7am on 7th


New restaurant on the block, Bread & Roses

Morning Mammie. Morning Madam. Good morning Gogo.

Hey, G’morning, I say, to each person who wanders by me.

It’s early on a Sunday. There are few people on the streets. It’s chilly but the sun is shining, the magnolias are in bloom and the air smells like lavender.

I turn the corner and walk past Nuno’s, one of my local hang outs. The waitresses are outside, waiting for the owner to open up.

Hey, good morning, Enjoy your coffee.

I wave, I shout from the other side of the road, I say good morning too. And I continue on my walk to De La Creme, to fetch a coffee.

It’s a morning ritual. I’ve been known to do it in my pyjamas.

But I do wear nice pyjamas.

I see the old man dressed in blue. He’s the shouter of the neighbourhood. A little unbalanced. But good and kind at heart. He wanders the streets day and night.

And there he is, like clockwork, sweeping 7th Street. He sweeps, every morning, starting at 7 am. The shop owners pay him collectively.

I carry on.

G’morning, hi, have a great day.

There’s the homeless Ethiopian man. He sits in the doorway of a charity shop. It may be where he sleeps too. The walls of the shop are pink. Today he’s wearing a pink shirt.

The neighbourhood look after him. And the charity shop, Junkies, is divine, amazing second hand treasures.

I wish I’d bought my camera. There’s a young woman leaning out a window. She’s wearing a magnificent brightly coloured African headdress. And there’s another woman coming out a doorway. She’s opening up Bread and Roses, a corner bistro, her dreadlocks flying in the wind.

It’s picture perfect.

I get my coffee. Resist the croissants. Have a chat with one of the locals. He buys six fresh out- the-oven almond croissants.

What the hell, I may as well buy one. Oh, two. And a baguette.

I walk home, sipping my coffee. I admire the gorgeous clothing through the window of the vintage shop, The Stuff We Love. I’m going to come back and try on that little black dress.

A neighbour stops and gives me a few avocados off her tree. They’re fat and ripe. I promise to drop granadillas off at her later.

The streets are getting busier now. Cyclists, joggers and a few early morning moms with their babes. The newspaper sellers are out and the car guards have taken up position.

I get back home to do a bit of work. It’s quiet, it’s peaceful, it’s lovely. I know I’ll walk up again in the evening. A cocktail at Hell’s Kitchen. Perhaps dinner at Poppy’s.


Melville Manor Guest House

7th Street Melville is divine. If you’re keen to stay in the area, Melville Manor Guest House is lovely. It’s on Second Avenue, with seven gorgeous suites. They’re well priced and will give you all the ins and outs of Seventh. Have a look at their website.