Friday, June 24, 2016

A Visit to Tea and Sympathy

Mother Nature gave us beautiful weather for our last day in New York City.  I would soon cross another activity off my "bucket list" -  having tea at Tea and Sympathy in Greenwich Village - but before that, a walk to Gray's Papaya on the S.E. corner of 72nd Street and Broadway in the Upper East side was on the agenda for one of their famous hot dogs [our breakfast].  I'm not a hot dog person, but a Gray's Papaya hot dog smothered with chili is an exception, and I must admit it was quite good.

On one of our movie nights before our trip to NYC, Steve brought over the 1997 drama/romance movie, Fools Rush In, with a scene about Gray's Papaya hot dogs. They're also in You've Got Mail.

[Scene from the movie]

From Gray's Papaya, we got on the subway to Greenwich Village, where a visit to Tea and Sympathy tea room was about to happen.  I purchased my Tea and Sympathy cookbook back in 2003, and immediately placed the small, quaint British tea room on my list of places to visit in NYC.  I wish I would have thought to pack my book for Nicky to sign, but how was I to know I'd actually get to meet her.  Next visit!

[Book Cover]

Owner, Nicola [Nicky] Perry is a British expat who opened her shop in 1991 and it's still going strong 25 years later.  British notables - Judi Dench, Kate Moss, and Rupert Everett - have all eaten there when on this side of the pond.

~ Below I'm happily standing in front of the tea room. ~

Nicky and her husband also have a fish and chips shop - A Salt and Battery - where they proudly beat TV chef, Bobby Flay, at a fish and chips cook-off on his show, Throwdown - food network channel. [Note to self: Must eat there next time we're in NYC.]

When we arrived, the small shop - which holds 20 guests, or a max of 23 if they're squeezed in tightly - was filled to capacity, so we gave our name and Steve and Jerry waited outside while Sharon and I went next door to their U.K. food, tea, and tea accessories shop.

Steve sitting on the bench in his Detroit Tiger's jersey, checking his cell phone messages.

~ The eclectic U.K. food store next door ~

It was filled with every kind of British food imaginable, and if I hadn't been flying home, I could have gone wild in there.  British expats living in NYC must absolutely love the store.  

~ Lots of tea accessories ~

I only purchased a postcard, and a tin of their Rosie Lee Blend - a black tea closely akin to English breakfast tea.

These are the three teas I purchased on my  trip.

As we exited the cute shop I couldn't resist taking a photo of the mosaic of Queen Elizabeth II hanging on the wall.

When we went back outside to wait for our name to be called, the owner, Nicky, came out, and I was so happy to be able to get my picture taken with her.  She was very friendly, and said I could post the photo on their Facebook page, but I haven't done it yet.

A table for four was finally available, and our name was called.  It was well-worth the wait! Tea and Sympathy is dubbed, "New York's most popular English tea room" and all those who filled it were proof it's true. The informal interior is like stepping into someone's grandmum's kitchen! I smiled at all the crooked pictures and British memorabilia hanging on the walls. There's not one pretentious thing about the establishment. It's pure quintessential British enjoyment. 

The tea room is open seven days a week, with varying hours, and there is a $12.50 minimum food order per person - which tallies up easily.

~ Jerry and Steve ~

~ Sharon and Me ~

They have a delicious looking Afternoon Tea option [the table next to us ordered it], but we each ordered a different selection from the menu:  Steve got mac and cheese, Sharon got a salad, and Jerry got shepherd's pie [lamb], and I got cottage pie [beef].  Yum!  Yum!  Yum!

Have the photos made you hungry yet?  ;-)  The china was eclectic.  I ordered a pot of their black tea blend.  When Nicky walked by, she glanced at my teacup and said, "No milk in your tea?"  The British always add milk to their black tea, but I almost always drink mine plain, without any sugar or milk.

And for dessert, a slice of Victoria Sponge Cake.  Like everything else, it was delicious.  If you are planning a trip to NYC, put Tea and Sympathy at the top of your list.  It's a wonderful and unique British dining experience.

'High Line' is in Greenwich Village, and wasn't far from Tea and Sympathy, so that was our next activity for the day. We definitely needed an exercise activity to work off all the calories we consumed.  It seemed like we were constantly eating in NYC whether we were hungry or not. Almost everything we wanted to see and do involved food, and had to be squeezed into our four day stay. Amazingly - because we walked five miles everyday, which isn't hard to do in NYC - I only gained two lbs. the entire trip [Boston and NYC].  Not that I'm happy about a weight gain, but it could have been a lot worse.

Next post, High Line... 


  1. Hopefully I'll get to Tea and Sympathy some day! We've been to the gift shop on two occasions, and I purchased a whimsical Alice in Wonderland teapot there, but have not eaten in the tea room, alas.

  2. You are really having a fabulous trip in New York City my favorite city to visit.
    My friend Nancy Carr in Puerto Rico sent me an email and said read this blog so here I am . I'll stay tuned to see what else you do.

  3. Thank you for your description of Tea and Sympathy, Phyllis! That would be a spot that I would,love to visit in NYC, for sure. I would've chosen the cottage pie, like you,mans the dessert, too. Your tins of tea are nice mementos of your trip. What great memories!

  4. I will put this on my list for my next NYC visit! Sounds like a fun place, and the store next door too!

  5. What a wonderful tearoom! I've put it on my "want to visit" list, too.

  6. Ohhhhh, I want to go! The food and decor sound simply wonderful, and that shop next door ... yes, I'd rather go there when I'm traveling by car and can take home a load of goodies rather than worrying about what will make it onto the plane. That's one of the things I envy about New Yorkers, how they have access to such a vast array of foods and goods all the time. *Sighs*

  7. What a treat to have tea there. Visiting cities we do walk alot. I guess that justifies eating more too. Ha!


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