If I had to make a gross generalization, I’d say that 65% of the posts in my Facebook newsfeed in the last few weeks have been about the weather. And over the last two days, I’d say that number shot to 113%, mainly because many of my friends reside in Upstate NY, Jersey, or Pennsylvania – all the places that got a dusting of snow this weekend. Most of them were pictures of someone’s back or front yard with a caption like, “Wtf, Mother Nature!” or “Uhh….what?? It’s supposed to be spring!”. I, thankfully, did not wake up to any snow this weekend where I was, but I feel your pain. I’m going to have to say it – who else is tired of this bullshit winter weather?? I think it’s made many of us a touch crankier than we usually might be, and a little less willing to give an inch, let alone a mile.
I think that’s how I came to be at Vespa Queens for a cookie drop, at least that’s the story I tell myself so I can believe that there aren’t truly nasty people that are like that just for the sake of being nasty. Some weeks back, I was supposed to make a drop at Grand Bazaar, a lovely Turkish shop on Steinway that I have been to a number of times and really enjoyed the things there. You can imagine how excited I was to “patronize the business” – one of the other things I do at drops. I find it helps me open up to trying and buying new things, helps keep money in the local community and feeds small business, and let’s face it, I love an excuse to shop. So one day, I came jaunting in with my cookies, like I do, and without getting into too many details, both of us (me and my cookies) were rudely refused. After I got over my shock (nobody in the year I’d been doing has flat out refused my cookies), my next thought was “Uh………how am I going to know where to go next week??!?”
You know I don’t choose any of the places I visit, the current, weekly business/place that got cookies that week does. But without a “current business”, what’s a Single Girl to do? Even with that rule in place, it doesn’t stop people from giving me hundreds of recommendations of places they think would appreciate some cookies. And while I’d love to visit ever place that y’all think are great and deliver some homemade kindness to them, that would be totally insane. I would be busy making so many cookies that I couldn’t go to work, and without a job, I wouldn’t have any money to pay rent, and without money to pay rent, I’d be homeless, and if I’m homeless, I couldn’t make any more cookies! You don’t want that to happen, right? Hint: you don’t, because I’d be your newest couch guest 🙂
In true generational form, I decided to take to the World Wide Web to make my decision for me. I figured, you guys have been telling me for a year where you think I should go, here’s your chance. I polled Twitter and Facebook and the Astoria place with the most votes would be where I started this new thread of recommendations. Honorable mentioned go to Astoria Bookshop and Petals and Roots, but the ultimate winner was Vespa Queens.
After all the tweeting that was done to find the winner, the folks at Vespa Queens knew I was coming in with the goods, and I was greeted with a warm, “The cookie lady is here!” when I walked into the showroom. Which is gorgeous, btdubs. It’s a longish room, painted a nice calming gray, beautiful, vivid photos line the walls above the Vespas, also lined up along each side. There are also some vintage-y poster type pictures that hang on one wall that depict a blonde on one of these sleek machines. I’d buy a bike in a heartbeat if I could.
Turns out the woman that greeted me was Stella, a very friendly, nice, warm and awesome staff member. Damian, the owner, came in from the service side when he heard I was here. I felt like we all already kinda knew each other, both because of all the tweeting that had been done, but they both were so open and just awesome people. They totally get/got what I’m doing, which always makes things a little easier on my end. As we were chatting, I noticed a small room at the back that had a bunch of helmets and whatnot, so I poked my head in to see what other kind of accoutrement there was. I saw some logo sweatshirts and thought. “Yay! I can’t buy a Vespa, but I can certainly buy a sweatshirt, that’ll be my way to patronize the business!” I happened to say, “Oh, I love logo apparel”, because I do, and Damian hopped right in front of me and handed me one and said, “Here ya go! Take it! It’s the least we could do!” I tried to refuse, but Stella helped me sort through the piles to find a good color and size. Which is kinda funny because there were only size L and up 🙂 I took home a very comfy large, gray zip up that has become a favorite of mine in the few weeks I’ve had it.
My return visit to pick up my plate was no different. I got the opportunity to chat with both Damian and Stella a bit more and found out just what Vespa Queens is all about. Turns out Damian is actually a fashion photographer, and quite a good one. (I googled him, you should too) to my way of thinking, being a photographer and Vespa shop owner are two very different things, so I asked him how did he get into being the new owner of Vespa Queens. He said he had a bike, loved it, and had been financially successful as a photographer and was looking for an investment opportunity. It now makes sense as to how aesthetically pleasing the showroom is. Stella is equally as awesome, having worked there before Damian was there, and originally from Portland. She’s super knowledgeable about the product, and ready to answer any questions you may have.
I know they’ve got plans to put in a small coffee bar in the back area where people will be able to come and relax, or have an espresso while they wait for their bike to be serviced, but for now, it’s worth swinging by to take a look and meet some really cool people.
I asked for their official recommendation (even though they already told me when I first dropped off the cookies) and as you know, they sent me to Crescent Grill just down the street, where they got the art that graces their walls. I’ll tell you about THAT later this week 🙂 For now, enjoy the warming weather. It might not be on a long, open stretch of road on a beautiful Vespa, but at least crack the windows a bit. And I’ll look forward to tell you more about how awesome they are after their grand opening party in May. I think I see some Vespa shaped cookies in their future….
As an unrelated thought, I wanted to share this with you. Best life advice I’ve heard lately came from a babysitting charge that I spent yesterday evening with. He is 6 years old, and his dad is an artist. We were both drawing (I am a terrible artist) and I said “I find drawing a little scary. He asked me why, and I told him it was because I was never sure what to draw, and once you started, if you don’t like it, you can’t always fix it, but have to erase it and start again but that you’d still be able to see the lines and it just wouldn’t be any good. And he replied with the assuredness and certainty that can only come from a 6 year old, “That’s ok, if you don’t like it, you can always paint over it.” And that struck me. Isn’t that just a great metaphor for living life? There are options if you don’t like something, or are less than satisfied – you can start over, paint over it, but ultimately you are the creator and you are the master. Nothing is set in stone unless you make it so.
So what are you waiting for? Get creating.