19 March 2014

Weekend in New York

 
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.




20 comments:

  1. I'll suspend my shock that you didn't go into John Derian, one of my favorite stops in NYC, but LOVE Three Lives! I've added the other shops and restaurants to my list for my trip up next month - including the museum!

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    1. I don't mind a fossick around in John Derian, but the weather was just too nice to be inside. Plus most shops that day were still in the 'the heat is still on despite it being 60 degrees' mode of operation.

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  2. What a great weekend. The food looked really yummy.

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    1. To paraphrase Stockard Channing opining on NY restaurants in one of my favorite movies, Six Degrees of Separation: New York is like 15th century Venice--a genius on every corner. (I may have gotten the century wrong. Must really watch the film again for the 100th time)

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  3. Seems like a really lovely trip, complete with a wonderful surprise meeting with an old friend.

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    1. I know, it was great to see two friends in one weekend from my college days.

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  4. Those bookstores look great, and I love the idea of categorizing by region. What fun! And too bad about the peer pressure limiting the gelato. (I provide my own internal pressure for that, myself! LOL)

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    1. I just worry that I would never look at anything outside of Europe or America.

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  5. Dear Thomas,

    What a wonderful weekend you and John had in New York! It sounds very cultured and civilised visit to go back to the places one has already been and also to discover the new places. I shall think of the places you mention (especially the bookshops) when I visit New York next time.

    Best wishes, ASD

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    1. I think you would love Three Lives and Co.

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  6. I'm also a fan of Three Lives Bookstore. It's one I try to go to whenever I'm in New York. I'd never heard of the Hispanic Society. That looks like a building C.J. would love to see. We're planning a trip around Thanksgiving this year.

    And is that how you spell anywho/anyhoo? ;-)

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    1. I love New York at Thanksgiving. Three Lives is the kind of bookstore that always induces me to buy. Larger bookstores I can often resist, but a small store like that gets me every time.

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  7. You have a gift for vacation planning. :)

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    1. Oddly enough I did almost no planning for this trip. Except for the one meal with the college friend at Talde everything else was just by chance.

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  8. A lovely weekend. We were at Wallse last weekend for dinner as well!

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    1. Maybe we saw each other! New York is a really big small town. Do you live in the Village?

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    2. No, we're in Washington Heights. I think I would have recognized you.

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  9. How lovely! I work in the West Village, so sometimes I forget to look at it with a traveler's eye and this made me want to just walk around and see everything there is to see. I also have a gift card at Three Lives that is burning a hole in my pocket. Must head over there asap. I haven't been to Talde yet... I work in the West Village, but I live in Queens, so going to Brooklyn is something of a hike for me (1.5 hours on the subway), but that oyster and bacon pad thai is calling to me. I'm so glad you had such a wonderful weekend!

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    1. I really need to make a map with locations of book bloggers plotted out on it. I never know who lives where. That would be quite a trek to Talde. I was looking at the subway map when we were there thinking how they need some cross rail lines that connect up some of those lines in Queens and Brooklyn. Not only would it save people time, but I think it would have an interesting impact on neighborhoods when some people no longer have to loop into Manhattan to get from one to the other.

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  10. I'm making my first ever trip to NYC in May...actually it is my first ever trip to USA. I'm looking forward to exploring all these places and buying lots and lots of books. Any suggestions on where to buy them from will be most welcome! :)

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