01 March 2008
s u b t l e t i e s
Nearly two months into the new apartment I noticed the imprint- a few steps further up the Slope the reverse. On this crisp morning the series of images negotiated themselves into my thoughts. Ordinarily, a detail-oriented individual- I had some how managed to miss this seemingly obvious design - an accident- naturally pressed into the sidewalk. Perhaps the additional calm brought on by the Winter air pressed an interest in how the environment was reacting? Watching ones feet as they walk- so as not to slip?
On another note...Vadim and I spent the afternoon in the Russian concentrated neighborhoods of Coney Island negotiating prices for a new table. The furniture stores displayed an impressive array of garish choices. Beyond the delicious bortsche and vareneki, walking into each store- being addressed in Russian- a lovely assumption (who else would patronize??) The furs and boots, the glitter on the clothes and tables. We went to a Russian restaurant. The server was clearly Siberian in his build and facial structure. Handsome, precise, helpful- managing to provide excellent service- even while conversing on his cell phone. We enjoyed eggplant pureed with deadly and satisfying amounts of garlic, a salad flirting on the edge of greek in its influence. Potatoes sliced, roasted and decorated with more garlic and fresh dill. Tart cherry pel' meni's, potato with caramelized onions- farmers cheese with sour cream and clearly meat perogies with butter. Vodka, red wine and Baltika. Although we would ordinarily consider the country and grape of the wine to be of great importance, it is not as significant in the Russian restaurants. The server didn't even realize that they had what we asked for- up until he brought it to our table along with another bottle and we pointed it out.To finish- double espressos with sugar crystals on sticks. Divine. Alex and Irina spoke of the food in terms of how it tasted twenty years ago in Kiev and Russia. For in New York City's Russian neighborhoods the immigrants believe in maintaining these aspects of their culture, whereas in Eurasia today- there is an emphasis on change and modernizing.
The lay out of the restaurant, Volna (translates to 'wave,') was traditional in the sense that it had a 'bistro' which functioned to serve men quick shots of vodka attached to the boardwalk separating us from Brighton Beach. Attached was the humble layout of the restaurant- with doors that opened to the beach in th Summer- adjacent an open room with longer tables, disco lights and Gypsy dancers and music. The quintessential Russian celebration for no reason beyond a Saturday night.