One of the wonderful things about NYC is the thrill of discovery.  No matter how well you know a street or a neighborhood, something about it is new and interesting every time you visit, from random street art, to new stores or buildings. Last Saturday, in addition to passing this awesome window, my husband and I made four other interesting stops.

On Bleecker between 6th & 7th, there is a brand-spanking new Italian Cafeteria-style restaurant called Scali.  The sleek decor is and ultra-modern & you can almost imagine yourself lounging some trendy section of Milan. (Buongiorno amore!) The food is absolutely delicious and the servings are generous. If you are in the village & craving truly exceptional baked ziti, check it out.

At 20th & 7th we ran into a band of residents passing out pamphlets and rallying for a local park. The band of neighbors included an adorable toddler who was most indignant that she could not be off looking for flowers Right-Now (her patient Mama assured her, “after we finish with the Lemonade stand, honey”). They’ve taken their fight to twitter @20thstpark. Sign their petition, and you may help give that sweetie a place to play!

On to 22nd and 6th, where I browsed in of my FAVORITE shops, N.Y. Cake & Baking Distributors.  This place is an awesome throw-back: a packed-to-the-gills specialty shop that is sure to get your creative juices flowing. My baking skills are limited, but I still enjoy the vast array of icings, molds, chocolates, dyes and decorative flowers and candies in this shop. All of their products can be found on-line.

On 20th Street, we had the Best-Find-of-the-Day, the happy result of getting caught in a sidewalk squeeze involving a group of tourists, a man walking his dog, a hydrant, building scaffolding & a man having a smoke. We weren’t in a rush, so my husband and I hung back & noticed a poster in a window that said “Chocolate factory Open to the public today.” I hesitated because, well, entering a random building and trekking up to the 9th floor isn’t always a good idea. However, the man having a smoke said, “go up, that’s my wife.”

A rickety elevator ride later and we were standing Chocolat Moderne‘s  boutique chocolate laboratory. A chocolate factory right in the middle of 20th Street! Who knew? Actually, a lot of people–Chocolat Moderne’s chocolates have been featured in several national women’s magazines. We met the chocolatier, Joan Coukos Todd and sampled some of her truly heavenly concoctions. Her creations are available through her website, and while there, be sure to read her truly interesting story.

There you have it. Random Saturday finds, all web-accessible for your virtual NYC walk.

About five years ago, my husband took me to see a Cirque du Soleil production for our anniversary. We had front seats to a production that centered around one man’s reoccurring nightmare. The thing I remember most was a two story man with a giant mallet that kept appearing whenever the story would take on a more lyric quality. (Shivers) That wasn’t the only creepy production he procured for our anniversary, other years events included Caberet & Sweeney Todd.

Last night brought another anniversary and this time I decided to just go with the whole freak-me-out thing. I mean, a good, fun freak out is often prelude to a nice cuddle, no?

We didn’t have to go far. Just down the street from us at the Player’s Theater was a production called “Play Dead.” It was created by Teller (of Penn and Teller) and Todd Robbins. Part Magic show, Part creepy round-the-campfire storytelling, Play Dead was the most fun I’ve had at the theater in a long time. They made us promise not to give anything away, but as I was walking out of the theater all flushed and giggling, I had to pull more than one plastic spider from my hair.

I’m getting to like our odd Anniversary Tradition…

I moved, finished two stories and started a third since last I posted. All the home-life chaos forced me to make some tough time-management decisions. Because I’m actually published in romantic erotica, blogging under my pen-name and preparing new release took priority!

Still, historical romance is never far from my mind. Recently, I found a “Georgian fix” in a very unlikely place. Time Out NY’s valentine’s day issue contained an article on the history of the condom. In it, the picture above (dated 1754) appeared.

Yes, folks, condoms have been around for quite some time. But why are these men treating their rubbers like balloons? Was it just to make the ladies giggle?

Nope. They were checking their trusted friends for leaks! Frighteningly, condoms at that time were often made of animal intestine and were kept in place by a pretty little ribbon. (Why does that make me think of the SNL Timberlake/Samburg song?) They were (shudder) reusable, and usually kept in a box specifically made for that reason.

I may be in love with historicals, but details like these remind me to be thankful to be a 21st century woman!