New York City, NY
My only plans for today were Lower East Side by day, Williamsburg by night – nothing more concrete than that. I had downloaded a walking tour of the LES on my ipod so thought I’d get the subway to the starting point and go from there. Of course I got out at the wrong stop only to be reminded there are no real ‘wrong’ stops in New York, just alternative adventures. You’re never nowhere and there’s always something to see. I was glad to take to the street and walk past Mulberry Street, The Bowery, Katz Deli to name but a few. By this point, I decided to ditch the walking tour and just walk.
It wasn’t long before I happened upon Teany cafe which I had wanted to go to for some time. It’s Moby’s vegetarian cafe specialising in hundreds of different teas (hence the name). Not being a tea drinker, I compromised and ordered a dirty chai (chai with a shot of espresso) in memory of a friend who’d recently introduced me to them (he’s not dead although I haven’t heard from Old Greg in a very long time…Greg, are you reading this? Are you dead?) and big old plate of Mac & Cheese complete with facon (fake bacon) pieces. Good food, good music and an internet connection – what more do you need?
WIth a full tummy and happy heart, I next came across a hairdresser called Pimps and Pinups with a very cool 1950’s fit out. By now my long fringe was getting in my eyes and obscuring my view so I walked on in and had my ‘bangs’ cut. It turns out the first salon is in London, this is the second. It was started by two Australian guys who may be looking to open a third in Sydney – Sarah and Elvis, tell Tony to look out!
My next stop was a strange culmination of the two described above – a vegan bakery in total 1950’s style – Babycakes. Too cute for words, I couldn’t resist going in for a sneaky cinnamon donut while I wrote some postcards and watched the staff stirring massive bowls of frosting – I’m not sure it was for real or just to keep up appearances.
I was enjoying chilling in LES so much that I even forfeited the opportunity to go join The Book of Mormon lottery. Instead, I just continued to wander. I listened to the first stop of the walking tour and decided it was too boring and that I was doing quiet well on my own finding the highlights as deemed by me.
When I’d had my fill, I hopped on a train back over to Brooklyn, this time Williamsburg – still a hipsters paradise after all these years although I’m sure it’s been superseded many times over by those truly in the know. Last time we visited we were a little rushed as it was our last day in town. We liked what we saw but suspected it really came to life at night – we were right.
One place we’d gone to and really enjoyed was an old diner (are you seeing a pattern? Yes, love diners!) that looked like it was a bar at night. It didn’t have a name and it was off the main drag so luckily my map had a place called ‘Diner’ marked on it. I made my way towards it thinking it was further than I remembered. When I reached the ‘x’ that marked the spot, I was at least relieved to know my memory wasn’t too faulty – it was further – it just wasn’t the same place! But I was there anyway so went in for a drink to discover this place was even cooler! After a little while, the place was packed with a queue to get in so I took my time over my ‘Sly Fox’ lager and soaked in the atmosphere.
But it was getting darker and I was eager to get back to the main drag from where I knew my way home. On the way back, I chanced across the diner I had actually been looking for only to discover it was closed, hopefully just for renovations. I stopped in at a couple more bars, just to prove that I could and to mix with the skinny jeans set without fear of rejection before getting a taxi home.
The taxi ride turned out to be a whole other adventure with a lecherous driver able to correctly guess the size of everything I was wearing. Luckily, it wasn’t a long ride and soon I was safe and sound back in my lovely apartment having achieved my simple goals for the day.