018 | 365 Loving all things ginger

Maple syrup with Ginger

It’s my second to last day in New York and I’m feeling sad already. Today is spent walking through Union Square Markets, Washington Square markets, shopping through Soho and then back again with Naomi.

As we start out the streets seem quite. There aren’t very many people around and we consider why, is this because it is the end of summer holidays, or that it’s labour day weekend, or that school begins again on Tuesday? There isn’t the activity about from musicians or stand-up acts around the parks so maybe it’s all back to work New Yorkers as well as for us as we spend our last hours enjoying this city.

Our first stop is the Union Square Markets, that line the perimeter of Union Square Park, and they are full of wonderful local produce. If only I could purchase and take home. It all looks so wonderful. There seems to be every single variety of potato and carrot on the planet along with whatever else is in season.

I am drawn to a stall for maple syrup, Deep Mountain Maple, this is one of the produce stalls that have travelled from Vermont. I look at the labels and there are different flavours infused in each of them. I see the ginger infused maple syrup and the stallholder must notice my mouth watering as he offers me a taste. It is divine. It’s better than chilli chocolate. He explains how they grate fresh ginger into the maple syrup, this give it a better tang than using powdered or candied ginger. I want some! They do not ship overseas. The thought of placing a glass bottle of maple syrup in my luggage doesn’t appeal. If he is still there on our way back I will get a bottle but by then he is packing up, all the ginger maple syrup has been sold. It’s not meant to be. If anyone is going, or knows of someone who is going, I have a request for ginger maple syrup.

On our way down Broadway to Washington Square, we stop in The Strand bookstore. I love the bookstores in New York and this one is huge. You name it, it has it here, from old to new to rare books. As soon as we enter we are both absorbed into looking at books so before we lose each other completely, we set a time and place to meet up – half an hour we give each other. Well about an hour or so later, we leave purchases in hand to continue our walk.

This weekend in Washington Square is a different market to last weekend, it’s an artists market. There are many different type of art, from painting to jewellery to crafts and textiles. I fall for the work of one artist who has created t-shirts, scarves and hats using different textures. She doesn’t have my size t-shirt but will have more the next day. I might be able to get back there before I catch my flight home. If not, it’s not meant to be either… Naomi and I continue on to Soho.

We go into many shops. Some have music playing so loudly it is too hard to think, especially the shoe shops. One even have DJs playing with their mixing table set up along the wall of the shop. It’s crazy. Lots of people, lots of noise and lots to buy but not by us. We exit to the noise to the crowds of the streets instead. This is more peaceful.

We arrive back to the hotel after a long day walking and the first thing we need is a coffee and a delicious ginger biscuit at Birch Coffee before freshening up for our evening’s activities. It’s been a very hot day and as Naomi wants to go to a Broadway show, I let her shower and get ready first. I am in two minds about going to a show and in the end decide to have a relaxing evening preparing for my long flight home the following afternoon.

Naomi went to see Nice Work if You Can Get It with Matthew Broderick starring. It’s a show with Gershwin tunes, which would have been such fun to go to and probably would have if we had gone on another night. I am not too upset at missing the show however.

I decide to go to make a final purchase at the Gap as there is a t-shirt that I have been looking for – I love NYC in the shape of an apple – and have been told that the shop on 34th Street might still have one left. They don’t unfortunately and they do a thorough search for me too (service I’ve experienced in America is outstanding). I purchase a pair of trousers that I had tried on earlier and now on special, plus I find some jeans that are on a specials rack as well along with a San Francisco t-shirt. The jeans I get for $7! All up my three purchases cost $50, which is an amazing bargain.

To end my night, as it is a warm and beautiful night, I decide to go back to where I spent my first night, in Madison Square Park. Even though it is after 9pm, the queue for Shake Shack is long. I don’t mind, the park and the people here are lovely. I take the time to reflect on my time in New York and I chat with a New Yorker who is before me in the queue. I order my burger, a single Shack burger with extra salad, a glass of merlot and a bottle of water, and find a seat in the park. While waiting for my order to come I start two lists titled BIG, one for New York and one for San Francisco as everything about these cities isn’t on small scales, especially compared to my hometown of Adelaide in South Australia. Then eat my dinner reminiscing on my holiday before I go back to the hotel to download my day’s photos in the foyer, then up to my room to unpack and repack my bags ready for my last day before I head home. I dream about the ginger maple syrup (yum!).

015 | 365 It only takes one person

The High Line

Every person has the power to start a revolution.

If there is something, no matter what, that you can see making a difference, do something about it. No idea is too small to be considered.

In San Francisco there were many examples (see A City with a lot of heart and soul), of how people have made significant changes in the community by standing up for what they believe in and fighting for what they feel is a better solution. This is the same in New York City.

For example, today I spent a lovely few hours walking along the High Line. This walkway used to be railway tracks that took meat from the abattoirs to the meat-packing district. The railway had not been used since 1980 and was set for demolition. In 1999, two residents thought that this part of New York history should be preserved in some way so they set up the Friends of the High Line to advocate for the preservation of the railway. In 2002 the City of New York committed to transforming the High Line into a unique park. This park was opened in 2009 and is still being extended on.

Buildings, art installations and businesses are being built or transformed through the influence of this unique park. It is enjoyed by locals and by visitors. With the roar of the city in the background, there is some tranquillity on the park while at the same time you can view the contrasts of the old and the new of the city. This park is creating new vibrancy in areas that were run-down and adding extra life into the already creative areas like Chelsea.

It’s great having an idea but if that idea isn’t put into action it is just that, an idea. To generate change, action is required. It doesn’t have to be a huge task or be undertaken on your own. If you think something is worth doing, get people on board who agree with you, who are influential and see how you can be part of something new.

Imagining what could be and resolving to do something to make a difference only takes one small step. The rewards for all come in abundance.

To all those people that act upon their ideas, I thank you.