A Picnic in the East Village

Want to make the most of the clement weather while it’s still around? Practically no time at all from your East Village apartment lies Tompkins Square Park — an oasis of sprawling lawns stretched out beneath venerable American elms. In this 10.5 acres of verdant space, New Yorkers come to walk their dogs, play chess, and indulge in languorous picnics. Today, we’re here primarily for the latter. But where to get your picnic supplies? Allow us to give you a helping hand.

Stocking Up Your Picnic Basket

You can load up with tasty morsels without having to venture far from your East Village rental. Stop in at Bedford Cheese Shop, and have the staff help you create a delicious cheese and charcuterie board. Match up gooey bries and mature cheddars with a selection of fruit and spreads. Then, add on slices of mortadella and prosciutto to complete the feast. Pick up some healthier options, too — think hummus, organic apples, and grapes — from the nearby Whole Foods. As for dessert: Your options in the East Village are excellent and abundant. But a mere minute’s walk from the park, you’ll find Westville Bakery — a sweet-smelling treasure trove of treats. Call in for a sharing bag of freshly baked peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Your picnicking pals will love you for it.

And After the Picnic…

While you might choose to snooze off your picnic in the shade of one of those famed elms, there are other activities at hand in the park. Brush up on your local history by visiting the monuments and the temperance fountain. Watch the skaters perform daredevil tricks in the skate park or see cute pooches dash around the dog run (and splash about in its three swimming pools). If you’re taking kids on this picnic, there’s only one place you’re going to end up: the jungle gym and sandbox. 

Posher Than a Picnic

As the light begins to fade over Tompkins Square Park, perhaps you’ll feel your first fresh pang of hunger. Find a table at cozy bistro Virginia’s, and try their Jersey corn ravioli or grilled New York strip with black truffle, spring onion, and almond romesco. For something more low-lit and artsy, try Essex, and delve into exciting plates such as chicken lollipops with Korean chili glaze; steamed icy blue mussels cooked in chardonnay; and Cajun blackened catfish with shrimp, potato, and scallion hash. Once you’ve polished off the last bite at one of these fine establishments, it will probably be time to return to your apartment for a well-earned sleep. These leisurely days in the East Village can be pretty tough.

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