Ice cream was pretty much a theme of my day. I am not complaining. It was a lovely day in New York -- it's Friday so who can really complain? I got out of work an hour early so I decided to check city search in search of the city's best ice cream to cool off on this warm summer day. Who knew it would be in China Town? I love New York because you can get on the subway in the middle of the suits and structure and stress of Seventh Avenue corporate america and emerge three stops later in the middle of China. It's like everywhere you go, you're in a new world.
I wandered through Chinatown, just soaking it in. There was so much activity; it was incredibly busy with people calling to each other in ambiguous thick asian dialects while silks and porcelain swirled around me in a blur and I felt like a foreigner. It was fantastic. A few blocks into my trek, I spotted a restaurant named Luigi's across the block. I thought to myself, "Didn't anyone tell them that this is Chinatown?" But I kept walking and before I knew it, voila! I was in Little Italy. Manhattan is a little globe filled with diverse international treasures.
But my intent was not only to wander and people watch... I came with a mission. And it didn't take long before I found it: the renowned Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. This place has a sweet take on the traditional flavors, but also sends your tastebuds for a loop with flavors like lychee, ginger, green tea, etc. I got a cone with a scoop of red bean and a scoop of black sesame. Oh, so good!
By the time I took an accidental trip to Brooklyn and got back to the lower east side, I thought I had missed my planned event of the evening, for sure. But luckily I caught up with Seth and other LDS friends in just enough time to catch the Lower Manhattan church history tour. We walked near the place where Martin Harris received the certificate from Charles Anton, where Joseph Smith stayed on Pearl Street, where some of the printing presses were originally housed (printing three newspapers by early members of the church), and the Joseph Smith statue that was installed just in time for his 200th birthday last year. The statue will be taken down tomorrow, so it was neat to visit it today.
Seven of us (mostly interns from BYU) enjoyed a fabulous (and cheap!) Vietnamese restaurant for dinner. Jason, Seth and I decided to spend the evening exploring... which naturally led us back to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory for dessert! (Sesame seed and Peanut Butter & Jelly this time.) We walked around SoHo and Greenwich until 2 am, and I was surprised at how the world was still so awake at that hour. Washington Square was a fantastic spot to sit and soak in the early morning street performers, impromptu soccer game, and a girl doing ballet as she bicycled. We saw a man (who appeared to be homeless) leave the park and come back with a huge oriental rug over his shoulder, which he unrolled and then plopped his pillow onto. We figured after the ballerina on bike it couldn't get any better, so that's when we called it a night. And the streets were still alive and kicking when we left.