Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Downtown Kind of Day, Part I

Between the rain and a street parade, my cab gets caught in traffic and I rush into Ceci Cela fifteen minutes late. Past the glass cases of pastries, J is waiting at a table in the café.

The small café is precious – brick walls, a few Art Nouveau metal signs, and chairs and tables carefully chosen, I’m sure, for their rustic finish – and I’m so glad to be here, with a good friend, as the rain falls heavily outside.

We take a minute to look over the menu. J decides on a chai. What do I want? A fruit tart? A madeleine? Tiramisu?

I want a sugar hit. An éclair. I order a chocolate one, but the café is all out – so vanilla it is. It’s not very vanilla-y (is that a word? It’s totally a word now). But I do love a good pastry cream. And the glaze is sweet and smooth on the tip of my tongue.

And I'm satisfied.

We catch up on work, and apartment-hunting, and future-planning. At 5pm, J, with her Blackberry and briefcase in hand, has to rush off to a meeting. I am confident that she is going to run the world one day. She is Superwoman.

The rain has stopped. I look to my left and my right. And then I choose neither. I go down the subway steps and take the 6 to Union Square. I know exactly where I'm going. 

A few blocks away is The Strand. Screw Disney World. This is the happiest place on Earth.

I head for Mystery and then double back to Food. This is where I always get into trouble. I keep picking up books and I quickly have a pile in the crook of my arm.

There’s a couple looking at cookbooks. The boyfriend is rhapsodizing about the photos in Hot Sour Salty Sweet. The girlfriend is not impressed.
On the second floor, two teenage girls are shopping for diaries. One asks, “Moleskines… Do they have to kill animals for these?” I wince.

It's almost dinnertime. I pick one book, pay, and swap my flats for heels. Back to the subway. 


  1. I had such a good time with you last weekend! Thanks for the kind words -- I doubt I'll rule the world because I'm sure you'll beat me to it! xoxo J

  2. It was so wonderful seeing you too! And thanks for introducing me to Ceci Cela :)