High but not dry

The best thing about Winter in the middle of a New York Summer is finding popular places almost empty. On Thursday night the High Line was all but deserted, with the pending storm creating an electric light that accented the colours and features of the west side walk. It was ours for the moment, allowing us to measure and meander at will in lush green surrounds. What a treat!

The magnolias were in full bloom, and the birch trees picked up the breeze with that wonderful paper rustling sound. New artworks were nestled in the foliage – a bust mirrored in gold and plaster, and a voice that came from no-where to recite the names of good and bad animals. ( Another year the mystery voice came from the water fountain, reciting Shakespearian soliloquies as you sipped ). The whole space is interactive, wound around the original railway line and with occasional spaces that diverge from the path to encourage a quiet spot, or a platform to view the surrounding city.

When the rain finally came it was monsoonal. Even with raincoats and umbrellas we were wet before we emerged at the end of the Line. My plan was to take my companions to Roma’s on Bleeker Street, and I imagined persevering through the saturated streets would only make the reward of the best pizza in NYC even greater. However, ten minutes later we were squelching in our shoes. The worst thing about winter in the middle of summer in NYC is that when you find your favorite pizza place inexorably closed, and you have no recourse except to find the closest alternative. This happened to be John’s Pizza, an original old favorite Bleeker Street eatery with over eighty years worth of initials carved into their wooden booths. These could have been the mark of passing tourists – or more likely signatures petitioning for a decent glass of wine. In any case it was a port in a storm and the bus boy kindly mopped up around us as we dripped into our pizza.

The telephone at Roma’s is disconnected but their website is still running. So maybe there is hope that their unique 96 hours-in-the-making pizza dough will rise up somewhere else in the city. Maybe they are looking for a spot closer to the High Line….

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