The trouble is that I have almost five hours between my first and second class. I make a valiant attempt to spend in-between time in the library, but the five-block walk proves to be problematic – New York City makes me hungry.
I give New Yorkers a lot of credit – They must have Superman-strength willpower. It’s my only conclusion – Or else, I am an impulsive glutton and fool for attractive display cases. There is a gastronomic power infusing all corners the city with the smells and sounds of a feast waiting to happen. I am completely at its mercy.
It begins at Grand Central, when upon my arrival, I unavoidably end up having to use the ladies room. It is strategically located in the food court. There is a bakery downstairs that has big, beautiful Black & White cookies and it seems downright unpatriotic not to partake in the traditional New York treat. At least, I could take one to-go, and save it for the return train ride later that night.
Coffee and cookie in-hand, I head for the subway, but half the cookie has disappeared by the time I take my seat between a greasy hipster carrying a ukulele and an aggressively bundled woman reading the Chinese paper. Thankfully, it is my stop soon and I surface to street level, trying to avoid the eyes of hot dog and pretzel vendors. Pretzels have always been my Achilles heal and walking through the cement jungle of pretzel push-carts is like trying to avoid beer at Oktoberfest.
Class is my safe-zone – secluded inside for a few hours I can refocus. Although, considering that my area of study is Food Studies, I’m doomed. It may take my mind off of the countless pretzels I passed, but turns my attention to more lavish desires. Perhaps, I should start making reservations at top New York City restaurants during my lunch break? The lunch rates are a bargain compared to dinner – usually, prix fixe, three-courses.
The first class is over and now the waiting begins. If I eat now, I can find a nice bowl of soup and a quaint spot to get some reading done. Although, I’m not very hungry. But, if I go to the library first, I am going to get extremely hungry and end up making an impulsive decision with my stomach – like “Tacos Three Ways” at that cute Mexican joint, or Steak Frites at that much-to-expensive bistro. And because of the later time, I am going to want a glass of wine. Or margarita.
I try to use a “reward system.” Example: If I finish two pages of writing for Class A, I can take a hot chocolate break at the pastry food truck outside the library – Yes, there are food trucks parked all along the campus streets and it is a major willpower setback; OR If I read for three hours I can get a glass of wine from the bistro up the road. I’m not fooling you either? The self-imposed rules may pace my eating schedule, but deny me nothing.
Sometimes a pastry shop calls to me and I feel a sudden tug toward a darling little cupcake shop or some rustic artisan bakery. I’ve yet to find a good baguette where I live north of the City, so I should probably stop in and take a look. I arrive to my second class full on Steak Frites, a glass of pinot noir on my breath, a baguette under my arm and half a cookie still stowed away in my purse.
I am a happy victim of another day in New York City. I say that next week I’ll pack a PB&J in sad brown sack to consume in the basement of the stoic library. But then again, where’s the adventure in that?