First day of winter and it’s t-shirt weather. Pip actually got sunburned. It was a Saturday, which called for a market and we chose one of the many on offer according to it’s proximity to places we have not yet ventured. Fort Green and the Brooklyn Flea became our market du jour. This is in one of the leafier parts of Brooklyn, all brown stones and orange trees at this time of the year. The market is held in a school playground and features a fabulous collection of antiques, collectables, food and drink, and vintage clothing. Pip and I spent about an hour perusing and wishing there was a way to fit some of the larger items into our carry-on luggage.
Number big son had branched out on his own to track down a particularly elusive record shop. He did strike problems though and it’s the same problem we have struck many times – knowing which way to go when you emerge from the subway. It’s shouldn’t be so hard, but the number of times we’ve headed off in the exact opposite direction with great confidence is truly undermining my, and now number big son’s, male sense of navigational ability. I’m about to activate the iCompass on my phone to see if that helps (I’m fairly sure the iLevel won’t) and Google Maps has led me astray more than once – I have another five days to get this right.
After the Brooklyn Flea, we headed off down Lafayette and then Fulton through some beautiful neighbourhoods and very ‘sceney’ cafés and bars populated by some very beautiful people and then one block too far and we hit Flatbush Ave. Flatbush Ave is not populated by beautiful folk in dainty bars – there was a shirtless, shoeless man offering single sheaths of wheat and warm words from the bible; rows of fried shops with filthy windows and tattered lounge chairs outside and more stares than we cared to endure. One block too far required a quick u-turn and stately dive down the nearest subway entrance and onto any train that said Uptown – Manhattan. We stopped our frightened tourist run at 71st and Amsterdam, which as anyone who knows New York realises is a damn long way, but we emerged into the sunlight and book-lined avenues of the upper west side, where the stores have clean windows and the fruit and veggies glisten in the sun. Perhaps I exagerate, but we weren’t in Flatbush Ave anymore Toto.
We lurched into a restaurant for lunch, keen to try a cuisine we had not experienced and I think we found Le Caridad 78banksy probably provided a cuisine that no one other than those who have been to Le Caridad 78 had ever experienced as Chinese-Cuban fusion is yet to take off outside the corner of 77th and Broadway. I’ll leave it at interesting. Interesting also was the fact that just around the corner in 78th Street was a Banksy, now preserved under perspex and still attracting keen photographic interest. It was the 20th piece in his recent NYC residency and we just had a quick look and a quick pic before heading home to rest up for dinner out tonight.
Pip and I had been keen to go to Chef Mario Batali’s, Eataly on 5th Avenue at Madison Square. What a place! It’s both foodie and Italiophile heaven with several restaurants in amongst a market that sells meat, cheese, vegetables, fish, bread, cooking utensils and anything else that’s edible and produced in Italy. We put our names down for a table in the fish restaurant, then stood in the meat hall and had beer, prosecco and prosciutto while we waited. We ended up sitting at the bar in the fish restaurant looking in at the open kitchen drooling. Pip took the squid – 3 whole ones grilled in chilli and lemon – while I opted for crunchy whiting and blowfish tails. Talk about amoré! Molto damn yummy. We left the fish restaurant and moved to the gelateria for a quick dessert before the subway home, where we discussed ways to avoid the Marathon tomorrow.