Things I liked about NYC

 

This spring I embarked on a short visit to New York City. I rented an apartment with my homie, Colin, on a charming street in the East Village and spent my days seeking out art galleries, classic New York cuisine and trying not to feel like a tourist.

Each morning we set out on foot, casually exploring our immediate neighbourhood en-route to an art gallery or subway station. The streets were lined with brick tenements, pockets of greenery and small business, and though gentrified, our neighbourhood was by no means antiseptic. There were enough unpleasant odors, layers of ancient filth, and neglected or otherwise homely buildings for me to enjoy the occasional Woody Allen moment.

On the first day, Colin, who handled navigation duties, tracked down Abraço Espresso. Operating out of a tiny storefront, this coffee bar became our destination of choice for morning sustenance. Abraço Espresso takes a straightforward approach to coffee (no skim, soy, vanilla anything) and offers a selection of simple food items suitable for eating standing up or on the go. I had the most delicious Olive oil cake on our first visit thus necessitating return visits.

With little more than 300 – 400 square feet, the space featured a “kitchen” with commercial gas range, sink and dishwasher and a full service espresso bar. I can’t emphasize how tiny this space was, yet it somehow managed to accommodate four staff members and up to eight patrons. This coffee bar epitomized the scrappy, entrepreneurial spirit that seemed to fuel many of the restaurants, shops and small businesses that lined the streets.

Most businesses, in fact, spill out onto the street creating a colourful and chaotic streetscape. Everything imaginable is available for purchase on a sidewalk and of course I  indulged in the obligatory street meat and hot nuts.

We stumbled onto a little farmers market in a park located only a few blocks from our apartment. We ate apples and artisanal cheese in the old timey park shaded by massive trees and populated with pigeons, crazy people, chess players and girls in sunglasses.

The infamous Katz’s Deli was also within blocks from our apartment and we enjoyed  pastrami sandwiches on rye. The best meat sandwich ever seemed to stoked Colin’s deli-lust and we ended up seeking out another notorious restaurant, Second Ave Deli. A more subdued dining experience, I ate a retardedly large meatball sandwich, the standard tray of pickles and a latke with applesauce. We also had the occasion to cop another deli standard, a knish. This mashed potato gut bomb ruined my appetite for a proper supper.

My favourite cheap, big city food is pizza by the slice. Where better to enjoy a greasy slice than the city that literally* gave birth to the North American pizza phenomenon? Sal’s Pizza located across the street was a welcome site as we dragged our tired bodies home for beers and repose. We took a stab at a fancy sit down pizza at Pulino’s and though the pizza was quite nice, it was the fresh mozzarella appetizer that won the day.

*not literally

1 Comment

  1. nicole says:

    Was the Whitney Biennale going on when you guys were there? And the Maria Abramovic retrospective at the MOMA? or the Armoury Art Fair???? Argh—I am jealous!!!!

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