Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sunday in the Park

After a late brunch at Shiller's Liquor Bar on the Lower East Side, Karyn's neightbourhood, we spent most of Sunday in Central Park. We saw most of the sights there: the amusement park at Wollman Rink, The Mall and the big fountain from Friends, The Ramble, Belvedere Castle, The Great Lawn, Jackie Onassis Resevoir (which, thankfully, doesn't seem to provide Manhattan's drinking water anymore), and Strawberry Fields. We even went rowing on The Lake. Or rather, I rowed, and Karyn lounged. I'm such a perfect gentleman, don't you think? I did surprisingly well, not hitting anything, in spite of several other rowers' best efforts. Some people seemingly couldn't figure out that the pointy end of the boat is the front, which probably made steering quite a challenge. Karyn was able to share some of the trivia she picked up on the bike tour she took with Leah, even pointing out which building Madonna tried to get a place in, but was refused by Yoko Ono.

For dinner, we went to Union Square and tried yet another New York institution: street meat. Once again, it was a disappointment -- much worse than what you'd get in Toronto or Vancouver. The sausage was the skinny little kind you'd get in a grocery store, in a package of eight, for a few bucks. And the topping choices were ketchup and mustard. Four bites later, it was gone, but at least I knew we'd still be able to manage another dining experience that evening.

Next, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. We'd intended to do it at sunset, and although we were a bit late, it was still quite spectacular. Pedestrians walk across a path in the centre of the bridge, raised above the traffic. Oddly, there were railings attached to a few of the supports that ran over the traffic decks to the outside edges of the bridge, and they weren't blocked off in any way. I guess this is the opposite of the Luminous Veil.

It was dark when we got to Brooklyn, but we found our way back to the promenade for a very pretty view of the lit skyline. We skirted death on the way back to the subway, having to cross an onramp that turned such that we couldn't see what was coming, with no help from a traffic signal. Given that there was a sidewalk there, and crosswalks on the preceding and following intersection, this setup seemed very odd. I guess when you've got 8 million people living in a city, it doesn't matter as much if you lose a few.

After that adventure, we headed back to the East Village to wrap up the day with a bite at Yaffa Cafe. From the street, you'd never think this place was be anything special. But, it's got a huge, beautifully designed garden in the back. We sat out there and shared the most delicious salad I've ever had, with avacado, hard boiled egg, and carrot dressing. Yum! Oh, and some even better sangria than the night before. It was such a great place to hang out and chat, so we passed quite a bit of time there. They even give out free Yaffa Cafe condoms!

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