Thursday: Italian Day

Dan Goldwasser New York City (2010)

If there’s one thing that NYC has no shortage of, it’s diversity.  Cultures from all over the world can be found throughout the city, and anyone who so chooses can learn and enjoy the breadth that the world has to offer – through their food.  Unofficially, Thursday became Italian Day.

After sleeping in just a tad, I got my morning coffee fix at Grounded, over in the West Village.  I had a pumpkin latte (since it was a little chilly out and felt like fall) – and it was delicious. From there I decided to head uptown a bit, since I only had about 2 hours to kill before meeting my cousin for lunch.  I hopped on the #1 train, and worked my way up to 50th St.  From there, I moseyed just north of Times Square, taking my time and enjoying the walk.  I found a bench (apparently a very rare thing to find on the streets of NYC these days) on 9th Ave, and settled down to handle a few phone calls and emails.  Just before noon I headed down to meet my cousin at the first restaurant of the day: Zigolini’s Pizza Bar in Hell’s Kitchen.

The pizza here is a little more upscale than your traditional “New York City pizza”, but my cousin recommended it, and I was not disappointed in the least.  We split a Regina Margherita pizza, which came with tomato sauce, basil, oregano, burrata di bufala DOC, cherry tomatoes, and EVOO.  It was absolutely delicious.  And because we shared, it wasn’t too filling either, which is good – since there was more to come.

I then moseyed north about 11 blocks (after looping around an avenue to avoid a rather unfortunate pedestrian-versus-van accident scene) to meet up with a friend for a little post-lunch coffee and dessert.  We ended up at The Flame Coffee House, a rather non-descript little coffee shop/diner a block from Columbus Circle.  The small slice of carrot cake and cup of coffee was satisfying enough, and would certainly hold me over until dinner time.

I then headed over to Columbus Circle, to check out the Time Warner Center, to kill a little time before meeting up with my uncle.  I didn’t have time to go into The Samsung Experience, but maybe I can do that another time.  I met my uncle and his girlfriend (and the two dogs!) outside, and then we headed into Central Park.  The weather today was absolutely gorgeous – 70-degrees and sunny, with a mild breeze.  Couldn’t ask for better!  We relaxed and caught up in the park, playing with the dogs a little bit, then I headed over to the Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Triangle for the next event of my day.

My friend and colleague Doug Adams has been working for nearly 10 years on documenting the intensive work that composer Howard Shore put into his work for The Lord of the Rings, and the 400-page book he wrote about the music is finally out!  This afternoon there was a small discussion and book signing, which I was fortunate enough to attend.  It was nice to briefly catch up with Howard, as well, since I hadn’t seen him since my trip to Krakow in May. The discussion was lively and Q&A well done.  Afterwards, they signed books for all the attendees, including mine.

From there, I went with Beth (the publicist for the book event) downtown to the East Village, to grab some dinner and catch up.  We ended up at this small Italian restaurant called Max. Don’t let the Yelp rating fool you, this place was quite good.  Charming atmosphere, and lasagna that was oh-so-tasty.  I nearly ate the whole thing, but needed to save some room for dessert.  For that, we went to Veniero’s Pastry Shop, where I had an amazing traditional cannoli.

I then walked a few blocks to snag the 14th St. bus, and work my way back to Alex’s apartment in Chelsea.  I need to get some good rest (and digest!) because tomorrow is an even bigger day… and it all starts early, at 9am with H&H Bagels.