Tonight's adventures reminded me of the importance of getting out of my geographical routine. I tend to travel in my own Brooklyn neighborhood; Soho and sometimes Chinatown; and the Upper West Side.
Mike and I met friends in The West Village. Having just had a long dental procedure, I sought out comfort through a cup of gelato at Cones Ice Cream Artisans on 272 Bleecker Street. Since the store was pretty quiet on a cold winter's night, I ended up having the greatest time hanging out with Raul Daloisio, the owner. We chatted about all the different kinds of customers that come in, including celebreties and financial wizards and theater producers; different ice cream joints around New York; and social networking. Raul admits to being low tech: he has no website or email address.
I told him about my blog and how I thought social networking could benefit him. Truly, though,I could see that Raoul does a good business not just because of the yummy treats that are made fresh daily on the premesis but also because he connects so genuinely on a personal level with his customers. I would come back again just to say "Hi" and hear about his interesting adventures as the owner of Cones.
After departing from Cones, I proceeded down the street to bookbook. This bookstore, formerly known as Biography Bookshop, lost its lease and is now located under a new name at 266 Bleecker. I was warmly greeted by Frank Baldaro, a sales associate. Like Raul over at Cones, Frank was delightful to chat with, and he showed me some wonderful books in the cookbook section. One was called The Fat Duck Cookbook which looks more like an art book. The other gem was Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong. Frank and I stood there laughing as we looked at photos of cakes made with disastrous outcomes.
Even though neither one of these stores is super-techy in terms of having web sites, blogs, or Twitter and Facebook accounts, I truly appreciated the old-fashion hospitality and small-town friendliness which each proprietor extended. That's what makes a place worth returning to, much more than any number of Tweets that they could send.
The personal touch wins every time!