White girl gets a fork, best pancakes ever, a rice pudding cafe + an urban high-rise park.
I stayed in my hotel room until midday. My feet hurt. I needed to sort out my luggage, get myself re-centered. And to be honest, I just needed a sleep in. New York is so ever-bustling and busy, it was nice to sit 13 floors above it all in the quiet and recharge. There is a lot to do here, but I am not sure I could live here. Those that do seem busy, unhappy, and often stuck.
I am used to dancing in the street, smiles and laughter, and singing tram conductors. Today I was walking along Broadway, listening to Daylight by Matt and Kim, smiling and dancing a little when I stopped at the traffic lights. People actually looked at me grumpily. Why are you happy? They seemed to be thinking.
At noon I checked out, turned over my bags to luggage storage and set out to SoHo. I had four destinations today, first was the High Line Urban Park. Last time I was in New York this park was in planning stage, and I had always wanted to visit New York again so I could go here. The city turned an abandoned high rise train line into an urban park high above street level, spanning 1 mile (1.6 kms). It was a super sunny day, and the sunlight reflected off the piles of snow to blind those walking the paths. I can imagine this would be beautiful in summer, but in winter it was still nice to walk so high above the city – the air almost seemed cleaner there.
For my first of many meals today, I head over to Soho. I had a 40 minute wait for my brunch restaurant, so I walked up Big Gay Ice Cream to try one of their famous soft serve cones while I was waiting.
I went for the Salty Pimp as featured on The Best Thing I Ever Ate: soft serve piped with dulce de leche, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt.
A little after I got my ice cream, I got a text that my table at Clinton St Baking Company was ready – so I proceeded to devour the cone at high speed. With a rumoured five hour wait on weekends to sample Clinton St’s pancakes, which many claim to be the ‘best in the world’, I had high expectations. And let me tell you, they lived up to it. The pancakes were so fluffy, the maple butter perfectly sweet, and the wild Maine blueberries a great textural contrast. They were, if not the best pancakes I have ever had, the best that I remember.
Next up was a wander over to Rice and Riches, a specialty rice pudding store, decked out with ridiculous slogans, but filled with delicious flavours like banana coconut, french toast, cheesecake…
I went for the coconut, and all are served in plastic lunch box style bowls with leak proof lids that can be reused.
Finally it was time to go pick up my luggage and leave Manhattan – I am spending the next two days in Brooklyn, which I have heard is a little more hip and nicer to be in. Goodbye tourist scene! It’s been nice, but I am glad to leave. On the way walking back uptown, I stumbled across this – look familiar?? The famous Katz’s.
I took the subway out to southern Brooklyn, the chinatown area. I am couchsurfing with a lovely guy called Leon from SUNY who is another creative type. We went out to dinner to a local place, a Malaysian restaurant called Nyonya. It ended up being a Zagat rated place – and after a few months devoid of Malaysian food I was so glad to be getting back to my roti canai and curry laksa.
When we sat down Leon said ‘Are you seeing what I am seeing?’
White girl gets a fork. Sigh.