On the Rocks, Extra Grit

Zwei Cocktails "Leap Frog"

Zwei Cocktails “Leap Frog” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that it’s late Spring, we’re having some nice weather days here in NY.  Not today, and not forecast for this holiday weekend, but it is that time of year.  Women toss their tights, sunbathers glare at me as I walk dogs through the park, and restaurants put some tables and chairs outside to extend their seating and offer sidewalk cafes.

Stop and think about that.  Al fresco dining in the middle of Manhattan.  Now it’s true, we don’t have too much in the way of drive-thrus here.  If I’m starving and in a hurry, you just might be able to spot me eating a slice (pizza) as I walk south on Columbus Ave. Not high on the list of dining experiences but it can work.

But I would like someone to explain to me how they think it’s a good idea to pay for a restaurant meal and drinks, and sit outside on Broadway.  New York is a whole lot cleaner than it used to be, but it isn’t clean.  The amount of dirt in the air is measurable (I know this because the windows in my apartment are usually open, even ten floors above the street a lot of dirt drifts in daily).  Ask any person in the city wearing open sandals or flip flops what the soles of their feet look like at the end of the day.

Stephansplatz in Vienna, Austria. Pedestrians ...

Stephansplatz in Vienna, Austria. Pedestrians walking by. In center a young woman sits on sidewalk barefoot, with the dirty soles of her feet towards the camera. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Don’t forget the tons of pedestrians checking out what’s in your dish as they sneeze past.

I’m not saying I never/have never had a meal outside in the city.  I’ve done my share of picnics in the park with the kids.  And there’s a lovely cafe in Riverside Park we used to go to.  Out of budget now, but it is a nice afternoon option.  Grills and tables under a cement dome that provides shade and cooler air, it feels like a public barbeque.  Fancier tables are right alongside the Hudson River.

Back to those sidewalk restaurant extensions.  There are trees planted along most avenues, growing from square cutouts in the sidewalk.  Pretty, and if they’re big/old enough, they offer a little shade and fresh breeze.  You’re really appreciate that nice oak three feet away from your table when the dogwalker goes past with a pack-walk.  The standard poodle especially loves that tree.  As does the mastiff and St Bernard.  Splatter splish.

If it’s a popular time of day/evening, don’t forget the press of people waiting for a table.  Don’t rush, they’re fine waiting.  New Yorkers are much friendlier than tourists expect, they’re happy to provide entertainment. The foodies–or the picky eaters–will deconstruct the contents of your plate and debate the merits of sitting at an outside table.  Many are comedians, and crack jokes about how hungry they are, offering to share your meal.

Bon apetit!

English: Looking east across Broadway, past To...

English: Looking east across Broadway, past Tom’s Restaurant, down West 112th Street on a cloudy afternoon. ZIP 10025. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  1. I agree that New York is a very friendly place. Actually, I was amazed at how one can essentially speak to anyone on the street and ask for directions. It certainly isn’t the case in Montreal – they will most likely just walk by – and I can say this after living there for 24 years.

    And yes, New York is clean but not clean. I was in Manhattan for a weekend a few weeks ago and the smell of that black dirt seems to linger. After having a few drinks, feeling a little tipsy I was longing to remove my shoes because of my sore feet from having missed a flight and running miles in an airport because of it. But I just couldn’t do it, could not remove the shoes as I knew that even wearing white soles in New York is really not the thing to do as I had debated hours earlier on what not to wear because of that little black dirt that clings to everything!


  2. Dirty feet are a fashion statement there too? Those Leap Frogs look good – ingredients? Booze, more booze, a splash of booze, green food coloring?
    On my Way…


    1. I don’t know about a fashion statement, but they are a fact of life in the city. I was always waiting to see Sex in the City do an episode about the grime of exposed toes in Manolos. 😉

      I don’t know what’s in the Leap Frog, I’d say have a margarita and let some of those seasonal mating frogs jump over it for good measure. 😀


      1. Huz just told me why W.C. Fields said about water, that he’d never touch it because, “you know what fish do in it.” I don’t want frog goo in my Margie. Ohhhhhh Noooooo.
        On my Way….


  3. I never think about the dirt in the city, but I guess it makes sense. I remember eating at one of those sidewalk tables in Little Italy a couple of years ago – it was surreal, being in the path of pedestrian traffic. Loved it though – no one sneezed by. 🙂


    1. If you’re going to eat outside, Little Italy is one of the better choices, not too many cars squeeze down Mulberry Street. Better unless it’s cold and flu season, of course 😉


      1. It was more traffic that I am accustomed to but the food made up for it. We had a vendor named Carmine who looked the part take us there. They filled the trunk of his car with trays of food after dinner – the pasta was amazing.


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