A great day Saturday except that I had to start with a Dunkin’ Donuts bagel because all the real delis were closed.
Lucey and co. were breakfasting on the patio as I headed out. I had decided to reconnoiter the Schomburg library, even though most of the good stuff there was closed, too. The NYC metro is just as dirty and smelly as ever. Plus I had to go local because the 1 train doesn’t make certain stops on weekends. Hurricane Sandy repairs continue.
A very personable man at the library explained the current state of repairs and assured me that a full opening would come in the fall. Maybe the interior is mostly done, but the outside resembles a demolition zone.
I was able to look at an old printed copy of the card catalog where I spotted all of Ann Petry’s works except Legends of the Saints. The reserve room was so cold I had to retrieve my sweater from the coat check. The man behind the counter did not look happy, but the staff was bundled up, too. One of the nice librarians asked for some heat. I stayed until my toes began to turn blue. Took a quick stroll through the bookstore, which has a terrific selection of books, greeting cards, T-shirts, posters, etc.. There is one display about Arturo Schomburg and the origins of the collection, which I had not realized dated back to the nineteenth century. I could take the cold no more. Note to self: on the next visit bring gloves, wool socks, and thermal underwear.
A young hip-hop poet recited and asked for money to stay out of jail on the downtown train.
I had boarded at Houston Street but decided to alight two stops north. Fourteenth Street is deep in the heart of the Village and was mostly crammed with tourists. I wandered a bit and then stopped at Barraca for lunch. It promoted tapas on the sign outside, but the offerings were largely meat in various forms. I was able to find an excellent salad with kale, pumpkin seeds, a tiny dollop of quince paste, orange slices and machengo, to which I added shrimp.
Aside from a large Spanish family seated next to me, the place seemed filled with over-dressed young women. Bachelorette parties?
The mile walk back to the hotel took me past a street festival with a live jazz/funk band and endless merchants selling jewelry, paintings and sculptures, scarves and wraps, and more jewelry. Based on the presence of dogs, small children, and lack of foreign languages, I gauged that I was in SoHo land for real.
Strolled around the hotel’s scaffolding-ridden neighborhood and then bought an enormous scone to have with my tea.