I’ve been back in New York for exactly a week now and it feels great! So I thought I’d share my week’s events through people I met, events I attended, and places I went to. After reading, maybe you’ll gather why I love New York…
I’ll start with last Sunday, a gorgeous warm day of clear horizons. I had lunch at home with my Jamaican friend Gary, a talented painter, a real renaissance man and a passionate art teacher. Called by the lovely weather outside, we went for a stroll to the new Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene, an outdoor market that has apparently become the hippest in the city. We had a lemonade and browsed around the stalls selling anything from local arts & crafts and funky old furniture to vintage clothing and rare records. The crowd was an interesting mix of trendy hipsters on the afternoon out of the city (die-hard Manhattanites actually cross the East River for this event!), familiar neighborhood faces and local families.
After our meander, we moved on to Smooch nearby, a tiny organic cafe-wine bar where the service is notoriously slow but nobody cares because the waitstaff is lovely and shiny and it’s all about hanging out. At Smooch, I ran into my Danish friend Jeanette and her rottweiler Satya whom I babysat for a week a few years ago even though I’m quite scared of dogs. We caught up over green tea on the outside benches, enjoying the nice weather and conversation.
That same Sunday evening I spent sipping wine and talking at the rooftop garden of a beautiful penthouse apartment in the city that a friend was housesitting for a friend. Present were Amy, my perky lovely American friend from St Louis/Chicago whom I met in Buenos Aires last year, a relatively recent New York transplant and a fellow writer; my comrade Steve, a great man and a talented musician who has played drums with some of my musical heroes; and Steve’s girlfriend Joy Bell, a beautiful Australian with a great voice who has traveled the world as a model and photographer. On the way back to Brooklyn, Amy and I had dinner at Cafe Mogador in the East Village, my favorite Moroccan restaurant in New York and a real fixture. I love their lamb tagine!
On Monday, I holed up at home, very happy not to leave. Oh, how I missed my Brooklyn apartment! I seriously cherish every moment of my life here, especially after I come back from a long sojourn elsewhere. It’s a real refuge and a haven, a place I dream of fondly when traveling. When I walk through my long red hallway, I feel truly at home.
Tuesday, I met up for delicious panini at Ino in the West Village with one of my dearest New York friends, Sabina, a stunning Bosnian writer and director who never ceases to inspire with her style, warmth, ideas and inner and outer beauty. We talked for three hours straight, then strolled around the West Village talking some more… I felt like we could have continued talking for hours, even though we caught up in Croatia back in July.
Wednesday was a rendez-vous with my sparkling Swiss friend Christine who is one of the most generous, funkiest and warm-hearted people I know. In addition to working as a pediatric nurse here in New York, she spent six months last year treating malnourished children in Niger for Medecins Sans Frontieres. Christine brought along a new friend, and the three of us had a quick bite at Cafe Habana in Nolita (I love their Cuban sandwiches!) before proceeding to Happy Ending lounge in Chinatown for the Happy Ending Music and Reading Series.
Then Thursday came along and I met for lunch with another Bosnian friend, Tea, a theater director who’s done and is doing incredible work and whose professional progress has been a pleasure to watch. Tea is currently directing a play about immigration, Aliens with Extraordinary Skills, by a Romanian playwright. It opens on September 22 at Julia Miles Theater.
On the way from lunch with Tea, I ran into my French-Senegalese friend Michel and we had a quick coffee at Cafe Mogador. In the evening, I connected with Arabella, a Canadian friend and a fellow culture vulture whom I’ve known for about five years through various incarnations (I was her editor, she was mine, we traveled together in the Caribbean…). Over a meal of “seasonal American” food at Little Giant on the Lower East Side, we exchanged travel, work and relationship tales.
Today, I’ve been dealing with a zillion emails that sat unanswered in my inbox and unwritten in my head, and watching the rain drizzle through my living room windows. When I post this, I am off to see Vicky Cristina Barcelona, the new Woody Allen film, at my favorite cinema in Brooklyn, BAM Rose Cinemas.
Tomorrow I am meeting an old friend from the road, Jacobine. We met while traveling around Bolivia in 2002; I was researching a guidebook and Jacobine was on a grand tour of South America for six months. We haven’t seen each other since but she’s in town from Holland for the Independent Film Week and it’ll be great to catch up. There’s a reggae party tomorrow night, a rooftop barbecue on Sunday to celebrate several birthdays and friendships…
I really wonder if I could I have the same week in any other city in the world. I can think of only a handful, with so many great people and opportunities to see, hear, exchange, inspire and be inspired.
I guess this was my little ode to New York and my New York people…