I recently read a New York Times article and Wall Street Journal article on how many American lawyers were packing up and heading east. I first thought, Yeah, the California legal market has been struggling, that makes sense. But the article did not suggest that lawyers stop on the East Coast (as I have). It explained that many young lawyers--with as little as one year of experience--were moving to India to manage attorneys, as legal outsourcing from India has increased rapidly in recent years. Well, I'm not moving to Mumbai anytime soon (although it is pretty high on my places to visit). I halfway took the article's advice by heading East, even though I ended up in Manhattan. And now that I'm in Manhattan, I have continued to go East--to the East Village and the Alphabet City neighborhoods.
The East Village is funky, hip, and a little grungy. I'm not surprised that it is the birthplace of punk rock. The neighborhood is historically diverse, but has been a victim of gentrification in recent years, stripping it of its unique bohemian culture.
Alphabet City is a tiny neighborhood within the East Village. It is the setting for one of the greatest Broadway musicals of all time--Rent. The musical "Rent" is about gentrification, and how Alphabet City's rather quirky inhabitants can't pay next year's rent. Rent increases were driving them out of the neighborhood. As I walked down Avenue B, I couldn't help but sing, "They've padlocked our building and they're rioting on Avenue B!"
The choice of eateries in the East Village is as diverse as its inhabitants. In the early 90s, there were numerous Ukrainian eateries. However, rising rent prices caused many to shut their doors permanently. Some remain, and I recently went to Veselka for some homemade Perogi. There are numerous fillings to choose from, as well as whether you want it boiled or fried. I chose fried and sampled the potato, sweet potato, cheese, and arugula with goat cheese. They also came with traditional dipping sauces--sour cream, apple sauce, and pickled onions. The arugula with goat cheese was amazing. I was a little concerned about adding sour cream and applesauce to arugula and goat cheese, but the apple sauce and sour cream add lightness to the otherwise heavy perogi.
I dream about this place and can't wait to go back. It's open 24 hours, making it a great stop after a night of partying.
We then headed to Rice to Riches for dessert. Rice to riches is a rice pudding bar. I don't like rice pudding. I think it's mushy and gross. BUT, how could I not give this place a try?
They have SO many flavors and toppings to choose from--from Apple Pie to 'Smores. Luckily for the indecisive, you can taste as many flavors as you want. I really love the toppings because they provide a contrast to the otherwise mushy texture of rice pudding. Nance and I settled on the custard rice pudding with toasted pound cake as a topping. Who knew rice pudding could be so good??