Yet another wonderful inspiring day in the city happened upon me. I had quite a bit of work to catch up on but also wanted to get to the city to get some writing done, so while Tom headed to the boat to fine tune the alternator, I headed to Manhattan. I started off down by the WTC site and walked about 4 miles or so uptown. I was on the hunt for free wi-fi and while the city pretty much is all free wi-fi at this point, its still pretty cold out, so a place with intrigue, character, work space and coffee was sounding perfect. I wandered over to the East Village, near NYU and found THE most perfect coffee shop I have ever been to: Think Coffee. It is a coffee bar and at night a wine bar. The sitting area is vast--and the inside looks a lot like the cafe in Friends, but bigger. Couches, chairs, small round tables with chairs and very intimate, even though crowded. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by S Vega blared out the speakers as I meandered through the many NYU students and professors alike that I bet take refuge here before or after their classes. The walls were all exposed brick--a very NY look--and one that I would love to have when we move to a brownstone someday (hint hint honey...).
I ordered my free trade, organic coffee and organic turkey, brie and cranberry sandwich on raisin bread and settled in for what I hoped would be a long time. The music switched often, but I loved all the sounds--especially Jay Z, my current sound addiction. I caught up on my work and then was aching to share this coffee shop experience with someone! The texts to Tom, although descriptive and his responses excited, just weren't doing it for me, so I called Angie and in like 15 min she was there with her mac and we wrote and talked--mostly talked.
After a couple hours and realizing that the wine bar didn't actually open until after 7 (to our dismay), we decided to head out and cruise the East Village. It was beautiful weather--cold--but clear as it is most days here. I had made some earlier plans to possibly meet up with my friend Justin (his website is featured on this blog as "awesome nyc art") so I could pick up some new pieces he had finished. We ended up hooking up and he met Ang and I at Gemma --on Bowery, the restaurant within the famous Bowery Hotel (a definite place for celebrity sightings... altho, once again, I saw no one. But I digress...)
We enjoyed some wine while looking at Justin's newest pieces and talking about his other creative outlets--he is producing a short film and also does dj mixes. He is originally from Toronto but in his nearly 2 years here he is becoming pretty connected in the media world. He knows I am a writer and he has offered to help me with photo shoots and some artwork for a new website I am creating (with help from my very talented cousin Ryan) to showcase and promote my writing pieces (more to come on that). I gladly accepted his offer! Our conversation on options and projects and opportunities was extremely inspiring to us and just drove home the fact even more that I am doing the right thing going in this writing direction. More than that though---it was great to get to know Justin a bit more and have he and Angie become friends too. It was a fun time for sure--check out Justin's website. You can order from him via email and he'll ship to you! His prices are reasonable--in fact when I first met him and bought some pieces I told him he needed to raise his prices!!
When it was time to head out it had just started to sprinkle some. Instantly, cabs appeared for Angie and I and Justin went on foot. The cabbie that picked me up was a good soul-- he saw me in the rain and told me he'd take me as far as he was going as his shift was ending---only to Union Square (15th or so): with the meter off--- FREE. WOW. It wasn't like a creepy cab or a creepy driver so I didn't feel unsafe, but it was a bit surreal to be in a free cab. While his offer was nice, I needed to get to 33rd to catch the train. I razzed him some in jest about me needing to get farther than 15th, but just let him know that I was grateful for him picking me up and that I'd grab another cab at Union Square. Well, we got to visiting and I noticed the street numbers getting larger... 15 came and went, 23rd, 28th--he ended up driving me all the way to 33rd with the meter off the entire time. He was very happy to have helped me and after tipping him, I was off to the train reflecting on the bad image that NY'ers often get labeled with and how that is SO FALSE. I have never encountered a rude person here and if anything, Tom and I both have MANY examples of people going out of their way to be helpful. My friends that have visited and Angie as well can also attest to this. (Its funny, but Tom and I watch Seinfeld reruns pretty regularly and we noticed that many of the episodes, while hilarious, have the cast in situations with other NY'ers that give NY'ers a bad rap--of course this didn't stand out to us prior to us living here).
My day was looking to end on a quiet train ride where I'd listen to some Jay Z I had heard earlier at Think Coffee and maybe write in my journal. The train was packed so I ended up sharing a seat with guy. He struck up a conversation about me not having an umbrella which of course led to me saying that I was from Seattle and to use an umbrella when being from there is deemed unacceptable. That led to a whole RANGE of topics and I listened intently to him talk to me about body transformation with an eagle, how we have to be true to ourselves and so on and so forth. It was an invigorating conversation and I had some envy over his perfectly formed dreadlocks--they were great. His name was Wazeen and he was originally from Atlanta, but in NY since '68, 58 years old and has 14 grandchildren. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to him.
As the title to this post reads: inspired day. inspired life: I love living here, I love the people I gather with and meet and I love putting myself out there to find these experiences and people. I crave the interaction with others different from me--who I can learn from as well as crave the different adventures there are to be had in this great city. I am thankful to have the opportunity to be exposed to a variety of people, places and experiences SO often out here. I am also grateful that Tom lets me be the free spirit that I am sometimes. As adventurous as he is, he would have DIED if I started talking about dreadlocks and eagle/human body transformation with a rasta man on the train if he were with me. :-) To each his own. :-)
Its supposed to snow tomorrow so I think we'll try and make it to some museums. Have a great Saturday!
wazeen my train friend
think coffee's exterior and a dog
my fave piece of Justin's artwork-- TriBeCa
the bowery hotel
a sweet open mike poetry club on bowery (reminded us totally of the movie "So I Married An Axe Murderer").