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Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone: Range of minimum and maximum exposure or risk within which an entity can operate without coming under undue stress.

For many, living in New York City would be outside their comfort zone. What many visitors or non-residents do not see, however, is that those of us who live here do not live continuously in the world of the visitor. We do not spend large blocks of time checking in and out of hotels, dealing with airport security, fighting crowds in Times Square, waiting in line for various attractions, or packing in an inordinate number of activities in one weekend. Also, consider that only 20% of residents live in Manhattan and that many neighborhoods in other boroughs have a much more relaxed atmosphere.

Of course, all that said, life in New York City is not as comfortable as suburban or rural life can be. Even the stalwart New Yorker needs a break from time to time. To cope, we seek out and find respite in places, routines, our loved ones, and friends. If you are lucky, perhaps you have a quiet apartment in a peaceful neighborhood. In the last five years, I have shared many of the special or lesser known places that provide escape from the city's stressors.

For many, Sunday in New York City is a day of rest. Or, perhaps better said, a little more rest than usual. To find a comfortable spot and relax. And for comfort, nothing beats breakfast or brunch in a charming cafe in a quiet neighborhood on a tree-lined street on Sunday.
Like the Urban Vintage Boutique and Cafe at 294 Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Here, the ambiance is like that of a 19th-century French salon.

Urban Vintage sports a plush interior, with comfy upholstered seating, soft lighting, dark woods, and well appointed touches throughout. The food is very good, and it would be an injustice to call it "comfort food," as comforting as it may be. My companion who introduced me to this cafe/boutique touted the oatmeal as "the best," and it certainly was wonderful, as were the Belgian waffles.

Places like this are small worlds that stand apart from the hustle and bustle of New York City. When entering a place like Urban Vintage, I am reminded of the introduction to the TV series The Twilight Zone, but with a different twist:

To go through their door is to enter another dimension. Not just a dimension of sight and sound, but a dimension of mind. A journey into a soothing land. You've just crossed over into The Comfort Zone.

Related Posts: The Tide Pool, Grab a Bite to Eat, When Your Name is Mud, Fire and Ice, Words Unfolding, Gotta Get Out


Steffe said...

I could eat that. And be in my comfort zone.

Brian Dubé said...

Steffe - so we upgrade our definition of "comfort food."

new york said...

You are right, many people in New York City are outside their comfort zone. But, having a good meal can sooth anyone and makes us relaxed.

Mary P. said...

What a great looking place! I'm going to try to find it, Manhattan provincial that I am.

Brian Dubé said...

new york - 'tis true

Mary P. - It may be worth the trip.

Terry B, Blue Kitchen said...

You are exactly right in describing the visitor experience. Whenever I visit, I try to cram as many things into the trip as possible. And while I love doing that, I long for the luxury of time that living there would bring. Fitting one museum visit into a weekend, for instance, instead of four or five. On another note, be safe this weekend, Brian. Stock the pantry and hunker down.

Goggla said...

Ugh! Such disrespect! This ranks up there with the people who put their garbage bags on top of the garbage can, so no one else is able to open the lid.