the rich rewards of an unplanned day

Laura Salierno

Laura Salierno

Today was a day of wondrous tiny occurrences, the kind that happens when we are relaxed and open and looking around at the world, rather than rushing to get somewhere or get something done.

The leaves literally turned color while we slept: a blaze of oranges and reds shimmered against the clear blue sky. Walking down to catch the train, David and I noticed a patch of tall corn, some herbs and squash planted alongside the tracks: a touch of the farm in the middle of the city…

David Saltman

David Saltman

(We’re saving that story for Tuesday’s guest post.)

We took the train to Harlem and it was as if we had walked into another era. First, through the beautiful 125th Street commuter train station built in 1897, still with its original dark wood…


Then east, by Demolition Depot and  Schmuck Brother’s Salvage into a landscape of low buildings from the turn of the century…

Drawn into Marcus Garvey Park by the sound of conga drums, we saw a hawk swoop down on a squirrel and carry it off (in one of the oldest meeting places in New York City!)


Then we walked to the subway smelling smoky frankincense from Mecca and reading signs advertising African martial arts

The subways were messed up and our Local train suddenly became an Express. We got cross and cranky, and took a taxi toward my apartment.

When I got out of the cab on Ninth Avenue, just 20 feet shy of where we were heading,  I saw a tiny storefront I had never seen before. “David, look! A new restaurant.”


Shanna Ravindra/New York Magazine

We ate stunningly good Basque food, like spicy French fries with a cod-roe mayo, and tiny peppers that had been blistered on a plancha… in a clever, cool-looking interior of reclaimed wood and concrete block, in a restaurant with a front that opened to the street  in warm weather, like a garage door.


Robyn Lee/Serious Eats

Were it not for the subways not doing what I expected them to – what they were supposed to do – and the cab driver stopping a little shy of where I’d planned, I never would have stumbled on Txikito, a miracle of effort and careful consideration and passion. And it turns out it was not new at all. It had been there nearly a year, right under my nose all along.

2 Responses to the rich rewards of an unplanned day

  1. Thunderbelly 10.26.2009 at 3:29pm #

    Hawks, falcons and even eagles have returned to New York State and even New York City, thanks to eco-minded wildlife officials who did a major fledging program in the 1980s. The raptors like to roost in bridges, it seems, and even on top of apartment buildings. Since they have returned, you no longer see rats in NYC gutters — at least in the daytime. Nature rules!

  2. sahana martin 06.09.2013 at 9:51pm #

    I’ve *planned* to live my life that way ~

    Hope you had many such wondrous days since and more in the future , err, today !?

    Kind greets

Leave A Comment

subscribing = loving

If the Improvised Life is a source of creativity, inspiration, ideas and change in your daily life, please consider becoming a Friend with Benefits. A little bit goes a long way towards helping us publish fresh AD-FREE content each day.