This was, from start to finish, a great trip. I had biz class ticket due to frequent flier miles and it was a Boeing 757-200, a great model plane, the biz class seat reclined so you could lie flat + an individual monitor for each seat (for all seats in the plane) and maybe 50 movies plus TV programs to choose from. I watched “Tim’s Vermeer,” a documentary about an incredible guy who had a theory about Vermeer’s use of a camera obscura…Staying in the Village was fantastic. It’s still a village, albeit inhabited I would guess mostly by richos. You can get into very quiet cul-de-sacs, lots of leafy trees, tons of restaurants…speaking of which here’s where I ate. Often as not these were places I’d sussed out by walking by:
-Buvette, 42 Grove, French bistro, unique, stylish, also pretty well known
-Taverna, 63 Bedford, Greek food, genius chef. Great Feng-shui due to eye-level mirrors all around room…BTW, around the corner was Nakazawa Sushi, no window menu, obviously expensive, filled with smug looking youngish people; ah, to have a salary of 300K/year…
-Yerba Buena, 23 Avenue A, East Village, chef from Mexico City, Latina fusion
-Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, Gotham West Market, 611 11th Ave. Good, inexpensive. Another place in this complex has over 400 types of beer, which you casn buy and take to the Slurp Shop.
-Mo Mo Sushi in Bushwick, totally excellent. Unusual.
-Gastromarket, 315 10th Ave (near Highline), cask conditioned beer and great food
One hot afternoon I went to the Reade Street Pub, a cool place, got into conversation with 2 music aficionados of all the music I love. At other end of bar were 3 sailors, I big guy and two lady sailors, turns out it was Fleet Week and a bunch of ships were in town. These sailors proceeded to get shit-faced, drinking shots of Jamison alternating with shots of pickle juice, all in good spirits, shouting “Whooo!”
On the subway one day I saw a guy with a surfboard. He was heading for Rockaway Beach. The A Train route is 31 miles long and $2.50 gets you to the beach. Think of that, being able to go to the beach, maybe get some surf, boardwalk food, then train back home. Civilized! California is so behind in public transit.
Another hot afternoon I went into The Tavern on Jane, got good local dark draft, blues on juke box, got into great music conversation with bartender, a blues aficionado.
There’s something somehow intimate about this big powerful complex city. You sit very close to people in restaurants, at bars, it encourages conversation. People are almost always eager to give you directions. One afternoon, an obviously Russian guy about my age stopped me, said: “Vere iss subvay?” I spotted 2 ladies walking along, said can you help this guy, and they dropped everything and told him in detail how to get to the subway…I met a TV producer in Washington Square and he said, you know, the New Yorker asshole hardly exists, and it’s true, in almost 50 years (oh lord!) of visiting NYC, 99% of my encounters have been friendly.…Jeez, there’s a ton more stuff to relate… My friend Ed, hearing of my city adventures, told me about the French word flaneur, meaning both an idler, a gawker, but also “a person who walks the city in order to experience it…”