I know, it’s Memorial Day weekend, and maybe I should be exploring a bit further than my front stoop, but when you have a front stoop – especially one that happens to be within a 3-block radius of many things people travel to NYC from around the world for, you should take advantage of it! Also, I’ve got a few much bigger wanderings in mind for the rest of this year… not going to use precious resources (like frequent flyer miles) on a quick weekender when staying local gives me so much good material!
Here’s what’s been on my mind today:
1. Prospect Park: Only three blocks away. Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the same architect as Central Park, Prospect Park has many of similar features – great open meadows, a zoo and carousel, an ice-skating rink, horseback riding, paddleboats, and some of the best people watching in the neighborhood – my favorite pastime! The entrance from my neighborhood is where the band shell is (more on that and Celebrate Brooklyn! in a couple weeks), and one of the few areas designated for BBQ (fire allowed). This means that, as I come and go from the park, I am privy to the sights, smells, and sounds of the BBQs of every culture in the area including many Latino groups, Caribbeans, Asians, and Americans of all sorts. As I pass, the tantalizing blend of aromas and happy sounds make me happy to be here… Just wish I had the nerve to ask for a taste!
2. “Creative Types”: The Slope is not exactly hipster central (leave that dubious distinction to Billy-Burg), but it does have a reputation for housing many artists, writers, thinkers… and their often-precocious children. Just a little while ago, as I sat on my stoop, two very young, very longhaired boys walked by. The (maybe) 10-year old stopped his little brother mid-step to point out a cardinal flitting around in the tree right in front of me… I would not have noticed. I am grateful.
3. Food: Everything from my beloved diner(s) to take-outs, walk-up windows, street carts, and great little restaurants are thriving in this area, for good reason – they make great food! Last night: dinner with my family at Al Di La Trattoria (real Italian) – always fabulous, if you can get in! We were fortunate this time, and it was well worth it. I enjoyed the special appetizer of grilled octopus and ceci bean salad with lots of lemon, olive oil, and chiles followed by an aromatic squid ink risotto. The spring salad of favas, asparagus, and parmesan was also great – fresh-from-the-farmers-market perfect. Even the simple tagliatelle with butter enjoyed by my three-year old niece was a hit with all three adults. Today’s lunch & dinner: falafel, muhamara (roasted red pepper dip), and tabbouleh from a new, not so reasonably priced but worth it, place called Fattoush on Fifth Avenue near 9th Street (no website yet?). Treat: my favorite summertime treat! Ices from Uncle Louie G’s… today’s flavor: coconut (in honor of planning my Filipino menu today).
Sorry, not a lot of photos today… sometimes I just need to enjoy the moment without goo-ing up my i-Phone!