On nights like this, when New York City is covered with a beautifully eerie Sleepy Hollow mist, it's impossible to leave. And the thing that makes it even harder, is the fact that mulberry tree in the park down the street just began to ripen, a conflict deepened by the fact that the leaving in question is for a trip to Hungary, timed entirely around peak cherry season. Life is full of difficult choices.
I can't tell you exactly where this tree is (a good forager never reveals her sources), but I can tell you that I've spent a shameful amount of hours worrying about the fact that the tree might ripen just as we were leaving, and wondering what lucky, surely less deserving couple might get our mulberries.
Last summer, when our neighborhood was less "discovered" and said park less frequented, we had the entire harvest to ourselves. Whatever wasn't lost to the mulberry crush on the sidewalks was ours for the taking. We invited friends from Brooklyn for a mulberry picking, made countless batches of shortcakes and picked until our nail beds were a semi-permanent shade of deep blue. But now that the elbow between Long Island City and Astoria has become home to all sorts of New-York-Times-reading hipsters, who may have read Wednesday's foraging story, there's no chance. Thanks a lot New York Times.
So, tonight when I came home just before dusk, and caught András emerging from the East River with his kayak on his back, I persuaded him to postpone packing and come picking with me, in the dark, in the rain, in case God forbid someone clean out our tree while we're away.
He did, thank goodness, since he's a better climber than me. We came home with a box full of white, deep purple and the occasional pink mulberry that, if I'm lucky, András will turn into whole-wheat waffles with mulberries, and (because the man has no boundaries at mealtime), chocolate chunks before we head JFK. Not a bad way to bid New York adieu.