Sunday, April 23, 2006

Branching Out..

After the slick of the weekend's rain dried, we embarked on a mission. We would treat New York as a European city, losing ourselves wherever possible and frequenting the small, the cobbled and quaint.

We slipped into a teahouse we'd been eyeing all week. Once inside, we sipped, china cups endlessly filled with strong, black tea, and marveled at the setup. Knick-knacks, the smell of scones, painted signs, mismatched seats and eclectic patrons. A young bearded man set his tray and hackeysack on the wooden counter, expertly balancing the plates of chocolate crumbs and cups of spiced chai.

"Yo, those brownies were INTENSE." He informed the purveyor, a middle-aged woman--the spitting image of Old Mother Hubbard--complete with kind face, patterned smock-dress, and spectacles.

"Oh, thanks. That's nice to hear." She sang as light streamed, reflecting across her round glasses. She pressed her plump hands onto her apron. "I baked them this morning."

Outside, the air kept fresh and we continued our unexpected day in a fairytale, in the city's version of the shire, moving from tea house to gallery, snapping pictures along the way.

We stopped in a bookshop and pretended we were considering lattes to sit in the cafe, browsing through pages of the greats and not-so-greats, where I came across the dogma upheld by a seventeenth-century samurai warrior.

No fear, no surprise, no hesitation, no doubt.

"Good mantra," I murmured aloud.

Further west we passed brownstones and pillars, painted brick and budding bluebells. After the rain, the city's carpeted parks glowed luminescent. The dog runs were filled with bouncing balls of fur, one white mop jumped on a shaggy puppy in glee.

Children splashed in puddles the moment their parents' backs were turned.

We strolled past storefronts, watering holes, and bistros, early glasses of wine and appetizers eaten at wooden windows stripped of glass, the after-rain breeze billowing inside and across dining tables.

Churches of stone and a beautiful patio set back from the quiet streets and blooming trees. A man played a bagpipe as his leg leaned against the wrought iron gate, a crowd still wearing their Sunday best, mesmerized by the blaring sound.

Gray clouds were mere wisps as we walked the day away. I found so much more of the city that I forgot was there, and was reminded about how little I truly know, how our location dictates so much of our experience and how hard it is to motivate oneself to venture beyond.

Latest goal for the summer is to go to one new place or neighborhood haunt a week. Any suggestions on your favorites?


brooklyn babe said...

Intense brownies? Must try.

Spicy Law Girl said...

I'm going to be in a new neighborhood this summer myself, so there will be exploring.

Regarding my entry, there's nothing wrong with convinience, its just that we might rule things/relationships/people out because they're not the most convinient and it seems tough to do...

Thanks for the comment :) I love reading your blog and I hope to hear from you again.

AmourArmor said...

Expert writing once again.


Candy Minx said...

Hi K, really enjoyed following all these stories and musings. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

I really like the photos in this post. Good stuff, and great to "meet" you.

Serena said...

I love the randomness of a good stroll and just popping into different places. Sounds fab!

ThursdayNext said...

This is the Manhattan that Miss Holiday sings about. ;)

The Cloisters is a beautiful place that is transporting. Try heading to Astoria's Cavo for a taste of Greece in their back garden; its transporting as well!

Glad you had a lovely Sunday!

Sarah said...

Yes, try the Cloisters. They're right up here near MY neighborhood, Washington Heights. It's.... different. I can definitely recommend some places to check out, though.

GeminiWisdom said...

Great stuff as usual, K. You make me want to visit your side of the world sooner rather than later.

Fitzgerald said...

Thanks for visiting! You really painted this so pictures needed. :-) I'm so envious of you New Yorkers.

debo said...

Hi K. CD again. I liked the last pic, which is on Bedford. That house has some history, which I've now forgotten, but it involves pushing the architectural envelope of the period. I took T to Dumbo a few weeks ago. If you haven't been, get him to take you.