Not long left for me now in Brooklyn but there is still time to do the New York thing.
Sit on the stoop. It’s cool to sit on the stoop when the weather is good. Some read the paper in the sun, drink coffee, play guitar or just chill out and watch the people on the sidewalk strolling around the neighbourhood or hurrying to work. There’s a buzz in the atmosphere and the wonderful warm April weather causes everyone to be friendly and chatty. White and pink blossoms are out on all the trees and the new leaves are shooting, I think this is possibly one of the best times of year to be here so aren’t I lucky?
People have Stoop Sales, where they put items out on the steps and either sit there all day trying to sell them or they put out an honesty box. Occasionally, items are just left
for people to help themselves, a charity begins at home situation. There are signs on some of the stoops…NO SITTING…NO SMOKING… NO ALCOHOL. In fact it’s illegal in America to drink alcohol in the streets or parks so no champagne picnic for us in Prospect Park!
It seems to me that in Brooklyn one in ten people own a dog. This means that walking down the street you meet every known variety of pooch. Little ones, medium size and great big things, hairy mutts, smooth coated, well behaved, bouncy, aggressive and passive. The varieties of breed, character, size and shape are endless.
We have a dog in this house and she needs her walkies like every other four-legged friend. So off we go in the mornings, poop bag (or three) in the pocket and walk 20 minutes to the park. You have to be in the park between seven and nine in the morning if you want to let your dog off the leash, notice the American leash… not lead, I’m getting very good at the local lingo. On the way to the park we meet other people walking or jogging with their little canine companions by their sides and then once we arrive, well, it’s doggy mayhem! There are hundreds of dogs, honestly! Well fifty at least at one time. There is one area in the park which is big, square and sandy, it looks like a doggy football pitch with no goals. Dog owners stand around here with coffee ‘to go’ in their fists chatting to other doggie owners about, dog behaviour, dog habits, dog excrement, dog foibles, etc., (May be I’m being harsh, perhaps they’re discussing politics and world news). Meanwhile, the dogs race around, sniff each other (as they do) charge at each other, bark, howl and go about their daily business and have the occasional scrap. I hurry quickly past this area, slalom around the joggers and head for a quieter corner if I can find one.
Our dog likes us to throw a ball for her, which she returns to our feet, when she feels like it and allows us to throw it again. Lots of the other owners throw balls for their dogs too and the most amazing thing is, that on the whole, the dogs stick to their own balls, if you get my meaning! There is no doggy thieving or attempt to score or take possession of a different ball, not so far as I’ve witnessed.
It is not unusual to hire a dog-walker. You can see them everywhere, walking the dogs (obviously). You just know they are dog-walkers and not owners because often they hold a big bunch of keys and sometimes the dogs are a little reluctant to walk. We saw a bull dog living up to his name, sitting stubbornly on the pavement and refusing to move at all. It’s a serious business dog walking, financially rewarding and there are plenty of punters here in Brooklyn who make use of the service. The duty walker comes in, takes your dog out for half an hour, and leaves them back home again. They write a little report for the owner with the time of the walk and any relevant information, for example: –
‘1.30pm. We had a lovely happy walk for half an hour. Five pees and a poop. She picked up a piece of bread on the road and ate it, (naughty thing!) but otherwise she walked well on the leash and was very well behaved. One treat given.’
Gotta go, it’s time to take the dog around a block or two. We have to stop at every tree and every earthy, interesting patch, so it takes a while.
Olivespastavino is on holiday. I’m taking a break, how lucky am I? I’m in New York for three weeks, blogging from the other side of the Atlantic, how cool is that?
I was able to fly direct from Rome to JFK with Alitalia and the experience wasn’t too bad. I have to admit that I was a little concerned, knowing that Alitalia have been in a bit of financial trouble in the last few years but generally it was all good. The aeroplane was modern and comfortable, the food was passable and the crew, although not falling over themselves to help, were polite. I was in the happy situation of having three seats to myself even though the plane was pretty full.
The weather here was not kind to me on arrival, windy, wet, misty and miserable, but I’ve been promised a good weekend. As I’m staying with family the initial impact of a cold miserable day in Brooklyn wasn’t so bad. Seeing my daughter and son-in-law for the first time in several months was far more important to me.
No sightseeing has been possible yet but we’ve been out to DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass). Close to the river and tantalisingly within reach of Manhattan, sadly the mist took away the expected view of the city but the excitement and buzz of this magnificent place was tangible. Cobbled streets by the waterfront, conjure up images of an old New York I have only seen in films. We took coffee in West Elm Market, a fabulous home and garden shop full of items created from recycled materials. I loved everything. I wanted to buy it all! Thankfully the size of my purse and my suitcase restricted me from being over indulgent in this respect so I had to be satisfied with a box of matches. Strange but practical purchase. Must be something to do with jet lag.
There is a big Italian influence in New York, I’ve been here for less than two days but already I can sense it in the coffee shops, the streets and the ice-cream! I’m staying in Brooklyn and Little Italy is a thirty-minute train ride from here so I’m planning a visit soon, unless the imminent arrival of my first grandchild interferes with arrangements!
Affetatti Misti – Mixed slices of prosciutto, various salami, lonzino…and more
A variety of warm home cooked breads – some with fennel seeds – delicious
Pecorino Cheese served with honey (traditional for Italy Le Marche also sometimes served with jam)
Bowls of cooked barley with beans, olive oil, onions, fresh mixed herbs and seasoning…
Steamed cabbage/lettuce leaves stuffed oozing with melted cheese
Crespelle with minced pork and with béchamel sauce (a pancake stuffed with minced pork and covered in béchamel sauce.
Tagliatelle with bacon and fresh cherry tomatoes
Roast pork served with deep fried breaded vegetables
Semi-freddo desert (like vanilla ice-cream with lemon sauce)
All this with gallons of red or white house wine (delicious) at a cost of €33 a head.
If I have got any of this wrong my apologies. There was no written menu so I couldn’t take a photograph and post it.
But, we all had more than enough to eat, it was served beautifully and the chefs worked hard and long! Complimenti!