Friday, May 5, 2017

Rainy Day In New York

I had to drop my motorcycle off in NYC today for repairs. Instead of treating the task as a chore, I turned it into an adventure and enjoyed splendors of the city. Despite relentless rain, I reigned.

After delivering the bike, I went to admire beautiful pens. My favorite pen store (Fountain Pen Hospital) has a Monteverde on sale which comes with its own brass base. The pen is not expensive ($43) and looks super-cool in modern design. I bought one for me and another for a friend. It comes in red or black and all three styles (fountain tip; rollerball; ballpoint). I got two red rollerballs. Do you like it?

From there I schlepped to my favorite restaurant (Russ & Daughters Cafe) for lunch. R&D has become everyone's favorite after making numerous top ten lists. The place now has long waits for tables. Fortunately there was a solo seat open at the counter when I arrived so I slid right in.

I had my customary caviar and a "Super Heebster Bagel Toast" (whitefish and salmon salad on a bagel, topped by wasabi-infused roe and horseradish-dill cream cheese). Believe it or not, the best part of the meal was the beverage. Humbly called "cucumber soda," this concoction is seltzer flavored with homemade syrup. Nectar of the gods! The cucumber base is broadened by liquid jasmine, anise, dill seed and fennel seed -- spices that combine into a melody of flavors. The drink is deeply satisfying and only five bucks. Or, as they say in Brooklyn, "fie dollaaas."

One expects walking around in rain to be unpleasant but my experience was the opposite. The city felt inviting despite gloomy weather. Our sensory perceptions are different on rainy days and there's something memorable about facing physical adversity.

I made an unavoidable observation. I'm the only person left in New York who doesn't own a smartphone. That's not a bad thing. Unlike many, I don't bump into strangers on the street because I look where I'm walking. And, unlike the girl I sat next to on the subway, I don't spend 15 minutes playing with a selfie to see how I'd look with various dog and cat noses on my face. If that's progress, I'll remain an old geezer.


  1. I teach on a community college campus. Almost everyone but me walks through parking lots and along sidewalks, head down, nose buried in a smartphone screen. The other day I refused to be the one inconvenienced to change my path to avoid a collision. Student stopped short, just before plowing into me. She looked up. I glanced at the phone and said, "You really should watch where you're going." She looks at me, puzzled, not mad, and says, "Aren't you supposed to say, 'excuse me'?" No, I tell her, that's what YOU're supposed to say. Sigh. I enjoyed a hearty laugh imagining your subway co-passenger's face-play. I can't imagine having that kind of time to waste, but I suppose I'd enjoy that more than playing Solitaire on a phone. :-)

    Love that first rainy image; who's the under- yet over-dressed little guy in the bowler?

    1. Hi Pam! Thanks for the great comment. I so sympathize with your walking anecdote.

      The cool character is Puck, from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Night Dream" and he's up on "The Puck Building" in Nolita. More about it here:

  2. I also held out for years before getting a phone. I can honestly say now that the convenience outlays the negatives. I no longer carry around a heavy camera that kills my back and neck. I can call someone in case of emergency and I can take photos on a whim.

    I will add that I don't often walk and read my phone. I'm not that skilled. Ha! More often I stop and type or read.

    I found in Hong Kong EVERYONE was looking at their phones. I don't think I spotted one person without one. For the most part though people did look where they were going. There are too many people and too many cars to do otherwise.

    We are getting your rain today. I used to not mind the rain so much when I live on Vancouver Island. Now I don't find it so inviting and I also find it challenging to dress fashionably.


  3. I understand why you choose not to have a phone. I spent most of my dinner today staring at the back of people's phones. Was really unpleasant!


    1. I see that all the time. People neglect those in front of them to stare down at their phones.

  4. I may have the most underutilized 'smart' phone around. I use it only for emails, much like the older blackberrys. My wife still uses a flip phone.
    I am a rather large man, (over 6 feet tall and built for football at 250+ lbs.) When I am walking around and people are walking with their heads in their hands I do not alter my pace or direction. I just let them bounce off me.
    Now there are times when we are out to eat and we will see people in a restaurant with multiple devices, one or two phones plus a tablet. It makes my head want to explode.
    I hope the bike work went well.

  5. Isn't it funny when you see someone taking a selfie? I always feel awkward about it... like I'm viewing something I shouldn't be seeing. I'm right there with you in the geezer club :)

    Aww love that you made a day of this and that you had such a wonderful lunch and drink--the cucumber soda sounds delicious! XOXO

  6. Yum, your meal sounds very good, I love salmon and it's always one of my top picks. I have to admit I use my smartphone too much but I never do it when I am walking, I just can't because I'd end up hurting myself, I need to pay attention to the world around me. I admire you for not jumping on the smartphone wagon. Kisses

    Fashion and Cookies - fashion & beauty blog

  7. I think you turned a boring day into a fun one. That meal sounds yum, and the pen is definitely fun! Reminds me of 60s mod.

    I have a smart phone, but I do most of my communication via text. I enjoy instagram and having a camera in my pocket, but I never could get the hang of snapchat. I think tech has even spiraled outside of my purview.

  8. Yeah and we are in for more this weekend. And wow I have not been to Russ & Daughters this sounds excellent the food you described sounds incredible for reals!

    Allie of

    1. Yes, it's raining right now. :-(

      You MUST go to R&D! Go doing an off time so you won't face a crowd.

  9. Yay for no Smartphone. I have one, a vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvveeeery archaic one that belonged to my sister before me. I think it is about 8 years old. I remember the happy days without it!
    I reaaaaaaaaaaaaaally don't like the animal nose thing- I see it on Instagram and I am scared of it!x

  10. Love your photos ~ I love that you made what could have been a chore into a fantastic adventure.

    Love the pen!