Tea time comes in the form of a Chinese tea ceremony at NYC restaurant Betony. The tea is cut from a dry tea cake and steeped multiple times, pouring out the first bitter "rinse" of the leaves for better flavor.
Last year I paid a visit to the "Artisan's Row" of South Street Seaport. This lane of shops is maintained by the Seaport Museum and features a wood carving and letterpress studio. I always love dropping by Bowne & Co. Stationers to see what letterpress resident Ali Osborn is working on, churning out new posters and cards on the antique letterpresses. The scent of ink and wood shavings from the adjoining woodworking studio are heavy in the air. Stepping across the threshold from the tidy Bowne space and into the clutter of the wood shop is crossing into a magical wonderland. Half finished busts and mastheads peer up from tables and tucked in corners, while intricate model ships sail on a calm sea of sawdust. Sal Polisi carves away at a giant eagle head and other whimsical creatures destined for historic ship replicas and nautical themed bars. The Seaport was closed for months after Hurricane Sandy destroyed the area, and Sal was displaced from his former shop down on the pier. Thankfully he's been able to set up residence here, and it's great to see everything back up and running again.
I love New York in the winter, it's quieter, more neighborly, as the locals reclaim the streets and tourists jet off to warmer destinations. Padding down the snow covered sidewalks, bundled against the polar air, it feels the most like home. I had such a long walk, starting in Prospect Park, through Park Slope all the way to Brooklyn Heights and over the Brooklyn Bridge to South Street Seaport. I think I've thoroughly broken in my new L.L. Bean boots now.