Tuesday, September 1, 2009

the ny post (not The NY Post)

M and I went into the city over the weekend. It was our third time. I forgot to write about the first two times because we mostly wandered. Mostly aimlessly. All our excursions into the city have been awesome. I love New York city.

(obligatory cheesy tourist pic of me and leftie in Times Square)

The first time we went to Central Park and took the train over. It was a pleasant 45 minute ride but it cost 40 bucks round trip for the both of us! Yikes. Not exactly a thrifty way to spend a day in an already expensive city. We decided to try driving over after that. Central Park was awesome that day. It was Memorial Day weekend (wow, that long ago??) and the weather was beautiful and people were out enjoying it. We rented a boat and rowed around a lake in the park. That was fun. And I think the only photos I remembered to take that day were from the boat. I'll have to find one that I like and come back to post it here.

We walked a ton that day. Probably too much. It's sort of our curse of going into the city. We get so excited and want to explore so much of it that we forget to be sensible and walk for hours on end. We only notice after it's too late and we're tired and far from home (or the car) and our feet are sore.

There was also a street fair going on in Little Italy (is that what they call it here?) that weekend. A fair with amazing smelling street fair food and a small parade and throngs and throngs of people out walking on the streets. All the hosts and managers of the restaurants were standing outside compelling the passerbys to come in and enjoy their amazing specialties. It was festive and fun. We ended that visit by walking all the way to the lower east side and sitting along FDR Drive looking out at the East River (I think it's called) and over at the Brooklyn Bridge.

(at Dim Sum a Go-Go in Chinatown)

Our second trip into the city we decided to explore Brooklyn, specifically Park Slope. That was also a fun trip although I had a rough time finding a public restroom. Normally I'd just duck into a big chain coffee place or a fast food joint but the part of Park Slope we were in lacked in that department. That's normally a good thing in my book. I ended up buying a drink from a pizza joint and used their facilities instead. Whew. Note to self: bathrooms are a tough find when you are pregnant and wandering around Park Slope.

We strolled up and down the streets admiring the beautiful row houses (row houses? brownstones?) and all the awesome container gardens everyone seemed to have going on, passed a bunch of cool looking restaurants, a grocery co-op (!), and I swear I even saw someone from blogland (the fiance of a blogger I follow, not the blogger herself). We also peeked into the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company. I'd heard of this place but didn't realize how cool it was until I stopped to pay attention to what it was all about. This probably deserves its own post, but so many others have already written about it I'd like to at least mention how cool they are, how cool their website is and what a wonderful creative device for fundraising their store is for an awesome endeavor (helping grade school kids with their writing skills via free tutoring). And hey, killer graphic design work in their merch to boot. M couldn't resist picking up their Superhero's Map of Brooklyn and Environs for his office. It's hanging there now with an Ork poster of Boston. What a stylish guy!

The last bit of Brooklyn we enjoyed was Prospect Park. I am so in love with all the awesome parks in this city! And it's great to see all the people enjoying that space. On that trip we watched the recessional of an outdoor wedding. It was so pretty and festive. And then we went home and looked up real estate prices in Brooklyn but found that they are sadly out of our reach. We'll just enjoy Brooklyn as visitors, I guess.

(a dim sum medley from Dim Sum a Go Go)

This past Saturday I wanted to go into the city to shop for korean groceries. Without doing much research I decided that Koreatown was where we needed to be. M suggested starting the day off with some brunch in Chinatown. Meaning dim sum! I never turn down a suggestion for dim sum. It was a steady drizzly rain all day but that didn't deter us (nor the locals who were out taking care of their Saturday morning business in rain gear - some of them wore flip flops and carried an umbrella. I wore my new wellies which you can sort of see in the first photo up there. They are pink. I love them.). We drove into Chinatown and found a parking spot just when we wanted one (!) driving past a dad and his daughter (I think she was anywhere from 6 to 10 years old) riding a bike together with a two person rain poncho. I'd never seen such a thing. Judging from the way it was designed, I'd have to say that it was specifically a two person rain poncho designed for biking. I wish I had pulled my camera out in time to snap that shot. It was pretty freaking adorable.

We walked down Allen Street and couldn't find a dim sum place so we decided to try and find one of the places M looked up online before we left the house. We found Dim Sum a Go-Go pretty easily. They don't have a website, so no link. The food was really good and the restaurant was clean with a modern decor. We missed the traditional cart style service but that's a small thing to lose I think. I liked that they served three different sauces with nary a bottle of Kikoman to be seen on the tabletops. The clear sauce was maybe rice wine vinegar with some chili flakes. The green sauce (my favorite) was cilantro and ginger with some other yummy goodness. And the dark "sauce" was some sort of dish that reminds me of a korean dish with dried fish that's shredded and then cooked in soy sauce and red pepper and garlic with a bit of sugar. So good!

(a trio of sauces for our dim sum)

The service was very good. M and I used to live down the street from a Chinese restaurant in L.A. that served dim sum on the weekends. And we used to laugh at how bad the service was there. You'd see a dozen waiters that all seemed to be scurrying to and fro but you could never get them to refill a drink or stop by to ask if we wanted to order anything off of the menu.

After dim sum we got back in the car and drove to mid town to look for a korean grocery store. We found parking right away (and for free!), we've had some really nice parking fairies looking out for us these days. We were parked half a block from the Empire State Building. Nice!

I was disappointed to learn that Koreatown is one street on one block of mid town. It's filled with yummy smelling restaurants and a few stores and only one korean grocery store. Still when a girl needs her ko-chu-jang, she needs her ko-chu-jang. I did a little research online when I got home and I'll try the Murray Hill neighborhood of Flushing the next time I need to restock on korean grocery supplies.

And since we were in the neighborhood and since I'd never been, M and I decided to walk up to Times Square. We normally avoid such obnoxious tourist locales, but we were interested to see how the summer pedestrian zone was working out. I was pleased to see how many bike lanes were carved out into the main streets. They did them smart by creating an outdoor "patio" area in one lane with big potted plants and cafe style tables and chairs scattered about. A really useable space. And then betweedn the "patio" area and the sidewalk is where they painted a green strip for the bicyclists. Which is brilliant because drivers tend to miss cyclists who go too fast but will notice pedestrians who move noticeably slower. So my guess is that they designed the bike zones this way to decrease bike/car accidents.

It was a good day. I'm looking forward to our next trip over.

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