The One With the Dosas

It’s time for another installment of Tourist in My Town. Today I’m taking you to Washington Square Park, located in the heart of the NYU campus in Greenwich Village. Last week I went to the park for a very specific reason. But I’ll get to that in a moment. (Spoiler alert: it involved food.)

The centerpiece of the park is this arch. It was erected in 1889 to celebrate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as president. These days the arch is dwarfed by the buildings around it, but I imagine that it was quite imposing in its day.

If you peek through the arch you can see Fifth Avenue on the other side.  Can you believe that cars used to drive through the center?

 

Washington Square Park

Hey, no swimming allowed.

Washington Square Park

 

 

 

Washington Square Park

 

Washington Square Park

That’s the Empire State Building visible through the arch.

 

Washington Square Park isn’t your typical park in that there isn’t a huge expanse of green space or ball fields for recreational activities. So what do people do?

Play chess. They’re always ready for a game.

Washington Square Park

These guys would give Bobby Fischer a run for his money.

 

Take their dog to the dog run. While studying.

Washington Square Park

Rover, can you help me with this calculus homework? It’s a beast.

 

Listen to a jazz trio. These guys are students at NYU and perform in the park nearly every day. People applaud when they finish a set.

Washington Square Park

 

Stop and smell the flowers.

Washington Square Park

 

 

Skateboard.

Washington Square Park

It’s so much better if you do it right under the No Skateboarding sign.

 

Now, the real reason I went to Washington Square Park. This guy:

 

Washington Square Park

His name is Thiru Kumar and he operates the NY Dosa cart, a Washington Square Park institution.

Washington Square Park

There’s always a line. Always.

 

Mr. Kumar’s food has been reviewed in just about every local magazine, newspaper and website imaginable. Even Rachael Ray comes by. But the real proof is in the dosa as it were.

The grinning, thickly mustached Kumar works his small grill like a hyperactive DJ, pouring batter, spreading on curried potatoes, and sprinkling a crunchy dice of carrots and peppers (the Pondicherry masala dosa). When the batter is cooked through, Kumar folds it with an artist’s flair, effortlessly lifting the ethereally thin lentil-and-rice-flour wrapper from the grill, then chops it into sections and serves it with a gingery coconut chutney and a small tub of spicy lentil soup. ~New York Magazine

My mouth is watering just remembering how good it was.

My mouth is watering just remembering how good it was.

 

Have you been to your local park lately? 

Have a great weekend, everyone! 

 

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21 comments

  1. SO envious of the dosa. YUM. One more reason to go to NYC — it’s been way too long — and of course all the other places you showed, too. It’s amazing how much is going on there compared to where I live. Great photos, Jackie!

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      1. Hey, I’m also coming to visit – I love, love, love dosa! Not had one since I left London, it’s criminal 😦 And what a worthy objective for an outing. I mean, food has to be involved 🙂

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  2. Since I live on the Upper West Side and my downtown bud, Coco (who lives three blocks away), is a germaphobe who would sooner lick the sidewalk than eat anything from a food cart, I was not aware of this Washington Square Park institution. But, now that you’ve put him in your spotlight I see that he has 240 reviews on Yelp and 4 1/2 stars. Back in the day when I was a student at NYU(seless) — Washington Square Park is considered part of the non-existent campus, I would have been there daily.

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    1. I’m usually with Coco on the silver carts. But I will say that the dosa cart is terrific. Next time you’re in the area, definitely check it out. (And it’s dairy free!) This guy gets better reviews than most restaurants.

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  3. Never had dosas, but it looks delish! Loved the photos, Jackie. (Men and their arches, huh?) Especially liked the people playing chess. I don’t know why, but that’s just so cool. Maybe it’s just that they aren’t busy, and are simply enjoying playing.

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    1. My guess is that the chess men (and it’s all men BTW) love the camaraderie. It’s like another version of the neighborhood barber shop. They all seem to know each other and have a good time even when they’re not playing. Hmm… maybe there’s a story in there somewhere. 🙂

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  4. Miles and I just got back from our park today. And dude, I need to try the food! Looks and sounds wonderful. And I do love it when skateboarders ignore the signs completely. Miles likes to ignore the no dog signs and gets mad when I won’t let him.

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