Rainy Day in the City

We had a nice slow morning, catching up on blog posts and finding new pastries at the French Bakery for Jim to try out. Much like the Wawa shake memory, Jim also had a memory of an unnamed French cookie from his youth and we thought we narrowed it down to macarons. The ones they picked up this morning were yummy, but not the ones he remembered. But he is more than willing to keep searching for the perfect pastry.

However this rainy morning did find something new for Jim and Lisa — falafels! Gwen and Ray introduced us to as close to authentic Israeli falafels, on fresh pita and optional hot sauce. For those who don’t know, it’s basically a fried hummus ball in a pita with veggies and special sauce. Jim’s eyes were watering from the hot sauce but they both loved their vegan meal. Food from France and Israel before noon — we’re checking off the countries!

Fully powered by legumes, it’s time to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge! For those (like Lisa) who don’t know, there’s a wooden walkway above the traffic that runs down the center of the Bridge. On a Sunday, it can be full of tourists and locals alike, and we were surprised how many people were there on a terribly, windy and rainy day! It takes about 25 minutes to cross the 1.3 mile bridge, but with a headwind, we did it in 30. We started in Brooklyn and went into Manhattan, with the plan to take the subway home after playing tourist in the city for the day.

Ray brought his fawncey camera and he was able to get some “real keepers,” he says.

After working off our falafels on our rainy bridge walk, we needed to warm up and dry off. So of course we head to a bar! This was the famous O’Hara’s, located next to the fire station that lost all of their fighters in the 9/11 attacks. The walls of the bar are completely covered with fire and police patches from all over the world. It was a nice place to warm up, inside and out.

Warming up at O’Hara’s

Next it was on to the Staten Island Ferry, a great way to see the skyline of the city and the Statue of Liberty for free. Basically, you get on the ferry at the south end of Manhattan, ride across the bay by Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, get off the ferry in Staten Island and then turn around and get back on again to go back to NYC. Round trip takes about an hour. The sun was starting to come out and gave us some great picture opportunities.

Not to be ones to slow down, we had about an hour to kill before dinner, so we checked out — wait for it — another bar! This one called ArtBar, known for once being a seedy West Village bar with questionable activities in the back room. Today, its back living room was really comfortable and even had a cozy fireplace. But continuing our culinary trek around the world, we next went to China. Shorty Tang Noodles in the Village is a really clean, yummy noodle place, were Lisa had the Shoyu Ramen and Jim had the bento — he likes ordering bento since his first one in Virginia!

Lady and the Tramp. You guess who is who.

Since we haven’t had much to eat or drink all day, we were really in need of more drinking, but this time accompanied with SINGING! Yes, piano bar fans, it’s off to Marie’s Crisis Cafe “around the corner” to sing show tunes (no Billy Joel allowed) with lots of gays and theater folks. The place is a dive, but the vibe is very fun! Even though Gwen knows the words to every show tune ever written, Lisa hit a drought here and Jim missed his favorite, “Jesus Christ Superstar.” It’s 10 o’clock on a Sunday and it was time for the old folks and the working kids to get back home to Brooklyn.

Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men!

We can’t believe how much New York we crammed into today! Macarons… scones… falafels… bridges… subways… ferries… martinis…. bentos…. skyscrapers… statues…. beers… What a day! But it’s been three days, and like fish, we must get out before we start to stink. We’re up early in the morning to kiss the kids on their way to work and head out on the open highway. Or as open as the city will let us. Our plan is to head out Long Island, take the ferry to Connecticut, then to Boston to take in some more history before finally taking a left turn westwardly.

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