Part 1 was about Friday -- arriving, enjoying the view from the new balcony and eating the best pizza ever. The next day, Kim and I went out for an early walk (we wake up much earlier than our hosts) and we found the most amazing place. Allison and Carl live on the lower East side, north and east of Chinatown. It's a fabulous, history-rich area. And the place we found Saturday morning truly epitomizes this area: Doughnut Plant New York. Check out the history of this shop.
If you've ever said to yourself "Self, I'm not eating any more doughnuts, they're too lardy and they leave this nasty coating in my mouth and they feel like a huge weight in my gut -- yeah, that's it, no more doughnuts," I will completely understand if you think I've lost it because I'm recommending doughnuts. But these are not just any doughnuts. Believe me. And you'll just have to try them to get what I'm talking about. Ummmmmm. That doughnut in the upper right corner? Those are rose petals under the glaze. We didn't try that one Saturday morning, thinking we'd go back another time. Our next morning walk was Monday -- they're closed Mondays. Such a bummer.
Before we left Florida I'd gotten in touch with old friend, former student, and incredible photographer Donna, who I hadn't seen in many years and asked her to meet us for brunch Saturday. We met up at Sarabeth's on the upper East side, about 45 minutes of walking and subway from Al's place. Again, another fantastic meal. I had a spinach and goat cheese omelette. Ohmygod. There are five Sarabeths in New York (one of those is just a bakery, no restaurant) and there's one in Key West, Florida (go figure). The best part of being there was catching up with Donna. She told us wonderful stories of being a professional photographer in New York -- really fascinating and surprising, about how wealthy people spend $1,000s to have a pro photographer at their child's birthday party. It isn't that that's so weird, but for most of us it's out of reach. Donna's in that world regularly. She looked great and she was obviously happy. (Don't ask why I have no pictures of her. Just don't.)
We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the upper West side, mostly at Columbia University. In all the trips we've taken to New York, we'd never been there. It is magnificent. In a fantasy life, I would be a full-time student at Columbia. I wouldn't have to work, I would immerse myself in some area of academia and then, when I was done, I would DO something. I get a bit confounded when I think about choosing an area to study: they all seem good. I had that trouble when I was 17, starting at ASU. My academic counselor asked me what my major was going to be and all I could think of was "everything."
We had dinner at Brassierie 8 1/2 in midtown. According to Allison and Carl, midtown restaurants are mostly for week nights, not weekends. It was a forgettable meal. The waiter was the old-fashioned kind of New York server: snooty. I spoke to the manager on our way out, he seemed to care that our experience hadn't been completely positive. I suspect though, that Allison and Carl won't go back.
I'll leave you with this: one of the thousands of phenomenal tile mosaics in the subway.