The Beginning of Winter Wonderland

New York is changing right now. Not only is it getting colder but the city is as well putting on a new dress, the winter dress. Ice rinks are opening up, Christmas markets as well and holiday decorations appear everywhere now.

I wanted to meet Soh Ang near her office to take her to Astoria with me around 5 pm. So it seemed a good idea to me to do my planned walk up Lexington Avenue today. But the day had different plans for me.
First of all I woke up tired and fell asleep again after my morning alarm at 7 am. When I got up then it was past 10 am. Rachel was on the same time scheme. We met in the kitchen and had breakfast together. We got into talking and the breakfast took a while. So it was past 2 pm again when I was ready to go out. And it was raining then. Not the best conditions for walking up Lexington.
I changed the plan and took the M train to Rockefeller Center at first, to check if my print was available at the Met shop. That was where I first got the holiday feeling. The shop sells Christmas cards and tree decorations. Why not hang the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty on a Christmas tree instead of glass balls. My print was available. Again I didn’t buy it though, because I would have to carry it around in the rain. The ice rink at Rockefeller Center is not in use yet.
My next stop was Bryant Park because it was close and I wanted to see what it was like now. It has changed its face completely. The reading room is gone, Winter Village has taken over. Another ice rink in the middle of a Christmas market with little green booths selling pickles, chocolate, sea salt cosmetics, hats or Christmas decoration.
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I took a train to 23rd Street and walked over to Madison Avenue to start a walk from my book “Where they lived”. It covers places where famous New Yorkers – politicians, musicians, actors, writers – lived. On 3rd Avenue and 22nd Street I found a German restaurant with a real eye catching interior decoration. It is packed with Christmas stuff. It looks like sitting in a forest of densely decorated Christmas trees, just without the trees. Crazy!
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It was too late then to start walking up Lexington Avenue. I took the 6 train to 59th Street and met Soh Ang there. At Starbucks I had a Gingerbread Latte instead of Pumpkin Spice. The latter one is far better. We took the train to 46th Street in Astoria and walked to Sorriso on 30th Avenue. Soh Ang got an eggplant parm sandwich in a raw version and spicy sausages for breakfast. Like me she was amazed of that shop. Today’s sample was primadonna cheese.
We then walked up Steinway again to have dinner at Okeanos on Ditmars Boulevard. We were the only guests when we entered the place. The friendly Greek waiter recommended the daily special, a 5 course meal with soup, salad, an entrée, coffee or tea and dessert for just 20 dollars. We could not resist that. I had a sea bass, Soh Ang had a trout. It was a wonderful meal. The soup was unusual – chicken with pasta and lemon. The salad was fresh and crisp. Both fish were grilled and served on the bone with a lemon sauce. They were huge and seemed to be really fresh. I loved it. Coffee was just normal coffee, no Greek mocha. Dessert was a sweet vanilla custard topped with puff pastry. We were both groaning with the mass of food. But it was so good.
Soh Ang’s husband picked her up and thankfully gave me a lift home then. I could only have rolled home otherwise.

What I learned today:
Empty restaurants don’t necessarily imply poor food.

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