Nemo found Central Park

Friday night, the blizzard “Nemo” hit the northeast portion of the United States. Mainly affecting areas north of NYC, it blanketed NYC in a few inches of snow. The serendipitous timing provided hours of entertainment for children and adults in Central Park. It seemed like all of the city was out enjoying the snow.  Including dogs in snow boots, which I think is a NYC thing.

Saturday morning I had breakfast at Cafe Sabarsky, which is one of my favorite, albeit infrequent, breakfast restaurants.  Although if you do visit the cafe, the breakfast hours on weekends are 9 – 11 am and they are quite strict on the timeliness of the cutoff.  So, my breakfast was more of a brunch 😉

Anyway, walking down from 86th street I passed many of my favorite landmarks now covered in snow. Sadly, the Strand kiosk was closed but the Waffles & Dinges stand was still going strong (having just had a Sachertorte, I skipped the cart this time…). For those of you who like amateur photos shot from a phone, enjoy the following collection. Continue reading “Nemo found Central Park”

Literaturhaus NYC

For those visiting NYC Upper East Side, I recommend the following half-day trip, which happened to be my Monday morning.  Start off with Breakfast at Café Sabarsky at 86th and 5th.  It’s a quiet, Viennese style café in the Neue Galerie Museum.  It has the distinct European café feel, where they make real caffè lattes (milchkaffee) and where one can sit with a Newspaper stick and enjoying leisurely reading.  Café Sabarsky reminds me of my other favorite café in Berlin, the Literaturhaus Berlin.  Like Sabarsky and as its name implies, the Literaturhaus café is designed for reading.  And not the kind of reading one does with a highlighter or with the swipe of the finger, these cafés are the battlefields to tackle Joyce, Foster, Dostoyevsky, or Pynchon.  None of whom I brought, since I had excellent company at the time.  But I semi-frequently go to restaurants by myself just to read, which I recognize is not a normal habit…

So, after a European breakfast topped off with Sachertorte, walk down (or through) the Park to the south-east corner of Central Park at 60th and 5th Avenue.  There you will find two kiosks.  One, is the Vendy Award winning Belgian Waffle stand: Wafels and Dinges.

Waffles and Dinges Cart

Skip that for now, since you just had Sachertorte, but remember to go back one day and try a waffle with Speculoos.  Instead focus on the stand of one of the great NYC companies: The Strand Bookstore.  This kiosk is a mere speck of the books offered in the main bookstore which contains over 18 miles of books and where one can order books not only by the author, but by the foot.

The Kiosk, open 10 AM to dusk April through December, weather permitting, is the reverent flame for the book against its barbarian attacker: the eBook.  Even mentioned in this recent WIRED article, the book benefits from what the eBook readers lack: good

Strand Kiosk on the SE Corner of Central Park

design.  Now, I own a Kindle and it has its place for me, but there is something about browsing through table-tops of books at the entrance to central park.  And if the location and availability hasn’t won you over, the pedigree of books on display will.  Of course, at the kiosk, the Hunger Game Series and other popular fiction are available, but the majority of this corner shop is the boxes of half-priced (slightly) used classics.  I had to limit myself to three: Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf (natürlich, I would try to read it in German, but Kafka is still difficult for me.  And I tend to collect German books and not finish them.  So, I really want to read Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann in German, but you see, I’ve just purchased these books…), Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale, and The Redbreast, a Jo Nesbo novel.

While this may not be the itinerary for first time New Yorkers, stay an extra day next time to give this a try.  Or, if you forgot to bring your copy of The Brothers K., try the trip above in reverse and pick up a copy at the Strand Kiosk on your way to Frühstück.  As of Monday, there were three copies left.

Amazing Race: Albeit more geeky and less athletic

It’s called DASH: Different Area Same Hunt. It’s a game where teams solve the same set of puzzles in different locations across the country (hence the name).  I participated in the NYC event, which was a lot of fun!  The puzzles generally contain multiple meta-puzzles.  For example, first one must solve a word-scramble like puzzle, which will give the directions to solve part two.  Both of these answers are needed to solve the third part and finally when the puzzle is “solved,” that answer must be decoded into a symbol which reveals the location for the next puzzle.

The NYC version is played in Central Park.  Puzzle locations whisk teams from the Met, to the Museum of Natural History, to the Hans Christian Anderson Statue, back to Strawberry Fields, etc…  Advanced Puzzlers finish in a few hours.  Amateurs, like myself, are hurried along in order to complete the task, which starts at 11:00 am, by dusk.  We played with a large group of friends, one of which who was pregnant, so we took our time and had fun.  Too much fun, as we did not complete the game and instead split off to a go to a roof-top beer-garden in the Flatiron District, which was packed upon arrival so we went back home.

Having felt slighted for missing a rooftop beer drinking experience, I went out and found my favorite beer: Weihenstephaner Hefewissbier.  Last time I was in Munich, I toured the Paulaner Breweryon the start of the 200th Oktoberfest.  It was a bit quiet, as most of the employees were carting casts of beer from the brewery to the Oktoberfest tents and

Weihenstephaner Wiessbier

ironically, their tap was having problems so we drank (freshly) bottled beer.  However, I really wished I had time to visit the Weihenstephan Brewery.  While slightly outside of Munich, I think it would have been quite the trip.  Maybe next time.

So lesson for next year’s DASH: Solve the puzzles in an german-style biergarten.  If anything, there will be more creative answers… Prost!