Wednesday, August 17, 2011

NEW YORK CITY, ROUND 2 - Upper West Side

A morning of One-of-a-Kinds



The world was kind enough to afford me a second trip to New York City this year, which meant that I could dip my toes again into the vast ocean of Manhattan yarn stores.  Like last time, we’ll document my adventures one neighborhood at a time for the next three installments.
Longtime readers will remember my fondness for the upper west side, and I was delighted to have reason to get off the subway at 79th street again.  As I’ve said before, the NY subway isn’t that hard to master, can often be much faster than a taxi, and with the help of great apps like Hopstop, you can scale the mass-transit learning curve nearly in an instant.
Head for Broadway off the subway, and look across the street for the amazing:
Zabar’s
2245 Broadway
New York, NY 10024-5899
212-787-2000 or 800-697-6301
There’s a reason this place is known as the quintessential New York Deli.  There is more cheese in one room than in all of Europe, it seems.  Honestly, I stood in the cheese department with my mouth hanging open.  

Every square inch of this store in jam-packed with good food--and with rushing New Yorkers who want to grab their crackers and get out of there without your touristy gawking getting in their way.  
Their Deli Mustard is the stuff of legend.  Just a couple of doors south is the Cafe, where coffee and goodies can be had with a little more elbow room.
Wander further up the block to our fiber fix for today:
The Yarn Company
2274 Broadway
New York, NY 10024
212-787-7878
In New York for over 30 years but recently under the new ownership of the delightful Tavy Ronen and her brother, this store has taken on a whole new feel.

  I soaked up Tavy's enthusiasm on the phone (she was out of town for my visit but set me up with wonderful staff member Petra to play hostess) as she related her vision for a truly creative fiber resource.  You know you’re in a special place when you wander up the steep stairway to notice the hallway pipe has been yarn-bombed with a charming little cuff.  
Inside is a clean-lined, well-lit studio atmosphere that features yarn, fabric, and needlepoint supplies.  I found the stock truly inventive--yarns and projects I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Got a diva in you--or in your life?  Grab the pattern for this flamboyant Ostrich Scarf done up in Be Sweet’s Boucle baby mohair with an unforgettable ostrich feather trim. Relax, they’ve got the trim in stock, so you won’t have to hunt down a Broadway costume shop to get your plume on like my friend Danica here.  If you need to make a show-stopping entry at a party, or just make your everyday life a theatrical experience, this project is for you.
Need something a bit more basic?  Go for Irina's Scarf done up in the magical Zauberball Starke 6.  Zauberball’s striking colorway and a nifty little zig-zag pattern do most of the work for you, and you won’t have to worry about the graduations matching in your socks like I did last year.
For a truly distinct piece, I was instantly drawn to the Yarn Garden Bubble Ball Cowl by Be Sweet’s magical Bubble Ball.  I’d never seen anything like this, and the nice folks at BeSweet pack up everything you need to turn heads with this artsy little cowl. (Photo by Yarn Garden)
Yarn Company has carved itself a little nitche in dancewear patterns, so it makes sense that our Knit-Along from this store is a pair of Noro Leg Warmers in a pattern by Mercedes Diaz.  Letting Noro’s stunning color changes take centerstage, these legwarmers are elegant and not too bulky.   I don’t dance well, but soon I’ll at least look like I do.  Heavens, it’s the 80’s all over again!
After you’ve finished your shopping (and, if you’ve been very industrious, earned yourself one of Yarn Company’s sparkle-shiny project bags), get your Hollywood on by heading up to
Cafe Lalo
201 West 83rd Street
New York, NY  10024
212-496-6031
Don’t be surprised by the number of people grabbing the fence in front of the cafe while their buddies take photos--folks are simply re-enacting the famous scene from the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie You’ve Got Mail.  It is a charming place, the kind of cafe we all want to be seen in while in Manhattan, dripping in vintage French vibe and more kinds of cake than you could eat in twelve lifetimes.  
I had a lovely salad, they featured quiches that had to be six inches high, and this is definitely the place to nosh if your vegetarian or have dietary restrictions.  But who wants to be restricted in here?? The menu lists almost 50 different kinds of cake.  That means I could come back every Sunday for a year and....gain 50 pounds.  Still, Cafe Lalo is the best possible way to end a morning of pure indulgence on New York’s upper west side.
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