On the advice of my acupuncturist, I went to Kamwo Herbal Pharmacy at 211 Grand Street in Chinatown, near the corner of Mott. I bought moxa for moxibustion. The moxa I bought is little cigarette-butt looking pieces of ground mugwort and other herbs that are adhered to the body and burnt to stimulate the nervous system.
It comes in a box with a picture of a happy lady riding a turtle.
When I left Kamwo, I noticed that it was cater-corner to Di Palos, the touristy Little Italy provisions shop that is making a comeback these days. They have really tasty food but you have to wait in this ungodly line full of people from who knows where, each one doing everything wrong over and over. I used to work in the area and it would have made a great spot to eat lunch, except I couldn't stand in that line at lunchtime without going crazy. I did it sometimes anyway, I went crazy then. You can eat lunch on the benches in the park on Christie and watch people playing soccer or making midday noisy smelling shenanigans. It stinks to think of it, even. You are going crazy because you had to wait in the line, pissed, chewing the good food.
Up Mott Street is Optical 88. I was just talking about it over the weekend. You can bring in a pair of glasses and you can get an eye exam plus lenses for under $100. If you buy glasses at Fabulous Franny's on 9th they refer you here. You can get colored tint on the lens.
You look up at the sign and think, "If my glasses look like those I need new glasses."
Up the block. "PARIS SANDWICH" read the sign. "FRESHLY BAKED BAGUETTES HOURLY." It was a banh mi restaurant.
I ordered #1, the PARIS SANDWICH combination, with a banh mi sandwich, milk tea, and green tea waffle for $5.50. The sandwich had some slimy-crunchy bits in it but I didn't detect any pate. It was perfectly serviceable and just fine. The green tea waffle was good and interesting tasting. All in all for $5.50 it was a killer deal. It's on Mott Street up towards the Manhattan Bridge from Grand.
I asked the lady where the bathroom and she sent me through the kitchen and down a super long staircase with four different landings, a twisting hallway going up and down on different elevations, a few empty prep kitchens, and then to this door at the end of a hallway. I saw the sign. "Why bother?" I thought. The floor was not at all wet or slippery. I didn't see any actual opium smokers but they couldn't have left that long ago.
Kamwo: blown up. Optical 88: blown up. Paris Restaurant: blown up. But I had serious reservations about blowing the whistle on Winnie's. This is a karaoke bar that has free karaoke for happy hour, and at about 8pm they begin charging $1 to sing. So, go there for happy hour. No one is there, no one cares. They have a laserdisc karaoke machine with multilingual subtitles and videos by a director gone mushy in the head. I recommend 'I Shot The Sheriff'. The sheriffs look like budget security guards. When you sing "Every time I plant the seed, they kill it before it grows," there is an clip of one of the budget security guards stepping on some fake flowers. They have 'Nothing Compares 2 U' (the Sinead version) and 'Ring Of Fire' and 'Lay Lady Lay'. 'Cherry Pie.' It's a great place.
Osama Bin Laden was killed the night before. I rode down to the WTC site to see what was going on. The media was all you could see, satellite dishes for blocks around. This picture is taken a block away from the site. Looking down the street some cranes from the construction are visible. The gray building across the street is St. Peter's which is NYC's oldest Catholic church. There is a cross-shaped piece of steel that was salvaged from the WTC, and people gathered around to pose for pictures with it. I asked a police officer if anything was going on. "They said to go here and to keep people moving," he said. People looked tense. I was glad that it wasn't too weird, nobody was shouting, I didn't see any signs. The media trucks blocked the downtown lanes, so I took off uptown towards the Williamsburg Bridge to Brooklyn.
When I got back to Bushwick there was a photo shoot at the corner of Bogart and Boerum.