Monday, June 15, 2009

Walking home

I left work and computer problems and decided to walk home for therapy, from the island of Manhattan to Brooklyn, on the island of Long. I didn't time it: maybe 40 minutes. Down the Bowery, where I stopped and bought tamarind, and a big bunch of lychees.

I nearly bought mangosteens. $8 a bag, I thought. Nope. Per lb. Two lbs in a bag. Too much for me, but maybe for a beautiful fruit platter for a party.

Just below Canal, the back of a beautiful Audi. Eagle and crossbones?

Below: this is the front of the Audi.

And this is its opponent, in the street coming off the Manhattan Bridge. It's tempting to assume that the Audi ran the light and totalled the van. Did they walk away? Was the bumper sticker a prediction?

Farther along, near City Hall, a public planting with some oomph. Bright, but showing some initiative. I loved the fennel.

Near Brooklyn Bridge, but over on Broadway, a roof garden.

The roses and oakleaf hydrangeas hiding the weeds in this planting at the foot of the bridge. Also yarrow and lavender. The city really must have zero budget for upkeep. But they welcome volunteers. This bridge sees so much tourist foot traffic that keeping these plantings in shape would be...commendable. That's it. Commendable.

I walked over as fast as possible, in the thick of the tourist throng, carrying my bright orange plastic bags, marking me as a Chinatown shopper.

Above, the endangered view. New development has been OK'd by the city council. Smack in the middle of this iconic, unique view of the Manhattan Bridge, and right against the Brooklyn Bridge. Really not good.

And at last on my home turf, at the foot of the bridge easing into Cadman Plaza, a spiraea I do not know, and very pretty.

As I stepped inside my building the purple clouds that had been brewing behind me all the way released a storm of heavy drops which soon had the gutters roaring. Therapy complete.


  1. There's an old French movie called "La traversée de Paris." Yours could have been La traversée de New York. Different times, different place, still perilous...

  2. What amazing things greeted you on your walk! I've seen (and been in) some wrecks, but this one was a stunner.

    And the lychees!!!! Made me think of growing up in Hawai'i and picking them from the big tree in my great-grandmother's yard. She also had avocados and three varieties of mango! Ah, those were the days...


  3. what a great walk...oh poor audi!
    and how were the lychees? we bought some last week in chitown as well and decided: "big pit, not enough meat" but still pretty delicious!
    maybe you can make it over to greenpoint thursday eve for our little soiree!? i can show you our little patio and my new fig tree (if you can come?!)

  4. Best therapy!
    Sad Audi, pretty gardens, delicious lychees.
    (I'm going back for more quince, to poach in red wine, for Saturday dinner.)

  5. Centvingt - I think the smells would be so different :-). Bother. Now I want a croissant. You realize if you fetch croissants every day we will get very fat :-)

    Keli'i - what good memories. I grew up with lychees, too, from the east coast of SA, but they didn't grow where we were. They don't often make it into regular stores here and when they do they are soft and sour. Ick. As Vince asked last night - why don't others stock them? I really don't know. It's weird.

    Bonbon Oiseau - what a lovely invitation! I would have loved to have said yes, but I'm going a soiree on St Lukes Place, also in a little garden, which was flipped back and forth between today and TThursday and has landed on Thursday again. Please have another one and ask again? I would love to see the fig, too. And see more of Greenpoint. And meet you. Etc. :-)

    The lychees were delicious, I thought pit/meat ratio was good - but maybe because those are the lychess I'm used to?

    Yum, quinces, Dinahmow. Of all fruit, they smell the best, I think. I forget it is autumn down there! No, winter? But, how is your winter? Sub Tropical? You probably know this, but if you cook the quinces in sugar syrup, peeled and cut in half, but with the peels and pips in the water, too, they turn burgundy after an hour or so...

  6. re: quinces - yes, their colour change is what I loved most when I was little! Last week's was simply stewed for breakfast, but the next will be wine-poached , with a cinnamon stick, for dessert. Top quality vanilla ice cream to round it out.
    And winter is damn' cold right now!

  7. This is one of my favorite posts on your blog. I love wandering NYC. It's such a walker's city. Sadly, I won't be able to visit NYC until 2011, but your blog is a wonderful substitute. Next visit, I think I will do something different and stay in Brooklyn so I can walk over the bridge everyday. I'm in Tokyo which is also a great city for wandering....mainly because it is so safe. Also, that cliche about the tension between ancient traditionalism and cutting edge modernity is very apparent at the street should come here. There are many Japanese gardens to enjoy.

  8. Dinamow - I am not an icecream eater (prefer lotuses, meself) but you have me craving Haagen Daz vanilla now :-) Did you ever hear of the rather ghastly-sounding method of poking a raw quince full of holes and soaking it in a seawater pool and then eating it? A friend's parents did that for seaside picnics. She swears it was delicious.

    Hi David - I rather hoped that your name would link to one about walking in Tokyo...:-) Thank you. It's pleasing to know that I can share what I love about this place with people so far away. I realized, as you wrote about it, that I (almost) take the safety of New York for granted. It's a good feeling.


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