Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Lots of Lots of...Photo Heavy Warning!

A dizzying social whirl Much running round 

Keeping up a decent pace of checking out New York City spots hither and yon would take years. And then you could just start again because things change. Susan and Mark Lusk's book 111 Shops in New York That You Must Not Miss: Unique Finds and Local Treasures  is an example in point. While many of the awesome places still do exist, some are gone. In fact, some of the most famous stores in the history of awesome stores in NYC don't exist anymore. 

There is a weekend flea market full of all sorts of things.
Jewelry and art and lotions and tee shirts and clocks made out of old books.
And a lot more.
Artists and Fleas - worth a visit
One booth was this girl who makes jewelry out of
silver and dolls eyes. Eyes that open and close.
Weird? Yes. Wonderful. Yes.
BUT that doesn't mean that there isn't plenty around to keep you busy. There are shops and museums, restaurants, quirky bars and hidden spots that you'll feel only you might know about. And I've only barely had a peck at the surface of all of it. 

As I was standing waiting for the subway,
a man was on the other side of the tracks singing
"Oh, it's so good to be home, mumble mumble, oh
it's so good to be home."
Take yesterday, for example. Ann was busy so I decided to head in on my own, with excitement and nervousness. Ann said she felt like she was sending me off to kindergarten and I think I felt a lot the same. Busses. There are a lot of busses around here. Some are city busses, some are gypsy busses. Some you pay when you get on, some when you get off. The hub of the city busses is around the Port Authority building where you can get on a subway taking you one stop or 15. I was going about 5 stops. 

How bad could it be? I'm an adult! I've traveled! I was intimidated anyway, but for no good reason. For the most part, I made all the mistakes that would teach me not to do that again. Where are you going? Uptown or Downtown? Ok! Any maps phone app will have a subway/bus icon, you just follow the letters and numbers (and try not to get turned around; I did, but not for long). What's intimidating about a few thousand people striding purposefully in one direction or another? All of whom seem to know where they are going. 

But guess what? Almost everyone I asked (at first) for information (is this the right subway letter/number? was the biggie) had no idea where they were going, how could they help me? Said in a very nice way. So I looked a little harder. Local knowledge is good knowledge. Find someone who looks like they really live here. Look for working people carrying work stuff, including lunch boxes. That worked; all were willing to take a moment and give a hapless visitor the necessary information to get from Point A to whatever the next letter/number was. 

Along with the phone map thing. That was very helpful (until it wasn't).

My destination was Bonnie Slotnik's Cookbook shop. My daughter has given me a mission to pick up cool things that will be a part of the NY experience (on her dime, naturally, she doesn't just want matchbooks and flyers) and while she'd actually mentioned another store, something about Bonnie's web page called to me (yes, Sarah, I will get to Kitchen Arts and Letters; promise). 

Bonnie's store doesn't open until one, so I had some time to kill. I killed it in two of John Derian's stores. Beautiful, well crafted, sometimes funny objects of desire. A plate I picked up, a plate about the size of a coaster, was 200+ dollars. But hey, I was just browsing. And I actually found some little things (small goods, they call them) to purchase. The staff was as friendly as if I'd bought much, much more, always a nice experience. In fact, friendly has been the byword of any transactions I've had here, whether asking for information or purchasing bits and pieces for Sarah's goodie bag. New Yorkers are friendly and not in some fakey way...or if it's fake, they are also brilliant actors.

I didn't even ask how much this couch was, but I fell in love with it. 
I can't say what I got because I want it to be a surprise for Sarah, but I will tell you that the two inexpensive items I bought were treated as if they were much more expensive treasures. The clerk suggested I go downstairs and look around while she wrapped them. I blithely agreed, saying, I'm not done yet! I'm pretty sure she knew I was done, as downstairs was a collection of wonderful antiques, from a bug collection to old leather mailbags to fainting couches, lighting, tables and more I could covet - and I did - but far beyond the reaches of anything resembling my budget. For a split second I wanted to be a NY decorator...

Random architecture that caught my eye

One of my missions was to go to the Strand bookstore. I was in the neighborhood, so I went to find it and I did. Let's just get this out of the way, it's overwhelming. One of their sayings is 18 miles of books and I believe them. Tables and shelves are stacked with books, books read and millions unread. Books with little descriptions on them written by store employees (and not always nice reviews either; I liked that). There are bags and socks and cups and cards, water bottles and kitchen ware and magnets and lunch boxes. Not all are Strand promotions but plenty are and I wanted to buy all of them. I didn't, but I did have to finally pull myself over to the check out line. 

Once there with books and magnets and tote bags and socks (hey, who can resist knee socks with the 100 foot woman on them? Not me), I was thinking about carrying all of this crap these treasures around. There were many clerks and many customers but I asked about shipping anyway (hey, Bonnie ships, maybe they do too!). The manager waiting on me was happy to oblige. Hooray, except I didn't get to really peruse the books I got for Sarah (because a book for Sarah is a book for me). Ah well. Next California trip!

I couldn't fit the whole church building into the photo.
You get the idea, it was a mammoth, beautiful cake.
Where were we? Right, I am not a NY decorator. In fact, NY does a fine job of decorating itself. 

I just realized I've missed posting a LOT of photos from our trip to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It's touted as one of the very hip places to be and see. We got there when it was quiet, but things picked up rapidly from a lazy Sunday morning to an active Sunday afternoon.

What kind of food do you want? It's somewhere here!

I liked this door. I like this doorway. I like the brass plate on the door.
I wanted to go in and find it 1897.
Which is why I didn't go in. 
Right down from the above door was a shop called Brooklyn Junk (check out the site, lots more weird and wonderful photos. We were gently sucked inside, without even trying to resist. 

It was hard just getting past the first 10 feet without stopping.
A lot.
Ann and I had a lot of fun finding photos of our relatives,
journeying back in time to that crazy Christmas with Uncle Henry.
I was laughing to the point of tears. No one noticed or cared so
I guess that happens a lot.

From hand mixers to giant pulleys and shackles, it was all there

If this hadn't weighed about 20 pounds I'd have brought it along.
Plastic bottles. From the back, that's all I saw. But while I was paying for some things,
Ann, who had ignored them as well, walked around to the other side.
I think this might be the weirdest thing I've seen in NY. 

I love buttons. I used to collect buttons.
It was time to get the hell out of there.
A lot of reviewers say it is way overpriced. I didn't think so but having not been in a shop like this except the cool one in Fajardo in many years, what do I know? The woman who runs it is exactly who you expect her to be. A bit brusque but helpful, mussy messy and perfect. Go if you get a chance.

What is this? Why is it there? I have no idea
and you don't want to know my guesses

We saw a few of these. Luckily, waiters DON'T talk
except among themselves. 

Not to be found on any island I know about in the Caribbean
(but there are a LOT of Caribbean places here)

Street life

We didn't go in but it looked pretty cool

Because of course I love this fence and gate

Because it's there

I could do a whole series on bike racks of NYC
"The precursor of the modern swimming pool was the public bath. Dr. Simon Baruch (for whom the Baruch baths were named) was a leading proponent of "hydrotherapy" and the possibilities for social reform that followed from providing public baths for "the great unwashed."
"Although the facilities that were once public baths are now under the jurisdiction of Parks (as befits an agency charged with recreation and well-being), it was not always the case. Metropolitan Pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, was built under the auspices of Borough President Edward Riegelmann in 1922.

The Beaux-Arts architecture and neo-classical details of Metropolitan Pool are typical for the period. The pool and bath at Metropolitan were designed by the architect Henry Bacon (1866-1924), who also designed Washington, DC's Lincoln Memorial." 

There are plaques like this everywhere.
This one covered a lot of history.

Because I like Honky Tonk!
 Live music wafted out of this building, a funky jazz trio, and I think they were singing 'Ann & MJ, come in and have a drink' so we did.

This used to be a toy factory!

A gin concoction. A beer cocktail. Just what the doctor ordered.
That doctor.

If you see a cool bathroom, sure, take its picture.

No signage explaining, it was just there

No, I have no idea what this means.
Whoever Henry is after, it wasn't us.
(take on a Henry Rollins song? who knows?)

For the car buffs

Graffiti covers so much that should be left alone

I took this photo for Rosarito.
We came back later and ate here.

Just another awesome restaurant out of an old warehouse
Too many choices!!! Maybe another day.
After a LOT of deliberation, we got the fish taco and the frito misto.
Both were incredibly good.
We also debated a long time about drinks. We got the fancy margarita but I think we'd have done better getting the signature margarita. Oops.

3 D sidewalk art

After spending more than we wanted at Rosarito's, we came to this place.
Scones with desserts. Scones with Thai Chicken. Cheap prices!
Next time.

Too full to just say yes
 And thus endeth this section of NY NY it's a wonderful place.

Next up, more fun. Stay tuned.

Have a warbling Wednesday. Do something that makes you say wow!

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