#amreading Annie van by Katherine Howe

Ditmas Park Home

Hey everyone!

I thought I would write a little post to let you know what I’m reading. I want you to get an idea of where in NYC I’ll be touring next! With help from Twitter, I decided to read The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen by Katherine Howe. I’m excited about this one!

There’s a film student, a mysterious and beautiful girl, a seance, maybe a ghost? Sounds cool to me! Should make for an interesting tour in the city.

If you haven’t read one of my tours, check out my last one to get a better idea. Read it here. I read the book Modern Lovers, which inspired me to take a tour of the beautiful neighborhood Ditmas Park located in Brooklyn. It was a rainy day, but a cool skateboarder girl made me realize I was being a bit whiny about the rain. So I quit the bulls%it and enjoyed the day!

I only just started reading Annie van and already I’m pretty intrigued!

So I have an idea…why don’t you start reading it too so you’ll be even more fired up for my tour!? Riiiiigghht!? Sounds like a good idea to me if I do say so myself. 😉

Until then, here are some photos you didn’t see on my last tour:

Ditmas Park

Ditmas Park Home

Ditmas Park

That’s all for now! Don’t forget to check out my Modern Lovers Tour!

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Modern Lovers Tour

Flatbush Food Coop

This time I’m bringing you to sleepy Ditmas Park, as it’s often referred to as. I read “Modern Lovers” by Emma Straub, which got me ready to go to this great neighborhood. If you didn’t already, read my book review and sneak peek into my tour here.

Before going on this tour, I must admit, I was aggravated. If you read my Breakfast at Tiffany’s tour, you already know that I sometimes have trouble shaking off my aggravation. I usually do my tour on Saturday’s but since my weather app told me there would be thunderstorms, I postponed it. Sunday would have showers, but it didn’t sound as bad. Part of me thought I should cancel it altogether to wait for better weather, but a bigger part of me thought that the point of my tours is to get out of my comfort zone and see what happens. I had pretty perfect weather for my other tours, but things can’t be perfect all the time. That’s not reality. I know how gorgeous Ditmas Park looks on a lovely Spring day, so it wasn’t an easy pill for me to swallow, but I choked it down.

I’ve been to Ditmas Park before. I was amazed the first time I came here. I’m used to massive skyscrapers, hordes of people rushing by, honking cars…even living in Brooklyn, Ditmas Park was this heavenly little oasis of chirping birds, scampering squirrels, and cute, fluffy scaredy cats. I loved it! And oh yeah, BEAUTIFUL Victorian homes with romantic trees and perfect lawns. It’s unbelievable that this place exists in NYC.

In the book, the character Andrew gets involved with a place called EVOLVEment. It has yoga, meditation, essential oils, and illegal Kombucha. It was a coop so everyone worked there. Andrew came from family money and didn’t have a job, so it seemed like he was in some midlife crisis when he stumbled upon this place. He was ripe for the plucking by the sketchy owner, Dave.

Since that place is fictional, I decided that instead of getting involved in something sketchy, I would use the book to inspire me to move my body around in some sort of exercise-type way. Yoga!

Family of Light Holistic Center

I went to the Family of Light Holistic Center. It’s been a million years since I’ve done any physical activity besides walking around the city. However, I thought since it’s an open level yoga I should have no problem.

The class started off strangely since there was a weird smell coming from the facilities. The instructor opened the door and gave us essential oils to put on our wrists to help mask the odor.

She starts the class, “Now inhale deeply…”

Um…I’m gonna pass on that.

In her defense, the smell didn’t last long. The essential oils smelled great & relaxing and soon I could inhale deeply without concern. It was nice because it was a small class so we got a lot of individualized attention. Although, I feel like I got the most attention because she had to keep correcting my form. Yoga isn’t easy! I was sore for a couple days afterward, but my neck which is usually sore felt good for a couple of days. I need to go back!

After that class, I was hopeful that my aggravation about the rain would easily float away. We’ll see.

Since I’m a Brooklyner, I don’t live too, too far from this spot, so I went home to freshen up.

Please enjoy this brief intermission with a snack and/or beverage of your choice.

Okay, we’re back!

Cortelyou Road

Cortelyou Road is the main drag of Ditmas Park. It’s often mentioned in the book and lots of restaurants, bars, & stores run along this road. I headed to a popular place along this street for a quick brunch.

Cafe Madeline
Cafe Madeline

This place is soooo busy! It’s crowded at the counter and a bit nerve-racking for an introvert like myself. I ordered at the counter, waited for my coffee at the end of the counter…and waited…and waited. Finally, I get my coffee that was filled to the top of my mug and make my precarious walk among the throngs of people to search for a table without spilling it. I had to wait some more until, hallelujah, praise baby Elvis! I hear my name and they bring me my meal.

Cafe Madeline
Avocado and egg cheddar biscuit

It was cold. Ugh. I ate it anyway because I don’t want to dare fight through the massive amount of people at the counter. It’s a bummer because I can tell how good the ingredients are and how well made it is. It was still decent despite the chill.

When I leave, it’s still raining and I’m not in the best mood. The hectic vibe of Cafe Madeline is not really my scene and it’s Mother’s Day, I forgot to mention. I didn’t really think about that when I had to delay my tour. It was a bit awkward sitting alone in a cafe on a rainy day on Mother’s Day. I did call my mom though who lives out of state and I bought her something nice. Enough about my mom…

Time to get moving!

Ditmas Park, Argyle Road

I’m walking up Argyle Road which is the street Elizabeth and Andrew live on and it’s also the street Ruby and Harry walk up to get to Prospect Park. I follow the directions straight out of the book.

Trying to shake off my aggravation about the rain when I see…

Ditmas Park, Argyle Road

Only the coolest teen girl ever! I’m over here annoyed at the rain from underneath my umbrella when this girl goes skating past me without a care in the world. The character Ruby is kind of a badass teen girl so it was so appropriate that this girl showed up as I’m literally walking Ruby’s path to the park.

I was never a badass kid. I was awkward, shy, and so self-conscious. I look at a girl like this skateboarder and think, “She’s gonna turn out alright.” Not that I didn’t, but I’m still searching for my inner badass.

Ditmas Park, Argyle Road

Ditmas Park, Arglye Road
You already know I’m a dog stalker, but I will stalk cats too.

Prospect Park

“They walked three blocks straight up Argyle, until they hit the soccer fields and the back of the tennis center…Ruby nudged Harry toward the bridle path, a soft dirt road…they were completely alone, staring out at the lake…There were ducks in the lake…”

Ducks!? I need to see these ducks!!!

Prospect Park bridle path

Prospect Park Lake

I found the lake! I was told there would be ducks here.

Prospect Park Lake
“People fish here, have you seen that?” Ruby asked.

That guy is fishing!

Prospect Park Lake

DUCKS!!! 😀😍

Prospect Park Lake

AND SWANS!!! How did I not know about this? I vaguely recall hearing something about this, but I guess I was too busy sitting on my comfy couch to learn how to find this in real life. Thank you, Emma Straub, for leading me to the ducks and swans of Brooklyn!

Prospect Park Lake

So cool! I enjoyed them for a little bit. I was alone in this spot minus some rowdy men I heard nearby. I think that the only park goers on a rainy day are the ones running the loop. Runners are a dedicated bunch, rain or shine. The loop was close but not close enough that I felt that protective feeling you have when you’re around others. So when one of the rowdy men started walking in my direction, call me paranoid or call me street smart, I said a quick goodbye to the ducks & swans and briskly walked toward the more populated loop. That guy kept walking in my direction but since I made that decision quickly, there was no way he could catch up to me. He was probably harmless but on this Mother’s Day, I had my mom’s voice in my ear, “Better safe than sorry.”

But MOM…maybe I ran away from my soulmate?

Mom: “Mmmn…I don’t think so. Did you hear about that girl who went to the park to look at the swans and…”

Did she get murdered?

Mom: “Yes…brutally. I think I might know your future soulmate. He lives in Georgia. You can talk to him on the computer!”

Thanks, mom.

Now that I escaped near death thanks to my mom…time to get back on track!

Cambodian Buddhist Temple
Cambodian Buddhist Temple

 

Ditmas Park homes

Ditmas Park

Ditmas Park Victorian Homes

Ditmas Park Victorian Homes

Did you enjoy these lovely homes? The next home I’m going to take you is the well-publicized mansion of actress Michelle Williams.

Ditmas Park
It’s under renovation.

Ditmas Park

Whoa! I was not expecting that. Trying to enjoy a peaceful walk here!

The next homes I learned about from reading an article on Bklyner.com called “Brooklyn Staycation: A Day In Ditmas Park.”

The Japanese House
The Japanese House
William & Lulu Norwood House
The William & Lulu Norwood House. Quite a hidden fortress!
184 Marlborough Road
According to the article, this was the home to Nellie Bly – “the pioneering feminist and investigative journalist who took the world by storm decades before women even had the right to vote.”

Street Art in Ditmas Park

Artist: Juan Carlos Pinto

Ditmas Park art

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn
This is from the Newkirk Plaza tunnel murals.

Newkirk Plaza tunnel mural

Newkirk Plaza mural

Tree art

Ditmas Park, tree art

 

Coffee Z
Grabbed a coffee and chilled for a bit.
Ditmas Park
So many tree-lined streets.
Ditmas Park home
Love this one!

This is the last house on my tour. Did you have a favorite?

For dinner, I picked a restaurant that I think could be the inspiration for Jane and Zoe’s fictional restaurant Hyacinth, which is located on Cortelyou Road.

The Farm on Adderley
The Farm on Adderley

I sat at the bar with a glass of wine & a good meal.

The Farm on Adderley
Farro Rissoto

Looks a little weird but it was quite tasty.

I was thinking about my last tour, how I was hoping I’d meet a nice guy. A guy was near me for a bit but when I got back from the bathroom, he was gone. Two guys took his place. Hmm? I’ll have my choice…actually I think they might be gay.

I’m not really feeling the drive to meet a guy like I was during my last tour. I wasn’t jealous of any of the characters this time. Instead, I look at those guys and think, “Good for them!” What’s wrong with me? I’m almost 39 & still single. I need to keep my eyes peeled. Change locations if there are no viable single guys around.

Bartender: “Would you like dessert?”

Yes!

The Farm on Adderley
Goats Milk Panna Cotta

No! What is this? The bartender recommended this. I feel conned. They were out of one dessert and I bet they were low on the chocolate one, so she steered me toward this one.

Um, bartender, I’m the single female here, I think you should have pointed me in the direction of chocolate instead of this swamp! I don’t even know what I’m eating. Are those onions? In her defense, she did say it was weird, but she used weird as a selling point and I fell for it! No, I don’t want croutons in my dessert, thank you though.

That left me wanting actual dessert so I stopped at the store on my way home and picked up chocolate peanut butter gelato. Yum!

Anyway,

I saved the best for last. 😊

Ditmas Park Dog

Meet Pogo!

You know I love dogs, but I have a special place in my heart for three-legged dogs. The owner lets me take a picture and told me that Pogo inspires him every day. I love that three-legged dogs go about their life the same as if they had all four. They run around & play and enjoy their life.

I’ll keep Pogo and the cool skateboarder girl on my mind whenever I need to remind myself to just let go and enjoy.

Thank you so much for coming along with me on my tour! I hope you enjoyed it.

Click here to find out what I’m reading next!

Follow me on Twitter- @Searching4humor, Instagram-@Searchingforhumor, and Pinterest- @Searchingforhumor.

Book Review and Ditmas Park Tour: Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

Since the last book I read was set in Manhattan, I thought it would be nice to head back to Brooklyn. I am a Bk girl after all, which I admit, makes me a little biased. This book is set in Ditmas Park, a little oasis in Brooklyn that’s hard to believe exists until you step foot over there. Do you need a breather from the hectic, rushed vibes of Manhattan? Ditmas Park is your answer! It is a breath of fresh air!

Needless to say, I was excited to read Modern Lovers. In fact, I’ve been planning on reading it for a while but I needed to wait until the trees would be in full, spectacular bloom for you. In case, you’re wondering, yes, I have been to this part of Brooklyn before. I was amazed the first time I walked around this neighborhood, so I really wanted you all to see it too. Sadly, I had a bit of a weather delay and the day I went was not the perfect day I was hoping for either. It was a bit rainy, but not so terrible that I couldn’t enjoy the day.

Okay, down to business! Modern Lovers is about a close group of friends, Elizabeth, Andrew, Zoe, and Lydia who knew each other during their college days and were in a band together. Elizabeth and Andrew were college sweethearts and now are married living in Ditmas Park with their teenage son, Harry.

Zoe is married to Jane and they also live in Ditmas Park and coincidentally have a teenage daughter named Ruby. Do you see where this is going? Yup, Harry, and Zoe might become more than friends…

So that leaves Lydia…Lydia became quite the rockstar but as stars go- they rise and then they fall. Unfortunately, Lydia’s fell. A film surrounding her life is a major focal point of the story.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Prior to reading, I had glanced at some negative reviews. Well, I, for one was completely invested in each of the characters’ stories, especially Elizabeth’s.

The characters seemed real and honest. I enjoyed Ruby’s badass personality and Harry’s innocence. The relationship troubles the characters faced seemed very relatable. I rooted for them and hoped for the best when things seemed to get a little hairy. I definitely recommend this book.

In case this is the first time you’re reading my blog, I read books set in NYC and take a tour of the city using the book as inspiration. Check out the last tour I went on based on the book I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk. You can read it here.

I’ve lived in NYC for almost 13 years and if I’m being honest, I was in a bit of a rut doing the same things day in and day out. Wake up-Work-Home-TV-Bed. Rinse & repeat. Many times I thought, “What am I doing living in such an expensive city?” Am I taking advantage of living in one of the coolest cities on the planet? The answer was no. I needed to change that. When I got this idea, I felt excited. I love reading and who knows where these books and characters will take me? I wanted to see!

Part of me was nervous because if I don’t make plans with friends, I usually just stay home unless I have errands or something. Could I spend a whole day in the city doing solo activities? Brunch, dinner on a Saturday night, or a concert? Well, now I have done those things and it makes me eager to do more! Now I know that I don’t need to wait for anyone to get out and explore. I don’t need to wait for permission to go out and live an adventurous life.

But of course I know friendships and even dating (ugh) are important. So don’t worry, I will still keep up with my social life. I do have some pretty great people who I’m lucky to call friends.

On to the best part- a sneak peak into my tour!

Here you go!

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Ditmas Park, Cortelyou train tracks

Trees of Ditmas Park
Trees of Ditmas Park

Ditmas Park tree trunk

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Prospect Park

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Thank you for reading! Full tour is here!