What is the deal with this?

Lets be honest. We are the truest kind of BFFs. We met at Girls' Camp 1996 in St. Lou, survived high school and 2 years as roommates at BYU. Now, we find ourselves BOTH in NYC, which rocks, and as we contemplated how we should spend quality BFF time together - the answer seemed obvious. We must beebop the boroughs in matching purple hats every Saturday morning. Holla!

Monday, February 25, 2008

13: Bleecker Street in Three Parts

Bleeker Street - which also happens to be a song (which Jill hates) by Simon and Garfunkel about this very street - cuts across Greenwich Village east to west. We had no guest beeboppers this week, so Jill and I had some much needed BFF bonding. AND - added bonus - New York saw some massive snowing on Friday which 1) got me out of work early (booya) and 2) added a little winter flava to our beloved beebop.

Bleeker Street begins at Abingdon Square, a park like all of the other fenced in patches of grass in New York. This fence, however, held a laminated sign telling us to keep off the precious grass. Being the rebel I am - I snuck my toe under the fence. My facial expression makes it seem like this move caused me extreme pain - don't be fooled - I am just overly excited to be disobedient.

This is a statue honoring soldiers from one of the World Wars. Jill was trying to imitate the statue but is facing the wrong way and doing the wrong things with her arms. Noble effort.

This man's top hat brought us back to the early 1800's when Anthony Bleeker, a lawyer and poet whose farm surrounded this street, donated a chunk of land to the city. Thank you Tony.

A good biography brings me happiness that few other things are capable of.

A good bakery brings Jill the same type of happiness. (Dang Magnolia's for not opening until ten. Note: their banana pudding is out-of-control tasty)

At this point of our walk - we began to realize several things. 1) Bleeker Street is known for its night life which unfortunately does not begin at 8:30 as we do. 2) Due to #1 - things are deader than dead around here 3) EVERY store on Bleeker Street announces in its title that it is indeed on Bleeker Street. You will notice that #3 becomes a running theme.

This flower shop was swankified. Jill introduced me to the ranunculus - which is a fun name and a flower with an obscene amount of petals. Holla to her botany skillz.

Ta Da - another shop on Bleeker!

We took this picture when we realized that there was nothing to SEE on Bleeker Street. I also enjoyed pointing in my mittens. You didn't even know I was pointing - did you?

I think Jill is prettier than the model.

These are faces of contemplation. We encountered a clairvoyant and palm reading place and debated for five to ten minutes if I should have my palm read. I was terrified. Jill appears to seem scared, when in reality she was attempting to be an encouraging bully. We walked away - tarot cards unturned and palm unread.

Notice the old dance hall across the street. I was embarrassing Jill (and myself for that matter) by busting a can-can on the corner of Bleeker and something.

Jill is wary of the rude van that cut our sign in half. Bleeker Farm - go fig.

Shock of shocks - a Bleeker Store. I think my cud-chewing face belongs at the Bleeker Farm.

Cheese, Cheese, Cheese!!! Murray's Cheese Shop. We both kind of love cheese with our whole souls a little bit.

These cheese wheels are so large and tasty looking. Yum-a-Rum. This picture makes me crave Ritz crackers.

Beeboppers' breakfast. Jill is having a moment with her croissant. Creep-fest.

What is up with this picture? I think there is a Bleeker record shop in the background.

Again - who knows. We were desperate for pics and while we were still sincerely loving the massive amount of Bleeker stores, we were nervous that too many of them would be boring. This is Jill's attempt to liven things up.

Bleeker Street has so many rules. No biking, no roller skating, no scottie dogs and no martinis. All you are permitted to do is stand there or drop things into a basket.

Mitten pointing at the Bleeker Deli (or at the young child with a comb-over).

True love on Bleeker.

More Bleeka lovin'.

Jill continually has a difficult time following directions. Geez.

Statue of Mayor LaGuardia - 99th mayor of New York City and quite a jolly fella.

Jill's husband is at NYU law school. Here she holds a torch in honor of his last semester.

Dogs in clothes! We cannot get enough.

Action shot! Here we are in Washington Square Park - Me chucking a snowball at Jill. I totally missed.

Bleeker Street ROCKS!

This is the most disturbing bar of all times. Skeletons are hanging everywhere, and the sign features a salivating wolf. Enticing.

There is NOTHING that I have enjoyed more than fractional addresses. We thought 1/2 was exciting - 18 3/4 is off the Hizzie!

Jill was fond of these female statues. hmmm...


Affectionate men. I am totally comfortable with that - but not with Jill adding herself into their love.

Monday, February 18, 2008

12: Greenwich Village 1 - The West Village

"Despite the erratic course of most streets in the West Village, you can't get seriously lost, only pleasantly so."

This card rarely lies. I pride myself on being a pretty good navigator, but I got us pretty lost at the beginning of this walk. Who knew that Bedford Street (a major street bisecting the village) could be so elusive?

Luckily, we came across some great sites. Take this giant teak lion, for instance. It was just hanging out in the deli next to the Houston subway station. James, our special guest of the week, was the first to spot it, but Meg had the honor of growling beside it.

Then we found this sign, explaining the beast:

In case you don't want to click on it to enlarge, it asks, "What's up with that ginormous wooden lion at the Getting Hungry deli?" which made us laugh, because that is precisely how Megan would have worded it. I'm convinced she writes into Time Out New York under the pseudonym Jay Demaio.

Meg and James wanted to climb inside of the sphere. You can't see me, but I'm shaking my head with disapproval.

The Village has some awesome architecture. Here we are looking especially pious in front of a beautiful church (p.s. still lost).

These walks bring out the recklessness in me. I'll do almost anything on a dare. So James says, "Run through that sick flock of pigeons!"

and off I go...

This is pretty shameful. There are few things in life more disgusting than a NY pigeon.

Still lost, but thrilled with our finds, we come across this theater putting on a musical production of the Adding Machine. There is nothing in this world that Meg loves more than musicals, except perhaps math - she's a real live {fun-loving, fantastic to be around, best-girl-I-know} nerd.

I'm so glad we got lost so we could find Cafe Wha? Meg and I have long loved to say, "Wha happened?" (do you love Fred Willard, too? - more Christopher Guest movie references to come).

Another photo from Cafe Wha? This place was made for us!

And we're baaaack! Back to the tour route that is - we finally found our way. Megan has eagle eyes and spotted this creepy skull (see it?) in some lucky fellow's rooftop garden, a rare commodity in NYC.

One of the hardships of our weekly walks is that it can be so difficult to capture the awesomeness of any given neighborhood. First of all, we are not photographers. Secondly, we have to stick to a schedule (we can't take 15 shots at each location). My point is, I am sometimes disappointed that we cannot effectively show all of you how amazing this place is. This is St. Luke's Place, a most beautiful line of "Italianate brownstones." I really loved this street!

This white brownstone was a favorite. We wonder how often it gets painted to maintain its pristine appearance? New discovery: thanks to our friend Becca - we have discovered that the house just to the left of this white beauty is the Huxtabul's house on The Cosby Show. I love that we took a picture of the unimportant house, while a real gem is right next door.

James, who was visiting from Wisconsin, sometimes pretends he is a scientist.

The West Village has an abundance of red doors, which is quite possibly my favorite feature to have in a house. The best part of these particular doors, however, are the street numbers above them. Undoubtedly, the residents of 449 1/2 have oodles more fun than lame-o 449.

This secret garden is part of St. Luke's Seminary. Megan and I were reminiscent of a certain set of twins (Benthany Gardener) from our freshman year at BYU, who sang, on more than one occasion, a dramatic rendition of "Lily's Eyes" from the Secret Garden Soundtrack. (Fugal girls - don't pretend you don't remember what I'm talking about!).

Still at St. Luke's Seminary - the courtyard was a pretty little place, and oh so funny.

I felt blessed just to be there.

Megan can do a mean heel-click. Here, she demonstrates her talent in front of one of the more beautiful subway entrances.

All of your favorite off-Broadway playwrites can be found at the Lucille Lortel Playwright Star Sidewalk - Mbongeni Ngema, Athol Fugard, Bertolt Brecht. I'm all aflutter just thinking about it! I jest - there were actually a few recognizable names there, like Langston Hughes and Tennessee Williams.

We were fans of the Christopher Street clothier that sported this purple sign.

This is my favorite spot in all the West Village: Grove Court. Grove Court is "a row of shaded mews houses set within a deep courtyard, built as laborers' housing in 1854." The place looked really lovely.

Here's a little more about Grove Street:

This house won my heart with its crumbling outer wall and giant stovepipe. Not sure what is going on with the creepy expressions on Meg and James' faces.

more beautiful and historic west village homes

Here comes that reference I promised. The Cherry Lane Theater was where Beckett's Waiting for Godot has its American premiere. We youngins might know the story better from Waiting for Guffman.

Can you find Meg in this photo?

This is the Isaac Hendricks House, built in 1799 and the oldest surviving house in the Village.

This is Washington Irving's house! (lie - it is actually Washington Irving Jr.'s house, but Megan didn't think that was as cool)

Meg looked into the future at Zena ClairVoyant, a local fortune teller (we didn't plan on the cabbages matching her hat).

We love reoccurring themes around here. Remember the last time we found over-sized school supplies? (hint: it was at the Tenement Museum gift shop)

Good times at the Riviera! Very appropriate since the two of us first met James at The Riviera apartment complex in Provo, UT.

It is looking as dilapidated as ever.

James is a brave soul and ventured down into this scary hole.

When we found this giant map of the west village, we became very ashamed of how difficult it was for us to find Bedford Street. It practically intersects the entire neighborhood!

Another shout out to Megan's sister, Bonnie, who despite not really reading this blog, gets referenced in most posts. We love Labonna Jean.

We are so curious to find out what that tower in the distance is (perhaps next week?). James was so disappointed that he wouldn't be here to see it up close, but is counting on us to not only find out what it is, but to also go to the top of the tower. Only time will tell.

more love for the interesting things you can see in ano 2008, west village

It appears I am not the only fan of iron dragons...

This is one of the many very-pointy buildings you can find in the west village. Megan was absolutely baffled by them - I mean, what will fit in that tiny corner space?!! Her best guess for this Laser Hair Removal place was tweezers. Gotta love her.

Tiles for America (a 9-11 memorial) was touching.

More West Village house love - this one had a red door, red windows, a swirly iron gate AND a vine-covered wall. Love it!

Last but not least, Meg and I attempt to recreate a disturbing statue. Gut-busting laughter ensues.

But WAIT ... you didn't think we would skip out on the Doughnut Plant, do you? Not when it was a mere subway ride, cab ride and brief walk away! This was James' maiden voyage to the DP.

This is Mark Israel, the owner of the DP. We have always wanted to meet him and lo and behold, there he was! Standing only feet away as we devoured doughnuts like animals. I got the courage to speak to him, and when he recommended the Rose Petal doughnut, we went back for more. After all, the Rose Petal doughnuts are only offered once a year. They were suprisingly delicious for something that tasted exactly like what you would expect a rose to taste like. Thanks, Mark!

We left happy.

and a feeling a little sick.

See you next week!