Dear New York,
I used to be so intimidated by you. I was afraid of your allure. Convinced I wasn’t ready to meet you. Certain you would eat me alive.
I’m glad I overcame my fear. I’m glad I visited.
5 days in the Big Apple. How could I be so wrong?
Active Violinist and The City
Day 1 – Wednesday
Jeff and I arrived in the afternoon and after leaving our luggage at the very hip and cool Yotel in Midtown we walked the Highline. It is pretty wonderful. There are so many gorgeous buildings, interesting architecture, great views (into peoples’ homes and of the city), interesting people watching, and wonderful nooks and resting areas. It is so serene. We walked the entire way to the new Whitney Museum. We bought coffee and Mexican food along the way and waded through some excellently placed water fixtures (hot, tired feet!).
When we got to the Whitney we couldn’t NOT go in and look around. What an incredible space! What incredible art! We headed back to the hotel via the city streets.
Our hotel was very cool: A happening bar and really great food. We ended up staying in for dinner and were tucked into bed by 10:30pm. We go all out.
Day 2 – Thursday
I met up with my Freshman year dorm-room neighbors for lunch. What a reunion! I hadn’t seen either one of them for at least 8 years. I can’t believe it worked out! I don't think I laughed or giggled like that in quite some time. Their lives sound way more glamorous than mine in (relatively speaking) sleepy Oklahoma.
Afterwards I walked over to Carnegie Hall in hopes of making my debut only to discover they are closed for the summer. Rude!
Giving up on stardom (for the moment), I meandered over to Central Park and watched some really fun street performers before dipping in to the American Museum of Natural History. I totally forgot that Night at the Museum with Ben Stiller was filmed here! I chuckled about this (to myself) while observing the exotic taxidermy.
The dinosaurs are epic! Head into the Hayden Planetarium Space Theater to hear Liam Neeson narrate some cool facts about the solar system. The whole exhibit on Black holes and Dark Matter is amazing. I could have spent several hours here alone if it weren't bordering on dinnertime.
I was flying solo as Jeff had to work all day so I headed back to the hotel (on foot - the best way to see a city).
We went out to dinner with his boss at Esca, a Mario Battali restaurant around the corner from the hotel. Holy Moly it was good! I like to eat, and I’m not really snobby about it but oh man it was great! I also forgot what kind of wine. Oh well! I recommend it - especially if you like Seafood (and even if you don't!)
We walked over to Times Square after dinner. It is nuts! Honestly this was probably my least favorite part of the trip. Trust me, better viewed from the comfort of your own home. Chaos everywhere. Before hitting the hay we stopped in a local market and picked up some gelato to share on the balcony….in the rain. All in all it was a romantic date for 3.
Day 3 – Friday
I stumbled out into the neighborhood for breakfast and found a fantastic little bakery/coffeeshop called Amy’s Bread. I felt bad for Jeff because he was working in the hotel lobby and I could not stop raving about my pastry and cappuccino when I got back.
We had to change hotels today so I caught an Uber to the Omni Berkshire with our bags and dropped them off before exploring 5th ave for a hot minute.
I stumbled upon a gorgeous church service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
I stopped to smell the lavender at the Rockefeller farmers market (how do you even get a vendor spot here!?), stopped in at Bauman Rare Books to admire some spines (a Brahms score on sale for $18,500!!), and did some serious window shopping pretty much every where.
My family friend from Traverse City came downtown to meet up and we immediately got covered in gold – literally accosted by the 24 carat gold skincare ladies who, for whatever reason thought I could afford $800 face cream. There is so much insecurity imbued in the beauty industry! The more I said “No Thank You” the more of my little imperfections she pointed out…but in the sweetest way possible. Like she was my BFF genuinely concerned about my future; Warning me of my impending botox bill if I didn’t suck it up and smear gold on my face now, before it is too late.
After this semi-demoralizing experience where I was forced to come to terms with my own sagging, drooping, decaying mortality we headed to the West Village for a bite to eat (and a cocktail). Turns out family friend Maxine is kind of besties with Mario Battali so we bellied up to the bar at The Spotted Pig, the former haunt of Philip Seymour Hoffman (R.I.P.). It is cozy and unassuming but hot dang those deviled eggs are worth writing home about.
Jeff came and met us in the village where we strolled through the lovely streets and admired the intimate and inviting vibe of the area. I know it is silly to say because I will NEVER be able to afford it – BUT I would totally live here.
We had dinner at a really great little French place that we kind of stumbled upon. At the table to our left were 2 buds from college who were clearly now investment bankers – whining about how one’s fiancé demanded $5 million in the prenup and how he said no, took the ring back and now can't decide whether he should take her back. REALLY DUDE!? The whole conversation made me a little ill, and also sort of livid. I'm still thinking about what I should have leaned over and said, what I hoped this unknown lady did and where on his person he should probably 'stash' that ring (hint: probably not recommended by 4 out of 5 Doctors). A serious case of 1% problems.
We ended the evening strolling then headed to the Fulton Street Station (Jeff’s company had a hand in its creation) and walking through the 9/11 Memorial. Probably way more incredible in the daylight but completely impressive at night as well.
Day 4 – Saturday
We headed uptown for breakfast, at Sarabeth’s and a little browsing at the Corner Bookstore before heading to the Guggenheim because….duh.
-Sidenote about the Corner Bookstore: this is my favorite kind of bookshop: Small, local and full of gems. I loved overhearing a customer ask for advice on what novel she should read next only to hear a variety of choices in so many different genres recommended by the store employees. It just makes me want to read more!
After the Guggenheim (which was awesome) we picked up coffee from The Church of Heavenly Rest and a stroll through Central Park.
We sipped our fancy shmancy dry cappuccinos while watching a Jazz Quartet jam under a tree in the park, then headed to the Met.
A line out the door and around the corner awaited us. Lucky for us it was moving quickly. I could have spent days and days and days in there.
We ended up spending hours in just the Manus x Machina exhibit alone. The crossroads of fashion and technology has really produced some jaw dropping pieces of wearable (or almost wearable? Some designs certainly didn’t seem to keep the human form in mind) art. Blah blah blah there were several Picassos and stuff by other famous people but if you put a gown in a museum, no offense Mr. Pollock, but I’m going to swoon over it.
For our last evening in the city we headed to Williamsburg for dinner at this crazy hip Thai restaurant with a pond (it seemed like it was straight out of a movie) and a book reading/performance at National Sawdust. Helen DeWitt read from her book The Last Samurai and Timo Andres performed selected piano works mentioned in the book. It was pretty cool. I got my book signed by BOTH OF THEM.
We stopped by a little Italian place for a late night snack and some wine before strolling (this seems to be our signature tourist move) through the neighborhood before eventually returning to the craziness of 5th Ave.
Day 5 – Sunday
Time to go home. Sob! I did miss Blanche but this was just (barely) the tip of the iceberg! We strolled through Rockefeller Plaza, read our books in Bryant Park and dodged the rain in Barnes and Noble before accepting our fate and heading to the Airport.
It was a great trip – I didn’t get a sunburn, we did some cool stuff, burned some calories, consumed some calories, and learned a bunch of stuff.
My previous avoidance of this city has been turned into interest and fascination. Now I really want to come back and see a performance (or 17) at Carnegie Hall, catch an Opera at the Met, a performance by ABT, hello NY Phil, Orpheus, Alice Tully Hall, Zabar’s, Poisson Rouge…..the list goes on.
In the words of a wise terminator: I’ll be Back