Whoa~! It’s been nearly 2 years since I wrote an I Love NY post! To be completely honest with you, I fell out of love with NYC around my last I Love NY post… I don’t think it was ever love at all, just an intense infatuation that at times felt like true love. Because thinking back, it really was such a love-hate relationship we had to begin with, you know? Now, I know there are some who will roll their eyes and say “how can you not love the greatest city in the world?” And you are right. New York City really is ONE of the greatest cities in the world, but you know what? Not everyone wants to live in a city. I missed suburbia and so did my furry babies! So we packed up all of our belonging and moved to New York’s unloved and neglected brother, New Jersey. I won’t be going into the details of the move here. After all, this IS an I Love NY post!
Now that I am no longer a resident of NYC, the fond feelings are returning. I have a greater appreciation of THE CITY and still come to visit once or twice a month (I’m only 30 minutes away). But now, instead of exploring every nook and cranny, I find myself revisiting all of my favorite places, and today was no different.
I visited my favorite bookstore, Strand in Union Square. It’s been almost a year since I stepped a foot into the doors of this iconic bookstore. I took my time appreciating every floor (4 total!) and flipped through the pages of dozens of books recommended by the staff (they do SUCH a good job of curating books for recommendation). Strand is no longer a simple bookstore (though one has to wonder if it ever was) and now hosts an array of knick knacks and gifts.
I stopped collecting (another word for hoarding) physical books a while ago and now try to stick to Kindle Ebooks but I can never go into a bookstore without leaving with one. These days, I choose poetry, short stories or picture books instead of novels to have physical copies to decorate my shelves with.
I still had a couple hours to kill before meeting a friend for dinner so I chose a bench at Union Square Park and read a few chapters of my new book. When it starting to get chilly with the sun starting to set, I decided to walk over to one of my favorite tea shops called Physical Graffitea in LES to continue reading. They carry so many varieties of organic loose leaf teas and I love the quiet and cozy atmosphere. It’s such a haven in busy NYC.
Side note… LES is a neighborhood that has been transforming into something more…mainstream. It’s not as gritty and neat little street art hiding in plain site is not so easily seen anymore. Buildings are getting shinier and store fronts a little more corporate, but then there are those who stubbornly cling to what is theirs and what makes theirs, THIERS (you might have to read that out loud for it to make sense!). You see “resident” street artists like Hek Tad (I call him a resident because his art can be seen all over LES, not because I am claiming that LES is his actual residence) and then you see random things like a face on a building creepily painted like a baby Dracula. Some call it vandalism, I call it adding character and I thank you for the daily dose of amusement.
After having a couple of hot tea, we headed over to Thursday Kitchen for our dinner. This place was supposed to a be Korean Fusion spot and I will try anything that claims to have ties with Korean food. The food was really good and I would definitely go back, but I really didn’t like that their most popular cocktails were served in a plastic bag. I mean, it looked cool and I get the novelty behind it, but I can’t imagine it being very environmentally friendly*. I sure hope it’s recyclable!
*Don’t fly off the handle and get a sarcastic on me about how X, Y and Z about my life isn’t environmentally friendly. I am a believer in everything in moderation as well as doing what we can, and when we can, to be more environmentally conscious. This includes reusing, recycling, meatless “Mondays” a few times a week, carrying my HydroFlask instead of buying water bottles, using reusable shopping bags, buying local and organic when the option is available to name a few.