11:04 a.m. The ferry pulls out of the port to narrowly avoid a tanker accompanied by what seem to be two small Coast Guard boats. The ferry isn’t packed this morning like it is most mornings, probably because it’s a Saturday. But interestingly, there don’t seem to be many tourists on the ferry this morning either. Maybe they’ve already seems Lady Liberty or maybe they’re taking their sweet time to get to her on this clear, pleasantly-above-freezing morning. As for me, I’m breaking from my normal Saturday morning routine of waking up early and going grocery shopping in Staten Island so I can, of all things, get coffee in Manhattan. 11:32 a.m. A middle-aged couple from Newfoundland comes up to me while I’m waiting for the next R train to arrive (I stupidly missed the first one because I was too busy trying to figure out where I was going to actually notice that the train was right in front of me). They ask me how to get to the Empire State Building. Not knowing for sure, I looked it up for them. They didn’t appear to have phones (they must have them somewhere, right?) but I never saw one. Just a couple of paper maps. So yes, people do still use those.
Walking up to Blue Bottle Coffee, I’m five minutes late. If it were just me coming here to grab a coffee, it wouldn’t have mattered. But I’m not here to get my Saturday morning coffee fix. I’m here for a first date. So naturally I feel a little bad about my tardiness when I walk up to a guy wearing a sling because he recently had shoulder surgery, looking in the wrong direction as I approached him. We were obviously both a little nervous, not quite sure how to start the conversation. It didn’t help that I through him off by opening the door for him. What can I say? I’m a gentleman.
We both ordered a New Orleans iced coffee, which I'm pretty sure refers to where the beans were sourced. Was it the best coffee in NYC? Probably not. Was it pretty decent? Yes, it was.
Seeing as there was no seating at the coffee shop, we took our iced coffees and wandered over to a nearby park in the Union Square area. It was roughly 45 degrees outside, but it was sunny, which kept it from being too cold. Which was great because we ended up sitting side-by-side on this park bench for over two hours, just talking. It was the best conversation I’ve had in quite some time.
As two people who aren’t originally from NYC, we bonded over the city’s apparent disdain for doughnuts. It truly is hard to find any semblance of a local doughnut shop in New York, as the place is littered with Dunkin’ Donuts. But we were both getting hungry when he said he knew of a place we could try not far from the park.
So with that, we walked over to an artisanal doughnut shop called Dough. They had all sorts of unique and interesting flavors such hibiscus, café au lait, passionfruit and salted chocolate, which is what I ended up getting. To be honest, that was probably a mistake as far as date foods go, considering the yeast doughnut was covered in this thick chocolate frosting, which was deep and delicious and not too sweet, in part aided by the bursts of sea salt seated atop the icing, but it was also super hard not to get it all over your face. Luckily he and his classic glazed doughnut didn’t seem fazed.
We walked around aimlessly for bit, through a weekend food market and passed some public art, before we decided to part ways.
He walked me to the closest R train station. We hugged and discussed meeting up again.
As far as dates go, it was a very good one. It was definitely the best I’ve had in New York so far, so I’m excited to see where it goes from here. And even if it doesn’t go anywhere, it was still a great date and a day well spent in the city.