Thursday, April 7, 2011

Backyard "Traveling" -- Panera's Bread, Co-op City

I have no pictures for this entry -- because I generally don't take pictures when I go out in my own neighborhood.

I have lived in Co-op City for most of my life, even though I have had substantial stays in other cities and states. My parents moved into Co-op City when I was only three months old, and remained here until their recent deaths -- my sister and I relinquished their apartment in April of 2010. By this time, I had moved back to Co-op City to provide whatever support I could give my parents, as well as to establish residence close to the great city of Manhattan.

Dad advised me once, when I had to stay with my parents as an adult, to use their home as a "hotel," and to travel and go out as an adult might do when visiting a new city. I am sure he was referring more to the sights and sounds of New York City and its surrounding area, all of which I will discuss. After all, I can only truly "travel" a limited amount of the year, given my budget and other concerns.

However, my Dad's logic also applies to my hometown of Co-op City. Often, I do not want to spend time and money driving (have you seen today's gas prices? have you driven in New York City?) or taking public transportation to get out of the house and enjoy myself. Why can't I have quiet, reflective time in Co-op City itself?

Fortunately, Co-op City has a number of options. My favorite is Panera's Bread, in Bay Plaza. The atmosphere is very conducive to reflection -- jazz music playing in the background, pleasant artwork on the walls. The staff is very, very friendly. I usually come in for my iced tea. For $2.17, I buy a refillable, 32 oz. cup, having several containers of the unsweetened variety, and can sit for a long, long time. If I need extra Sweet and Low or Equal, there is service with a smile. Management is responsive to customers' needs -- they recently added extra cashiers, decreasing wait time.

Before my current weight loss, I enjoyed several meals at Panera's Bread. They offer a variety of my old friend, the bread basket, including clam chowder. Sandwhiches and sweets appear enticing, though  I have limited, distant experience sampling them.  From the amount of traffic I see in the restaurant, it would appear the food is more than satisfactory.

I do not order food at Panera's Bread at this time. To maintain my weight loss -- I am steady at 135 pounds today, April 7, 2011 -- I stick to a strict diet and exercise plan, and I only go out for one meal a week, and I prefer to go to a new restaurant, and to "travel" a bit for that, even if it means going only to Manhattan, White Plains, or Central Avenue in Westchester. But there are times when I need to get out of the house, reflect, and socialize. Panera's Bread in Bay Plaza of Co-op City offers me the opportunity for all of that. Tired from the long day of shopping in Bay Plaza? Need to take a load off? Relax, and enjoy what Panera's Bread has to offer. It will bring a smile to your day.

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