Come along for the ride

I really enjoy taking pictures, and for the last couple years, I’ve kept a point-and-shoot Canon in my purse at all times. I was completely convinced by those commercials a while back, when Steven Tyler walks into a restaurant and a whole table full of women go completely to pieces trying to get a photo of him. “This will never happen to me,” I vowed — though since it’s rare that I run into celebrities, this danger is frankly pretty low.

So I took a lot of pictures when I visited New York this summer. I’ve always got an eye open for the quirky, so in addition to a good many touristy shots, I also came away with a mini-mother lode of Pictures of New York by a Visiting Yokel.

For example, subway tile.

To me this is just beautiful; an unexpected jewel in the urban landscape.

There’s a lot of this too.

We saw this as we walked along the street to the East Village on the Sunday morning of our visit. The tiny restaurant, called Joe Doe’s, was perfectly interesting and served duck eggs, which I did not eat. Not because I’m not adventurous — Lord knows I am — but I simply forgot to order them. Now I can’t say, “I went to New York and ate duck eggs!” the opportunity for which I’m sure I would have come up in conversation at least once sometime before Christmas.

This was sitting in front of the restaurant:

Naturally I had to sit on it, looking at it did worn from countless generations of bottoms. Most likely it was generations of chopping carrots since it’s apparently a butcher block table. But still. It looked sitonable.

(As an aside, “sitonable” is what certain friends of mine, and one husband, likes to call an Ellenism. It gives them great amusement that I earn a living as a writer, yet I’m always making up words. Now, I consider it an attribute and a testament to my creativity that I’ve got this inclination. Buttheads that they are, though, they’re more amused that a purported writer has “difficulty” adequately utilizing the vast array of words available in the English language, and feels it necessary to improvise. Well, it’ll come as no surprise to this contingent — Steve, Todd and Tras I’m looking at you — that this attitude gets a big raspberry from me.)

Anyway, back to the New York Tour. We stayed in Chinatown, and my rube-reaction here was the most pronounced. Somehow, I didn’t envision it quite so full of, you know, CHINESE PEOPLE.

What did I think I was going to find in Chinatown, you might reasonably ask? Well, I certainly expected some Chinese people, and some speaking of various Chinese languages. But here’s the rube in me talking: I didn’t completely understand that Chinatown is populated by people from various Chinese lands who are continuing to live more or less as though they’re still in China. It’s fascinating, intimidating, perplexing, and frankly unusual for someone who is still getting used to hearing Spanish spoken by the growing number of Hispanic immigrants to Kentucky. In New York, hearing English starts to become the unusual thing. It’s quite marvelous.

Our hotel was in the Bowery, an area adjoining Chinatown and Little Italy that was, until just a few years ago, Slum Central. Not anymore. This hotel was an unexpected treat. A little smaller than the plump, cornfed midwestern hotel rooms I was used to but perfectly wonderful for a week-long stay in the city.

We also shared it with half of Europe. I’m not kidding. I think we were the only American citizens staying at the place. Every morning at breakfast we were knee-deep in Italians, Germans, Swedes, Belgians, Spaniards and I don’t know what else, since I didn’t march up to everybody at eight in the morning and demand their nationality.

I mean, I wanted to, but I didn’t.

Food was a big part of our stay, especially when Cara the Chef arrived. A cooking school graduate and buyer for an organic restaurant in Washington, D.C., Cara is totally consumed by food. She does consume it, too; some of it I consider hideously inedible, such as the tripe, yes TRIPE she ordered one night. Eating the “whole animal” is big in the circles in which she moves and really, I don’t disagree with most of her ideas.  But you know, guts, ick.

No, the carb-laden wonders of Little Italy are more my speed. Oh the pasta I consumed, along with this, my last night there — salmon with a little rosemary tree on top.

And this was fun — a shop that sold rice pudding in precisely the same Baskin-Robbins manner most ice cream parlours dish out the calories.

I also indulged my weakness for ice coffee at least once. It’s strange, but I only seem to remember I like it about once every two or three years, and then I can’t get enough of it. I’ve been making it at home ever since and it goes a long way toward explaining my high energy levels lately.

Of course I took far more photos than I can wedge in here, and maybe if you’re lucky (ha!) I’ll throw in a wacky one every now and then just to amuse myself. I’ve got loads of strange detail shots of artwork we saw at the Metropolitan, which unfortunately for me are on another computer and I’m too lazy to go fetch it and boot it up right now.

But here are a couple more, just for fun, that I shot mostly for Tras because our Prius, when I went to New York, had only been in our possession for a few short weeks.

I didn’t even take a taxi, not even one, while I was in New York, but as you can see, they’ve gone somewhat green there in the Big Apple, big surprise to me.

Sure New York was crowded and noisy, big and bewildering, and very visually interesting. But it’s also one of the more pictoriffical places I’ve ever been, specializing in the most blog-postabillimous photos I’ve ever pixallagated.

5 thoughts on “Come along for the ride

  1. Ellen, did Karen give you any tips for your trip? Did you love it? It’s kind of cool that Chinatown is the real deal (as opposed to Little Italy, which is not).

  2. I can remember my first experience into the unknowing streets of New York City. Oh, I went to Chinatown and was fascinated by the poultry hanging in the windows. Got a pic of that and the angry Chinese lady who must have thought I was from the health dept! Need I say more?? Each area of streets have their own nationality that is very evident by the family names laden above a small “store”. And the lamp shops…oh my! I could go on and on….don’t get me started how my friend(from NJ) decided that it was perfectly normal to turn left from the RIGHT lane! Yikes! So enjoy this journey via the written (typed) word!

  3. Ginny, Karen had lots of tips and ideas! I wish we could have met for dinner or a sightseeing tour!

    Pam, we loved the live fish in the Chinese markets. I’m ready to go back! Did you look at my other entry on NY? I loved the Fancy Jewelry Store.

  4. I want to see the crazy, detailed photos of the Metropolitan art. In my lifetime I’ve only had 1 hour and 40 minutes in the museum and I crave more.

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