Sunday, May 31, 2015

NYC Day 2 (or 1.5)

We were up and out by around 8:30 after enjoying cups of coffee that Shona got downstairs. There's a cute little bar/cafe. We left shortly after and wandered to find a diner to grab some breakfast. Of course, there was one only a few blocks away that didn't disappoint.

I got a "loaded" bagel with cream cheese and lox-- my grandfather would have been so proud. I HATED lox as a kid, and remember my grandfather saying many times, "how do you call yourself a Jew??" as if I broke some promise that I would love lox. I smiled thinking of him as I ate breakfast today.

We walked across town enjoying the views and snapping pictures like crazy tourists, which we kind of are (though kind of aren't.) We came across a street fair, and Shona was jonesing for some grilled corn so we walked through to get some then made our way to the High Line, a public park that was built on an old elevated railway line on the west side. It was beautiful!! The architecture of it is really lovely with a lot of detail to the plants blossoming all along the way. There's a lot of stone, glass and metal, punctuated by some beautiful murals, sculptures and works of art with some tracks along the way to pay homage to its roots. It's a gorgeous oasis in the heart of the city.

The trees provide lots of shade and it's a really lovely meandering walk. It's crazy humid today and while I really hate the humidity (I do NOT have humidity hair!) I took this as a sign that I shouldn't bother doing my hair, and I'm glad I didn't! :)

We walked north and took the subway up to the upper west side where we wandered a bit, then grabbed our picnic at Pappardella and walked over to Central Park. We found a nice shady patch and settled down on the large tablecloth. The spread was huge and really good: antipasto, panini, pasta salad, two little cheesecakes, biscotti, bread and limonata. Yum! We couldn't eat it all but enjoyed it!

No sooner do we finish and we started feeling drops. I had asked mother nature to please not rain out our picnic and she honored the request, then have a little fun with us. Apparently tablecloths make great rain gear, as I left my protective rain deterrent (raincoat) back at the hotel as it was lovely blue skies this morning.

Shona kept saying, "I think it's getting lighter" and then it started pouring heavier and heavier. We laughed our butts off. It got gusty but then the weather cleared a bit and we kept walking. 

We spent a while wandering through the park and through the Rambles. We saw a raccoon wandering around, and went to this beautiful area by the lake, climbed on some rocks and enjoyed the distant views of the city and row boaters enjoying the scenery. There were ducks, geese and turtles. When it started to pour, we stepped under a gorgeous little pavilion. 

We wandered to Belvedere Castle, offering lovely views of the lake and the city. It's a cute little three-storied stone structure.

then we started making our way across town back towards the hotel. We passed a parade and watched it for a bit, then started walking back through the park to cross town. It started drizzling intensely ten blocks from the hotel, but gave us a short break for a bit. Once we got inside the thunderstorms started. There was a huge clap of lightening and thunder just after we got in and the rain came down in sheets, so we were glad we made it! We had planned to go to see the Brooklyn Bridge tonight and take pictures of the moon, but it's supposed to thunderstorm all night so we may go with "Plan B" and hope tomorrow's weather improves. [it's supposed to rain all day though.]

Quote of the day, "That looks like a cloud parfait. Though it's the grey kind that looks like they aren't committed." 
Bonus quote of the day (when getting ready to go out), "I think I'm gonna need shoes for this."

After a short nap we felt ready for round 2 in the city that never sleeps. We walked over towards the west, and passed St. Patrick's Church, Radio City Music Hall and Times Square. The rain began to patter in earnest, but we were armed appropriately. We went to Hell's Kitchen and found a cute little Thai place to eat. Yum!

I wanted something sweet so we stopped at Magnolia Bakery for a hummingbird cupcake, which was really good! We wandered a bit enjoying some of the views, architecture and lights reflecting in large puddles. It was a really great day!!


Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Bite of the Big Apple

It has been three long years since I last went to New York. THE city. While I didn't grow up there, it still feels like home. There is no other city I have been to as often, outside of Boston, where I grew up.

There's something about this city that is so amazing-- the energy, the hustle and bustle of people carving out their lives in a skyscraper kingdom. I'm not sure if I could live here, but I really love visiting.

I'm meeting up with a friend that I have known for a long time. I love her dearly, and always enjoy our time together. We are pretty much as different as could be, and yet I absolutely love all of those things about her that makes us different. I find her so interesting and such a warm, kind and creative person. We always have such a great time.

She found that this weekend is Manhattanhenge--when the sunset aligns perfectly with the city's grid. It happens twice a year with a full sun, and twice a year with a half sun. All four times illuminate both the north and south sides of every cross street of the borough's grid. I land in Newark at 5:55, will dash to catch the train to NYC, and will rush on over to the east side where the viewing is better and coincidentally where our hotel is. Some of the recommended viewing streets are six blocks away, so hopefully I'll make it in time for sunset at 8:12 (or actually, a little before sunset, for some amazing pictures.)

It's supposed to be partly cloudy today, so I am also hoping that the sun will hold out for a little while at least. The weekend is expected to be a washout but the weather forecasts are looking a bit more optimistic for partly dry times. Either way, we're in NYC! A little rain won't deter us though may change a couple of our plans. It's all good though-- our city awaits!!

I landed on time and raced to the shuttle to get to the train to NYC. It's funny, as I couldn't remember where to pick it up, but as soon as I landed and started walking through the airport, it all came back to me. The shuttle arrived quickly and I made it on the train with 10 seconds to spare. Since it's Saturday, the next wasn't coming for 45 minutes so I was thrilled to make it. The ride took 25 minutes to Penn Station, not the prettier of the two terminals.

Given the time, I was going to take a cab, but I think he thought I looked like a meal ticket and was going to charge me $35 to go to the hotel! It was less than 2 miles and took me 30 minutes to walk! Um.. no thanks! I hoofed it and made pretty good time, even with the lights. (Shona said it should have cost less than $10).

The hotel is really cute! Our room is small-- typical for NYC. We're in one of the Pod hotels on 51st. My friend was already here so we caught up quickly while I tossed my stuff out of the bag, and raced to head south ten blocks to view the sunset.

We got to a great viewing place right in front of Grand Central Station (a gorgeous train station) but unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate. There were clouds near the horizon so all we saw was backlit clouds. Disappointing!! We did a quick run through of Grand Central and enjoyed watching the masses of people also disappointed by the viewing.

We met up with another friend from Boston and grabbed some dinner at an asian bistro. We got a drink that had vodka, matcha green tea, mint leaves and lime in it-- yum! Then we stopped for a drink at Tuttles, where they have a really cute open backyard garden patio.

Ahh.. the city. I really do miss being in a city. Phoenix is a city, of course, but more of a huge sprawl without much of a draw of a downtown center to walk around. This is fun!

We walked back to the hotel as it's now late, and we have a busy day of walking tomorrow!

Good night, all!