I can sing praises about New York over and over and you’d think I’m terribly repetitive on this blog. Yeah, I am, about New York City.
After I went in the winter this year, I wanted to go back in the summer because Alex and I hadn’t been there together since 2006. On that trip, he was really sick then so he didn’t really enjoy everything we did. Plus, of the three times that I’d already been to NYC, it was always winter (but never cold – definitely should be noted).
So off we went for the long weekend – yay!
We started at Jean Georges, where an artichoke appy looked like this. I didn’t quite know what to do. Alex was happy to note that it looked quite similar to the artichoke mess we cooked up a while back. It’s true. Turns out we’re not that stupid with internet instructions :)
This time around, I chose the newest addition to the Thompson chain, the Smyth in Tribeca, as our home base. I actually booked online through the hotel website and got an amazing deal for the August long weekend, at about 35% of the regular rack rate! It was very sleek and new inside, and I could just picture the staff saying, “I’m actually a model/actor/singer-songwriter”, as they were all good-looking people who were too cool for school. It was a very comfortable hotel with lots of in-room amenities, but I wouldn’t stay there again for the full rack rate – there are other cheaper gems in the city.
We checked out Pearl River Mart, which I’d always heard about but never set foot in. On the way up there, we walked past Chinatown…and it was amazing to see the people and the energy there. The street was packed full of people peddling an eclectic mix of bootleg and fake luxury goods, it was amusing to be a part of that buzz! I tried to take a picture but really couldn’t get a good shot anywhere because we were all packed like sardines on the sidewalk.
On Sunday morning we went for a run in Central Park, and I got to see way more of the Park beyond Wollman Rink and Tavern on the Green. The full run through the park is 10K, so we did just a bit more than that to hit the 14K for my half-marathon training. The run started out in pouring rain, which I actually loved because it cooled down the city significantly, and despite wiping the rain out of my eyes every couple of minutes, it made the run more interesting for sure. The rain stopped at about 6 or 7K into the run, and as we were finishing, the park was just starting to get busy for a Sunday morning.
We also hung out at the new park in Meatpacking, the High Line, before a late dinner at Pastis on Sunday night. The view from High Line was gorgeous at dusk, and I loved the way it was set up…full of big, wide, comfortable park benches that recline at 45 degrees! It made me fall even more in love with the city – there’s a little piece of heaven for everyone everywhere you look!
Another new spot for us this time was MoMA. We’d always meant to go but never made the commitment or time. As expected, the Andy Warhol sections were bustling with people who recognized the artwork, but the rest of the museum had a couple of limited-time exhibits that were quite fun to see, and the architecture and design itself were fun to check out. I liked the exhibit Projects 90: Song Dong where the artist Song Dong literally aired out every single item his mother carefully saved in her house in communist China. It is reflective of a culture that harboured the sentiment of “waste not” – during times of political instability, you wouldn’t want to be the household without all kinds of emergency items, and you definitely didn’t want to be frivolous when the times were good because you never knew what could happen. I felt like I was taking a trip down memory lane, looking at some of the colored pencils and markers in their original boxes, kitchen twine and other strings knotted and saved in their own bundles, and mismatched pots and pans sitting in a corner on the floor. This exhibit reminded me very much of the way my mother’s parents lived in Taiwan – my grandparents having fled a war with the communists themselves.
A trip out to the UN on our last day rounded out the list of things Alex wanted to see. We didn’t make it in time for a detailed tour of the grounds, so that’ll be for next time. It felt kind of neat being in “the United Nations” rather than the US for a while there, and I posted a postcard from the UN post office just to feel like I had stepped off the continent for a second and was mailing a letter from a (somewhat) exotic land.
Our flight ended up getting delayed so we got a bonus night in NYC. By then I was tired of being the weirdo with the jeans in a heat wave, but we managed to go out to Brooklyn Bridge and do the walk across – one of my favourite things to do. We had a delicious meal in Vinegar Hill – but I’ll devote a post to just food in NYC later ;)
All in all, it was a wonderful trip where I got to see more of NYC and fall even more in love with it. As we wandered through the streets, I’d exclaim whenever I recognized a store, a street, or a landmark. Alex just shook his head at me at how much more “at home” I was in New York versus Toronto – as he puts it, why would I even consider living in another city?