Drafted by Tania
There are a lot of compromises that we make to live in this great city. I find that sometimes when I go away, I often feel so happy to return….there is no place, really, that is better to live. Other times I go away, and come back wondering why I do this to myself, there is no place, really, that is harder to live. This first became apparent to me my freshman year of college. Bonnie and I were sitting at St. Marks Bagel and Deli eating a pizza bagel, as we often did at that time, talking about what we were doing at school. Bonnie had just written an essay about living in New York City, the crux of which was how she could no longer see the stars. I supposed I had realized that fact before that moment, but it really struck me (and still does today). We can’t see the stars or feel the grass beneath our feet or open our eyes without seeing a building. We cannot escape this urban landscape.
Well, the end of the D line is there to tell us a different story. After navigating a few logistical monkey wrenches, Bonnie and I met outside the Broadway Lafayette subway stop. With few expectations, we boarded the D train headed toward Norwood – 205 Street. My expectations were so low actually, that I ate a hardboiled egg while I was waiting for Bonnie.
When we exited on the train, it became clear that we were near the Botanical Garden. While we did come across several restaurants that normally would be completely acceptable for an end of the line dine, we decided to see what the Botanical Garden had to offer. Coincidentally, Bonnie had been considering going to the Garden earlier in the week to get a whiff of the corpse flower, a flower that takes 10 years to bloom, does so for 36 hours and smells like rotting flesh. While the bloom of death had closed, we figured that there must be at least a café.
On the way to the garden, we passed through a park with a few shady characters and a bathroom fit for a horror movie. We arrived at the park to find a very pricey admission ticket, one that could be circumvented by dining at one of the garden’s two establishments. Because we are fancy ladies, we selected the nicer of the two – the Hudson Garden Grill.
Within moments we were transported to beautiful grassy fields and flower filled walkways – no sign of the city apparent from any vantage point. The restaurant itself was lovely – airy with big windows looking on to the gardens. The food was absolutely delicious. We started with some Sancerre and Sparkling Rose. We had monkey bread (which we were informed was made fresh each day by the monkeys from the zoo) and a sampler plate of the most wonderful delicacies from the sea – octopus terrine, boquerones, lobster rolls, mini lox bagels, tuna and sea urchin toast. We also shared soft shell crab with ramps and jasmine rice. Everything was a dream. A vacation at the end of the line – can you imagine!?
After lunch we ambled through the garden. While we could not gain access to the greenhouses and other exhibits, the walk itself was beautiful. We awkwardly tried to sneak in, but to no avail. They tried to check our ticket and we scampered away. We did check out the gift and garden shop. While there are two things in life that I can never resist buying – plants and produce – I showed restraint. We also stopped in the more casual café for a quick drink and enjoyed a little live jazz on our way out…
After an entirely unexpected relaxing afternoon we headed back to the city on a train bound for grand central – a 20 minute train ride, but a world away.