Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New York City

I'm trying to come up with a way to start this post--how do you say something about New York that hasn't already been said?!--but because I'm all out of creativity, I'll say this: everything I know about New York City, I learned as a (very young, impressionable) teenager, watching Sex and the City as if it was my televised church.  Now that I'm older, I realize people, especially in today's mindset, don't really live like that.  Or, at least, the average person doesn't.  So on that level, New York was a letdown.

On every other level, though, it was fantastic.We took the Bolt Bus from DC Saturday morning.  First off, while the bus is a super great, cheap option, how much fun would a train have been?  But I wasn't about to pay $300 for a train ticket, so the bus it was!  After about four hours of staring onto the toll roads, we finally arrived at the Port Authority, unloaded, and headed to SoHo, where our hotel was.  I'm not a hustle-and-bustle person; the lights of Times Square make me wonder what's wrong with society.  SoHo is quiet and quaint, with tons of shopping.  It's where we belonged.

We decided to walk instead of take a cab, in order to orient ourselves with the city (my idea).  I'd like to think it worked, but my hips say otherwise.  After over an hour of walking, we checked in, dropped off our luggage, and started our trip.

Purl SoHo
I had to go to Purl SoHo.  This was a non-negotiable.  Besides the fact that I could buy my mom's birthday present a month early (and I did), I've been dying to go here since I started sewing.  I wasn't disappointed.  Nick was a trooper, reaching yarn on high shelves and just generally being much more tolerating than he needed to be.  I lingered over the Liberty lawns, not wanting to leave without them--but at $37 a yard, it would have blown my whole budget for a dress's amount.  Oh well.

After Purl, we were starving, and we got bad directions from a cashier, so we ended up walking all over, almost to Chinatown, before we realized we'd have to backtrack to get some pizza.  We ate at Pomodoro's, which was cheap and good, but the cashier could use an attitude check.  I get it, you're a guido in NYC, but buck up, kid, and act like you didn't just spit on the pizza.

We headed to Sur La Table after, which is one of our favorite stores.  Have you been there?  It's a holy experience.  It's hard to walk out without sheet pans, cookie cutters, plates and another French press, but I settled for new kitchen towels.  Nick fell in love with some red ceramic salt and pepper shakers, and with the two new accessories, I think I've decided to make a navy gingham tablecloth.  I don't even like tablecloths, but I think it'd be just too charming.

New kitchen towels
Nick got a record player from my brother for Christmas, and has been waiting to go ape-wild on some vinyl.  I had seen Bleeker Street Records online so we walked up there from Sur La Table.  They had a great selection (still no copies of Dog Problems, unfortunately) and Nick walked out with four new albums to add to his growing collection.  
Ceiling at Bleeker Street Records

Giant cat at Bleeker Street Records
So at this point, it's about 7:00, we've eaten twice, and all I can think of is dessert and my nearly-broken camera.  Why is it broken?  I don't know, but I missed out on some good pictures, so thanks, Canon.  Anyway, our hotel was a block away from Jacques Torres, a beloved chocolatier in my mom's house, but Magnolia Bakery was only a few blocks further, and why settle?  However, I will say that Magnolia did not live up to the hype.  The cupcake was flat and, honestly, I can do it better.  Cakelove is still my cupcakery of choice, but all sugar is appreciated, I guess.

Magnolia Bakery

Nick got the truffle cupcake with ganache; I got a chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream

Empire State Building in the rain
We ate our cupcakes in the hotel, showered, and passed out before SNL came on.  We are officially old.

Sunday morning I woke up bright and early, wondering why a tabby wasn't crying for her food.  Oh right!  New York.  I woke up a very reluctant Nicholas and bribed him with breakfast to get his ass moving.  We took a cab uptown to Vic's Bagel Bar in Murray Hill.  It's described as "Coldstone, but for bagels": you choose your bagel, filling (butter, cream cheese, Nutella, etc.) and toppings, they mix and toast, and you enjoy.  I was overwhelmed by the choices and ordered blueberry and cream cheese on an egg bagel--if I had to do it again, I'd do Nutella and banana on a cinnamon raisin.  It was delicious nonetheless.

Vic's Bagel Bar

Lipstick and a schmear

After breakfast, we walked from Murray Hill to Herald Square.  We passed the Empire State Building and tons of tourist shops.  Also, there were people camped out outside of Foot Locker?  Linsanity, perhaps?  I'm not entirely sure.

Empire State Building

Macy's at Herald Square.  I wish it was Christmas still!

From Herald Square we headed to the Fashion District (mostly to marvel at M&J Trimmings's windows--good lord that was gorgeous) and then to Rockefeller Center.  We didn't go into the studios for a tour or anything; I wanted to see the skating rink and be able to say I was there.

Okay, so we aren't good at this.  Oh well.  Also I'm rocking the Owen Wilson nose in this picture.

Crazy hair!
We walked down Fifth Avenue, passing all the fashion designers and jewelers--Tiffany was closed, unfortunately, though Nick disagreed--and marveled at the glass Apple store, FAO Schwarz (which we went through--meh, toys are boring) and Central Park.  I would have loved to go to the zoo, but it was $12 and I have a free zoo at home I haven't visited in years.  Something is off.

After walking around the park, we walked over to Madison Avenue to visit Laduree.  Expensive?  Yes.  Delicious?  Also yes.  

Macarons at Laduree

My $20 half-dozen, which I've eaten three--including one made with rose flavoring.  That was more of an experiment than anything.

We ate lunch at Shake Shack (I know!  There's one here in DC!  But we've never been) and trekked back toward the park, passing the Guggenheim and the Met.  Our last hours were spent people-watching, counting puppies who crossed our paths and generally passing judgment.

Shake Shack

Nick in front of the Met
I want to go again, and I want to go for a longer period of time than one night, but I think I'd rather go with my mom than my boyfriend, given the chance.  I love Nick and we travel well together, but he doesn't like art or shopping; he is really indecisive and will do something and complain rather than offer a different option.  I want to see the Guggenheim, the Met, MOMA--there was at time in my life when art was more important than breathing.  To not go is denying myself of a former dream.  But, again, my mom would be a much better companion--she always enjoyed art museums with me, and we could talk about what we saw over lunch and a cookie.

Have you been?  What's your favorite thing about New York?  And where do you think we should go next?


  1. I walk past that foot locker everyday on my way to and from work. There's always a line of people waiting and I wonder about it every time I pass. So funny to hear someone else mention it!

    My favorite thing about New York is that it's home, first and foremost. But after that - I love that there's always something to do, from lectures to parks to shopping to eating.

    And when you come up again, definitely check out Pommes Frites (the best french fries and dipping sauces on earth), the farmer's market at Union Square, and some of the museums - the Met or the AMNH are great places to start, and you pay as you wish, so don't get turned off my the $20 suggested donation. Just throw them a buck and spend a few minutes (or hours) wandering around the galleries with no pressure.

    1. Those fries sound delicious--they'll definitely be on the plan for next time! That's a really great suggestion about the museums. I live in DC, where just about everything is free, so when it comes to donations I'm completely clueless. I could spend an entire week just visiting the museums, so I'll need to plan accordingly. I've heard the AMNH is both a great museum and a fantastic venue, so I'd love to see it.

      I'm a teensy bit jealous that you call New York home. After visiting this weekend, I've been trying to figure out a way to get ourselves up there. Maybe someday!


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