Friday, August 10, 2007

And now for something completely different

Greenwich Village, New York

C O Bigelow

Cafe Reggio

Blissful as my stay here in Chincoteague is, I appreciate that it may well be deathly dull for you to read about ("Today I did nothing again, and it was fabulous"), and as I am restricted in my movements today due to a slight swimming accident yesterday which hurt my back, I thought I would indulge myself in a little New York nostalgia.

Of the many fun things about visiting America (and I had never been before I met my husband), I adore New York, in particular Greenwich Village. The bigger, more glamorous parts of the city are perhaps more impressive, more beautiful; the long, straight, white avenues at perfect right angles are certainly the stuff of (slightly fascist) fantasy, but the cosy, narrow redbrick streets around Bleeker street are sheer bliss for wandering or eating and shopping.

On my few short visits there, I have fallen in love with a small number of shops and restaurants which I insist on returning to each time. Chain stores are almost banned in the area, except for some higher end shops – Anthropologie (which I love) is next door to Ralph Lauren on West Broadway, for instance, about a five minute walk from Bleeker. On the other hand, shops that were made famous in the Village have expanded beyond and opened branches across the country – C. O. Bigelow Apothecaries, for instance (who are giving away a gorgeous huge cream canvas tote when you spend $100 with them at the moment – oddly, getting the bill to exceed $100 wasn’t that much of a challenge…).

Eating and drinking in the US is stunningly cheap and good after Dublin where everything costs the earth and quality is touch and go. I adore sushi (I mustn't be too cruel to Dublin on this count - after all, Aya is fab and wonderfully cheap in the afternoon) and the nicest I have had in the immediate area is at Sushi Mambo on Bleeker (oddly, I have never found seaweed salad in Japanese restaurants in Ireland, but it is everywhere here), after which we always go to Café Reggio on MacDougal – the most divinely old-fashioned Italian café I have ever seen (there is little in Italy itself to compare) or The Other Room for drinks, if we can find it, which is only some of the time, alas (it’s at 143 Perry Street). We also adore Chickpea, which is about ten minutes away in the East Village and supremely cheap (useful when the guilt over the $100 you just spent in C O Bigelow sets in).

The atmosphere in the Village is what you wish Dublin was like. Temple Bar might have been that way if the government had shown more foresight when issuing pub licenses. Despite the trendiness of the area for drinking (I’m back to Greenwich Village here now) there are few pubs or bars visible and you really have to look for them, which is such a relief after Dublin. Whenever I visit New York it is an effort to make myself go to any galleries or museums (after all, how could any museum be better than the Natural History Museum in Dublin?) when I could just pooch aimlessly around the shops and streets of the Village. Alas, I won’t make it back there until January and if there is one thing I CAN be persuaded to do that isn’t Village-oriented in New York in the Winter it is ice skating in Central Park…

(Images with thanks to Benjamin James, Café Reggio and CO Bigelow)


A Fanciful Twist said...

Oh, I adore NYC. Sooo, you are from Ireland. Well, my ex-fiance is from County Cork. Can you imagine? He is an ex but we are still friends... Anyhow, on to your back.. Were you doing those fancy backflips into the pool again?? hhee hee.. well, it isn't funny... Are you okay??? xxo

Sarah said...

I'm fine now thanks (nearly!) - my darling husband talks about it on his blog...

A said...

So happy that you loved my city! I'm also excited to have found your blog. I have been DYING to go to Morocco and on a recent solo trip I made to Egypt Greece & Japan, it made my desire to visit Morocco even greater. In fact, I was supposed to, but I got a bit spooked by going there alone. But after visiting an Arab nation on my own, I realized I was being foolish.

Mélanie said...

I lived in NYC but I didn't know these places in Greeenwich .
Next time I go there for sure . The " apothicaire " shop looks terrific. I can't wait to be there.