With original copies of the Declaration of Independence & Bill of Rights on display at the New York Public Library, I knew I had to seize the rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of America’s most important historical documents on display together for the first time ever. I often nerd out about the American Revolution, mostly to my students when I tear up like some patriotic yahoo during lessons. And on our recent field trip to Philadelphia, when my students gaped and gawked at a chair sat in by George Washington at the First Continental Congress, I left the room with the chills. How fantastic an idea, liberty and democracy! Sure, sure–in practice here and now, it’s above-all complicated. But it is the ideals in which America was born upon that fill me with awe, and not necessarily her current state of affairs. It would be a privilege to see these documents. So I took myself on a field trip, July 3rd 2013.

IMG_4107Of course first I needed a good breakfast. I headed down to The Butcher’s Daughter, a trendy juice place with a limited menu of vegan eats. Despite the bizarre reviews on Yelp, this one being my favorite, there were a couple of things pushing me in the door. Things like Cashew Carrot Cheese and Adzuki Bean Bacon. So I got the breakfast bagel, with both of those things along with smashed avocado and super fresh tomato.

PicMonkey Collage1.jpgThe sandwich was fresh and delicious. The bean bacon: flavorful and hearty. The cashew carrot cheese: tangy and clean. Service was fine, not like the horror stories I had read about. On the merit of their cashew carrot cheese and Aduki bean bacon, I will likely return! There are a couple of other words that grab my fancy on their lunch and dinner menus.

PicMonkey Collage3.jpgI made it to the lion-guarded New York Public Library building a few minutes before they opened. It was such a delight to see that there was a line for admission around the corner. The line at the side entrance was much shorter and seemed to be designated non-tourist. Everyone was so excited in line. It was a nice group of folks to be part of. To think that the last time I saw a line-up like this in NYC it was at Foot Locker when a new sneaker was coming out. Cringe.IMG_4112I got to the exhibit room rather quickly, a benefit of going on this last day of the exhibit. The staff worked the line well. I was happy I had made the trip. It was well worth it.

IMG_4113Afterwards, I headed back downtown. I wanted to finally try Van Leeuwen‘s vegan ice cream. I’ve seen their pale yellow ice cream truck often and scanned it’s beautiful botanical-y menu board for a vegan option because it just seemed like they’d have one. But they never did… until recently. Since I didn’t want to gamble with the truck, I hit the ice cream shop in the East Village.

PicMonkey Collage2.jpgIt was sweet and creamy relief on yet another muggy, hot day. Though I loved the texture, the taste wasn’t as spectacular as I had hoped. Although I saw a lot of flecks of vanilla bean, the flavor was mellow. It’d be much better with a thick hot fudge ribboned around it. Or a berry compote. I’m thankful for a vegan artisan ice cream option, however. I’ll have to try their chocolate.