I got blisters on both feet’s soles from yesterday’s Midtown walk (in sandals). So I postponed what I had planned for today – exploring Clinton Hill – and stayed in Greenpoint, because from here I could go home easily, when I would not be able to walk any more. And there is still so much to discover in my current neighborhood.
After breakfast I started out for another stroll along Manhattan Avenue and its eastern side streets. In front of the construction site around the corner a worker was just having a break. He had a quarter of a water melon posted on one of these plastic ramps and was cutting out pieces with a knife, right on the sidewalk.
I started with an iced French Lavender Latte. I had passed this little coffee shop promoting the stuff on a blackboard outside so often but it had never been the right time to try it. Now it was. It was pretty refreshing, but the lavender was not really strong. My friend Ingeborg’s lavender ice cream is definitely better. Then I took some time to browse through shops to get a sense for where to buy what. I found out that stuff like cotton balls can be much cheaper in these everything-cheap stores than in the pharmacy stor where I got them and was shocked about the price of cotton balls in a country where they grow tons of cotton. I bought a deodorant in the pharmacy store and later found the very same one in a polish supermarket for less than half the price. So it makes perfect sense to look around. And finally I got into the polish bakery early enough to get a poppy seed bagel.
I had a late lunch at the Columbian café called Bogotá. It’s a cute place and food was cheap and really good. I had a delicious and refreshing Gazpacho, with a touch of cilantro and a chicken empanada. At the table beside me five young guys, probably travelers had good looking meat dishes. The waitress was very friendly and explained whatever anybody wanted to know. A Caribbean looking man with a little boy came in and she had a talk with the little one, Marcus, about where his sister was today. I liked the place and hope to be back.
I went home to collect my freshly washed sheets from the dryer and left again for mother stroll along Franklin Avenue, the waterfront and the western side streets. My first stop was the Brooklyn Ice cream Factory where I bought a huge scoop of strawberry – with strawberry pieces in it. The salesgirl had difficulties to get it into the cone. Well, I shout have taken it in a dish because as soon as I was out in the sun it was dripping not only onto my fingers but s well onto my top.
Franklin Avenue feels like another world compared to Manhattan Avenue. Shops are specializing in something, for example old records instead of selling everything cheap. It is a bit of upscale Greenpoint.
Word Bookstore is here as well.
The waterfront however, just two blocks away, is still mainly industrial.
I found a factory, where Asian women were packing peeled garlic into plastic containers and a training area for stunts. The former Eberhard Faber Pencil Company has left its marks in a Historic District named after it.
It is not possible to walk along the waterfront. Between the factories there are just two piers. One is for the East River Ferry, the other one is connected to a little park and playground. A group of teenagers was running around here, the boys chasing the girls, a young man in bright red chinos walked along with a baby in a stroller and a woman was sitting on a bench reading a book. I could read “97 Orchard” on the cover and was tempted to ask her what it is about, just wasn’t sure she wanted to talk. When I googled it later I found out it was about the culinary life of some families in a tenement on Orchard Street at the turn of the 20th century. I put it on my book list and thought I should have asked her.
I realised, I had to hurry up bit. I still had to shop essential groceries, had to go to the Milk & Roses for an afternoon beer, eat my leftovers for supper and go to tonight’s reading.
The waitress at Milk & Roses recommended Reissdorf Koelsch when I asked her what beers they have. I refused, explained to her that I live in Cologne and we agreed on a Sail something Amber. I had it in the café’s garden, which is a treasure. Wine is growing on a brick wall, Flowerpots are standing between and on tables next to big candles. A tree and several bushes provide a shady atmosphere . A cord of light bulbs is hanging across the place to illuminate it at night. I took notes for next year’s design of my balcony.
The reading was Shani Boianjiou – The People of Forever are not Afraid. She is a young Israeli who wrote about her time in the army. It is fiction but the background is her personal experience. She was hard to understand because she spoke in American slang. My ears still need a lot of training.
What I learned today: Shopping basic stuff is like a science – you have to know the secrets.