A summer picnic in New York

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Five days left. I’ve given up on cooking anything that takes more thought than a plate of pasta or a salad. The apartment is a mess, as I try to sort what I’ll need in Mexico versus what I need to store in my friends’ basements, and living in the mess for the past week has been more stressful than I expected. So it was a relief when Mimi and Alex invited me to come over for a picnic dinner Sunday night.

It had been stifling hot all day, especially for May, but by 6 pm, it was a pleasant, only slightly sultry night. They live way west in Chelsea, almost by the West Side Highway, so we wandered over to the strip of park that runs between the highway and the river. New Yorkers are starved for outdoor space–we picnicked right next to a highway. But there was some good brush between us and the cars, and before us was the Hudson River in all its fullness and New Jersey looking serenely green. There were kids running around, solitary people reading in the cool night air, and more than one couple making out with vigor. Ahh, summer in New York!

Mimi had gone nuts cooking–poached salmon, thick spears of asparagus, roasted peppers in sun-bright colors, marble-sized green and black olives, and a pasta salad full of surprises: peas, caramelized onions, pistachios, and dried cranberries. We drank the last bottle of white wine from their wedding and talked like we could never run out of things to say to each other.

Dessert was mascarpone, drizzled with honey, raspberries and blueberries. There’s possibly nothing better to eat when you’re sitting on a blanket by the river on a summer night in New York.

As much as I fantasize about never coming back, I’m don’t think I could ever give this up.

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