Sometimes the best discoveries happen by accident. The French dip sandwich, the post-it note, the potato chip, and even the microwave were originally discovered unintentionally. In a similar fashion, I happened upon a restaurant called Lucy's on a sunny afternoon and my day was all the better for it. I was strolling east on 34th Street after an exhilarating silks class (see January 16th blog) and I happened to catch a glimpse of some new greenery on top of a nearby building. Given the fact that greenery is a rarety on that particular street corner, I decided to seek out the owner of the foliage in question. Lucy's is located on a rooftop across from Penn station on 34th and 8th, one of the most annoyingly high traffic and disgustingly dirty areas of the city. The establishment is literally across the street from a Conway, beside the Kmart, and a stone's throw from the Empire Exotica. Nevertheless, it's a charming little oasis of food and drink that I highly recommend.
First and foremost, Lucy's is the perfect restaurant for summer weather. When I arrived, the sun was shining through the clouds, the breeze was blowing through my hair, and I had a great book to keep me company. When the hostess sent me up a set of stairs to seat myself, I climbed out of the sweaty hubbub of the street and into a bustling party south of the border style. I mounted a high chair at a table under some of the aforementioned foliage and surveyed the situation. There were tables of business folks in button-down shirts and sensible pumps interspersed with tables of sunburned tourists, all eating chips, salsa, and tacos, served by waitresses in short, tight sundresses. The large central bar was covered with a translucent awning, the open air tables were surrounded with palm trees, and there was a genuinely a carefree atmosphere about the place. A pretty huge feat in the middle of a weekday across from Penn station. I ordered a Mexican style chicken salad, some chips and salsa, and a Negra Modela (on draft) and settled in with my book.
Now, don’t mistake Lucy’s for a gourmet restaurant in any way. My chips came in a bag, my salad was good but decidedly uncreative, and the salsa could have been straight out of a jar, but as the sun floated in and out of the clouds and the breeze rustled the pages of my book, I really didn’t care. The food was not fabulous, but it was passable as bar food. That wasn’t what the restaurant was about. Well, not to me anyway. To me, it was about pretending to be on a beach south of the border when you’re in the middle of Manhattan. I walked to the edge of the restaurant, peered at the angry swarm of commuters on the street, and made a mental note to come back with a group of friends after dark. Maybe we’d search out a star or two through the light pollution. Maybe we’d savor some tacos and margaritas. Maybe we’d inadvertently meet some new friends. Who knows. Anything can happen if you let it.