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!).

014 | 365 Reflections

9/11 Memorial Pool

In Manhattan, New York City, there are many reflections. This includes buildings reflecting other buildings and traffic sounds reflecting off these buildings. It also reflects stories of its history, through its art and architecture. There are reflections of hard times and of good times in abundance, as this city is all about being big. It is the Big Apple after all.

Today, I visited the 9/11 Memorial with its two reflective pools on the sites where the two World Trade Centres stood. It is a beautiful place with the water sparkling and moving in it’s own rhythm as it falls. The noise of the water almost drowns out the noise from the street and building works around it.  And it is not only the two pools that offer reflections. There are reflections all around, in the buildings, in the water, in the erection of new World Trade Centres, the Museum around the site and the people who are visiting.

It was a moving place, but not a sad place. One thing that became apparent when going into the visitor centre on the way out of the memorial, viewing the photos and videos of survivors or loved ones of those who did not survive was a story of determination, respect, courage and love. It was a very positive place, on looking forwards and upwards.

This city is built on rock and its inhabitants are rock solid.

New Yorkers are lovely, friendly and warm. They will stop what they are doing to ask if you need help or to chat. As I haven’t been here before I wonder if this is how they were before September 11, 2001. In such a busy city where there is so much happening and so many people, locals go out of their way to help you and make you feel welcome.

New York City should be referred to as the Big Heart instead of the Big Apple.