The weather warmed to 50 after last week's "polar vortex," but the lake was a patchwork of open water and ice, swirled among the lovely little islands by its southern shore. The question is, What kind of idiot busts up and casts off an ice rescue ladder? May he (probably a he, methinks) never know what it is to need one that isn't there.
Hungry from a winter walk? Stride for 5 minutes to the section of Church Avenue just south of the Parade Grounds (i.e. "our neck of the woods") and you'll find a burgeoning restaurant row: the pizzeria Wheated, a nouvelle-Southern spot called Dogwood, Am Thai, the kid-friendly cafe Lark, and now a bakery outpost of The Farm on Adderly (that star of the fragile gentrification hub a few blocks still further south on Cortelyou Road).
This newest spot, between Stratford and Westminster Roads, has no sign yet but is apparently named Nine Chains (above). There, Daughter and I enjoyed a succulent brownie, coffee, and this gorgeous beet soup with potatoes. The scant four sitting spots encourage meeting and chatting with neighbors (which happened). If spots this trendy had been common on this side of the park 28 years ago, we never would have been able to afford the Crazy Stable...and they're still too pricey for our routine patronage. But they're delightful to have nearby for the occasional treat or meet-up, and along this particular corridor (for decades, close to a retail dead zone), the most gentrification-fearing stalwart would be hard-pressed to object to good hot soup and bread, even the artisanal kind. I wish them luck.