One Cortado and the words spill out
21.07.2010 - 31.07.2010 25 °C
I cant believe it. I am in New York City and I had a cortado. This is incredible. To be found at Joe's on Columbus between 84th and 85th. Such a great place, a quiet retreat, with WiFi too. A cortado <sigh> The signature Argentine coffee in Buenos Aires. I love it. I am transported immediately to Palermo Soho, to Thames St., Louis Borges, Paraguay, Nicaragua street. Damn I miss that place! Feels like I was just taken home. After 6 weeks here, there are things to report on this city culinary speaking. There has to be one area untapped in this trip of mine here! So I figure its a good idea to take my last three weeks here (yes, I changed the ticket again) and see it like a tourist. Not for shopping. But dedicate it to the architecture, food, culture and art.
I do have to say though that the strange thing is that all I am experiencing is actually a mix of experiences that I had in other countries. Which confirms New York's melting pot character. Everything here is a little bit of everything from the world. In essence, there is rarely a natural, inherent character. The city has taken face of the world. You will experience moments you had in other countries, food from hundreds of cities and people of many places. This is its originality. I think that NY has always been like that. A city of immigrants from so many places who brought their identity with them and painted the pavements of the city with who they are. And what you see today is what you get, for the good and for the bad. It has its charm in that. I think it grows on you.
So when you hear foreign languages in the street, you can't be surprised. It makes no sense to think 'hey, you're in America, speak English." This city is not representative of America. It represents the world. And funny enough, just as I put a period on this sentence, a Korean family walks in and sits right next to me. It's not about being right. The city is what it is. So what I want to say is for all the people who were born and raised here, yes, if you live here you should speak the language but you can't be pissed off because the essence of this city is all that is foreign. Besides, what is being American today? I'd love to read an article on that. If I find one, I'll share it. I think that question changes all the time. And you know what else is crazy - how in the world, in a city that is all foreign, oozing with culture, language, history and art from around the world, can you possibly feel like a foreigner? That I have yet to understand.
Ok so... how did I get from food to this deep conversation I don't know. Must be the cortado. Cortados make way for conversation. Totally reminiscent of glorious Buenos Aires. But before I do delve back into deeper matters, I do want to write about a few places I've shared my dollars with apart from Joe's and so, here goes. These are places that really should be visited, not necessarily located in tourist congested areas. How great is that?
To start, one day, I was walking around, starving, looking for a place to eat when suddently I passed a great pizza place on 74th and Amsterdam called "Freddie and Peppers". Ugh, delicious. Not a place a tourist would easily spot like the ones on 42nd street. This is perfect. I dare not say that 2 slices tempt you to the last and final third. I haven't done so myself but just looking at it, oozing with tomato sauce, the perfect amount of cheese and a thin crust that gets slightly crunch at the top. Wow.
And ever heard of Arturo's? It's on W. Houston & Thomson Streets. Totally authentic pizza place, old school belonging to a serious Italian family. The pizza.... dios!!!! Was amazing! We foolishly ordered two pies because we were hungry. We laughed when it came because there was no way we were going to finish it... little did we know, 16 slices were gone. If we could eat the trays we would have. Seriously no words.
When I was a little girl growing up in NY, my father used to take us to a place on the Lower East Side (LES) called "Chirping Chicken". A lot of people used to stop and eat there on their way and taxi drivers would come by to grab a lunch. Now, back then, it was amazing. And it always felt like my dad was sharing a piece of his routine when he was at work. So, as I'm now living uptown, I am surrounded by tens of great places. And whaddaya know, "Chirping Chicken" stands on 77th and Amsterdam. There are always people there. And the food is really good - classic chicken, delicious sauces and potatoes of many colors and styles. Oh, and cheap. For NY, that's hard to come by.
About two weeks ago I received an invite to a free screening of "Dinner for Shmucks". I went with a friend and after circling the Loewe's theatre building for 45 minutes, they were "out of seats". To hell with that. She took me to a little tiny bakery called "Levain" on 74th between Columbus and Amsterdam. Each cookie is the size of a brioche and comes in chocolate fudge chip, chocolate & peanut butter layers, chocolate chip and oatmeal craze. These cookies are huge. Warm and amazing. Each one is $4 but worth the investment.
Since keeping this travel blog, I have almost stopped writing in my little pocket journal. I was curious to see what had happened from page 1 on April 29th...a zillion things! I had a lot of moments and a lot of questions, some still unanswered which kind of tugged at my heart but for the most part, I enjoyed reading it. It was nostalgic and funny and insightful. So much so that it made me want to hit the road again and travel. But cash flow is a temporary problem right now. Nevertheless, my travels have allowed me to be more open in NY, different from what I would have been if I hadn't had this trip.
I'm starting to wrap up my time here, departing on August 17th and by then I should know whether I'm going to Paris for my cousin's wedding in Deauville and perhaps then to BA or whether I am headed back to South America towards the end of August to claim my new home for the next year. No ticket purchased to go there yet. It's pretty exciting though, isnt it? Not knowing where I will be going and what will be. I don't think that one can live like this forever but it does something to you... makes you question your materials, possessions, your being and what it is you really need to survive and live a good and happy life, no matter where you are. I do miss having a place of my own and my own bed. And one of these days, I really want to be in love and have some sort of stability. I'm not sure as to how much I am taken seriously these days because let's face it, I'm not yet grounded.
I still don't feel that I miss Israel although my family is so important to me and I miss their presence in my every day life. But there are things one must do alone. And this is my time to do them. I can make a home anywhere although Israel will always be home first and foremost and truthfully, it is a great place to raise a family one day. Work wise, things are cooking in many directions these days and they need time and I am trying to be patient and look up to the sky very often hoping that the universe will work for my good and help me to fulfill my desires wherever that may be. I'm not sure that I will be a career woman for most of my life but I do think that I need to do what I LOVE, even when I will be a mother one day. One does not cancel the other. But in truth, I'm not looking to become the business woman of a lifetime, I just want to enjoy what I do, contribute my ideas to people's businesses and live my life - which does include frequent vacations I will admit.
I went to Central Park today with my iPod and "The White Tiger" book. I stopped by the swings and got on one. I was smiling uncontrollably and really enjoyed having a breeze sweep me up and down, look at the trees dance back and forth before my eyes and listen to The Beatles. The most simple thing in life, just to enjoy the moment and breathe. It was lovely. I took myself to the Great Lawn and laid down under a big tree and sang out loud. It was great to just hang out and enjoy the time and weather solo. Afterwards I met up with a friend and some friends of his for lunch by Sheeps Meadow. It was lovely. To be honest, one of them caught my eye and I found my thoughts wandering in that direction earlier. But this is no time for that right now. Besides I am not staying here so there is no point in starting anything I think.
I would love a cortado right about now. Makes me feel really good. There's always tomorrrow.
Signing off here in NY on an exceptionally beautiful night.