Friday afternoon was warm and sunny, so we headed over to La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez Community Garden to explore for a couple of hours. The garden is located on the southwest corner of 9th Street and Avenue C. It's open Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, as well as whenever a member is present and the gate is unlocked (which seems to be the case most Friday afternoons in the summertime).
The garden is surrounded by a fence decorated with artwork constructed from found objects, which we enjoyed looking at. Upon entering the garden, we were greeted by the open air theatre area surrounded by bleacher seating constructed of large stones. To our left, there was a sandbox, a green lawn under a large painted mural, and a couple of mini trails that led to sculptures hidden amongst the trees and shrubs. Curious G didn't know what to do first so she made a cursory lap around the lawn and trails, before heading to the other side to explore some more.
Curious G danced up the stone bleacher steps and then made her way to the Medicinal Garden, where we found plants that make great teas, salves, tinctures, spices, and even sweeteners. Next to the Medicinal Garden, we spied a little apiary with bees buzzing about. As we walked past the apiary, we saw and smelled flowers in full bloom, mini vegetable gardens, and even spotted a little strawberry patch. The gardens are all planted and maintained by community members.
The crown jewel of this garden for Curious G was the Koi pond adjacent to the vegetable gardens and a lovely gazebo. She had a ball stepping along the stones that lined the pond, and pretending to feed the fish. We spent the bulk of our visit there before heading to the sandbox, where Curious G had the pleasure of meeting a little boy who had just lucked out at a nearby fire station (the firemen gave him a little tour of the station and their fire truck).
We decided to have dinner at Rosie's, so we left the garden and walked through Tompkins Square Park towards Second Avenue. It was Friday night and we didn't have a reservation (oops), so we changed direction after discovering that Rosie's had a one hour wait for a table. Luckily, we found open tables at Martina Pizzeria, which will be making its way to our Yum and Yummer list very soon. The cracker thin personal pizza was delicious, but not overly filling. We devoured a margherita pizza, sausage and mushroom pizza, and Primavera pizza (mixed green, mozzarella, pecorino, and lemon) after polishing off chicken meatballs, white beans, arugula salad, and fried risotto balls stuffed with mozzarella. Side note: Curious G's Daddy and grand aunt were there to help us eat everything. Everything was worth a return trip to Martina.
Since Curious G had been requesting (ok, whining about) horchata since I had told her that we were having Mexican food at Rosie's, we stopped at Sabor a Mexico on First Avenue after dinner to fulfill her request. And, since I had stifled my urge to try the soft serve gelato at Martina's, we crossed the street to get some ice cream at Davey's Ice Cream. We contemplated getting doughnut ice cream sandwiches from Stuffed Ice Cream for a split second, but then opted for the flavors at Davey's. The speculoos chip and mint chip hit the spot.