25 June 2012

NYC: The Rainbow Tour

The weather was near-perfect in New York over the weekend--it rained on Friday night and so Saturday and Sunday were hot and sunny, but slightly less oppressive than earlier in the week. It was just about cool enough, then, for a morning run in Central Park on Saturday. We were still pretty warm by the end, of course, but I didn't feel like I was going to pass out, like on Wednesday.

Sunny Saturdays call for two things: brunch and Brooklyn, so after scoring a window seat on the balcony at Public for the former, we walked over the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn, more specifically to Smorgasburg, where the hipsters were out in full force. We grabbed some lemonade and had a wander through the adjacent craft market, which had lots of cool jewellery, art, accessories and homewares, not nothing that tempted me enough to purchase.

Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg's main drag, was car free on Saturday, as part of Williamsburg Walks, so we grabbed a free spot of (imported) turf, sipped on a free coconut water and waited in line to pick out a free necklace from Brooklyn Charm (I chose a little brass seahorse on a gold-coloured chain).

Dinner was in the courtyard garden at Walter Foods, Balthazar's Brooklyn outpost, which I've been meaning to try for a while now. My pulled pork sandwich with baked beans and homemade coleslaw was delicious. So much so that I swore I was too full for pudding, unless it contained chocolate and peanut butter; cue the Reese's-inspired pie I subsequently ate.

As we wanted to check out this new multicoloured water tower art installation in DUMBO, we caught the East River Ferry from Williamsburg, after watching the sun sink down over the Manhattan skyline.

The driver was obviously keen to get home because the boat (which was the last one) left 15 minutes early and then crashed into the DUMBO dock. I don't think anyone was hurt but it took them a few minutes to get the boat sorted out. The views of the water tower weren't quite as impressive as I was expecting but the views of the city and the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges by night were pretty stunning. We walked back to the hotel over Brooklyn Bridge before heading up to the rooftop terrace to take a closer glimpse at the NYC Pride-themed lighting of the Empire State Building.

Sunday called for more brunch, this time at the low-key and cool Bread on Spring Street; waffles with fruit, maple syrup and cream really hit the spot. The aforementioned NYC Pride and its huge parade on Sunday meant that our plans to meander around the Village and the West Village were curtailed somewhat. In fact, we had to take the L train to get from the Meatpacking District back onto the right side of Fifth Avenue.

But we managed to entertain ourselves with a little more High Line, a little more shopping and dinner at Saxon + Parole. The cocktails at the latter sounded great but, in pre-flight mode, I decided to remain teetotal and opted for a non-alcoholic version involving raspberry vinegar. The burger was great--possibly the best of the trip--and the pudding, involving popcorn and a sort of caramel-filled non-fruity trifle, was also delicious. In other words, it was a great last supper, even if no burger is good enough to help me get over the sorrow of leaving New York again...

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