Shannon and I have found a sort of oasis right on our block that we are both very excited about.  After spending so much time buried deep in a sea of buildings we were ready to find some sort of retreat where we could easily escape some of the madness.  Little did we know this sanctuary could be found on our very own block only seconds from our front door!

Community gardens are scattered all through the East Village, as I have mentioned before in this blog, and we have 4 on our block.  They are small open spaces that the community has claimed for their own and instead or resurrecting a building or developing the space anew they took the opportunity to turn the space green.  They consist of garden box after garden box, each one owned by a different member, and a few community spots.  In each garden you can find composts, picnic tables, arbors, grills, and a few wrinkly old men stooped over the dirt taking care of their tomatoes.  They are truly a lush and green escape within the hot asphalt of the city, the second you cross the gate you become overwhelmed with intense smell of freshness.  Incredible.

The best part about the garden is its very small fee.  For 10 dollars a year you get access to the garden (your own key as they keep it locked) which means you can treat yourself to a little quiet time whenever you want!  I am willing to pay ten bucks a year for my own private gardens.

We have our first meeting on Friday to figure everything out, and then we get a plot to start planting everything, grilling, and relaxing.  Tomatoes, herbs, veggies of all types, flowers… we are going to try a plant them all!  I will inevitably keep you updated.

Garden nestled into the buildings.

So many things growing in there.

There are little nooks with chairs and fountains, grills and tables, and some nice little reading spots.


On a completely different note… Shannon and I have been really enjoying drinking sparkling wines and champagnes lately!  Something about the crisp bubbles and light flavors on a hot day are simply unbeatable!  Anyways… combine some champagne, private garden, and a hot summer day… win.

Everybody wants to rule the world…

It has been a somewhat trying time for Shannon and I out here these last few weeks as recent events have really made us question what we need to do immediately to obtain our ultimate goals.  In order to make sure we are on the right track towards what it is we want, we first have to figure out what that is.  This particular question has kept us up at night, made us go on those walks you have to take when we just need to clear our heads, and ultimately ended up with us writing down our goals on a napkin in a bar.  As usual it would seem that a bottle of wine can “make you see things clearer,” or at least it always appears that way in the moment.  Of course later we found that napkin wadded up in the bottom of a pocket, splattered with wine and what I can only assume was some sort of risotto.  After slowly deciphering the scratch work I have decided that even if it is a fantasy it was well laid out.  It looked something like this:

5 Steps to Awesomeness (A Life Plan)

1:  Achieve professional culinary training at the prestigious French Culinary Institute.

2:  Gain much prestige in the kitchen’s of New York as cook/pastry duo.  Work with only the finest names in the business.

3:  Move to London/Paris/Prague/All of the Above  -> See world -> Continue to create cuisine and pastries at a higher level with Europe’s most esteemed culinary minds.

4:  Take a breather.  Work in a small bakery and laid back pub on the south coast of England, basking in summer time sun, and staying cozy in the cottage during winters.  Possibly never leave this step.

5:  Open up our obviously successful restaurant/bar/pastry heaven.  Rule the World.

Not a bad sounding list!?  Practical?  Maybe not.  Exciting?  Definitely.  We have pinned this napkin to our fridge as inspiration.  Are we headed that direction?  Maybe, but we have a lot of other things to sort out in any immediate future.  Things have been flowing in and out of our vision, and this is one of many options we have prodded.  I thought I was put this up there for everyone to see because it holds it to a higher scrutiny, and lets me own up to a thought before actually considering it.

Beyond this.  I was on one of the aforementioned walks this afternoon, in search of many things, but among them being a coke in a glass bottle.  So I walked from local convenient store to local convenient store, which sound like it could be a lot but really they mostly share wall after wall.  Something that strikes me every time I head out of the house an errand where I am not rushing from one place to another and I have a chance to lift my head up to look around, are the community gardens.  They are small thickets of green stuck in between large lumbering buildings.  It is funny to come across them when you walk by building after building… it is an instant breath of fresh air.  I want to lend some time to maintaining them as soon as I nail down my schedule.  Here is an awkward view of one: