Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Market Diner

Last spring when I read that there are only five stand-alone diners left in Manhattan, I made it my mission to visit them all (here, here and here). It wasn't hard to do so since I love diner breakfast more than anything, and five is a very depressingly low number. Even more depressing: last week I found out that the Market Diner—one of the best—is going to be replaced by a 13-story apartment building.

The Market Diner opened in 1962, closed in 2006 and reopened again in 2008 after a renovation. Not only is it a one-story structure surrounded by high-rises, but it has parking and space for outdoor seating (set up last year, but not when we went on Saturday). It's these things that make it remarkable in modern-day New York, and of course, they're the things that have made it endangered for quite some time. Currently there is no set date for demolition, but the diner is on a month-to-month lease and permits have been filed for the apartment building.

The zig-zag roof and metal diner sign are perfect, although an even better neon sign was an unfortunate victim of the renovation process (where do these gems go??). The inside was also stripped of most of its character and modernized, with chairs instead of counter stools, but the orange-and-brown color scheme still feels retro enough to count.

Our breakfast on Saturday was bittersweet—joyful because there's nothing better than a good diner breakfast with friends and sad because it's probably the last time we'll be able to have that at the Market Diner.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Conservatory Garden: July 2015

I mentioned briefly in one of my 365 project posts that I'll be moving to Brooklyn on August 1st. I'm super excited for the move in every way, except one: my new commute. Instead of being able to walk to and from work every day, through Central Park, I'll have to take the subway like most people who work in New York. I had to do this with my first job in Midtown, but as soon as I started working on the Upper East Side I was able to walk when I wanted and when the weather cooperated. Even though last year I moved 20 blocks north, I still walk home almost every night.

The move to BK is right for me in every way—and it's not like I can't go into the park at other times—but I've been trying to savor my enviable commute while I still have it. A few days ago I walked through the Conservatory Garden in the morning, and then a few days later on my way home. I've lost count of how many walks I've taken through the garden—in every season—and it's my favorite spot in the northern portion of the park.

I didn't even intend on taking photos in the morning since I didn't have much time, but as soon as I passed by the fountain and noticed the incredible rainbow, I had to pull out my camera. The light was so beautiful, and I like to check in on the flower beds every now and then to see the new things that have bloomed. There's always something wonderful growing in the garden in every season and I'll have to remember to keep checking in from time to time.

I love the huge variety of plants, colors, textures and insect life in the Conservatory Garden and it's pretty remarkable that so much can be found in such a small space. The juxtaposition of bright flowers, dark leaves, spiky plants and soft petals is fascinating—whoever is responsible for the landscape design has consistently done an amazing job. I'll definitely miss the ease and convenience of walking home through such a wonderful place, but I'll still be working only a few blocks away—I'm sure I can squeeze in a lunchtime visit every now and then.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Project 365: Days 196-203

196/365: We saw Vieux Farka TourĂ© / Tamikrest / DJ Dakar at Celebrate Brooklyn. The weather was perfect and I'll always be amazed at how wonderful shoes are as cup holders.

197/365: We were invited to a Friday night / Shabbat dinner at the apartment of a lovely former co-worker in Forest Hills, Queens.

198/365: I met Jim in the West Village to sign our new lease and followed along as he stopped into Kiehl's, where I met this gentleman and found out that their original location has an actual human skeleton on display (this guy is fake).

199/365: JMP and I narrowly avoided heat stroke and crazed seagulls while we explored City Island.

200/365: I'm totally obsessed with this old (definitely haunted) cancer hospital that is now luxury apartments on Central Park West. I walk by it on my way home every day and I would give anything to be able to peek inside.

201/365: JMP and I saw our friend Grace's incredible play (Devastated No Matter What) in the East Village and stopped for a treat at Big Gay Ice Cream around the corner. There's ice cream under there somewhere.

202/365: I walked to work through the Conservatory Garden and started to get a little bit sad that I only have a week left before I move and have to give up my enviable commute through Central Park.

203/365: Trent, Alisha and I had a "goodbye to the neighborhood" dinner at Streetbird in Harlem. It was good, not great. Excellent restaurant design, good red velvet waffles, average fried chicken.