06 September 2011
Physical Graffitea...a different kind of pairing
I don't get to St. Marks Place as often as I used to, and it's certainly changed a lot since then. Like most neighborhoods in Manhattan, it feels more like a theme park version, or even a movie set version of itself nowadays.
A couple of years ago I'd make time to go down there, if only to stop at Sympathy for the Kettle. That's long gone now, sadly, and though I've noted a few places that look bubble-teaesque, nothing has replaced SFTK in my heart, though Physical Graffitea has managed to do its best.
Here's where the pairing comes in. Normally I'll pair tea and books, because to me that's the pinnacle of pairings, but tea is complemented well by other things, and I do love to combine my old favorites. So...Beatles and teapots? Don't mind if I do! It doesn't actually make sense, since Physical Graffiti was a Led Zeppelin album, and the location in question is a building that was featured in the album cover. I'm not complaining, though, I love the Beatles. Short of a Queen-based tea shop, this is fantastic.
There are plenty of teas to choose from, which is good. There isn't that much seating in the place, and so they can't possibly do that much business in a sit-down tea capacity. Also, there's no bathroom, which doesn't encourage long-time seating, and only small snacks on offer. I had one of each: a madeleine and a mini corn muffin. It went well with the Angel's Dream tea: a blend of black and green tea lightly flavored with maple and blackberry. It wasn't sickeningly sweet, but I definitely didn't need to add sweetener either. And pricewise, everything was reasonable.
The ultimate appeal: the walls are painted a similar green to my home library. I've always wanted to paint a tree like this at my place, so this was simply delightful! The bench I was sitting on was a little shaky, though. I think besides the lack of bathrooms, that was my only complaint. I do hope Physical Graffitea is here to stay.
You might not be able to tell from my camera-phone shot, but from this view, I really felt like I was in London. The 'A' grade drew me back to reality, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Subway Directions: 'R' to 8th Street, '6' to Astor Place.