Garden Storytime, Lunch at Dez, an East Village Treehouse, Tompkins Sq. Park, Dinner at Somtum Der

I used to walk past Elizabeth Street Garden all the time without realizing that I could go in. When Stella McCartney held her Resort 2015 fashion show there, my curiousity piqued. The Garden is currently fundraising to fight against the city's plans for development. Free yoga, storytimes, art exhibits, evening events, story times, and more are hosted every week to raise community awareness of the Garden. Curious G and I recently attended the Friday story time.


One of us is having more fun than the other here...

Curious G and I have been frequenting the Elizabeth Street Garden since the weather warmed up recently. Two weeks ago, we even picked a few fresh strawberries from their little patch. They host Mulberry Street library story times every Wednesday from 4:00 pm -5:00 pm and every Friday from noon - 1:00 pm. When we checked it out this Friday, the librarian conducted singalongs with shakers, blew bubbles, and read (he actually sang the words to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle") "Little Bear, Little Bear What Do You See". The audience consisted of babies, a few 3-4 year olds, and a girl who was turning 6 that day. Everyone was entertained and paid attention for the full hour. As inviting as the lawn full of sculptures was for running around and exploring, the librarian still managed to keep the kids focused on him.


On our second visit to the Elizabeth Street Garden we picked strawberries

Strawberry Fields Forever (one of Curious G's fave songs)

The kids love this librarian

He broke out the standard story time mixed media proponents

Not even the windchimes could distract the kids from story time (this was taken before it began)

This little hiding spot did not even take away from the allure of bubbles and shakers

Watchful lion

Dez is the latest Middle Eastern inspired fast-casual spot by Samantha Wasser (by CHLOE and The Sosta) and Eden Grinshpan. The menu is full of fresh and healthy mezze, pitas, salads, and other goodies. The first time we had lunch there we shared a bowl of cardamom roasted beets, mint, pine nuts, jalapeno, lemon, olive oil, and beet hummus and a falafel cauliflower served in a pita with cumin slaw, tahini, and other fixins. Well, we were quite taken by the falafel cauliflower and returned to have it again after story time. During two out of two visits there, Curious G struck up conversations with the ladies sitting next to us. The first time, she befriended the person who works on social media for Dez. The second time, she chatted up Arielle Calderon of Buzzfeed. Buzzy decor and photogenic plates are just a bonus because the menu is solidly delicious and innovative enough to keep patrons coming back for the food (like we did). We'd love to go back for the brunch menu to try the Halvah toast.


Chowing down and eavesdropping...the usual

Rose Lemonade

In hopes of catching the ever-elusive, now fleeting stroller nap, we browsed a few Lower East Side spots on our way to meeting up with Curious G's grand aunt for some more garden exploration. We stopped into Tictail Market, which carries sirin bloom dresses online. I was immediately drawn to a patent chartreuse bag and paraded around the shop with it as I mulled it over. I didn't wind up getting it but I'm kind of still thinking about it, so...

We then walked over to Coming Soon, a boutique that sells house wares, gifts, and furniture that encapsulate pretty much everything that's cool right now. Right next door to Coming Soon, we spotted Sam's Fried Ice Cream, which was not open but looked irresistibly tempting.

They sell ice cream encased in a fried shell. Stanley's Pharmacy was another spot that I tried to get into, only to find that it was closed. Founded by a pharmacist/ former club kid, Stanley's Pharmacy dispenses wellness in the form of tinctures, potions, teas, and herbs; but I just wanted to stop in for a kombucha on tap. Further down, on Hester Street, we stopped into Front Room Gallery to look at some photos by Zoe Wetherall and Ashok Sinha.

As I stared at an overhead photo of a lush green shoreline, Curious G declared that she had to pee. The nice ladies at the gallery directed us to The Metrograph on Ludlow Street, which turned out to be a cool movie theater that plays classic movies, has a fancy little bar, a book store, an adorable concession shop, and a fully accessible bathroom (oh, the cool things you discover after your kid yells, "I have to go!"). Curious G was impressed with the fragrant candle burning in the bathroom and announced to all the other bathroom goers that the paper towels were extra fancy as she stashed about ten of them one by one in her stroller (oh, the things you hear when you don't take your kid with you into the bathroom stall). After our pit stop we continued onto our journey towards Green Oasis Community Garden.


Not my favorite color, but kinda looks perfect with the outfit...



Zoe Wetherall at Front Room Gallery

Walking through the colorful Lower Eastside, Essex St. Market

Green Oasis Garden is located on 8th Street between Avenues C and D. We discovered another koi pond (the first one we discovered was at La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez Community Garden), a cherry tree, a red gazebo, feral cats, a table set up for the Summer Solstice tie dying event, and a variety of plants and flowers. We also discovered mosquito bites; bugspray is recommended when you visit these gardens. Curious G got her first mosquito bites after last week's East Village garden visit. We both went home with itchy welts on our legs.


Red Gazebo

koi pond with mini waterfall

Our second stop in the East Village, 6BC Botanical Garden, is located on 6th Street between Avenues B and C, as the name indicates. It is elegantly manicured and features ample seating, gorgeous plants and flowers, a sunken rock pit seating area, and a treehouse! This garden is worth a visit for anyone who lives in the city; and if you are just visiting this is a lovely spot for a little respite from any urban sight-seeing.


so lush

one of the scenic trails

The Secret Treehouse

East Village Architecture

We had a 6:30 pm dinner reservation at Somtum Der, so we stopped in Tompkins Square Park to play in three of their playgrounds (there are five playgrounds there in total) to let Curious G burn off some energy before sitting down to dinner. Tompkins Square Park hosts a bevy of fun summer events and always has some form of live music. The selection of restaurants and dessert parlors in the vicinity is unmatched. Somtum Der is our favorite Thai restaurant in the city. Curious G adores the beef and pork skewers and coconut rice. I love the papaya salad and Der style deep fried chicken. The noodle and soup dishes are all delectible as well, especially if you are a fan of spicy food.


our first stop in Tompkins Square Park

grilled coconut milk beef skewers with rice noodles and chili sauce



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