Brunch at Cafeteria

Yum, yum.  Cafeteria always has something surprising in their ever changing seasonal menu and has generous portions.  It’s one of these bright places, which simple white walls and food that comes out presented in a way that makes your stomach growl loudly in anticipation.

There’s also a comfort to drinking out of a jar–here is their famous cranberry lemonade in a mason jar!

Brunch at Shopsin's General Store

I am continually on the hunt for a good brunch spot.  One of the places that I have to mention is Shopsin’s General Store.  It is in the Essex Market.  I kept looking outside of it, walking up and down the street to no avail and finally figured out that you have to go inside and past the meat market to find this tiny little place full of vulgarity and the most delicious food you will ever encounter.

The menu has about 8 million items and it is very difficult to choose one meal. It is family owned and family run and if you adore spicy food, like I do, get a little kick by ordering an item with “hatch,” which is apparently a green chili.  Also, another delicious item comes from “The Petes” section of the menu, called the “Repete.”  Prepare to enter into pig heaven.  Also, if you are a vegetarian (I only pay attention to this now because my husband became one about two years ago), there is plenty of food for you.  Beware, you will get scorned for being one, but there are many items to choose from and you’ll still be enchanted by deliciousness.

Fair warning, be prepared to wait a long time if you go during the weekend.  It has a much more relaxed atmosphere during the week.  Shopsin’s only has room for 8-9 people in its restaurant and a few more chairs outside.  It is known for having hour long lines filled with people waiting outside just to get yelled at while eating.  Bon appetite!

B Cup and Katy

There are so many great coffee shops in NYC, but my favorite is B Cup on Ave B and 13th St.  It just grabs my fancy, perhaps it’s because we’re so attracted to bright colors and you almost feel like you’re on the set of “Friends”, except it’s a little grungier and the people behind the counter are way friendlier and more interesting.

Almost every time I have a visitor, (which has been a lot lately) I tend to gravitate toward B Cup.  Not only does it have delicious treats fit for everyone’s tastes, it is comfy, in a great location (Alphabet City) and near an area of the city I love photographing and walking around.

Mmmm…I’m craving an Israeli salad as I write about it.  Thanks to my Canadian friend, Katy (pictured above) who accompanied me, I had my fill of decaf herbal tea, while she drank some delicious coffee.  We had one of those fabulous nights where we ate and walked our way through the East and West Village and talked for close to 7 hours.

I met Katy while traveling through Morocco a few months ago and was glad to have her visit.  Many of my closest lifelong friendships were made while traveling and I’m glad to have formed another one with her.

Moja Papieska Spiritualna Podrosz

Minelo kilka lat od czasu jak pisalam na temat papierza i o moich doznaniach, gdy uczestinczylam w pogrzebie Jana Pawla II. Mialam wiele okazji a zeby widziec naszego Ojca Swietego i witac go dwa razy osobiscie a kazdy z tych momentow byl wyjatkowy i specjalny dla mnie. Kazde spotkanie z nim dawalo mi odswiezajacy powiew w moim zyciu i w mojej potrzebie Boga. Tak wiec, kiedy Jan Pawel II umarl bylam poprostu z druzgotana. Nie przestawalam plakac i myslec jakze inny bedze swiat bez jego obecnosci. Nawet wiele miesiecy pozniej, oplakiwalam jego smierc razem z milionami innych ludzi.

W chwili obecniej, w moja dusze wstapila wielka nadzieja i radosc w momencie gdy zauwazylam szczegolny charizmat papieza Benedykta XVI, ktory jako nowy pasterz kosciola ma mnie prowadzic na drodze mojej wiary. Poczulam szczegolna wiez z tym papiezem. Sprawy, ktore dla mnie sa szczegolnie istotne to to, co ksztaltuje, okresla i czyni mnie bardzie stalym w mojej wierze. Moj wzrost jako polsko-amerykanskiej katolickiej dziewczyny odczuwalam zawsze jako trudny marsz pod prad. Zawsze stale walczylam aby bronic moich pogladow i tego kim jestem. Moje rodzice zawsze mowili mi, ze w moim zyciu nie raz zdazy mi sie byc przesladowanym za moja wiare. W tym momencie wlasznie otrzymalam od Ojca Benedicta XVI jakby potwierdzienie i umocnienie w tym co moi rodzice i Ks. Adam probowali mi przekazac w formie jego wypowiedzi, „Prawda nie jest ustanawiana glosem wiekszosci.” Ten cytat daje mi odwage w zyciu w Chrystusie.

Nie tak dawno przeprowadzilam sie z Chicago do Nowego Jorku z odczuciem ze Nowy Jork, nie ma wielu wierzacych Katolikow. Tak wiec kiedy dowiedzialam ze Ojciec Sw. planuje przyjazd do USA od seminarzysty z ktorym lecialam razem do Rosji, nie przypuszczalam nawet co nastapi pozniej. Przy najbliszej okazji prosilam proboszcza mojej parafii pod wezwaniem Trzech Kroli wzbudzajac uznanie ze jestem pierwsza osoba ktora prosi o zaproszenia na Msze Papieska, majaca sie odbyc 20 kwietnia 2008. Bylam niezwykle uradowana z powodu przyznania mi tych zaproszen i pojecia nie mialam ze bede jedna z 60,000 ludzi ktorzy zostali zaproszeni i nadzwyczanoscia wydazen spiritualnych jakie maly nastapic.

Moi rodzice przybyli w piatek tuz przed przybyciem papieza i natychmiast zaczelismy czuc reakcje spoleczenstwa od momentu jego pojawienia sie. Ludzie chcieli sie znim spotkac, dotknac go, widziec go i byc przez niego blogoslawionym. Gdziekolwiek mysmy poszli, czy to do restauracji, czy spacerujac po ulicach, czy w doniesieniach mediow, wszedzie pozytywnie komentowano przyjazd papieza do Nowego Jorku. Nawet nie-katolicy byli podekscytowani. W telewisji widzialam wywiad z chlopcami zydowskiego choru, ktorzy podkreslali ze ich spotkanie z Ojcem Sw. w Synagodze, w ktorej beda spiewac dla niego, bedzie jedynym tego rodzaju doznaniem w zyciu. Byli nie zwykle radosni mowiac o tym i wspominajac ze bedzie to pierwsza wizyta papieza w synagodze amerykanskiej.

W sobote bardzo rano sie obudzilismy azeby zdazyc na Msze Sw. odprawiana w Katedrze Sw. Patryka. Bylismy w posiadaniu czterech z 5000 biletow na miejsce na ulicy na przeciw katedry zeby w niej uczestniczyc. W momencie przyjadu Benedykta XVI, aplauz byl nadzwyczajny. W swiecie opanowanym znieczulica ten entuzjazm jakby naprawil zatracony respekt do starszych, nauczycieli, przedstawicieli wladzy i ludzi zakonnych. To wrazenie powodowalo poczucie respektu i swietosci pewnych spraw.

Chcialabym tak przekazywac slowa jak Benedykt je artykuluje w swoich homiliach. Bylam nadzwyczaj szczesliwa przez caly pobyt Ojca Sw. Poczulam ze moj przyjazd do Nowego Jorku byl zrzadzeniem Bozym. W tym momencie wszystkie cierpienia mojego zycia byly niczym w porownaniu z miloscia i Boza radoscia wypelniajaca moje serce. Wydawalo mi sie ze wielu ludzi odczuwalo to samo. Po Mszy Sw., przeszlismy do skrzyzowania 5 Avenue i 59 ulicy zeby miec mozliwasc zobaczenia Papieza w jego przejezdzie. Tlum byl przeogromny. Nie bylo miejsca zeby sie poruszyc. W momencie gdy Papiez przejezdzal, tysiace ludzi witalo go, krzyczac radosnie a on odpowiadal nam usmiechem i blogloslawienstwem. Tysiace ludzi entuzjastycznie krzyczalo, „Benedykto,” „Kochamy Ciebie,” „Chrystus nasza nadzieja, Benedict naszym Papiezem,” i „Viva la Papa!”

W Niedzele, bylam tak podniecona z powodu perspektywy ponownego widzieniu Ojca Sw. ze nie moglam zasnac. Na Yankee Stadium, tam gdzie Msza Sw. miala sie odbyc, czas uplywal bardzo szybko, bo spiew i wesolosc byla wielka. Nastroj byl nadzyczajny. Tysiace ludzi stalo nazewnatrz stadionu tylko po to a by byc blisko Ojca Sw. w czasie Mszy Sw. W pewniej chwili papiez przejechal tak, ze znalezlismy sie z mezem 3-4 metry od jego pojazdu. W jego spojrzeniu wyczulam swietosc bijaca z jego osoby i jego powolania.

Na stadionie znajdowalo sie 60,000 ludzi podczas gdy na zewnatrz bylo okolo pol miliona oczekujacych ktorzy modlili sie i spiewali chwalac Pana Boga. To dalo mi wrazenie nieba gdzie starzy, mlodzi, ludzie roznego pochodzenia i koloru skory razem chwalili Chrystusa. W chwili ofiarowiania Eucharisty, przed przeistoczeniem, modlilam sie za kazdego kogokolwiek spotkalam i spotkam w moim zyciu, za kazdego kto mi przyszedl na mysl, za wszytkich tych ktorych kocham, bliskich, znajomych, rodzine i za wszystkich ktorzy potrzebowali modlitwy, tak zeby kazdy odczul Boza radosc w swym zyciu. W chwili spiewania Ojcie Nasz i zakonczenia tej modlitwy slowem „Amen,” poczulam radosne uniesienie i drzenie mojego ciala. A w momencie otrzymania Komunii Sw. nie moglam zatrzymac lez wzruszienia i dziekowalam Panu Bogu za te chwile. W tym momencie zdalam sobie sprawe co to znaczy byc czescia Kosciola ktory daje odnowienie wiary i wskazuje droge zycia i jego celow. Dotychczas bylam zbytnio skupiona na rytmie zycia w Nowym Jorku, braku najblizszej rodziny i przyjaciol z Chicago i stale patrzylam wstecz co wywolywalo niepokoj. To wydarzenie z Ojcem Sw. daje mi nowe spojrzenie pelne nadziei i szczescia, pod warunkiem ze bardziej powierze moja droge zycia Panu Bogu. Nalezy wiec postepowac tak jak naucza biblia, Mt 6,24-34 ze musimy miec wiecej wiary niz te ptaszki, ktory Bog zywi i ubiera.

My Papal Journey

It has been a number of years since I last wrote about the Pope and my experience while attending Pope John Paul II’s funeral. I had the opportunity to see the PJPII on several occasions and greet him twice personally and each of those moments was exceptional and extremely personal to me. Each time I was blessed with seeing the Pope brought a breath of fresh air to my life and made me desire God more than I ever expected. So, naturally, when PJPII died, I was crushed. I couldn’t stop crying or thinking about how different the world would be without him. Even months after I was able to mourn his death with millions of people, I would think about him and begin to cry.

Now, my tears are replaced with hope and joy as I’ve discovered Pope Benedict XVI is the new Sheppard chosen to lead me on the path I was born to take. I found a kinship with Pope Benedict. The issues that I am passionate about, he helps shape, articulates and makes me more firm in my beliefs. Growing up as a Polish-American Catholic woman in the United States, I’ve always felt I’ve gone against the grain. I found that I had to fight constantly to defend my views and who I am. My parents always told me that there would be many moments in my life where everyone would be against me and I would be persecuted for my beliefs and feel alone and I grew up with the understanding of something that Pope Benedict later articulated, “Truth is not determined by a majority vote.” It is that quote that gives me the courage to continue living in the spirit of Christ.

I had recently moved from Chicago to New York and had the impression that NY did not have a large Catholic population and thought that the Catholics that were here were mostly non-practicing. So, when I learned that Pope Benedict was coming here from a seminarian on a plane on the way to Russia, I never dreamed of the events that were to follow. I contacted my New York Parish, Epiphany that I’d like to get on a waiting list. Back in January, the Monseignor of the Parish told me I was the first person to call about the tickets. My husband and I were placed on a waiting list and a few months later, were informed that we would be attending the Papal Mass on April 20th, 2008. I was overjoyed, but still had no idea that I was one of 60,000 people to receive tickets and the enormity of the history that would happen.

My parents came into town the Friday before the Papal weekend began and we all started feeling the reactions from the minute he arrived. People were excited to meet with him, touch him, see him and be blessed by him. Everywhere we went, whether it was a dinner at a restaurant, walking along on the street, media reports, there was chatter about the Pope coming to New York City. On news reports, even non-Catholics were excited. I watched a group of Jewish Choir boys talking about how this was a once in a life time experience and how they couldn’t believe that they would be singing for the Pope when he visited their Synagogue. On Saturday morning, we woke up at 4:30am to get in line with our Street Gallery tickets to participate in the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Mass. Thousands of us waited in line, anticipating the presence of this holy man. When Pope Benedict arrived, the cheers were tremendous. I remembered what it is like to respect again. In a world that has lost respect for elders, teachers, presidents and the religious, it was incredible to feel a large population of people who remembered what it was and cheered their hearts out proving it.

I wish I could articulate my words as well as Pope Benedict does in his homilies, my feelings during his Mass for the clergy. I was elated, and felt like this is just the beginning of my papal journey. I felt like I came to New York for a reason. I felt like any pain I had in my life was nothing in comparison to the love and joy that God provides. I felt like I was in the presence of thousands of people who were feeling that love and joy too. Then, after the Mass, we walked over to 5th Avenue and 59th Street to catch a glimpse of the Pope as he drove down to 70th Street. The crowds were immense. There were no places to stand and about 10 minutes before he came onto the street, the crowd was in a complete gridlock. As he drove by in his Pope mobile, thousands of cheered and he smiled and waved back. The crowd was joyous, shouting, “Benedicto!,” “We love you!” “Christ our Hope, Benedict our Pope,” and “Viva la papa.”

On Sunday, I was so excited about being able to see the Pope for a third time and celebrating a Mass with him again that I could not sleep. The hours flew by so quickly at the Yankee Stadium as we sung and cheered before the Mass began. The spirit of the crowd was amazing. Thousands of people stayed outside the stadium, just to be near the Pope during the Mass.

It was incredible that there were 70,000 people inside the stadium and over 100,000 outside of the stadium praising God. I felt like this was a glimpse into heaven, all of these people, young and old, all different races and ethnicities loving Christ. I kept praying for every person I knew in my life, for anyone that came to mind, for all those I’ve ever met, for those I haven’t met, for my family and anyone that needed prayers that they feel the joy the God wants everyone of us to feel. When the Our Father was sung or a prayer was said or an “Amen” was answered, I got shivers in my body. And when I received the Eucharist, I couldn’t stop crying and thanking God for this moment. To be part of something like this, renews your faith and gives you a fresh look at how you live your life and what you want out of life. I had been so focused on surviving in New York and missing my family and friends and life in Chicago and constantly looking back into the past that I had forgotten the peace and happiness that faith gives you. To see that there are thousands of us on fire for Christ brings a new hope. There is no need to worry about the future when Christ told us that every one who asks will receive what they need, just as it was said in Matthew, “Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t plant or harvest or gather food into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. You are more valuable than they are, aren’t you?”

The weekend was my best weekend here in New York. I am proud to be Catholic and part of this tribe of people united in the love of Christ.

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