Magazine article The New Yorker

T Salon;

Magazine article The New Yorker

T Salon;

Article excerpt

11 E. 20th St. (212-358-0506)--Miriam Novalle, the uninhibited owner of this higgledy-piggledy tea shop, is prone to spontaneous disclosure. Taking a reservation over the phone, for instance, she commented, "When I went to perfuming school in France they said, 'You're never going to sell anything with the name Nunberg!' So when I was eighteen years old they changed my name to Miriam Novalle." Novalle is a colorful figure. She is known to berate employees loudly if they, say, spill the precious Angel Pearls (jasmine-scented tea leaves hand-woven into balls, which sell for $7.75 an ounce), and even when she's not around, her tempestuous energy is palpable. Like the other day, when a giant stone Buddha head that was perched precariously on a ledge dropped to the floor with a concussive thud. Or when one of the waxen Buddhas that line the stairs up to the second floor, where the tea is sold in bulk, came tumbling down, rattling the stacks of china piled up here and there. Nevertheless, Novalle has placed a hopeful little epigram on the menu: "Allow tea and faith to elevate your spirit. Sit and enjoy a moment of heaven. …

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