Thursday we wondered down to the East Village, an area to the south and east of where we’re living. The area is a hodgepodge of old brownstone buildings artfully paint-splattered or graffitied and so ramshackle that it verges on hip. Even the gentrified parts seem to have been carefully under-polished so as to maintain the vibe. Walking from our apartment in Greenwich Village to East Village is such a transformation that it is indeed as if we have travelled from one village to another.
Being neither a skateboarding playwright nor a photographer with a sideline in mosaic making, I am definitely not cool enough to hang out there. That aside, the main reason we’re there is to eat at Katz’s famous deli, the home of the pastrami sandwich and the scene of Meg Ryan’s fake orgasm. It’s been on our Things To Do in New York list since we arrived and it definitely does not disappoint!
All I can say is Katz’s is a place of serious meat, even without taking into account the giant salamis hanging from the wall! Once we figured out the ticketing system we headed over to the deli counter to order our sandwiches – one pastrami with mustard and one brisket with russian dressing. After taking our order, the guy behind the counter dips a giant fork into a metal trough and pulls out what I can only assume is half a cow. He proceeds to slice the cow into delicately flaking slices, throwing a couple in our direction so we can taste them… pure smoky, meaty goodness!
Looking around the diner at the people trying to covertly pick the fall-apart tender meat out of their teeth, it’s clear the only thing this place is missing is toothpicks. But as we leave Stack spots a pile of toothpicks at the exit.. sure enough, they really have thought of everything!
Back in our humble abode, we’re still happily rat-free but we now seem to have sprung a leak. On Wednesday night the heavy rains filtered through the roof and dripped all over our living room, making little pools of water in my shoes. For what would normally be miserable situation I’m surprised by how little this bothers me. One of the biggest advantages of this nomadic lifestyle is that any issues are temporary – we only have to deal with things as long as we’re in a place.
On the other hand I get the impression we’ll always be roughing it a tiny bit wherever we go. There’ll always be some creature comfort or another missing that were we not nomadic we would just go out and buy. For example, on Thursday night I had to iron a dress using an oven glove and my hair straighteners. I had been invited to go to a casino night, a benefit for the Young Survivors Coalition, and an hour before leaving I realised there was no iron in the apartment. In any case, the stories I heard that night from young survivors of breast cancer blew any complaints of having to live for two months with wrinkly clothes right out of my mind.