The following pictures were taken during in the spring of 2011 on a spontaneous walk across a relatively abandoned Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn on a beautiful afternoon. It’s a great experience around mid-day, when the crowds are low and sun is high to illuminate the geometric wonders of New York City art and architecture.
Who? Anyone who loves reading or has an interest in specialized books, music, and rare publications. And especially those who enjoy losing themselves in a labyrinth of endless history and creativity.
What? The Strand Book Store on 828 Broadway in New York City (in the East Village at the corner of East 12th Street). This is the main store. There is also a kiosk in Central Park.
How? You can walk on Broadway until you reach the store or take a subway to the Union Square subway station using the 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, and R lines. Once you’re at Union Square, turn onto Broadway.
Why? I passed Strand all the time walking from Washington Square Park to Union Square. I didn’t explore it at first because I thought it would be just like any other book store in the city. One day on whim I decided to walk in, and my search for good reads in the Great Apple has never been the same. The store occupies 55,000 square feet of space and houses new, used and out-of-print literature, film, music, and rare books of every niche on its multi-level property. As a movie lover, I first made my way over to the books on film and was blown away by the unbelievable, never-ending shelves of books I have never heard of in my life. There were expansive collections of interviews from directors I never knew ended up publishing papers and theories on cinema and its production. If you look close enough, you can end up finding signed copies of books from notable filmmakers, musicians, and writers just laying on the shelves of Strand. It really is an amazing place for anyone who loves the arts. The store also has a section dedicated to very unique stationery and New York City themed clothing and accessories. You walk into Strand thinking you’ll spend ten to fifteen minutes in the store, and end up exploring for hours.
To learn more about Strand, go to the site here:
A brief walk away from the wonderfully entertaining, cultural melting pot of St. Mark’s Place in the Great Apple lies one of the most uniquely delicious ice cream stores I have ever encountered in the city. And of course, making such a statement definitely comes with quite a lot of responsibility. This is, after all, New York City we’re talking about, the haven for the best of the best when it comes to the creation and consumption of first class desserts.
To preface this, my sweet tooth is my most trusted pal. Thankfully enough (knock on wood), my irrational amounts of sugar consumption haven’t yet made me diabetic (teenage metabolism for the win!). Rather, they have led me to take upon an intense exploration of the best and the worst of desserts in NYC over the past year (sometimes even substituting meals for desserts because for a college student, sugar is often the key to happiness!). And the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop was, pun intended, the cherry on top to an awesome semester of dessert hunting.
Its name may seem somewhat promiscuous for an ice cream store to those who aren’t familiar with the culture of downtown NYC, but here in Greenwich, nobody blinks an eyelid when they walk into the shop. Enter the colorful rainbow spectrum of colors that invite you into this sweet spot and you find yourself in a modest yet very comfortable ambience with just enough space for two people to sit down near the window and people-watch and a couple of others to stand and converse with their ice cream. Few stay in Big Gay, taking advantage of the proximity to Tompkins Square Park at East 7th and Avenue A to enjoy their ice cream outdoors.
But aside from the vibrant colors and highly interesting merchandise (including t-shirts of bright pink fluorescent unicorns flaunting the Big Gay name), it is the menu at this shop that blows me away. Flavors range from the traditional chocolate/vanilla with rainbow sprinkles combo and sundaes to original creations like “The Salty Pimp” (my favorite), which combines vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, sea salt, and chocolate chips for the absolute perfect balance between sweet and salty. In addition to ice cream, Big Gay also offers several shakes and floats. If you’re a fan of ice cream, there is something you will find here, both classic and original.
If you get the chance, please do yourself a favor and check out the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. Few things in life are as fulfilling as some good dessert therapy. And at a place like Big Gay, the name itself tells us that we’re not allowed to feel guilty when we’re enjoying something as good as some awesome ice cream!
The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop is located at 125th East 7th Street.
Check out their site and menu here: