The frigid night air felt new; humans have short memories when it comes to yearly weather shifts. Underdressed and freezing, I arrived with friends to a massive cluster of people at the base of the Manhattan Bridge, huddled together like a raft of penguins (yes, a group of penguins is called a "raft"), staring. We pushed our way through the overcrowded DUMBO region ("Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass") to locate the best vantage point for the consumption of the spectacle. As ominous music resonated from the giant archway, we watched as horses ran down the side of the bridge, moments before the entire structure exploded, brick by brick, while blooms of psychedelic colors emerged from the darkness. No, this was not my LSD trip in the richest area of Brooklyn, it was Festival of Lights. Birthed as a Kickstarter project, it was a massive hit, especially considering it only cost five thousand dollars to produce.
Sure, it was over-crowded and cold as hell, but it was a spectacle, in the truest sense of the word, and a lovely addition to a November New York night.
Sandwich 44: Prince Tea House
While Manhattan's Chinatown is the largest and among the most iconic Chinatowns in the world, New York's true Chinatown is Flushing, located deep in Queens. What makes it the "true" Chinatown? The sheer Chinese experience. Chaotically driven streets, the food vendor hustler spirit, the lack of accommodation for white people, it's all here. But it takes it to the next level when it comes to the authenticity and dopeness of their food. Their lamb skewers taste fresh out of Xi'an, dim sum is made in true Cantonese fashion, and, yes, they even have an upscale, East Asian perspective on the ice cream sandwich, at the Prince Tea House.
Exclusively an Asian dessert and tea place, the minds behind the Prince Tea House put in substantial effort to make it really damn pretty. The decor, the desserts, and the tea are all made with the finest attention to detail, to the point that you don't know whether you should stuff them into your mouth or forever preserve them in a glass display case in your rumpus room.
Aside from green tea creme brulee and amazing milk tea concoctions, the Prince Tea House features a trademark ice cream sandwich trio, known as Pate a Choux. Five choices exist, among them green tea, red bean, vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, each contained within puff pastry on a bed of caramel. Spoiler alert, they're crack.
Flushing is worth a day of indulgent eating and should surely be capped off with this two-month old institution, offering super sweets and ridiculously comfortable chairs for the lazy, sugar crash aftermath.