Tea & Sympathy is ‘The Hottest Spot in Town’: The Times (UK)

We’ve been rummaging through our scrap books, and continuing our vintage theme from yesterday’s post, we have another ‘oldie but a goody for you’. A great description of the New York of yore (we’ve lost the date, but late nineties surely), we’re glad to be name checked as the ‘hottest spot in town’. Jonathan Miller, you are welcome back anytime!

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Time Out New York – The Anglophile’s Guide to NYC

Time Out New York put together this interesting little Anglophile guide to NYC ahead of the Brit Fest held last year. We’ve only included Tea & Sympathy’s mention below, but you can read the whole thing here.

The Anglophile’s guide to NYC

Have a cuppa, don your best mod gear and pretend you’re a Brit for a day. By Chris Schonberger and Sharon Steel

Ahh.. could you ask for any more?

 
It’s fitting that Brits tend to fly under the radar in New York—after all, waving the flag of St. George from balconies or pushing esoteric tea-drinking ceremonies (milk, two sugars) on the Starbucks-swilling masses wouldn’t be very…well, English, would it? But thanks to the first annual Brit Fest (britfestnyc.com), which kicks off Friday 4 and runs through June 10, expats and Anglophiles alike have a chance to engage in seven days of Britain-related revelry. “Many other nationalities have a parade or celebrate their culture in NYC, and we felt it was time the Brits did the same,” explains Louise Gale, cofounder of the expatriate networking organization Big Apple Brits (bigapplebrits.com). Once you’ve danced the night away during the fest’s Hacienda Dance Party on Friday 4, fill yer boots at our favorite bastions of Englishness around the city.

Sit down and have some sugary tea 
Pop in to Tea & Sympathy (108–110 Greenwich Ave at Jane St; 212-989-9735, teaandsympathynewyork.com) if you are English, or just want a proper cup of char. There’s always a devoted community of Brits and wanna-bes at this cramped but homey space, where, over the clinking of china, you can strike up a conversation with the diner sitting right next to you. Order the afternoon tea ($35 for one, $55 for two), which comes with assorted finger sandwiches, scones and a selection of cakes—plus a steaming pot of the only beverage more sacred to the English than beer. “It’s the actual tea-drinking that we do so well. When I first came here, I couldn’t believe it—I’d go to other places and the tea was just revolting,” says Nicky Perry, a former Londoner who opened Tea & Sympathy in 1990. “I’m very, sort of, ‘This is it, this is how it is.’ You walk in the doors, and you’re in my living room. But our tea is very popular, made fresh to order. And I always tell people to come hungry!” You can never go wrong with the classic English breakfast or Earl Grey, but Tea & Sympathy has 41 other varieties to choose from, including Yorkshire Gold and rose petal.

NY Daily News

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding boosts business for souvenir shops

BY JOANNA MOLLOY AND SAMUEL GOLDSMITH
DAILY NEWS WRITERS
Monday, April 25, 2011

Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding has been great for business.… (Tim Hales/AP)

Anglophiles are scarfing up royal wedding garb in Manhattan like cucumber sandwiches at high tea.

Shops that cater to New York City’s royal watchers are either completely out of Prince William and Kate Middleton souvenirs or down to their last few items.

“People were a lot more into it than we thought. Americans, too,” said an employee at Tea and Sympathy, a restaurant and store on the strip of Greenwich Ave. between 12th and 13th Sts. known as Little Britain.

“Rightly so, I suppose,” the worker said. “It’s the future king and queen of England.”

Tea and Sympathy ran out of teapots and large mugs emblazoned with the royal couple’s faces. All that are left are a few plates and teacups.

Mxyplyzyk, a specialty store across the street, is sold out of waving Queen Elizabeth figurines.

Working Class, a boutique on Duane St., had just one Prince William and Kate Middleton plate left, which it refuses to sell.

The royal wedding takes place Friday. Millions of people around the world are expected to tune in for the live broadcast of the nuptials.

Lyon Bouchon Moderne, a restaurant a few doors from Tea and Sympathy, is hosting a wedding watching party starting at 6 a.m., with traditional British food and drinks.

amNY –

Seeking British NYC? Keep calm and read on

4/27/11
CITY LIVING
By Marjorie Cohen

Photo credit: Caleb Ferguson/Carry On Tea and Sympathy, a traditional British grocery in the West Village

 

If all this talk about the royal wedding has awakened the Anglophile in you, then this article is for you.

Even though New York has no British “neighborhood” — no surprise given that our urban forebears kicked the Brits out 228 years ago — there are plenty of places to visit in the city to satisfy that craving for things British.

You can start by meeting a Brit: When Louise Gale arrived in New York from Surrey in 2004, she wanted to find other Brits. What began as a gathering of 10 expats is now Big Apple Brits, a group with regular meet-ups, including a full-on BritFest in June. Brits and non-Brits can learn more at bigapplebrits.com.

But you don’t need to join to enjoy amNY’s bloody good tour of British NYC.

Eating British: Old favorites

Nicky Perry, 51, is the force of nature who reigns over “the unofficial British consulate” in New York — a triumvirate of shops at Nos. 108, 110 and 112 Greenwich Ave.

Perry’s Tea and Sympathy English Restaurant (212-989-9735) offers an English tea for two – sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and jam — or favorites like bangers and mash or shepherd’s pie in a setting cozy enough to please the most demanding English auntie.

Carry On Tea and Sympathy (212-989-9735) has all the ingredients for a do-it-yourself English meal — cans of mushy peas, Heinz beans and an assortment of teas and digestive biscuits. (That’s Perry’s portrait hanging on the wall to the right of the entrance.)

Myers of Keswick at 634 Hudson St. (212-691-4194) is another huge expat favorite. Stock up on what Peter Myers, the founder, calls “porcine perfection,” his shop’s made-fresh-every-day bangers, sausage rolls, chipolata and Scotch eggs.

Shopping British

Working Class Emporium, a quirky shop at 168 Duane St. (212-941-1199), is owned by Yorkshire-born David Metcalf, a self-described  “purveyor of perfumes, clothing, provisions, haberdashery and antiques.” Browsing is encouraged, so take a look at the antique tea sets, candelabra and silver serving pieces; the brightly striped Paul Smith towels and hats; and the mouse pad imported from a London bookstore urging you, of course, to “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

If you like the Paul Smith items at the Emporium and want more, check out the two Paul Smith shops in Manhattan at 142 Greene St. and 108 Fifth Ave. (paulsmith usa.com), which carry the well-known designer’s men’s and women’s clothing, accessories and children’s clothing.  For a discount on some of Sir Paul’s designs, check out his Sale Shop in Williamsburg  at 280 Grand St.

British Art
The Frick Collection, 1  East 70th St., has more 18th-century portraits by British artists than any other New York City museum. Hogarth and Gainsborough are well represented, and you can see a portrait of Lady Hamilton as Nature by George Romney that was once on the mantelpiece in Frick’s bedroom — apparently the first woman Henry Frick saw when he woke up every morning was a Brit.

A British garden
All the way downtown, not far from the World Trade Center site, is the British Garden at Hanover Square (www.british garden.org), which was opened officially by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth on her visit to New York last year. Planted with shrubs and perennials that are reminiscent of an English garden, this quiet spot honors the memory of the 67 British citizens who died on 9/11.

 

The Telegraph – coverage of Tea & Sympathy’s Royal Wedding festivities!

For your perusal, the very kind words of UK newspaper The Telegraph on our Royal Wedding celebrations:

Do New Yorkers care about the Royal Wedding? You bet. Nicky Perry of Tea and Sympathy leads the charge
By Melissa Whitworth | April 20th, 2011

Having a cuppa with Nicky Perry, owner of Tea and Sympathy (Circe Hamilton)

Nicky Perry has been serving Sunday roasts and cream teas to homesick Brits in NYC for the last 20 years. Her restaurant, Tea & Sympathy, is a beloved expat institution, here in Greenwich Village. In fact, it’s the only place in the city where you can get a decent cuppa.

“I’ve done more for British food in America than Jamie Oliver – where’s my MBE?” she asks. Local rumour has it that when the British Consulate here gets a call they can’t deal with, they redirect it to Perry.

My friend, Circe Hamilton, a British photographer who has been living in NYC for 19 years says, “Perry is the local mayor, her reputation precedes her and she’s a force to be reckoned with. She’s never afraid to shout at her punters and get them all in line. I love a woman where you know what she thinks immediately. It’s very comforting knowing there’s a little bit of England around the corner.”

On the 29th April, Perry and her friend, fellow-Brit Penny Bradley, will be hosting the street party to end all parties in celebration of the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  They plan to close down part of Greenwich Avenue outside their restaurants, and have the celebrations spill out onto the streets.

Bradley is the co-owner of Lyon, the French restaurant next-door to Tea & Sympathy. Her business partner, François Latapie, has agreed to be British for the weekend (as long as Penny helps him celebrate Bastille Day later in the year with a few games of Pétanque).

The restaurants will be serving full English breakfast, kedgeree, Spotted Dick, Eton Mess, Brown Windsor soup and Pimm’s. Perry has been trying to hunt down the menu they’ll be serving at Buckingham Palace on the day, so she can recreate it for her New York customers. In the meantime, she has her chef baking Prince William’s favourite pudding, a kind of  chocolate biscuit cake with raisins.

Next door, Nicky is selling Royal wedding memorabilia: tea towels, football scarves, teapots, cups and saucers (alongside Marmite, Walker’s crisps, and the city’s biggest collection of Cadbury’s chocolate).

Nearby shopkeepers will be decorating their stores with Union Jacks and bunting. In fact, at the moment there is a huge Andy Warhol-style painting of the Queen in the window of the local chemist. A charity raffle will include a return trip to London courtesy of Virgin Atlantic, and clothing donated by Elizabeth Hurley. A Pearly King and Queen will perform songs in the evening; there will be Morris dancers. Perry has spent $1800 on bunting.

At Lyon there will be two large screens where live coverage of the Royal wedding will commence at 6am (because of the five-hour time difference).

“It’s going to be a right Royal knees-up,” says Perry.

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