My sole post-Christmas-goal yesterday was to 1) get out of my pajamas before noon and 2) go to McNulty’s Coffee & Tea emporium in Greenwich Village. Going to McNulty’s has become a bit of a tradition with me each year, treating myself to a pound of Irish Creme coffee, a box of La Perruche pure cane sugar cubes and a box of Walkers Shortbread Petticoat Tails. This is how I start my New Year off, with a cup of specialty coffee in a special cup after New Year’s Eve dinner and another strong eye-opening cup or two, or three on the first day of the New Year.
I hadn’t intended to spend much time in the Village but, I did have my camera with me and so my photographic muse took over and together “we” spent the day creating urban street imagery walking from the 8th Street subway station, in the East Village toward the West side. When I entered Washington Square Park I was inspired by a blog post I read by Michael Lai where he espouses the allure of trees and I used this inspiration to create images with the bare beauty of winter branches as a frame or back drop to the scene.
At one point the sky was filled with a large flock of pigeons flying in wide swooping circles over my head. In the midst of this feathered hurricane stood a ragged old man whom, the pigeons seemed to have adopted, flapping and landing on his head, shoulders, arms and crowding around his feet, moving as he moved. People were drawn to this unusual touching scene like magnets. The “bird-man” as I dubbed him, apparently spends his days here in the park with his winged comrades talking with people and letting them experience feeding and handling these wild urban birds.
I passed under the Washington Arch and walked over to the row of red houses that sit facing the park and were the scene of one of my favorite old movies, The Heiress staring Olivia de Havilland and Montgomery Clift. The homes are now part of New York University but to look at them you are transported back to 1830’s New York City and can imagine the sound of horses hoofs clip-clopping along the street until the honking blare of a taxi cab snaps you back into reality.
Crossing Bleecker Street and continuing up Christopher Street I arrived at McNulty’s where upon entering the shop my senses were bowled over by the sharp fragrance of fresh ground coffee and loose leafy teas. I exchanged seasonal greetings with the proprietor, purchased my goodies and then stepped back outside to spend another hour roaming along Grove, Bedford and Hudson Streets.
By 3 o’clock the need to pee was upon me and I capped my lens and walked over to the Riviera Cafe for a clean bathroom and some warm food and a needed rest for my tired feets.
Enjoy this bit of village life, New York City style.