I know it’s summer when more of my far-flung LJ friends visit NYC. I finally got to meet Jason/ink_ling from Tennessee, who’s in town courtesy of a grant studying some of gay historian Martin Duberman’s papers archived at the New York Public Library.
Tuesday night we met up down in the East Village, and to sate Jason’s craving for some Vietnamese food, ended up at the new Baoguette on St. Mark’s Place. It’s a small place, open to the street with a few stools at the counter and a few tables. The service and food were both excellent, Jason had a noodle bowl and I had one of the best bao sandwiches I’ve encountered, and we split some side dishes of spring rolls and grilled corn-on-the-cob. I got to hear about Jason’s hardscrabble upbringing on a tobacco farm with conservative religious parents, his adventures with the faeries, and his poetry tattoos. Afterwards I took him over to the Dessert Truck to enjoy some of their wonderful treats (molten dark chocolate cake, olive oil ganache, vanilla ice cream, whole roasted hazelnuts, sea salt), while we windowshopped the offerings at St. Mark’s Books, and I showed him the historic St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, home of the preeminent Poetry Project.
Yesterday we met up again in front of the Library and went to a typical business-district lunch/sandwich place, which happened to make excellent pastrami sandwiches, coleslaw, and potato salad. Afterwards we stopped by Books Off, a quirky Japanese-run used bookstore (where you can get your manga and Hello Kitty fix, too), where I took this photo in the aisles. I had schlepped along a bagful of paperbacks I no longer wanted, and their mad/very Japanese book buying process involves a form-diagram larger and more complicated than an old bowling scoresheet (remember those?). My $150 in used paperbacks netted me... $8.60, reminding me of the classic line from Fassbinder’s The Marriage of Maria Braun, “Books burn too fast. They don't give any heat.”
Last night ink_ling got to get all giglio with a bunch of goombas out in Queens with danbearnyc, liftinmoose, and others, which I would have liked to joined them for, but unfortunately work had other ideas.