Union Square

Where the Sidewalk Ends (Part 5)

Sorry for the delay in this series – I was in L.A. and Santa Fe for the last few days. I’ll tell you all about that soon, but, first things first, I need to finish telling you all about our journey from the northern tip of Manhattan to the southern tip.  In the last post we were enjoying some tasty dogs in the flatiron district.

For the next ten blocks, we kind of stumbled around in a tired, over-stuffed stupor. At first I thought I was imagining all the bells and singing, and then I realized that we were in Union Sq. just in time for the Hare Krishna show. For my first few years in New York, Union Sq. was definitely my favorite part of the city. My sister went to NYU and her dorm was right around the corner. When I’d come to visit her, I’d tried to spend as much time in the square, watching all the skateboarding punks, the old men playing dominos, the street performers, and the people selling jewelry and apple pie. Even now, with a Whole Foods, DSW and three Starbucks, I still think it’s the perfect spot to spend the afternoon people-watching and getting a true sense of the diversity that makes NYC so unique.

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The Hare Krishnas in Union Sq.

Just when I thought I couldn’t walk any farther, we crossed the 200 block marker, and I felt a sudden rush of energy. “Let’s walk to New Jersey!” I joked.

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200 blocks!

A good representation of Little Italy

We made it to Little Italy just in time for dinner. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures because I was too focused on finding a restaurant and it was pretty dark, so this is someone else’s picture of the garlic scented streets.

Here’s my advice for eating in Little Italy: be careful of the specials. We chose a restaurant where the entrees were all between $15-$20. I ordered one of the pasta specials and as the waitress was leaving to put in our order she casually said, “oh yeah, because it’s a special it’s going to cost a few extra dollars. That’s ok, right?”

“Sure,” I said, and then fortunately added, “Wait, how much exactly?”

“$69.”

At which point I nearly choked on my water, and immediately ordered something else. Pasta needs to be covered in gold if I’m going to pay that much for it. That really rounded out my experience of feeling like a tourist.

Ok, we’re so close to the end – only a mile and half to go.

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Bathing Memories

So beautiful!

When I look back on my childhood, few memories are as crystal clear as the time spent in the bathtub. When I was really young, the bathtub was Mermaid Land. The three of us would splash around and pretend to hunt for fish or sharks. My favorite thing to do was turn off the light and pretend it was nighttime in the kingdom. Then we would see who could sleep the longest under water – not a very safe activity, but we all survived.

When we got older, we graduated to my mom’s giant, red whirlpool. By this point we had moved on from mermaids to the jungle (we were highly influenced by Disney movies, I guess). My mom would put mud masks on us, and we’d splash around until the mud hardened and cracked. When my dad came home from work we would pop our heads up from the side of the bathtub and roar, pretending to be mud creatures from the Amazon. He would pretend to be scared and run away.


All this bath time adventure abruptly came to an end after I read Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach. In this story the little boy is upset that he has to clean off with a hose rather than in a bath like his rich schoolmates. His father consoles him by telling James that baths are actually really gross. Why would anyone want to sit around in their own wet filth? The thought struck my young imagination so hard that I couldn’t look at a bathtub without thinking of it as a disgusting cesspool of germs.

My aversion to baths grew as I matured. During my teen years, I was bombarded with commercials for Tampax or Dove, and they always had images of women bathing with candles all around them. Now I had the added association of PMS and menstruation to bath time.

But all that changed today. I forgot that today was the St. Patricks day parade, and while I went out for a nice walk from Union Square to Central Park, I ran into the obnoxious, underage, belligerently drunk and horny green crowd. I now know what it feels like to be a pinball. I was pushed around and stepped on more times than I can count. When I finally made it home, I needed something strong to relax my frazzled nerves, and a glass of wine was just not cutting it.

My boyfriend is in Vegas for a Bachelor party, and I figured if he’s having the most cliche weekend ever, well then so will I. I lit some candles, turned on the stereo, drew a bubble bath and had myself of Tampax commercial. And it was delightful!