A couple months ago, I had a bright idea. I, Cindy, was going to walk from the tippy top of Manhattan to the very bottom of the island. That’s 13.4 miles folks. Why would I do such a thing? Well…because…why not! I’m an ambulophile, or in layman’s terms, I really freakin’ love walking. Plus, Manhattan has so many interesting nooks and crannies that I thought walking its entire length would give me a new perspective on the city.
Before heading out on this grand urban hike, my friend and I picked certain, off-the-beaten-path sites that we wanted to see along the way to have destinations here and there to break up the journey. There was the expansive Riverbank State Park which is located above the Hudson River (and interestingly enough over a wastewater treatment plant), the Shinran Shonin statue (a statue that survived the atomic bomb in Hirsohima) in the Upper West Side, and the peaceful, bi-level Sutton Place Park with its grand views of the Queensboro Bridge in Midtown East to name a few. Just so you know, our detours made our walk total 27 miles in the end. Nuts, but worth it. Who wants to walk straight down boring ol’ Broadway?!
We planned on stopping for lunch sometime before entering the northern part of Central Park but didn’t have a specific place in mind. As we were walking further east, getting closer and closer to the park boundary, we didn’t see much around us. For one, it had to be somewhere we could sit because our legs and feet needed a break and we needed to use the bathroom. Just when we thought we were going to have to look up something, we spotted Tum & Yum on the corner of 105th and Columbus Ave., just a couple streets away from the park. It looked decent and there was something about a lunch special outside, so that was enough for us.
When we entered the restaurant, it was better than we were hoping. The interior was a cool mixture of textures with muted browns and grays offset by the colorful windows. One of the walls also looked like rows of catalog cabinets. We perused the menu, and to our delight, everything was quite affordable.
The lunch special deal was for an appetizer (spring roll, shumai, salad, or dumpling) and an entree. If you picked chicken, pork, vegetable, or tofu with your entree, it was only $7.95! Shrimp, squid, and beef were an extra dollar, so $8.95, which is still a great deal. I got the Thai spring roll and the pad Thai with squid. I’ve never had squid with pad Thai, but it was a fun change. We didn’t have to wait long for our food at all, which was great seeing as we had a whole 100+ blocks to walk before it got dark, and it was filling enough that I didn’t need to stop for a snack or another meal until the walk was over.
Exploring the upper parts of Central Park? Consider Tum & Yum for your meal before or after. It was there for us in our time of need! And oh, it’s not just a cute name that rhymes. According to their website, “tum” means “food mixing together,” while “yum” means “bring in the salad vegetables” in Thai. I looked up other translations for these and saw that “tum” means pound, like with a mortar or grinding bowl, and “yum” means spicy salad. I wish I could give you a clear definition for these words, but alas, I’m not Thai. The point is though, they managed to hit on a name that not only reflects the Thai language and cuisine, but one that resonates with average Joes walking around like me, thinking that place with that name might be yummy and just the one to make their tummy happy.
Thai spring roll, pad Thai with squid
917 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10025