Neighborhood Sampler

Last Thursday, Joan and I sampled a wide variety of New York neighborhoods. We started in Chinatown, which we just skirted the edge of, enough to get a picture of a dragon . . .
. . . and to buy a bunch of cheap gifts for family, friends, and ourselves. I got this soft pashmina and fancy pearl necklace for less than $5.
Then I saw this little pink purse, which screamed my name, and when I asked for the price, I was told, “Purse ten dollars. For fifteen dollars, BINGO,” at which the salesman held up a Kate Spade logo in front of the purse. So for five extra dollars, it could scream someone else’s name. I told him I didn’t want to buy BINGO, so just got what I assume must be a designer rip off, though maybe he just put random designer names on random cheap purses.
Then we wandered over to Little Italy, oohing and ahhing over the meats and cheese and wines and restaurants. We were told we had to eat at La Mela, so we did.
I ate too much (I know you are shocked) and drank wine, so was groggy and heavy a good long while afterwards. The place featured a phallic electrical contraption hanging from the ceiling, and when you pulled the string, it raised up suggestively, at which point a metal plate atop it touched the ceiling, closing a circuit, causing the red light at the tip and the two white bulbs at the base to light up. Classy. We were told if you pulled it three times in a row, you were guaranteed to get lucky. Here’s Joan . . .
Then we were off to Fifth Avenue and the Frick Collection, which was amazing. The building itself is a work of art, and it houses some remarkable pieces, including a few by Vermeer, Titian, El Greco, Goya, Bronzino, as well as some other striking portraits (they were much more striking in person than in the links). There were also a lot of Fragonard, which seems like puff to me, perfect art for the bedroom of a little girl who loves pink and lace, but it was interesting to see in person–the huge size was what surprised me most. We couldn’t take pictures in the galleries, but here’s the interior garden court, to give you an idea of the finery.
Then we went to Avenue Q, which was a very special neighborhood, with muppets, and Gary Coleman. It includes sweet songs like, “The Internet Is for Porn” and “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.” Very funny.
Walking back through Times Square, we spotted a squad of officers in full armor carrying AK-47s. I got a little claustrophobic in the crowds so we started heading back instead of hitting the Irish pub that had been recommended to us. We paused for a bit in Bryant Park behind the library, and I got this shot of the Empire State Building lit up. All the buildings and fountains were so beautiful lit up at night.
And here’s Grand Central Station at night. I loved that place. It was beautiful and elegant, plus they have this divine gelato. God I miss the gelato. I ache for it.
Folks may leave their hearts in San Francisco, but I left my stomach in New York. I’m going to cook up a mess of collards tomorrow and cornbread, so maybe that will reset my tastebuds.

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