Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lady Mendl & Her House of Tea
December Photo Project Day #18

Lady Mendl's Tea House
56 Irving Place

My friend JJ took me to high tea at Lady Mendl's today, for an early birthday celebration.

Housed in a 19th-century brownstone, Lady Mendl's tea house is a warren of connecting rooms, made cozy by candles and fireplaces, mirrors and chandeliers, upholstered chairs and - at this time of year - tasteful holiday decorations.  

The background music today was Cole Porter and Christmas tunes and - owing in part to the place's strict no-cell-phone rule - it was possible to pretend that we were dining in another era entirely.  An era of manners, and "society," and gas street lamps.  As felt fitting, I wore a hat.

Inside Lady Mendl's

Five courses of finger-foods and two pots of tea (each) later, we headed out into fading daylight.  After subway-ing part of the way back to the Upper West Side, we decided to walk across Central Park while there was still some light left in the sky.  

The park is wintry now - most of the colored leaves are gone and the model boat pond is icy.  But as we weaved west, discussing who in this world we would not want to run into, we passed plenty of other people enjoying twilight among the trees - joggers and dog-walkers and bikers and strollers.  And the moon was up, and I could see my breath in the air, but my feet stayed warm for most of the walk home.

As I'll be in VA over Christmas, today was my last Saturday in the city for the year.

It was a good one. Thanks, JJ!

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