Not every day is a bad day, but we must carve out better ones for ourselves from time to time. Sometimes we find the ideal far away from home, but this doesn't have the be the case. It helps when the weather works out, though.
Honestly, a day at home with the cats, tea, my books, and maybe a favorite TV show is what I usually prescribe for myself. But if the temperature is mild, and my health is looking up, I feel almost forced to take a walk. I get bored at times with Astoria, so if I know I have some free time coming up, I'll plan something slightly farther away.
When spring hit its peak pleasantness (so rare), I planned a day before a long, crowded weekend event (an event that I look forward to but still entertain some misgivings because of my intense anxiety around crowds) to prance around Brooklyn for the afternoon. This gave me a chance to have a quiet morning while still having enough time to get around.
I don't get out to Park Slope very often. I think I only blogged about the area once, when I went to a long-departed Tea Lounge on Seventh Avenue. That was 2006. Of course I've been nearby - the Brooklyn Museum, the Botanical Gardens, and the Way Station are all places I'm happy to return to - but I needed to look slightly...south? I think south.
I have a few different kinds of solo-outing themes, and I usually lean toward finding The Perfect Tea Spot, but this time I decided to go for Quintessential New York Diner/Coffee Shop for lunch. I chose Purity Diner, which was your standard, though thankfully not too crowded, cozy lunch spot. My only gripe is they didn't leave the tomatoes out of my cheeseburger deluxe. I need to go around wearing a pin that says "NO TOMATOES!". Everyone was so pleasant that I didn't make a fuss - not that I'm one for making a fuss at restaurants. Not unless something really gets my goat....like a few tea rooms I'm still on the outs with...
Now, I've not officially set out to do this, but if it happens I'd be happy to have accomplished it: I would love to visit every bookshop in New York City. Maybe not if they are super specialized, like religious books, snobby by-appointment rare booksellers, or a shop selling only owner's manuals, but as many shops as I can would be nice. Let me just say, I've come mighty close, particularly in Manhattan and Queens. A bookshop with a resident cat is top on my list, so obviously I had to go to Community Bookstore. I (of course) follow their kitty, Tiny the Usurper, on Instagram, but I wasn't sure if he would be friendly. When I saw him napping behind the counter I said hi, and he immediately roused himself and came meowing up to me for head scratches. Glad it turned out that way.
The selection of the bookshop was quite decent, and there's a little outdoor seating area that wasn't open when I was there, but I didn't care as I had park plans. I ended up getting the latest copy of Poetry Magazine, and having a good sniff around. Good neighborhood bookshop.
|Park Slope is colorful!|
I picked up an iced tea and banana bread from nearby Muse Cafe. It looked like a nice place to sit for a while, but I didn't want to stay indoors on a fine spring day, so off I went.
Like the bookshops of New York City, I'd love to spend time at every park I can reach, but at the very least I need to hit the big ones. Now I've been on the outer bits of the park, but never dived in the way I do with Central Park. I found a quiet, but not too isolated, spot by a tree close to a pond and was able to read, scribble, and take my tea in peace. I can't overemphasize the importance of having some quiet outdoor time, especially surrounded by grass. I didn't get a chance to visit the waterfowl, but I can do that on another occasion. All I know is I need to return, as there is so much more of this park to explore! Finding the time to do so is another matter.
|I can never pull off a "relaxed" look...it's more like "indigestion face"...|
The rest of the day was a little iffy, as I went to a used bookshop in Prospect Heights that made me feel anxious, and then dealt with a gum snapper on the subway. I did get to hop over to the Strand for a short time, and later rewarded myself for doing 'nothing' with pizza. I found myself in reasonable shape early the next morning, so I think I did well with most of my itinerary.
There really is no perfect day this side of the timeline, but it was still close to ideal for me. Please, if you're feeling overwhelmed and can budget even an afternoon, take the time and do your version of this day. It's not selfish, it's necessary, if you're going to be in any shape to do anything.