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Tasting the City

A taste of the city

USA | Saturday, 10 May 2014 | Views [82] | Scholarship Entry

Licking the chocolate frosting off her pinky she grinned childishly. She was at Crumbs Bakery for her first real flavour of New York City in the form of a cupcake. On a pillow of chocolate cream frosting were dotted tiny white marshmallows, like city-goers staring up at the tall Graham Cracker skyscrapers held upright in their muddy foundations. The frosting was nearly mousse and nearly ice cream and held its shape after she swiped away a mouthful with her finger. The Graham Crackers crumbled when she tried to lift them out of the frosting, leaving pieces of biscuit rubble scattered over the chocolate and the marshmallows. She peeled back the paper shell and squashed her fingers into the soft cake pulling it in two. Comfortably nestled right at the core of the sponge was white frosting as sweet as candy floss at the summer fete or a popsicle at the beach.
The cupcake tasted of the city. The chocolate sponge was every street you walked with a tireless bounce in your step, and enthusiasm for what you found around the corner. The perfect texture never let you get tired of each fresh bite, chewing up each new neighbourhood, square or park. The first bite is a breakdancing group practicing with a beat-box and an audience of tourists and locals alike; the next is a piece of street art that dashed all your romantic dreams and flushed in new and greater ones. In the chocolate frosting she tasted every sweet thing about the city including the boating lake in Central Park and the Strand bookshop with its eighteen miles of used and rare books. The marshmallows were the people of every nation and ethnicity. She thought of the pigeon man in Union Square. She thought of the Polish security guard who worked night shifts and claimed to be a dancer, an ice skater, and a wine connoisseur. She thought of the little girl who couldn’t have been more than seven who jumped on the subway all by herself in her full karate outfit and a shopping bag slung over her shoulder. The Graham Crackers were the dust and the heat. Every subway station and every piece of road works pounds you as you feel the hot air blowing from below each street vent and the people on the pavement harassing you to draw you into their restaurants or clubs. The Graham Crackers are the bite and crunch of the city cutting through the smoothness of the postcards and the films, the snap that make it alive. And the little treat at the centre was her in the city. It was her place in this bite of heaven.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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