"I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world's greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance." - Nora Ephron.
Nora Ephron so perfectly sums up New York for me. It's a city that steals a little bit more of my heart every time I visit. It's a city I'm not sure I could live in, but it's one of my absolute favorite places in the world to visit. And you don't need a long visit to become swept away in the sights and sounds of the city. I've never been to New York for more than four days at a time, so I always divide and conquer. Don't try to see everything in a few days, pick a part of the city and really experience it. It wasn't until my fourth visit that I ever saw the Statue of Liberty. This trip, the focus was Lower Manhattan.
My dad and I arrived Friday morning for our whirlwind 48 hour visit to see my sister. She lives in Brooklyn so we often spend a lot of time over there when I visit (which I LOVE), but this time, we stayed in Union Square and only once went above 59th Street. We dropped off our bags at our hotel, W Union Square, and feeling famished after an early morning flight we were thrilled to see the farmer's market in Union Square filled with amazing options. We opted for some sweet pastries to hold us over before lunch and then headed straight for the High Line. The High Line is an elevated train track turned park and it is one of my favorite things to see. This trip was the first time seeing it in the spring and the landscaping and flowers made it even more beautiful. We started at the end near the Standard Hotel. (Last time we ended there, and the beer garden at The Standard is a MUST.) We walked to 27th street to meet my sister for lunch at the Hotel Americano. The restaurant inside the hip boutique hotel features French food with a Latin twist. High ceilings, modern decor, the space was gorgeous, and with a glass of wine for lunch, we were officially kicking off our New York weekend.
My sister works at an art gallery so after we walked her back to work we peeked our heads in a few of the galleries in Chelsea including the David Zwirner Gallery. You could spend a whole afternoon just seeing galleries.
But we wanted to see more of the city. Note about my dad, he's an old school guy, so armed with a printed out copy of the New York Time's walking tour of Greenwhich Village, we headed back south to Bleecker Street. The walking takes you up and down the streets of the Village, pointing out history of the buildings and hidden gems like the entrance to Chumley's, a prohibition era bar that was popular with famed writers like Steinbeck and Ginsberg. You'll pass by the new and the old, cute boutiques alongside famous restaurants, eventually ended up in Washington Park. Watch a round of chess in the park, or find a grassy spot to sit and rest your feet.
We walked back to our hotel, where we were greeted with complimentary prosecco in the lobby. We grabbed a seat at the bar of the restaurant inside the hotel, The Irvington, for a drink. A DJ was already spinning in the lobby area.
Dinner Friday night was at Gramercy Tavern. The Danny Meyer classic has long been on my list. The dining room is a prix-fixed menu, but the bustling bar area has tables and you can order a la carte off the menu. I was slightly disappointed in the service, but the food was exceptional. I wanted to lick every last drop from my shrimp and carrot stew. And the beignets for dessert were a dream. We tried to go to Dear Irving (a gorgeous bar with rooms based on historic time periods) for cocktails after dinner but it would have been a crazy long wait. Tip for the future, make a reservation. So instead we went to a wine bar next door and met up with two of my sorority sisters. Doesn't matter where you're drinking when you're catching up with old roommates.
Saturday morning we woke up to a monsoon. Not just rain, but a drenching downpour. Instead of hitting the farmer's market like we planned, we went to Covina for breakfast and then hopped in a cab to the Met. The museum was obviously everyone's rainy day activity, but the line outside moved quickly. It's been more than 10 years since I was in the Met and I didn't remember just how massive it was! We picked a few exhibits to hit including the Impressionists and European paintings. We also saw the incredible Temple of Dendur. Egypt gifted the temple to the US after we helped save it from the rising waters of the Nile, so it's a full temple in the middle of an incredible room in the Met. And I was so excite we were there for the Rei Kawakubo exhibit. Its the Costume Institute spring exhibition featuring the fashion designer's work (it was the theme of this year's Met Gala). It was incredible, the pieces demonstrate the balance of the "inbetween." It's a must-see.
The rain definitely squashed our plans for Central Park so instead we decided to check out the cookie dough place started by a St. Louis native that's been hugely popular since it opened. DŌ is right next to NYU, so we caught a cab back to the hotel and then walked over. There was a line but it moved quickly. Word of warning, the cookie dough is SWEET. I got the chocolate chip and sugar cookie and those were probably the best. My sister got peanut butter cookie and brownie batter and could barely have three bites. But good news is, you can take it home and bake it into cookies! Its all safe to eat since they use pasteurized eggs and heat treated flour.
To get out of the rain for a bit we walked down Bleecker to the Blind Tiger, a cozy craft beer bar with excellent selection. Then back to the hotel to change for dinner. We went to a new restuarant called Pig Bleecker, a modern take on southern food. It was small and packed, but in a good way. I had the brisket filled ravioli and it was perfection. Don't missed the grilled oysters with spicy garlic butter or the candied bacon. After dinner we headed uptown to a caberet! We usually always go to a Broadway show when we're in New York, so we wanted to try something different. We went to Feinstein's/54 Below. It was INCREDIBLE. The hour and fifteen minute show featured four signers performing Broadway hits from over the years. It was in a basement room with cocktail tables. We ordered Manhattan's (because duh.) and were delighted by the performance. My only complaint was that it wasn't long enough! I could have had three more hours of Broadway songs. A nightcap at the St. Regis hotel was the perfect way to end our New York night.
You can take in a lot in 48 hours, but don't forget to give yourself time to just experience a city, grab a coffee or a cocktail and just watch the city go by. My advice, pick a must-see for you (for us this trip it was the Met) and base your trip around that. What's your favorite part about New York? Tell me below and I'll add it to my list for next time!
Welcome to my blog! Here you'll find a behind the scenes look at the day-to-day life of a TV news reporter. I have a love for food, traveling and all things St. Louis. This is a place for me to write about my passions.