John and I spent this past weekend up in New York. His fabulous cousin Judith (more like auntie) lives in a great old townhouse in the West Village so as usual we had a great time catching up and had a wonderful place to stay.
A few highlights...
We had lunch with John's cousin Alex (daughter of the auntie-cousin) and her friend Mia at Miss Lily's. The restaurant was plenty busy so they put us at a table in Miss Lily's Variety next door. A kind of Jamaican record and gift shop. Among other things we talked about our trip to Hawaii and their trip to Morocco.
John's cousin and her friend are avid readers so a stop at the fabulous independent bookstore McNally Jackson was in order. They categorize their fiction by region which can be a fun way of looking at the fictional world.
The weather was gorgeous so we didn't stay too long, but long enough for Alex to buy me a copy of Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne.
Then we continued to wander. Ending up at Il Laboratorio del Gelato for some really fantastic gelato. Peer pressure kept me from eating as much as I wanted to.
While in the East Village the rest of the group were in one of the three side-by-side John Derian home goods stores while I was out on the curb enjoying the nice weather. I looked into the front door of one of the shops and there stood a very familiar person. A college friend of mine who I haven't seen since 2000. It was a wonderful little reunion. I will let one of his sketches stand in for a picture of him.
And on our way back to Judith's house we had to stop in at my favorite NYC bookstore (new books) Three Lives and Co. which I have blogged about before.
Then for dinner that night we went with Judith to the always lovely Wallse. (Sounds like vall-say) A wonderful, elegant, restaurant serving really fine Austrian food and wine. Duck with brioche dumplings...spaetzle...
Sunday we had a nice sleep-in which was just fine because I think the temperature was about 20 degrees colder than Saturday. When we did venture out we hopped on the subway and headed way up to to 156th Street to the American Academy of Arts and Letters which has just installed the studio of iconoclastic American composer Charles Ives. Originally in Redding, Connecticut, the studio has been recreated with all of Ives' effects. Including his upright studio piano which was restored under the supervision of Steinway. Apparently when approached to do the restoration Steinway said that they only do Steinways. Understandable, they make arguably the best pianos in the world. But they relented when they found out it was Ives' piano. So they found a restorer in Queens who did the work under their supervision.
Ives' family wanted the studio to go to the Academy because his wife had donated the royalties from his compositions to them to fund scholarships and awards for composers. Seems like a good fit. The exhibition will be there permanently but is only open for a few months while the Academy has their invitational going on.
Incidentally the Academy shares a complex of Beaux Arts buildings with The Hispanic Society of America which has some wonderful collection of art. If you feel like you have seen everything in New York, head up here some time.
For dinner on Sunday we headed out to Park Slope where my desire to eat at Talde coincided with my desire to see another college friend who I haven't seen for almost 20 years. (And if it weren't for Facebook that may not have happened.) Anyhoo, we had a great time catching up and I ate my body weight in Asian fusion cuisine. The place was created by Top Chef and Top Chef Masters contestant Dale Talde and is one of his three restaurants which are all located in Brooklyn.
|Crispy oyster and bacon Pad Thai. Really, really, yummy.|
And then on Monday we dodged all the drunk green people roaming the streets and Penn Station.