“`If you knew Time as well as I do,’ said the Hatter, `you wouldn’t talk about wasting IT. It’s HIM…Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he’d do almost anything you liked with the clock…We quarreled last March…it was at the great concert given by the Queen of Hearts, and I had to sing “Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you’re at!”…Well, I’d hardly finished the first verse,’ said the Hatter, `when the Queen jumped up and bawled out, “He’s murdering the time! Off with his head!”‘
`How dreadfully savage!’ exclaimed Alice.
`And ever since that,’ the Hatter went on in a mournful tone, `he won’t do a thing I ask! It’s always six o’clock now.’
A bright idea came into Alice’s head. `Is that the reason so many tea-things are put out here?’ she asked.
`Yes, that’s it,’ said the Hatter with a sigh: `it’s always tea-time…”
Sometimes it’s difficult to be inspired when you’re at home. There’s a comfy couch (or in my case, a sort-of-comfy futon), a TV, food at your disposal if you’re lucky and have been responsible enough to visit grocery store recently….and so sometimes it’s tough to fight the vibes to just kick back and relax on said futon and watch the aforementioned TV. So when I REALLY need to get work done, I need to leave my apartment. And finding a place to study in the city is no easy feat!
So, I’d like to tell you about one of my favorite places to go to do work: Argo Tea. It’s a chain but I usually go to the one on 26th St and 7th Ave. When you walk in, you’ll instantly know why it’s one of my favorite places to work. Walls full of windows on two sides make it well lit and full of daylight. And it’s very spacious and open. You don’t feel like you’re walking into a closet and bumping elbows with people as you try to make your way to the line to order a drink or as you balance your computer on your teeny tiny table that you might be sharing with a stranger who enjoys talking way too much people he/she doesn’t know (e.g. you!). Nope, that’s not the case at Argo Tea. I can ALWAYS find a seat!!! This is pretty amazing when you consider how swamped other cafes get with their share of college kids, entrepreneurs, people on business meetings, and then your general cafe oddball character.
As if that’s not enough, they have a ridiculously awesome menu! Especially if you like tea! I find it saddening to look through the tea options at most cafes, as you usually have your generic brand tea bags and maybe a decent chai latte, but Argo Tea has, as you might have gathered from it’s name, a specialized menu of tea drinks. You can get your coffee and cappuccinos if you like. But it’s very much a tea drinkers heaven! And even a coffee drinker might be convinced to order tea when seduced by flavors like: Tea Sangria, Red Velvet, Chocolate Mint, and Mojitea! And they have cute little sandwiches with interesting things like chai-infused cherries, brie and chicken. Yum!
I’ve been accidentally falling in love with the seasonal flavors only to have my heart broken when they are no longer available. But c’mon: Valentea (sweetened hot hibiscus tea with passion fruit flavoring), Irish Creme, Green Tea Strawberry Créme (with strawberry puree and milk!).
It’s a friendly place. A place where you can feel comfortable, so that you can muster your creative energies to put them to productive use as you sip your steamy hot or icy cold cup of deliciousness.
I frequent the one in Chelsea:
275 7th Ave, New York NY 10001
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“Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
“I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone, “so I can’t take more.”
“You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter: “it’s very easy to take more than nothing.”
“Nobody asked your opinion,” said Alice.”
– Alice in Wonderland
I caught up with my dear friend the Mad Hatter today. You may know him by his famous riddles about ravens and fancy ensemble in which he so often dresses and uses to express his very important uniqueness. He’s perhaps a quintessential New Yorker in that fashion. Anyhow, a favorite place of ours to get acquainted with each other’s going-ons is Alice’s Tea Cup. Naturally, because it’s based on our first meeting many years ago at a quite mad tea party. Though this one was not quite as mad, it was filled with the Mad Hatter’s good cheer and puzzling questions about life, our purpose and our modern culture.
Our stimulating conversation was accented with an exquisite pot of tea, the caffeine-free version of the Birthday tea (I don’t think I could have handled the Mad Hatter on caffeine!). We delighted in our sandwiches as well: I had the Lapsang Souchong, smoked chicken breast with slices of granny smith apple and herbed goat cheese on seven grain bread and he had the Croque Madame, grilled gruyere with mayonnaise and whole grain mustard on golden raisin semolina bread.
And our greatest revelry of the afternoon was the devouring of our life-altering freshly baked scones, with raspberry preserves and clotted cream — which one simply cannot do without when eating scones of this magnificence. Of course we split 3 flavors because who could possibly choose only one of the mouth-watering names the evil genius staff choose to put on their menu! We partook in a feast of blueberry cheesecake, pumpkin glaze and buttermilk biscuit scones. We almost had to take a doggie bag home but our fingers could not halt in the delight of such goodness and all crumbs were at last disappeared from sight. Indeed, it was a glorious day for two old friends and our most satisfied tummies.
There are several Chapters of Alice’s Tea Cup around the city. This is the one we went to:
156 E 64th St. New York, NY 10021
“However, this bottle was not marked ‘poison,’ so Alice ventured to taste it, and finding it very nice, (it had, in fact, a sort of mixed flavor of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast,) she very soon finished it off. ‘What a curious feeling!” said Alice; ‘I must be shutting up like a telescope.’”
-Alice in Wonderland (Chapter 1)
The other night, after an aerial silks workout, I was in desperate need of comfort food and thought that my long and treacherous journey back to Queens from Williamsburg was going to be devoid of such fulfillment when I saw the word “TACO” on the side of a truck parked at the corner by the subway entrance. Food trucks are peculiar things. Why, you can’t always predict when you’ll see one and which one you’ll see at that, and it seems that when you look for one you shan’t find it, and when you’re not looking, it’s there. Given this somewhat unpredictable nature of food trucks you might fancy how glorious it is to find one when it’s exactly what you need. And more importantly, to find a taco truck of this caliber.
As I held that mountain of chile pineapple marinated pork with diced onions and cilantro over two fresh corn tortillas that I stood in the below freezing temperature for, I thought to myself, ‘I do believe this was worth every bit of my last 3 dollars.’ And with that first bite I danced across the street and down the subway stairs, and though half of my taco was cold by the time I reached the platform, the flavor was nothing short of delightful.
Will I ever see this taco truck again? Did it even really exist or was it merely a mirage? Well how could you possibly know since I haven’t provided you with a picture of it? But let this picture of my satisfied face taken immediately after consumption be proof of its promise to fulfill. And let the fact that I simply could not stop eating it, even for for a second, to take a picture be a testament to the power such flavors can have over a weak Mexican-food enthusiast’s heart. It is in these moments that we discover our true loyalties and what really matters in life – cilantro.
“…and she tried to curtsey as she spoke—fancy, curtseying as you’re falling through the air! Do you think you could manage it? …”
-Alice in Wonderland (Chapter 1)
There exists a magical playground in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Your head fills with wonder as you enter a giant warehouse full of monstrous equipment, some of it suspended from the ceiling. You see people repelling off of walls as if in a choreographed fashion. Very curious. There is a teacher manning some kind of harness-rope-contraption shouting indecipherable instructions to a student as the student soars through the air hanging from a swing and ultimately somersaulting gracefully onto a huge poofy mat. You turn and see a handful of people, bouncing on a trampoline with giant goofy smiles on their faces, so goofy in fact, that you might have mistaken them for happy little children. And wait, just a moment, is that a girl rolling around in what would appear to be a giant hamster wheel? What is this most peculiar place?
The Streb Lab for Action Mechanics
51 North 1st Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249
I must admit, have been enchanted by the marvel of the beautiful swaying Aerial Silks, or Tissu as they have often been called. Though it would seem rather unusual, I can be spotted here at SLAM during the week dancing and curtsying in the air indeed! I have been hanging upside-down and doing splits mid-air for some time now under the tutelage of Ms. Laura Witwer, aerialist extraordinaire (www.laurawitwer.com). During her classes, not a moment is lost in making sure every student gets a tushie-kicking workout. And though it would seem that tushie-kicking would be most unpleasant, it is a rather grand time! If you attend her mixed-level class you will get to get to witness, first-hand, as the more experienced pupils spiral down to what would appear to be their doom while performing stunning double drops and fancy twirly tricks of sorts. Rest assured that one day, it will be you performing that scary and awe-inspiring ballet in the air, because Ms. Laura will get you there!