Fifteen years ago when my sister and I graduated from college, my mother took us on a surprise trip to NYC. We saw a couple of plays, saw the destruction of 9/11, and generally toured the city. Last weekend we finally made it back to New York for another girls weekend. We had a blast!
I took the train down from White Plains (because I was there for work), and my mom and sister took the train in from near Emily’s house. My mom had driven down on Thursday night. They came into Penn Station, and I came into Grand Central Station. Due to delays with their train, we arrived within minutes of each other and met at the Empire State Building.
It was crazy hot (low 90s), but we didn’t let that stop us too much. We couldn’t get into our Air BNB until 3 PM, so we picked a restaurant for lunch and then headed up through Time Square to wait in a coffee house to get our apartment key. We only brought backpacks, so it wasn’t too bad lunging around our stuff for a couple of hours.
After settling into our apartment, we headed north for a carriage ride through Central Park. We stopped for drinks along the way. Yum! But when we made it to the park, we learned that the horses weren’t working due to the heat. Instead, we got more drinks at a swanky bar before cabbing it home because we were so freaking hot! We stopped for munchies, rented a movie, and enjoyed the A/C. Kind of lame for our first night in NYC, but we still had fun being together.
We headed out pretty early, grabbed bagels to eat on the subway, and went to the 9/11 Memorial before it got too crowded. My mom had bought tickets online, so we got in right away (although it was pretty empty around 10 AM anyway). The mood was somber. Everyone was very quiet and respectful, and the artifacts were interesting. We breezed through the historical and timeline parts. We still remember the events of that day very clearly, so we didn’t want to re-live it too much. The reflecting pools were my favorite part (if you can have a favorite part of something like that) because they’re just so pretty to look at. Seeing some of the foundational elements inside the memorial were pretty amazing as well.
After that we fulfilled one of my dreams; we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. Well we walked half way across and then back, but I’m counting it. We happened upon a Lung Walk, which made the bridge super crowded. And it was very overcast and rained a bit on the way back, but it was still really amazing.
From there we went to Greenwich Village to eat lunch at John’s of Bleecker Street. Such good pizza! Then we walked toward Washington Square Park, happening upon the 11th Annual Dance Parade, which was so cool. There were dance troupes from all over the city and the country – so many nationalities and dance styles. We watched that for a while before heading up to The Strand.
I had never been there, but since it’s mentioned in tons of books, I wanted to check it out. It was not exactly what I was expecting – bigger I guess and more commercial. The rare books room on the 3rd floor was pretty spectacular. Check out this Jane Austen set from 1898. Only $1500 – ha!
After a quick caffeine fix at The Bean across the street, we caught a cab up to Central Park for our carriage ride. Our driver (is that the right term?) was perfect. He pointed out the sights within the park, but he didn’t talk too much. I’d been to NYC several times before but never really ventured beyond the pond right inside the park, so it was great to be taken around to see the main highlights. And the horse clip-clopping was super fun.
We walked back to our hotel to change for dinner. We walked a total of 11 miles on Saturday, and my feet were killing me! My mother had gotten two recommendations for La Masseria, so she made a reservation earlier in the week. The food was really good, but the menu was kind of limited. I had been hoping for manicotti, but settled for the seafood pasta special. The pasta was homemade with vegetables in it I think. And the crab was very fresh tasting. Yum!
After dinner we caught a cab back to the apartment and enjoyed the view for an hour or so before heading to bed.
We had a more relaxing morning, packed, and then dropped our bags at one of the Vertoe luggage storage places. This service is so great. For $7 you can store your locked luggage at a convenience store for the day while you continue to explore the city after checking out of your accommodations.
We had a sit down breakfast at the Times Square Diner. They serve sweet potato fries for breakfast. Do I need to say anything more? I loved it.
We took the subway down to 14th Street to walk the High Line. I loved the quieter neighborhood of the Meatpacking District. The buildings were beautiful, and we passed an art fair on the street (my favorite!). I want to stay down there next time I got to NYC.
The High Line vegetation is gorgeous. It’s all planted among the old railroad tracks from the elevated freight trains that used to run there years ago. But the walkways are so nice. There weren’t too many people, and the weather was beautiful. It was a very pleasant 1.5 mile walk.
We ended up on 35th Street, so we took another cab up to Central Park. We wanted to explore more on foot after seeing the overview of the park the night before. We timed things just right, getting to the park around 12:30 PM after the AIDS Walk had ended.
We checked out the carousel, but didn’t ride it because Trump owns it. Ugh. I loved the mix of city and nature. I think I could have stayed in the park all day. Next time.
We had theater tickets to see Sweat at 3 PM, so we walked down to the theater. It was nominated for a Tony for Best Picture, and it was amazing. It’s an emotionally-charged story about factory workers in Reading, PA and what happens to their friendships when the factory starts shipping jobs to Mexico. It was timely and heart wrenching, but so, so wonderful. The cast was fantastic.
After the play, we had to head back to get our bags. We had a quick dinner first at the West End Bar & Grill. It was pretty good American food. We walked back through Times Square, which is always an experience. We saw a group of women wearing only thongs and painted on bikinis. They were among the many characters there for people to take pictures with. We passed, but Emily did snap this funny picture of me.
Then we split ways to catch our trains. I made it to Grand Central Station with just a few minutes to spare. I snagged this picture while marveling at the care that went into building a train station all those years ago.
It was a great weekend. We walked so much, and we saw everything it feels like. I’m really glad we finally got back there after all these years.