May 12th, 2010
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writings from Alphabet City

We are staying on the lower east side, in Alphabet City. Some good friends of our offered us their apartment for as long as we need it, a truly beautiful gift (I have angels everywhere). It was cold and drizzly today, not great for wandering the streets of New York. But we made the best of it and ducked into a new bookstore (I overheard they had been open for two days). It was a perfect bookstore, tiny, but the shelves full of all of my favorite books (used)! Every shelf held volumes full of imaginary worlds that I have lived in at one time or another. I picked up a dog eared copy of “Joe Gould’s Secret” by Mitchell, which I’ve been wanting to read for a few years now. The perfect book for being in this city.

We walked about eight blocks and had dinner at Angelica’s Kitchen. I’ve been wanting to eat there for many years as I used to sell her cookbooks when I worked at Nicholas Hoare. What a cozy little spot, that was not too fancy for our little guy, (it can be challenging in the city to find places that accommodate or even welcome little children). A soothing meal of soba noodles and broth, was just perfect and soothed my hungry but slightly nervous belly.

After dinner we wandered through the neighborhood peering into dozens of cute little shops. Street after street of magical places that could only exist here in a city that offers you anything and everything you could ever want. One shop window was full of eclectic antique ephemera, the door of which displayed a large propeller. A pizza place with massive wheels of parmesan displayed. A cafe that only sells mac and cheese. Beautiful vintage dresses. I stopped in front of an herbalist shop and ran in to get some chamomile. I emerged with a small stapled paper bag, which I happily carried home so I could have some tea. Past Tomkins Square Park. Past rows of flowers for sale. Past tiny cozy restaurants with lit candles on all the tables.

The sounds of this city can be jarring at first, it takes a few days to acclimatize. Right now I can hear traffic sounds, and a conversation held by two women sitting on the patio of a restaurant across the street. Clinking glasses. Horns, always horns. Sirens. Bike brakes screeching. A cell phone beeping. You have to learn to embrace the ambient noise here if you want to be able to function well. It is everywhere.

My husband and son are talking to each other in the bedroom recounting their day, a bedtime ritual. And here I sit recounting mine.

Tomorrow will bring something else.
This too shall pass as everything does.
and I have a lot to look forward to.

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