Chelsea, Saturday Afternoon

I'm not sure if I explained properly yesterday why a downpour in New York was the nightmare scenario, so let me address that omission before I talk about what we did today: Basically, a downpour meant that I was trapped—with Austen, and without any of the tools for entertaining him or giving my arms a break that I'd have at home. Being wet as well just made things even less comfortable.

Today dawned better and brighter (and cooler and clearer). Al, Austen, and I were up early, so we walked down to H&H Bagels and got some breakfast for the household. On the way there and back, we stopped to pet about a zillion dogs, and I remarked to Al that if we ever move to New York I'm going to get a dog just to ensure that I get out early every morning. New York is so cool in the morning before everyone is up.

broken brella well-behaved boston terrier

After snarfing down the yummy bagels, we took the subway down to 14th Street and walked toward the Bleecker Street playground. On the way we stopped at Mary's Off Jane for a mojito limeade (a little too tart for me, but very fresh—a couple packets of sugar would have smoothed it out nicely) and a slice of devil's food cake with "American buttercream icing" for later. (I just tried it now, and it was excellent: The cake was dense and chocolatey but still cakelike, very similar to my Aunt Judy's Black Cake, and the frosting was fluffy and sweet, a perfect balance of butter and sugar.)

At the playground Austen got to try his first swing; he was a little wary at first of being released into the black rubber contraption, but after a few pushes from Al, he really got into it. I have to say, whenever I have the opportunity to visit a playground in New York, I think how lucky are the kids who get to grow up here.

austen on his first swing Austen on the swing

After the playground we had a delicious lunch at Mi Cocina on Hudson Jane. I had the Frijolades Oaxaqueños (spelling approximate) and a strawberry lemonade; like the mojito limeade, the lemonade was too tart, but the entree—two white corn tortillas stuffed with queso fresco and covered with a black bean sauce and a pepper-studded cylinder of scrambled eggs—was mouth-wateringly wonderful. I can still taste it in my mind. YUM. We then ambled over to a part of town I don't think I'd ever been to before this visit, surprisingly: Chelsea.

We crossed through the old meatpacking district to the bike/skate/pedestrian path that led to the Chelsea Piers and then walked out onto the piers themselves. Cool complex! If it weren't for the fact that I don't think we could afford to live in Manhattan on one (or even one and a half) incomes, I'd be scanning the real estate section right now. (Of course, I can picture myself living in lots of cities; our visit to Vancouver actually *did* spur me to scan a few real estate listings there. :) I love the West Village, what I've now seen of Chelsea is intriguing, and my brother-in-law's neighborhood up in the 90s between Central Park West and Columbus is also charming. I think it'd be as hard to narrow down what part of the city I'd want to live in as it was when I tried to move here back in 1995 (I overshot then and landed in Norwalk, CT).

carl and al pushing strollers through the meatpacking district abstract art pigeon herding

We didn't get to stay in Chelsea long, as an approaching thunderstorm chased us back up to the West 90s (I'd left both the umbrellas and Austen's rain cover out to dry in the apartment, and I had my fill of rain yesterday, so I wasn't eager to get caught in another downpour). I hope to explore more of Chelsea and the West Village next time we come up. If nothing else, I'll be going back to Billy's for the cupcakes—and, if I have room, down to Jane Street for a giant slice of cake from Mary's!

Posted by Lori in food and parenthood and travel at 6:01 PM on July 9, 2005