All-Butter Croissants Fail

Yesterday, I went to a supermarket ravenous, and somehow ended up with a pack of all-butter croissants. Somehow. (Lesson: Don’t go grocery shopping just before dinner.) In a bit of a nice surprise from a decidedly unfancy store I was at, its ingredients list was impressively clean, so I gave the croissants a try.

all-butter croissants

Well, it wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t good, either. It may be made with 100% butter, but apparently that’s not the only thing that matters when it comes to making croissants right. (And, yeah, I guess I should have known.) The layers were too stuck together, forming a thick, underbaked lump in the middle, and it just didn’t taste/smell all that buttery, despite its buttery origins. Oh well.

Breakfast today:

  • All-butter croissant
  • Scrambled eggs with asparagus, red peppers & pepper Jack cheese
  • Strawberries & yellow peaches

Walking Red Hook, Brooklyn – Eastern Half

Getting off the G before the Red Hook walk part I.

Flaneuette was reading an outdated, 2002 edition of “Blue Guide New York” one day, in an undisclosed location. An obsessively researched, decidedly unmodern guide heavy on historical and architectural details, the Blue Guide is a perfect bathroom read for city walkers (who aren’t scared of a few germs lurking in their books). Its Red Hook section, pre-IKEA and pre-Fairway, was a trip back in time: the handful of hip restaurants and bars that now dot the southwestern part of Red Hook hadn’t made their appearance in this post-industrial wasteland yet, and the giant housing projects were “not an improvement upon, but a reflection of the surrounding squalor” (!).

For the second walk in the Weave Project, Flaneur and Flanuette decided to cover Red Hook. Having learned a lesson from the first walk in East Village, our walk in Red Hook was to cover only the eastern half of the small peninsula. Having also learned a lesson from the summer tourist-clogged lower Manhattan the day before, we took the G train to Smith Street station, which had recently come out of the gray mesh covering for an years-long renovation.

Walking East Village: 14th to 10th Streets

For our first thorough walk of New York City, Flaneur decided on walking East Village, the quadrangle defined by 14th Street to the north, Houston to the south, 4th Avenue to the west and East River to… well, the east. This turns out to be far too broad an area to cover in one day, but when we were starting out, it seemed like an ambitious but achievable goal. We got off the train at the 14th Street-Union Square station, took a few “this is us starting the monumental project” shots by the newsstand, and headed east on 14th.

Russian Souvenirs in East Village

Just a block or two into our walk, the experience was already palpably different from our usual long walks in the city. We were going slower, paying almost obsessive attention to every little storefront–like a scientist exiting each colony of exotic bacteria in a Petri dish. Many more little details of our surroundings were popping up at us. On a familiar block of 14th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, a knickknack store called Russian Souvenirs that had until then escaped our notice emerged as if out of nowhere, with retro porcelain figurines dancing to silent accordions behind the cloudy glass of the front window. Still early in the day, the street was quiet, only half awake.

Then we hit the block along Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, a giant, leafy, “affordable” housing complex dating back to the 1940s. A quick search yielded a 1-bedroom unit for $3,000+ a month. Definition of “affordable” is so screwed up in this city it’s laughable, though the complex does look quite nice if more than faintly reminiscent of a Soviet efficiency apartments. Across the street was a worrisome row of empty lots with scattered old-fashioned, 3- to 4-story brick buildings in between. Several construction cranes towered over the grass-and-gravel lots, hinting at what to come in this relatively far-flung area of East Village.

Vintage Dodge on 14th Street, East Village

Across the street from the eastern end of the Stuyvesant Town was a set of brick buildings with top-heavy cornices that looked as if stuck in time–a vintage Dodge parked in front sealed the impression. (East Village turned out to be chock full of old cars, from meticulously maintained beauties, likely a prized possession of some well-to-do professionals, to beat-up old boats from the ’70s with their back seats stuffed to the brim, probably belonging to old timers.) The last section of these ’20s buildings was missing its cornice, making the Flanuette wonder if it was blown off by the ConEd plant explosion during Hurricane Sandy. Which brings us to:

ConEd 14th Street Plant, East Village

…the odd remnant of Manhattan’s industrial past, the ConEd plant occupying what must be a significant sum of real estate dollars at the eastern end of 14th Street.

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