Wednesday, May 30, 2007
The meal started off with a bowl of mulligatawny soup, more accurately described as tomato garlic soup. The radioactive glow was frightening, but it didn't taste too bad, due to the healthy amount of chopped garlic. This was followed by a well-spiced, densely-packed samosa and average pappadum.
The korma arrived with a large platter of perfectly-cooked basmati. Unfortunately, it also came with "naan" that might have been a supermarket greek pita. Welcome to the price tradeoff.
Next time, I'll let my tummy growl a little longer.
Gem Spa (8th St and 2nd Ave) lives up to its billing, but their egg creams have hit the spot for years. Milk, vanilla syrup and seltzer...mmmm. Check out a primer on the egg cream.
Gray's Papaya, home of frothy fruit drinks and the long-running "recession special" (two hot dogs and a drink, now up to $3.50). Shiny vats behind the counter hold the promise of fruity goodness.
Sushi Lounge (St. Mark's Place and Ave A), one of a number of Japanese places in the area advertising 50% off their menu items. I'll also fess up to being lured in by an ad in the Village Voice. It appeared to be bustling and noisy, so I grabbed a seat.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
1,174: THIS ROADTRIP HAS SEVEN DAYS
Previously on Roadtrippin': Dead presidents and stuffed Adirondack wildlife.
Day 3, Part 1: Newark, NJ and New York, NY
Since it was a beautiful morning, I walked down McCarter Hwy to Newark Penn Station instead of taking a cab. The stroll was longer than I expected, but great for picture taking.
Left: Bishop Womack-El's face dominated Newark's billboards. He bills himself a "prophetic physician", which seems to involve a mixture of herbal remedies, religion and methods to accumulate wealth. Had Newark's expressways been equipped with wider shoulders, I would have taken at least half-a-dozen Womack-El signs, all with different pictures and messages, though somebody else found the same sign in another location.
Right: looking east into Manhattan. How many buildings can you name?
One element of Newark that is hard to ignore: barbed wire everywhere, whether it's protecting businesses (right photo) or freeway underpasses. This does not enhance the city's reputation - some friends thought I was crazy to stay here instead of Manhattan. Driving was the key to the decision, since I didn't relish the thought of facing NYC traffic...though access to quick transit to NYC and a large room at an affordable price don't hurt.
Two shots of the north end of downtown Newark. From here, I took the PATH train into Manhattan. Imagine a subway train winding its way through industrial wasteland and you have the Newark branch of the PATH system.
Left: I got off at the World Trade Center, the train entering via the construction site for the Freedom Tower. Leaving the station, one can look out at the project.
Right: The route to the subway. Note the rip in the ceiling - it and the flooring in this section remain from the original WTC buildings.
I had not been to the Museum of Modern Art since its overhaul a few years ago. The lineup stretched outside, but it moved swiftly. When I showed Mom the left picture on my small camera screen, she thought the bearded dude was me. Being a weekday, school groups were out in force, including this one admiring a classic.
Two current exhibits: Comic Abstractions and 50 Years of Helvetica, the latter including a surprising piece of CanCon.
The eye-catcher was Projects 85 (What Happened to Us), an amusing look at modern America by Dan Perjovschi that covered several stories of wallspace.
Left: life in a nutshell? Right: Looking out the window on 54th St, I noticed this moving van. Feel free to invent your own slogan for this company.
Left: Signage gone wild! It feels like every corner in midtown Manhattan bears at least 2-3 sets of names - in this case, the alternates are "the father of the blues" and a longtime local radio DJ.
Right: This plea for silence was found near Cooper Square, which has never struck me as a place to keep down the noise.
Next: Afternoon and evening in the Big Apple - JB
Thursday, May 24, 2007
1,172: THIS ROADTRIP HAS SEVEN DAYS
Previously on Roadtrippin': The journey begins with a long drive across New York state and a cordial conversation on the Niagara.
Day 2: Albany, NY to Newark, NJ
After a good night's rest, I packed the car and headed down the road that would be my main route down the Hudson, US 9, the old Albany Post Road.
First picture of the trip: an amusement centre just north of Albany. First of many scary clown drawings seen over the next few days. Almost made me wish I had this tune on the radio while driving by.
First stop: the New York State Museum, located on the south end of the government plaza in downtown Albany. Naturally, I used the underground entrance.
Left: one of many animals permanently captured in mid-stride in the Adirondack Wilderness exhibit. Right: Hey guys, don't you notice the moose behind you? He's coming this way! Run! RUN! (now you know why the photo is blurry).
The first exhibit I looked at was a gallery of art by Alex Katz drawn from the Whitney. I didn't linger long, as a security guard stuck to me like glue, which drained any motivation to look at the work. Maybe I radiate something that instinctively makes enforcement officials dislike me.
Left: from the 9/11 exhibit, one of the fire engines involved in the tragedy. Right: At last, I found the way to Sesame Street...or a replica of the set in Metropolis Hall.
Next stop: the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site in Kinderhook. I was a week early for the official tourist season, so I strolled around the grounds of the home of the eighth president (1837-1841).
It was an afternoon full of dead presidents, as I rolled into Hyde Park to wander around the Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Historic Site. I caught the Roosevelts in the middle of a leisurely afternoon read. I just missed one of the tours of the home and library, so again I strolled the grounds. The name of one of the horse pens in the stable did not come as a shock.
Time to compare presidential burial sites. Martin Van Buren (died 1862) lies under a tall pillar in a tightly-packed Reformed Church cemetery. FDR (died in office, 1945) rests under a white slab surrounded by grass, with a garden lining the edges of the plot.
Except for a SUV following me so closely that I had to run a red light in Hyde Park, the drive down river was relaxing. I stayed on the east side of the Hudson to Tarrytown, crossed the Tappan Zee bridge, then hopped on the Palisades Parkway to meander my way down to the Comfort Suites in Newark. I arrived around 5:30, checking in just ahead of a busload of teens from a bible college.
After rest and a quick call home, I hopped back in the car and wandered around. This led to my first drive in any of the five boroughs - a quick trip over to Staten Island. The photo on the left is the only prooof I was there, since traffic was heavy, the sun was setting and my route took me mostly by residences or strip malls (for the curious, I went over on the Goethals Bridge, then circled back via Forest Ave, Richmond Ave and Victory Blvd). I suspect I should have gone over an hour or two earlier.
Back on the mainland, I got lost looping around the many bridges in the industrial areas east of Newark, winding up on the Pulaski Skyway twice. After a drive through the Ironbound district of Newark, I ended up heading north to Clifton, stopping at a few stores along the NJ 3 strip. I ate a late dinner at the Tick Tock Diner, which had the classic silver siding. I had a corned beef sandwich (piled thick, likely knife-carved, slightly fatty but tasty), with a side of potato salad and a vanilla egg cream.
I headed back to the hotel and flipped on the TV. The lowlight was The 1/2 News Hour on Fox News Channel - imagine a bad installment of Weekend Update stretched out, with a pronounced conservative (not mock-conservative) bent. Not a laugh. Not a chuckle. FNC is much funnier when it sticks to its "fair and balanced" regular news coverage.
More pictures from the day are in the ever-expanding Flickr set.
Next: Manhattan - JB