offers the tacos and he is grateful for them. God works in unusual ways.
Happy to have a home for the tacos, we continued along broadway and found ourselves at Zabars. What a place. Downstairs there are specialty cheeses, all sorts of baked bread, cases filled with freshly baked desserts, a fish market and sausages. The shelves are filled with all types of specialty items such as pickled cherry peppers, olives of all varieties, crackers with names that are not familiar, and a wall of not-the-usual preserves.
Baskets hang from the ceiling, carts are small, aisles are narrow, employees are many, and the place has the feel of a busy market in a foreign country. Upstairs is stocked with a beautiful assortment of kitchen items, pans, knives, bakeware, etc. To someone from Texas it is hard to imagine how all of this fits in such a small space.
We select a few items and continue our stroll. Shortly we pass 83rd street where we remember a time when we ate at the famous Café Lalo’s . We thought it was nearby so we made a turn in the direction of Central Park to see if it was nearby.
There it was. This day it was covered by scaffolding and obscured behind a truck working to make street repairs. Inside we were welcomed by the music of Elton John, decant desserts and strong coffee that we shared at a small table while enjoying the beauty of the café.
What a way to spend an afternoon. As we left the sun was getting low and we headed back home.
A good day, doing nothing but creating memories and enjoying our surroundings.