Saturday, January 15, 2011

Another day in Manhattan

Politics are so touchy these days and the financial markets will go up until there is some seismic economic or geopolitical event that destroys the mood. The day to day rules. Another day in Manhattan follows, with observations whose intent is unknown, something to write about.

Off into the cold this morning on the LIRR. The first mission is to deliver my home- made beef and vegetable soup to my invalid in-laws and the previously mentioned Marron Glac├ęs to the faux aunt and have a visit with all. The R is not in service so took the Q down to Canal and walked to over to Lafayette and through Columbus Park on the west edge of Chinatown.

In Columbus Park, at 10 in the morning at 20 degrees, four of the six picnic tables are taken by active card games, a felt spread on the tables and a crowd around in puffy jackets. I would guess that they are not playing for peanuts. That's why Las Vegas Sands(LVS) at $2.49 was the best and most confident buy here in the downturn why the biggest regret is recommending WYNN here at $15 and then not buying it myself when it got away quickly. The investments in Macau and Singapore by those firms represent a cultural understanding, represented by the freezing groups in Columbus Park early this morning.

Out of Columbus Park onto lower Mulberry and the block of funeral homes - there is a funeral procession of cars lining up, led by a current fine Cadillac cut down like an El Camino of the 60's(a car with a truck bay) with a board of flowers mounted standing upright behind the cab and then the bay of the truck filled with colorful flowers of all types. This was the lead car, followed by the hearse car and then maybe eight limousines with family and friends. Quite a display for an important man in the neighborhood no doubt.

Arrived at my destination, delivered my goods to the caretakers, and sat for awhile, watching some silly Robin Williams movie with my mute father-in-law, holding his hand. It's perhaps the easiest and most productive part of my day. There are no judgements and no measurements. You go on your senses. It seems right.

Afterwards it's to Big Wong for some take-out for the evening. The carney barker take-out guy is in full voice, shouting out orders and giving candy to every child and young adult in sight. I do not get candy. Ordering up some bok choy with garlic, tofu in garlic with mixed vegetables, hot peppers and noodles with grilled beef chow fun, and pork and shrimp dumplings, I wait my turn and head out with this great and inexpensive food.

Then I'm off to J. Crew mens shop on Broadway three blocks above Canal to return a pair of khaki slacks that I had bought last week. When I tried them on at the store they seemed to fit perfectly, but when I got home and showed K I felt like Pete in MadMen. I wear jeans almost solely and anything that even tries to cut a different or younger look doesn't work. They took them back effortlessly and the sales girl said, on my explanation, that "there is no redeeming quality in Pete".

Continuing my day I looked in a few Broadway stores, notably Topman, but could find nothing of interest. In fact it seemed as if some of the clothes were designed for one or two wears, style stuff for guys, then toss it. That's not me in the extreme. Most of my clothes are easily ten years old or much more, and that's fine.

Kept walking over to Lafayette looking for lunch and I passed Select and Morina and a couple of other places that looked too tedious for my mood so headed over to the NoLita part of Mulberry and found Balaboosta, a new Mediterranean spot with a slant towards North Africa and the Levant. Had a Tunisian sandwich with egg, tuna, lemon rind, potato and other stuff, but coveted the lamb burger with goat cheese and watercress that my table neighbor had. It is an attractive little place.

From there it seemed as if I should head home but not before a stop at McNally Jackson Bookstore, which is no doubt now the best independent bookstore in Manhattan there at 52 Prince. With a wide and well organized selection, a little coffee and sandwich shop inside, the best magazine and periodical section around, and an alert staff, the few older good independents on the upper east and west sides really can't compare. They can be unintentionally snooty, M&J is not at all, and there's as much going on in the way of quality presentations(stress quality) as at a flagship Barnes and Nobles. I find an obscure Italian noir crime mystery to try and buy, and note a few other books for Amazon consideration, I hate to admit that.

Finally it's off to the LIRR where this weekend the big guns are no longer out on the cops and soldiers for the first time in a month. That calls for a chocolate and vanilla swirl frozen yogurt and a Saturday Barron's, both teases that are pleasurable in the moment.

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