MY GOODNESS, what a week! May has really flown by — I can’t believe that I’m hours away from watching the Swarthmore class of 2009 graduate! (Congrats all!)
In the whirlwind that has been the last week, I’ve scampered up to Brooklyn for some good eats, warm laughter, and the chance to introduce Win to fried oreos (a delicacy, I promise); fit in a butt-load of work; flown to San Francisco and caught up with D briefly before she a) runs a marathon today and b) flies back to Philly to start her nursing program; I’ve given two workshops in San Fran; and now I’m back on the firm ground of the east coast, waiting to go out and see off the graduates. Whoosh. Two coasts, three cities, one week. I’m a bit knackered.
Which roughly translates into an apology–last weekend in Brooklyn was amazing, and though documented pictorially ad nauseum, I somehow never wrote it up. Whoops!
NEW YORK CITY, for me, is a land of enchantment. I don’t think I could ever live there — it’s too noisy and messy, and the spell is broken if you see it in the harsh light of daily life. But as a destination, for museum-hopping and culinary tours and bookstore hours, it’s a magical realm of possibility. Win, of course, helps out tremendously by knowing all sorts of in and outs and creating a whimsically enthralling experience whatever she does. And so my trip to Brooklyn last week took on the glamour of a fairy tale and the pricelessness of a perfectly executed weekend away.
I got in Friday night, the Bolt Bus ably defending itself against Memorial Day weekend traffic, and met up with Win for a ginormous seafood dinner. Stuffed but sated, we wandered back to Brooklyn and somehow — somehow — managed not to be completely comatose the next day.
And for the next day, Win had planned a doozy! Ginormous muffins and iced coffee from the Blue Sky Bakery in Brooklyn (we ordered the pumpkin-cranberry-apple muffin and the zucchini-chocolate muffin, mmmmm), which we ate on a nearby stoop, started our morning. From there, we wandered around Brooklyn a bit, taking in a couple of sidewalk sales before hopping on the subway to Union Square. There, we dashed in and out of shoe stores, pausing only to consider the crafts and farmers’ market at the Square; I bought a pair of delicious silver earring, oxidized to look aged and discolored in funky, delicate stripes.
We had decided beforehand to take the day slow. We knew we wanted to end up at Barnes and Noble, curled up around iced coffees and books, but we didn’t really have a plan for the interim. So we ate Venezuelan arepas at Caracas; munched on fried oreos at a street fair; dined on South Indian fare; and ended up in Little Italy for cannolis and cappucinno. Meanwhile, we tried out various scents at Fresh and Sephora, and did make our way to a bookstore, where we rested our well-walked feet and people-watched.
It was a magical, enchanted New York day: the sun was bright, the air was filled with laughter and the delighted shrieks of children, and we ate lightly but satisfyingly, filling our souls even as we pleased our bellies. As we made our quiet way home, we were happy, tired, and so content with the world.
And Sunday! Ah, Sunday, you did not disappoint. Calling together the New York crowd, we met in Brooklyn for brunch at sun-drenched Melt and sat down to the task of decimating a table full of food.
The wonder of it is that we were able to eat all of it: french toast, baked eggs, tofu BLT, shrimp and grits, mushroom omelette, more eggs… It was just what the weekend needed as a wrap-up. All we were missing was a sing along. Nevertheless, we made do with reminiscing, telling tall tales, making plans (Nan, I am totally taking you up on the bread-baking offer), and settling into the company of long-missed good friends.
And this is why New York is so special to me: it’s a place to gather, to create memories, to evoke lost thoughts and whims, and to create the magical moments that can define seasons and years.