We LOVE Bryant Park, behind the New York Public Library. Many years ago the park had become a little derelict, and a group of concerned citizens decided that it needed a restoration and redesign, one that would bring lots of people into the park. And it worked! A private not-for-profit company was formed to manage the restoration and maintenance. Bryant Park has been a huge success, and it is one of our favorite places to visit in NYC. Tree shaded avenues find people reading, chatting with friends, eating, exercising, playing games. There are even book carts and a kind of open air library.
The day we visited a "small" yoga class was being held in the open space used for movies, performances, etc. The girl in pink was a perfect yoga devotee. (You can enlarge a photo by right clicking and choosing "Open in new window.")
The guys playing ping pong looked like they were having more fun. I told Kathy she should take up the sport -- good exercise and meet men at the same time. But does she take my advice? Nooo.
Best public rest rooms in New York City. Seriously nice! Don't forget to tip the attendant.
We enjoyed our shared gourmet sandwich (from one of the park food kiosks) while watching the ping pong players, then headed across the street to our actual destination: JAPANESE BOOK STORE! I love Japanese design! When I lived in Arlington I used to take the 77 bus down Mass Avenue to Porter Square in Cambridge. There was a sweet tea room, the Paper Source, and a small but wonderful Japanese mall in the old Sears building. The bakery, mmmmmmm, sweet bean & cream filled, light-as-a-feather donuts; food court with tampopo and miso offerings; a grocery store with the cutest snack section for kids this side of Japan; and a gift shop that carried beautiful hand printed papers for crafting, or just hanging on the wall.
Helloooo Kitty. The Japanese are genius at design and marketing.
Every so often I would run across a Japanese craft book in a bead, quilt, or needlework store, like these below. It never mattered that the books were not translated into English -- the design and craftsmanship were enough to study and be amazed at, and the instructions so well illustrated that an experienced crafter could figure them out.
Here is a doll I made from one of my old Ondori doll books. I remember that I used a coat hanger inside and it was really hard to bend it. But the doll came out so cute.
My daughter told me about a fabulous Japanese book store, Kinokuniya, she had discovered in NYC that I had to experience. Omg, when she brought me to the basement craft section, I was in book heaven! I couldn't believe the number and variety of books, covering all the fiber arts including some that are increasing in popularity and interest.
I had to get this precious book which looks a lot like stumpwork embroidery -- lots of detached buttonhole stitching of little animals, butterflies, beetles, & fish to make into a brooch, cover a purse, or simply decorate your home in hidden, whimsical ways.
The designs are amazing, and so is the photography:
Back cover of "Small World by Felt," a needle felting book:
"Irish Crochet Lace." The designs are charted, and Japanese charts are very nearly like American crochet charts, but even so this book might be too difficult for me. I'll start with a small motif. Why do they have to make it even cuter with the little bird placed delicately on the cover crochet?
Here is the address of the bookstore in New York City. But if you are near San Franciso, or Los Angeles, or even Dubai, they have branches there. I did not find their website user friendly, even the USA page is in Japanese. You just have to go there, and browse, and buy, and wish your wallet would call and say "Get as many books as you want, dear!"
I did not find this Japanese book at Kinokuniya, but at Lacis in Berkeley earlier this year. It is absolutely gorgeous to look at.
Eye candy from, where else, Japan! (I think; Charlie brought them home from a trip several years ago. I took a photo before they disappeared.)