Ida and Ikea

Most people come to Florence and head to the Duomo.  I arrive and make a beeline to IKEA for Scandinavian bits and bobs. To its credit, IKEA boldly predates our current Hygee-mania.  In front of the once grand Stazione Leopolda, I watched the tramvia shoot by.  My jet lag made it purely hypnotic. The tram …

Alice in Quogue

Quogue.  The last utterance of a dying duck?  The lament of an unamused bull frog? A putrid, incurable disease?  None of the above.  Rather, Quogue is a village in a Hamptons sandwich – the Tofurkey between West Hampton and Hampton Bays. Whether or not is a “Hampton” is worth pondering. It was far too glorious …

Summer Love

Summer’s over, and apparently so are the legendary Memorial Day to Labor Day relationships.  This annual tale would best be told from the Masterpiece Theater arm chair; dear viewer, they burn more brightly.  At least on the prescribed timeline they start and end with fireworks.  I learned on a crisp September morning that those who …

Into the Woods

My hometown of Moriches is the size of a postage stamp.  It happens to be made even more invisible by the fact that it sits in the shadow of the almighty Hamptons, but I see the idealism of this little town with clearer eyes these days.  During my teenage years, I lamented that it was …

Mr Softee

My most vivid memory of Juniper Park, in Middle Village Queens, was an epic fall right on my ass.  From an epic high to an epic low in the life of a 12-year-old, I had finally done the impossible and convinced my grandpa to buy me an enormous vanilla cone from the Mr. Softee truck.  …

Atlas, Not Shrugging

I found myself in the Central Market in the San Lorenzo neighborhood of Florence late one night, because after a negroni nothing hits all the spots better than an arancino, or 12.  Sicilian street food, these fried, fist-sized, risotto balls are glorious even this far away from the sun soaked Mezzogiorno.  Although it was late …

Too Many Tourists

What isn’t the least bit surprising is that little Florence attracts far too many tourists.  She has always has been a magnet for those seeking beauty.  What is surprising is that they no longer leave when summer turns to autumn.  In fact, they don’t even go home when autumn turns to winter and the weighty …

Coconut

Freakishly, I had my first fresh coconut in Florence.  This is rather surprising in an austere city of stone where the sun can disappear all winter long, and it is very hard to even track down a proper palm tree unless you make your way to the synagogue and peer through the garden’s gate for …

Pronti

I woke up this morning with a migraine sitting above my eyes banging on cymbals like an angry little toy monkey.  I could blame last night’s slow slip negroni, which was enjoyed at open mic night at The Goose, but that really couldn’t be it even though the waiter was Scottish and the drink was …

Underwear

There are some things you do in a foreign language that require a tremendous amount of bravery.  While I have negotiated shades of hair dye with my stylist and emergency dental work in Italian, I’ve never been brave enough to buy underwear.  I kid you not; this marks a major milestone in my language development. …