Got Jury Duty?  Fall in Love with Lower Manhattan


I had to serve jury duty recently. Yes, I admit it, I’ve been ignoring the notices for a little while. The fact that I broke down and filled out the last questionnaire I received, had nothing to do with the threats of fines and incarceration. Of course, once I mailed it in, I received a notice to serve within weeks. I decided to make the best of it. I packed a book to read, snacks, my computer, IPhone and chargers, and any paperwork that I had hanging around. Packed and fully prepared, I cheerfully reported to fulfill my civic duty.

The truth is, it’s really not that bad. It gave a busy mom like myself a chance to slow down for a little while. Sure it’s as boring as watching paint dry, unless you’re being picked for a case, but there’s tons of space to stretch out and read, snooze, or listen to music. The court clerk was the infamous William Stevenson, the best clerk ever. He was super nice and and I truly think he missed his calling as a comedian. By the time you get settled after going through security and handing in your paperwork, it’ll be pretty close to lunch time. More than likely, you’ll get a generous lunch break. Mine was close to 2 hours. Since sitting for too long is not good, I decided to go out and wander around. Here’s some things that I did, to occupy myself during those two hour breaks:

  1. Explored Chinatown

    I served jury duty in criminal court in lower Manhattan, smack in the middle of Chinatown. I had the pleasure of wandering around this colorful area filled with bakeries, produce stands, and little shops selling everything from bonsai trees to decorative fans.

  2. Visited the Cool and Quirky Souvenir Shops in the area.
    Walking a little past Chinatown, I entered right onto the cusp of Little Italy. I discovered some great souvenirs. As a native New Yorker, I’m not impressed with the average cheesy tees and I love NY mugs that you usually find. I stumbled upon the most interesting little shops specializing in everything from Korean beauty masks, to magnets and signs made from urban NYC photography shots, to socks with cheeky sayings on them. I never need to be convinced to shop.

  3. Food, Food and More Food!
    I learned two things while I was on jury duty; one, the Chinese food that I’ve been eating up until now, is complete trash. Even the smallest Chinese restaurants had food that was superior to what I have been eating, and not to mention, quite inexpensive. Noodles, dumplings, rice bowls, you name it. Two, Little Italy (very close to Chinatown) has enough cannoli, gelato, and Italian restaurants to make me have to dust off my gym membership. I visited Caffe’ Palermo/The Cannoli King. It is indeed the king. The cannoli are superb, and the sea salt caramel cheesecake will make you fight someone. It’s that damn good!

  4. Experience the Fabulous Glossier Store
    The Glossier cosmetic line really isn’t my thing. I believe the target market is for a younger customer. That being said, I have a daughter that just turned 16, and its right up her alley. It’s located very close on Lafayette Street, so I headed over there to purchase a birthday gift for her. It’s an Instagramers dream. It was so posh, I thought there was an event going on. It wasn’t. Just their normal fabulous extra-ness. Pink stairs leading up to the store, cheerful employees dressed in pink jumpsuits, and swarms of young women around tables of trendy makeup items. It seemed slightly cult-ish, but I can’t lie, it was very cool and the employees that helped me were very sweet.

  5. MOCA : Museum of Chinese in America
    If you’re into museums, and looking to take in some art, and to educate yourself about Chinese Americans, there’s a small museum on Centre Street. It’s a great way to spend an hour or two.

  6. Be a tourist in your own town!
    Just walk around and absorb all the unique gems that NYC has to offer. New York is so amazing and there nothing like it. So many people come to enjoy the city every day. Make the most of that extended lunch break and become a tourist in your own town.