A Great Borough / by camille broderick

Astoria Queens. 

The month comes to an end with a visit to my former home.  I stayed with my good friend in Astoria, Queens.  Parking was easy, restaurants there had zero wait, and there was a delicious coffee shop where everyone actually worked.  I like Astoria.  Whether "everyone wants to move there" or not.  It has the city feel without the city annoyances.  And thanks to Daniel the seemingly owner/ waiter/ sommelier at Via Trenta fed us well with perfectly bitable dressed salads and handmade pastas.  I am going back for him alone.

But this particular visit was bitter sweet.  After three years officially not living there, I hit a wall like in a relationship when you're in or you're out.  I want in.  I miss New York City, period.  I need more New York.  But with this visit, I did notice a few things a bit off, or maybe it was me, very likely.  But it seemed like there were more people in the streets.  Was there always that many?  Even off hours felt like rush hours.  And too many of those overflowers seem to miss life due to their eyes glued to their smart phones.  What would aliens think if they saw all of us.  It is a numbing life line.  Also, the places I loved didn't deliver like I hoped with all due respect (i.e. Lafayette, please keep training your staff and add a classic lentil and salmon dish to your lunch menu pretty please however, never change your bread maker.  Best bread in NYC- chewy tangy and perfectly salty, how does he do it).  Thankfully my staples like the cookies at Maman and Birdbath always keep me smiling, well until I eat too many.

New York is filled with meeting new and seeing old friends.  Thank you to my new friend from Mark Jacobs and ABC Kitchen who I met at La Compagnie while Kypo the head bartender still steers the ship with the new General Manager Caleb, former sommelier from Eleven Madison Park.  Score.  Sadly, I don't feel my new home allows for the random encounters that New York is known for and that I miss the most.  

Along with the usual haunts I always love a good sweat, the Soho Soul Cycle is a bit too new york for even new yorkers, so I discovered a new favorite studio and teacher Halle B at 63rd and Lex.  Feeling like a VIP in a non-packed room, with an instructor who is the real deal New Yorker allowed for total solo inspiration.  And it doesn't hurt to have Equinox gym next door which houses their flagship retail shop.  Grab some good duds easily and quickly.  Cheers my new york, I promise I will see you soon again.