New York, late winter, the sky is an intense shade of grey. The trees remained bare of any lively bright leaves. In the midst of the eerie grey, a remarkable bit of sunshine played peek-a-boo behind a rainy cloud.
On such an idyllic winter’s day, I set off on foot for St. Nicholas Park in Harlem. It’s a most wonderful park, which fades into hilly fields of green. Regardless of the cold, I’ve always adored sitting on a park bench and reading a good book. Quality time with a book is my ideal form of therapy. I fade into a character’s shoes and forget any of the day troubles.
On one riveting expedition, I sought a most wonderful park bench. As, I picked a perfect little spot for literary madness, the cold winds penetrated through my layers, and pea coat.
For once in my life, I shivered. The goose bumps on my arm grew more sensitive. At that point, I had to look elsewhere for a romantic date with my used book from the Strand bookstore.
I wandered through Harlem’s Hamilton’s Heights neighborhood. It’s the perfect backdrop for any quirky film (Wes Anderson’s Royal Tenenbaums was filmed there). The brownstones are eccentric yet sophisticated characters in their own right.
The hills have provided an escape from the quintessentially Manhattan painting. Bay windows, dramatic stoops and old world charm could inspire poets, painters and playwrights of life to create a proper work of art.
While heading up the hill toward Broadway, I was craving a hot chocolate from the Chipped Cup (my favorite coffee shop, uptown). On that pleasantly quiet Sunday, everyone had the same idea.
The quaint coffee shop was filled with patrons. I was disappointed, since I just wanted was to read a good book. So, I headed back down to 145 street.
To my disappointed, Dunkin Donuts was also filled to the brim with people. I didn’t want to go back to my apartment, since I was really craving a coffee shop. Instead of giving up hope, I took an unexpected turn.
The Eighth avenue subway provided the ears with a classic sound, which only a raspy record player could rival. I found my reading spot, a seat on the subway platform. Even though, the subway has many distractions, I’ve always found it an easy place to concentrate on a book there.
When the A train arrived, I boarded it merrily. I even found a seat. However, distraction found me. “Why don’t you put a chip in me, so you know where I am at all times, said a girlfriend to an equally angry boyfriend. They fought. They whole train watched. Trying to hold back laughter, I tried very hard to not loose concentration on my book.
The arguing heightened into theatrical satire. “Fuck it, I can’t think with this racket going on. At least, there aren’t break-dancers on this train, ” said I. “Showtime,” yelled a boy with a boom box.” Break-dancers with a giant boom box appeared from the blue to everyone’s annoyance.
My eyes didn’t leave my book. Anyhow, my brain was completely distracted. I made it to West 4th Street. Randomly, I decided a cannoli would be amazing.
So, I boarded the F train to Second Avenue and ended up in the East Village. I headed up First Avenue and into the old world charm of Veniero’s (legendary dessert restaurant in the East Village). I ordered a cannoli and opted for a cappuccino rather than a hot chocolate.
I took out my book and found a swell place to concentrate. It only took a long walk, two trains and another somewhat long walk to find my literary Zen. Regardless, my literary Zen was a whole lot better with a delicious cannoli accompanying it.