Sunday, March 27, 2011

Where I've been

Less than a week ago I was looking at this. I went on my first ever business trip (what a grown-up), for a conference in Florida. The conference part of it wasn't so much fun but it was nice to be able to eat outside and bask in the sun whenever I could. Then I came back to NY and the next day it snowed.

I looked at what I was posting about a year ago and apparently by late March 2010 we had already gone on at least one excursion. Which only made me more annoyed. It's warmed up a tad since my first day back, but it still seems kind of chilly--I guess I just need to man up and get outside before I go crazy with cabin fever.

In the meantime, I've pulled together a list of all the places around the NY and CT area that we went to last year, in no particular order. Some we'll revisit, but I do have a list of as yet unexplored places that I want to check out too. I wish these guys would get their way already!

Garrison, NY (Russel Wright House)
Beacon, NY
Jacob Riis Park/Fort Tilden
Old Croton Aqueduct Trail
Staten Island
Elephant's Trunk Flea Market
Red Hook, NY (the town, not the Brooklyn neighborhood)
Walkway Over the Hudson
Millerton, NY (apparently I didn't blog about it, but it was a pretty great day)
Brimfield Antique Fair
Roosevelt Island & Long Island City
Governor's Island
Storm King
Blue Hill Farms
Wave Hill
South Bronx
The High Line

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chocolate pudding pie

Last weekend I decided to try out this recipe for Mexican chocolate pudding pie. It's pretty much a combination of a lot of good things.

I decided to forgo the instant pudding, and instead used a recipe for chocolate pudding from this cookbook zine. The process is insanely easy.

The moment when it thickens up into pudding really kind of feels like magic. It happens very quickly--one second you're starting to doubt if it's actually going to work, and the next, pudding!

I also decided to make my own graham cracker crust rather than buying something pre-made, by smashing some graham crackers (always fun), combining the crumbs with melted butter, and pressing it into a pie plate (and baking it for a short time). That's really precise, I know. Also, I need to accept that I am not much of a food stylist. The plastic bag of chocolate chips and crumbs on the table are not really adding to the ambiance.

I forgot to take a photo of the finished pie until a few days later. It was pretty good. Although at the same time, I think I'd be just as happy with chocolate pudding alone.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The walk home

After leaving the armory we took the 4 train to the last stop and, after seeing that the next bus wasn't coming for another 20 minutes, we decided to walk home through the cemetery.

A little history: Woodlawn Cemetery opened in 1863, established as an alternative to Brooklyn's Greenwood cemetery, which at the time was the only place in the city deemed a proper burial ground for the well-to-do. Among the many notable people buried there are jazz legend Miles Davis, Moby-Dick author Herman Melville, former mayor Fiorello La Guardia, Joseph Pulitzer (of the prize), Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (founder of the Whitney museum), and on and on.

I'd never been in there before, but had been meaning to check it out for awhile. We stuck to the main route that leads from one gate to the other, but one day we'll go back and explore it in more detail. Regardless, what we did see was intriguing enough for now. I love this statue--the dirt covering the face really adds something.

When I took this photo I wondered if this particular Woolworth was the one with the department store, and apparently it is. The sphinxes guarding his tomb really make a statement.

I found myself drawn to this door (love the effect of the patination).

The roads within the cemetery are all marked with these quaint-looking green signs.

I noticed a bunch of these random letters on the ground. I'm guessing they're marking the sections of the plots.

So many beautiful, creepy statues.

I have to imagine that some joker put this "endowed" plaque next to the "Seaman" stone. Although I did see a number of those plaques elsewhere, and I have no idea what they're supposed to mean.

This tree trunk kind of reminds me of the Elephant Man. No disrespect.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Eighth Regiment Armory

Now that we'd awoken our penchant for exploring*, on Sunday, despite its being a bit chillier than we'd hoped, we embarked on our first long walk in almost six months. The journey took us around the perimeter of Woodlawn Cemetery, past the subway station, along the southern tip of Van Cortlandt Park, curving around the Jerome Park Reservoir, and ended at the Kingsbridge Armory.

Built in 1910 to house a unit of the National Guard, today the Kingsbridge Armory is a gigantic empty castle in the middle of the Bronx. In recent years, there were plans to turn it into some kind of shopping center, which fell through because the developer would not require tenants to guarantee a living wage for their employees. Which is all pretty unfortunate because this building is incredible, and it'd be great to see it put to use for something. (At the same time, it'd be nice for people to be paid decently.)

There's a giant chain link fence going around the building, so it was tricky to get good photos, but you get the idea.

A stray cat slinking through the grass.

Here's one of the entrances. I think the engraving above the door says "258th field artillery."

A view from the subway platform. When you're on the 4 train coming the opposite way, it almost feels like you're going right into the armory, it's that close. In fact, seeing that view out the window is part of what inspired me to come check it out in more detail.

*I just spent about ten minutes trying to figure out how to word that without saying something silly like "whetted our appetite". That's about the best I could come up with.

Monday, March 14, 2011

First walk of the season

On Saturday the weather was actually kind of warm, so we decided to investigate the situation with Muskrat Cove, a trail that runs along the Bronx River near our apartment. It had been Dave's favorite jogging spot last summer but then it was covered in snow for a few months. Plus, someone had set up camp under this overpass, and it was kind of like running through someone's living room.

The snow and the tenant were gone, but due to excessive rain and flooding last week, the paved path looked a little like the bottom of a river in some parts.

This graffiti looks fresh. I like it.

I took more or less the same photo last time we were there but it still looks cool.

Not sure why, but I also took a lot of pictures of trash caught in tree branches.

I think there's actually more trash than tree in this one.

Someone spraypainted this sign solid pink.

I have no idea what this means but it's stenciled on the ground near the entrance.

Anyway, it was a pretty short walk but it was nice to get back outside—can't wait for more!