Saturday, January 7, 2017

On Being Vegan in NYC

I'm sitting at my desk, cat sleeping in my lap, snow streaming out of the sky and coating the neighborhood below in Brooklyn.  It seems like a good afternoon for writing.  I haven't done this in awhile.  Everything that took place this year took me away from writing.  It was a challenging year. I moved away from Boston in the summer, took a new job, moved closer to my family.  I'm still figuring out how to live in NYC.

I've lived in a few cities now, and I would define New York as both good and bad for vegans, depending on where you are and whom you are with.  Let me clarify.  There are plenty of great vegan restaurants, bakeries, and even a bar-- that I know of.  I've read about most of them, but I haven't even hit the tip of the iceberg in terms of exploring here.  On the other hand, it seems like less people that I encounter here understand what being vegan means-- which is very surprising to me.  I think I assumed that since Brooklyn is a very "blue" area, people would be more progressive in their thinking.  At work, when lunch is ordered, I have been presented with a sandwich including cheese multiple times.  Someone asked me if I would eat a meal that included meat if the meat were picked out.  Maybe I need to spend more time in Williamsburg.  Veganism is definitely more mainstream than when I started this thing almost seven years ago.  It could be that while there are more veg-friendly spots popping up everywhere, the average non-vegan just doesn't frequent those establishments.  Who knows.  The last thing, which is a personal challenge, is that there are so many of the delightful foods that I grew up eating-- Italian food and pastries, for example-- surrounding me-- and they are definitely not vegan!  I guess it was easier when I was living in Phoenix and Boston, and the pizza was sub-par (sorry, it's true).  

When I moved to Boston I was surprised by how many wonderful vegan options were available, and I grew to love them all-- especially Fomu ice cream.  I vow to use the next few months discovering vegan Brooklyn, and reporting back here.  

And in case you were wondering, the first vegan joint I visited was the Van Leeuwen ice cream truck.

Onward and upward.

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