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Our first stop was right next to the farmers' market - a memorial has been set up in the garden of the Catholic church to honor Inwood neighbors lost on 9/11. Prominently in the garden stands a piece of steel pulled from the rubble of the World Trade Center, in the shape of a cross:
It was so sad to see how many people from just one neighborhood were lost - can't even imagine how eye-opening it would be if every neighborhood had a physical reminder of the loss.
After our exciting subway ride, where some guys spontaneously started breakdancing...
...we arrived at our next destination: Brooklyn! Before our trip, I had asked Mo to take us to places real New Yorkers go on the weekends - no tourist traps like Times Square (where we ending up going anyways), 30 Rock, or FAO Schwartz. I have seen those things on TV and in the movies, and had no desire to see them up close and personal.
I wanted to see flower markets and street vendors, flea markets and hipsters, farmers' markets and local artists. She knows I'm more into quirky things and places more than touristy - don't get me wrong, I love a historical site just as much as the next nerd, but in a city that has so much local culture, I'd rather soak in the culture than history or landmarks. Make sense?
Back to Brooklyn - first on our day's agenda was the Brooklyn Flea. We got to building where we thought it was held, only there was no flea market. Beautiful building, the oldest in Brooklyn - The Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower.
After admiring the building we got on our phones to find out where the flea market was actually being held that day, and found that it was just a few blocks away in the parking lot of a school.
Here are some of my favorite vendors:
- Sheepshead Design (check out their Etsy and website): all their designs are printed on linen and handstretched onto a wooden frame. I got this 8x10 sklyine print looking into Manhattan from under the Brooklyn Bridge...
- Wrecords by Monkey: all products made from recycled records! How cool!?! I thought of Dave when I saw this booth and wanted to get something for his Beatles room. I picked this light switch plate...
We took a shade break and Mo found her coveted lobster roll!
Once we were flea'd out we made our way to the Brooklyn Brewery, but we came upon Spritzenhaus on the way and decided to stop for some beer. It had just opened that day and only had beer and liquor (no food or table service yet), but Mo and Phil said it had a similar vibe as the brewery. Spritzenhaus has a very industrial feel to it - looked like the tables and chairs are all recycled from schools or factories, and all the exterior walls were like glass garage doors, which were all open so the place was all fresh air. So cool!
I got Hefeweizen, but I didn't really make a dent in the huge glass. I hadn't had much to eat yet because I was saving room for pizza, so I didn't want to drink the whole thing...
Notice how intently Mo and Carrie are perusing the menu for beers and whiskey shots! :)
Next stop was Grimaldi's Pizzeria on the waterfront!
Every time someone asks Mo for NYC recommendations this place makes the list, and now I know why! the pizza was SO worth the ~30 minutes spent standing in line just to get in the door of the place! We all shared 2 pizzas - one white with cherry tomatoes and basil, and one regular with ham, ground beef, and green peppers. YUM! Now I get the NYC pizza hype - it was so much better than any pizza I've had - Mary Angela's, Castiglia's, and Fratelli's are mighty close, though!
For dessert we walked down to the waterfront to Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.
photo from BICF website
We all got scoops and walked around the waterfront park...
see Lady Liberty waaaaaaay off in the distance?
Manhattan skyline at dusk...
...and then caught a cab to go home. I asked if we could do that instead of taking the subway because I was so tired from walking around all day! Plus, riding in a cab was on my mental to-do list. It wasn't any crazier than taking a cab in DC...
When we got back to the apartment we got ready for bed and watched 'White Christmas.' I know...it's May, not Christmas. Back in January at my surprise college graduation party, I mentioned that I tried to watch that movie over Christmas break but that I couldn't get into it. I must not have been paying attention or something because I just didn't get the point. It wasn't Christmas, how do these people know each other, how is that guy so old but he's only a PFC? I just didn't give it a chance, and both Mo and Carrie thought that was a travesty. I agree. It's a classic and there's no reason I shouldn't give it a chance, so we decided that we would watch it if/when Carrie and I went to NYC. So here was our chance! And we took it :)
The verdict? Much better when I paid attention to the plot, though there were several important scenes that I may have missed because I was checking my Facebook or emails :) They caught me every time! But they were kind enough to rewind for me so I wouldn't be lost. Thanks ladies! Haha. We turned it off with 30 minutes left because we couldn't keep our eyes open, to be continued the next night...
I'll have to watch it again by myself to truly get it, but I understand why it's so loved now.
As I went to bed, I turned the channel and found 'When Harry Met Sally' was randomly on TV. Since I was on the pull-out sofa in the lving room, I let Harry and Sally lull me to sleep with their bickering...so perfect since Mo, Carrie, Cynthia (we missed you this weekend!), and I used to watch that movie all the time! It's definitely an all-time fave of mine. Perfect end to a great day!
End of day 2...more to come later :)