Sunday, July 06, 2008

A bit of Vienna in New York

So after the initial panic had subsided and I realized that the doctors at New York-Presbyterian probably knew what they were about (they were after all rated as the 6th best hospital in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, and Dad's doctor is apparently a bona fide superstar in the thoracic surgery realm), I calmed down a little. The nursing staff gently pried me away from the bedside as visiting hours closed, and left to my own devices in an over-heated New York, I decided to seek a little comfort in a Viennese Eiskaffee, iced coffee with cream and a goodly dollop of vanilla ice cream.

I haven't had a good one since we went to Vienna three years ago, but through a Percoset-induced haze, my Dad informed me that Cafe Sabarsky at the Neue Gallerie on 86th has a terrific Viennese cafe--the real deal. I had no other things on my agenda, so I headed on over. Of course, when I got there, there was a line out the door and down the hall for Cafe Sabarsky.

(Side note: I have now decided that the reason that New York is such book-reading town is that everyone has to wait on such LONG lines that they have to bring along books--lengthy books--to pass the time. I saw a guy reading Dickens in line at Whole Foods, and you could probably finish Atlas Shrugged while waiting to pay for your soy milk and frozen raviolis at Trader Joes. This, I have decided, also explains the density of New Yorker magazine articles: just long enough for a wait on line at the new Balducci's.)

ANY-way, I'm not big on patience, so I headed downstairs to Cafe Fledermaus, which is admittedly less glamorous, but has no line and the same menu. I ordered some summery spaetzle with corn and peas, and my blessed Eiskafee and sat there with my New Yorker for a little escape from the summer heat and craziness.

New York was uncharacteristically rainy for July, but I like that, especially in the hot weather. The droplets steam off the molten pavement and for a moment everything seems breathable. This whole escapade and the stifling heat made things feel a bit surreal, in fact, as if I were drifting around the city with only a moderate sense of purpose.

Outside of the Neue Gallerie I headed for the 5th Avenue bus and spotted this lonely looking balloon on the sidewalk. I've been a big fan of Lamorisse's The Red Balloon since I was a little kid and the image struck me as particularly appropriate to the wistful way I was feeling at the moment.

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