Annie Van Tour

East Village, The Bowery

I had a moment when I saw this message written on a building I passed during my Annie Van tour. I feel like I’ve been more of a dreamer since blogging and starting my book tours. It’s exciting because I haven’t felt this way since my teenage years when I had lofty dreams about being the next Natalie Portman. Towards my young adult years, I lost that aspiration, but I know that I felt something lacking. I still had creative juices in me but I didn’t know how to utilize them anymore. I focused more on my altruistic side for my career, which has been very rewarding, but I know I’ve wanted to do more to access my creativity. Now I am.

Book Tour Inspired by Katherine Howe’s The Appearance of Anne van Sinderen

I visited the East and West Village and The Bowery.

If you didn’t read my review of Katherine Howe’s The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen, you can read it here.

This book gave me great inspiration for a book tour of the city. Young love, youthful aspirations, mystery, and a ghost?

The first thing I had to do of course was eat because a girl has to eat! The character Wes goes to NYU for the summer and his dorm is on Waverly Place. He brought Annie to a diner “down the street” that he likes. I found a diner down the street from Waverly Place.

I walked in the wrong direction for longer than I’d care to admit. However, happy accidents happen when one gets lost.

I got to get in some quality squirrel stalking time.

NYC Squirrel

I got to hear this guy play Bohemian Rhapsody on the piano…

NYC Piano Player

I was starving so I said, “adíos” to this Piano Man.

Waverly Restaurant
385 6th Ave.

Waverly Restaurant

Wes didn’t steer me or Annie wrong because this food was pretty decent.

After satisfying my tummy, I head to the nearby Washington Square Park where Wes and Annie spent some time.

I walk down Wes’ street to get there.

Waverly Place
Waverly Place

Here’s a shot of NYU

NYU
I must admit, I don’t know which part of NYU this is. Let’s pretend it’s the library Wes and Annie go to.
Washington Square Park
Of course I follow the dogs.

More dogs!!!!!!!

Washington Square Park Dogs

The money shot!

Washington Square Park

The Hare Krishna Festival of India was taking place at the time of my visit. It was a cool atmosphere to be a part of.

The Hare Krishna Festival of India

The Hare Krishna Festival of India

This funhouse mirror represents our changing body. Our body changes throughout our lifetime, “but we also can see that the conscious self within the changing body remains the same.” I think the point is that our real self is within so that’s where our focus should be and what we should work on. Do you agree?

The Hare Krishna Festival of India

I enjoyed the vibe of Washington Square Park. I took some time to relax by the fountain that had kids and some adults splashing around in. I definitely recommend a visit here when you come to NYC.

Katherine Howe herself told me (on Twitter) that I had to start off my tour at The Merchant’s House. She was so nice to tell me that this is where she got the inspiration for Annie’s home.

The Merchant’s House MuseumI arrived on time to join a tour that had just begun. I learned this house has been around since 1832 and occupied by the wealthy Tredwell family. The tour guide talked about how the Tredwells had 8 kids including 6 daughters and four of them didn’t get married. He said he’s unsure of why that was and maybe there was some sort of dysfunction? Well, I can tell you that, without a doubt, dating in NYC is tough! I guess back in the 1830s or 40s was tough too. And maybe they were independent women who didn’t need a man to survive? Hmm?

The Merchant’s House

I included this picture of the Tredwell family because Wes refers to Annie’s hair as “hipster hair curled over her ears.” Do the Tredwell women look like Williamsburg hipsters?

I think this might be similar to Annie’s and her sister’s room since the Tredwell children’s rooms weren’t on display and a tub is in this room just like Annie’s. Can you see the small tub in between the bride mannequin and the small bed?

The Merchant’s House

What a lovely backyard!

So apparently people have some ghost stories from this house. The Tredwells lived here for 100 years and some believe they haven’t left. They even do ghost tours here. I might have to come back before Halloween!

Did I run into any ghosts, you ask? You be the judge…

The Merchant’s House Oh my god! Scary! I think it’s the ghost of Annie Van and she’s excited to see an iPhone for the first time.

On a more serious note, I have to mention that plans exist to build an eight-story hotel next to The Merchant’s House. The tour guide explained that this could severely damage or even destroy the house. Back in the 1830s there were many townhouses next to each other and they kind of held each other up. As the last standing home from back then, it is not so stable. I saw the evidence of this in the cracks in the walls. They have contraptions in the walls to reinforce them. Since I enjoyed visiting this historical landmark, I signed their petition against the construction of the hotel. You can learn more here and sign the petition yourself if you’d like.

After leaving, I head over to walk along the streets that Wes and Annie walked.

The Bowery

The Bowery Market
L’Arte del Gelato at The Bowery Market

I found gelato! You better believe I got some!

L’Arte del Gelato

I got the pistachio flavor. It was so delicious! I want more!

The Bowery Market

The Bowery

The Bowery

I imagine Annie walking these streets being confused by all the sights, tall buildings, and frenetic energy of the city.

Next on the agenda is a trip to a psychic. If you remember from my review, Wes and his friend Tyler film a séance at the beginning of the book. Since the woman who leads the séance in the book is often referred to as a palm reader, I figured getting a reading from a psychic is the next best thing to a séance. Besides, of course, I want to know about my love life!

My dating life has been going through a dry spell lately, okay, it’s a drought. Maybe the psychic can give me hope or help me accept my independent, single life? Maybe she’ll help me name my future dog?

The first psychic I called charges $180-$300 for a 1-2hr session! She said she was the #1 astrologer, not some bullsh$t place you can walk up to on the street. I promptly hung up the phone so I could find a bullsh$t psychic on the street.

Bingo!

NYC Psychic

I was buzzed in by Natasha who gave me her prices. A $25.00 palm reading sounded good to me! I sat down on her couch, eyes closed, palms up, her little daughter playing on the floor…and thought of two questions I needed answers to- love and career. I know, so predictable.

Natasha told me that I had two guys in my life. One is not the guy for me and one is my soulmate. I sort of lied before because I recently went on one date with a guy who I wasn’t too sure about. He’s currently finding himself whilst in Spain hiking the El Camino. There was also a guy I was potentially going to go out with but he was also out of town. Natasha was adamant that I’ve already met my soulmate so going out with that stranger would be pointless. She asked if there was someone from my past that I still think about? I admitted there was but that I probably shouldn’t go out with him again. I asked, “What should I do?” She tells me, “Nothing…he will come to you.” Well, that’s easy! I don’t have to waste my time with online dating or do anything at all! Takes the pressure off.

Next up she tells me, “You are an honest person, a good-hearted person, you help people, but when you need help, you don’t reach out, you stand on your own two feet. You’re all these things but you’re not fulfilled in what you’re doing. You’re not happy. You’re searching for something.”

Wow. Hard to hear, but I think there is some truth to it.

However, since I’ve started my blog, I think I’ve been feeling more fulfilled. Maybe she’s seeing how I felt pre-blog days? Although those thoughts are still present since I’m still growing here and not totally sure where blogging will lead me. It’s been a fun adventure so far though!

The psychic also told me that soon I will have financial success, a bigger position. All I need to do is wait for it all to come to me. I already did get a new job but I don’t know if that’s what she’s referring to or something else? We shall see!

Of course, I take it all with a hefty grain of salt.

I texted my brother-

NYC psychic

Next I head to the water because according to Annie, back in her days, no parks existed so they hung out by the water for leisure. A major focal point of the story is The Grand Aquatic Display, so I had to picture that scene by the water too.

On the way, I passed by a community garden that I relaxed in for a bit. I couldn’t resist its charming appeal.

NYC Community Garden

As I was leaving, I spotted something magnificent.

NYC Community Garden

NYC Community Garden

With his mom’s permission, I was able to snap a closer pic. He was a bit camera shy, but he’s a beauty!

Now to the water!

East River

I had some ulterior motives in coming here. I had been looking forward to spying some good looking runners, but now that the psychic told me I’ve met my soulmate, that purpose seems pretty fruitless now! I guess I can still enjoy the eye candy just a little bit? Maybe not my soulmate but no harm in looking, right?

The East River

Lots of couples passed in front of me, but this couple was my favorite. They seemed at ease and in tune with each other. Relationship goals!

The East River

The psychic was wrong! Now I’ve met my soulmate! Look at the way he’s looking at me! That face!

Don’t run away!

We’ll always have our moment. Time to go.

I head to another spot from the book. I believe the New York City Marble Cemetery was the inspiration for Annie’s final resting place. It was closed but I could snap some pictures through the gate.

The New York City Marble Cemetery

The New York City Marble Cemetery

The New York City Marble Cemetery

Cemeteries make me hungry so I head out to search for a favorite spot among the characters of the book- a pizza place!

As satisfying as this is, I think an evening in the East Village isn’t complete until you go to a dive bar. It ties in nicely with the book since the characters often hung out in dive bars too.

International Bar
International Bar, 102 1st Ave.

International Bar

I discovered this outdoor area on a trip the restroom so I wanted another beer to enjoy the atmosphere outside. Trouble is I didn’t open a tab and realized that I didn’t have enough cash. I only wanted one more, which didn’t meet the minimum for using a credit card. What does the bartender do? He gave me the second one for free! What a cool guy!

What is it that people say about New Yorkers? How awesome we are?

NYC tour, The Appearance Annie van Sinderen, nyc tour inspired by the book.

Thank you so much for coming along with me on my tour. Come back for my next one! I will reveal what I’m reading and where I’m going in my next post.

Special thanks to Katherine Howe for the awesome inspiration with her book and for supporting my tour along the way. I loved Annie Van!

 

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!

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