Monday, February 4, 2008

The Selling Point

I have found myself missing a very special New York delicacy recently, the black and white cookie. Back in the late 90’s when I would visit Dewitt Place 4 in Ithaca, I would walk up the hill to the wonderful neighborhood bakery and pick one up, then head back down the hill, stopping at the corner shop to buy a Stewart's Orange Cream Soda (in those days I could drink sugar on top of eating sugar) and the day would be complete. All the strenuous walking about would cancel out the double dose of sugar that I consumed, so I never suffered for the decadence.

A couple of years later, when I moved to Ithaca and lived a little further out (again, downhill of everything, this time down Gun Hill, in the Fall Creek area with the fabulous Fall Creek House Theatre which was where I first saw the film Trainspotting and began using the word scatological on a regular basis), I would still walk to get my black and white cookie. I just had to walk farther, to The Commons, and Ithaca Bakery. The walk was often a cold one, and it was then that I began to drink either hot tea or black coffee with my black and white cookie. I’d sit in the bakery, trying to look out of the steamed-up windows at all the bundled-up people. When I was finished, I’d walk down The Commons, studded with planets from the Sagan Planet Walk, to my favorite bookstore Autumn Leaves (workplace of the most helpful, most non-deodorant-wearing bookseller in history, whose body odor was especially keen in the warm bookstore on a cold day…well, for that matter, on any day that he worked) to pick up a used book or two before making my trek back up the hill. Depending upon my route home, I would either go the long way, and walk by Wee Stinky (a little creek that ran through campus and was given its name for all the female students who used to urinate in its stream), or walk by an old cemetery that was the final resting place of some of the greats of Cornell University (I believe that Ezra was buried there). Sometimes I would go further out of my way to the cemetery up above our apartment, the one that was the final resting place of Carl Sagan himself (Dr. Sagan was a professor at Cornell). I was particularly fond of that cemetery because it had the best view in town. If you stood at the very top, you could look out upon Cayuga Lake and, depending upon what time of the year it was, dream of the memory of warm weather. I’m fairly certain that if one were to visit the cemetery in the evening, the view of the night sky would be breathtaking. I suppose that might have been a selling point for Carl.

Post Script: I did not take the picture above. It came from

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