Explore the local neighbourhood we said, so up the road and under the Williamsburg Bridge, down the rabbit-hole and into Hipster-land we slid. You know how I remarked yesterday about the Jewish gents in their black uniforms and hats – well today we passed many of their spouses, also dressed in similar black with white shirts and also dressed much the same as each other – it’s fascinating. I knew about the Rekelech and the Homburg for the blokes, but not the women’s equivalent.
Anyway, back to hipsterville – Bedford Avenue, Williamsberg, which I have subsequently discovered is a bit like a teenage version of Greenwich Village. Lots of cafés – lots of restaurants – lots of vintage clothes shops and lots of beautiful folk going about their daily café business. We waded through and visited the extraordinary Bedford Cheese shop which seemed to stock the rest of the cheeses from France (those that weren’t already imported and for sale in Dean and Deluca’s from yesterday) as well as a large and enticing range of cheese accoutrement, crackers and other delicacies. I don’t know what the French are eating for cheese, but there can’t be much left over – this shop stocked over 600 types with 250 varieties on hand at any given moment. We left the stinky shop and wheeled into a wee café called ‘Vittoria‘ and discovered that although Pip was fairly sure her coffee was the one called an Americano – it wasn’t. It may not come as a surprise that I continue to opt for the latte in most circumstances.
We headed down a side avenue toward the East River Park into a freezing head-wind and passed closed clubs and an open DJ supply store which drew number big son like a moth to a flame.
Pip and I were kept amused by the Williamsburg equivalent of sneakers thrown over the power lines – a largish stuffed rabbit on a noose and a Barbie connected to, what I might delicately describe as a large black aide au sexe – strange habits. We pushed on to the park – looked at yet another view of the skyline and pushed back to Bedford Avenue and the subway to Bushwick, for to see a man about a simcard.
Graham Avenue at Bushwick is Puerto Rican territory – very little English spoken in the street and more churros stands than in Barcelona, also, as it happens, a lot of mango in ziplock bags and men trying to sell lighters. We found our phone store and obtained a simcard pausing only to watch with horrified/amused staff as a very slim chap in a hooded tracksuit with large headphones (with an aerial attached) burst into the shop and did some very poor falsetto rapping to the tune in his headphones that only he could hear. Of course we all pretended not to notice until he left and the staff in the store fell about in hysterics. No one mentioned it.
We left Little Puerto Rico by train to the Bowery which landed us on the edge of Chinatown which stretched to the border of the tiny postcard principality of Little Italy. Little Italy is, by all reports, a shadow of its former self. A tourist attraction stretching almost a block and centred on a Mulberry St filled with as many Italian restaurant clichés as you’d care to mention.
I’d call it a cross between a shorter Lygon St and those italian restaurants we used to go to that had chianti bottles on the table, but without the chianti bottles on the tables. Still we were hungry by then and a couple a pizzas did the job, despite the fact that we were seated under the creepiest painting I’ve seen in a while. It was ciao piccolo italia then and a stroll up through Soho to the Village, resisting the urge to visit another Apple Store, but succumbing to visiting the Kid Robot shop and Dave’s Quality Meats (one funky sneaker shop). A quick stop for cortados at a café/boutiquey kind of place and then a slight detour to an Adidas store for number big son to purchase a heavily discounted jacket, before finding ourselves in the Village… and what a very pleasant Village it is. Sadly, time was not with us, so we will return to properly investigate.
More subway home and I think, after a second day en pomme, I’m ready to call it – we can safely say that coffee, despite the long perpetuated myth is definitely not an issue here. Baristas are the new superstars in the hipper parts of this city and, naturally, those are the parts we will frequent, because, you know, we’re cool. Right?