The Hungarian Pastry Shop

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Today was the big V-day, both Valentine's and Vagina Day (or Single Awareness Day, if you feel so inclined) A time of "love" and expensive gifts - as I heard someone behind me remark, it never lives up to the classic expectation.
But, although this day should perhaps be treated like any other, I must admit that I quite enjoyed the calm fabric of this February 14th. It was the day I embarked on another of my adventures.
My newest adventure is to go to "literary places," basically, to write in cafes and other areas around the city so that I can explore and give myself some time to write. Perhaps it has been done before, but it seems that was how the greats got their work going, so I thought I might try it. At least it gets me out of the house.
Anyway, this first endeavor I took occurred today - at the Hungarian Pastry Shop. The following is a literary description of this fantastic place:
After celebrating our vaginas by listening to the the Vagina Monologues performed at Columbia's Roone Arledge Auditorium, reading trashy articles about what V-day gifts "really" mean, and exercising monetary frivolity in the purchase of another hard-backed legal pad, Liberty and I set out on a journey to this quaint little cafe on 111th and Amsterdam.
A short post-dinner walk later, in the brisk cold of Upper West Side Manhattan, we arrived at the doorstep of a smallish cafe that had many beautiful bohemian wall things, low mood lighting, and a stretch of college students munching on delicate cookies and rich pastries. They read their books and made notes, proving that this was still, after all, the Columbia neighborhood. As we approached the counter, two ladies with black curly hair looked up at us with a polite stare, rather than a smile. They were busy, we could see. I stared into the pastry case and was dazzled by the different choices - cookies, tiramisu, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate - and finally decided on an amalgamation of two hazelnut cookies and chocolate mousse. With milk.
I was shocked to find that they delivered it to our table, where Liberty and I were cautiously commenting on the atmosphere and taking out our books to read and write. I found myself lapsing into the balmy atmosphere of the place, listening in on the academic chatter that swirled around us. I was transfixed by the bathroom, with swirling graffitti plastering the walls - all the people who had ever come before. I pumped out a few paragraphs and found that it was a place to return to, perhaps in the daylight with a cup of hot chocolate centered between two palms.
Liberty finished her book and we rose to go, paying at the counter before we left. As a spot for eking out ideas or studying the pages of a book, this place was awfully calming. I will come again.

Read more of my writing in strange places reviews.