I really love big cities. Yes, they are crowded and dirty and noisy, and hipsterism seems to run rampant, but they are also exciting and inspiring and New York has to be the best example of all of this. Five days really wasn’t even close to enough, but I tore myself away from New York because my flight was non-refundable and my job refuses to pay me when I stop working. It was a great holidays and here are the top 10 reasons why I could have stayed forever.
1. Central park. We wandered around Central park on one of those perfectly crisp fall afternoons when everyone is out because they know it’ll be one of the last good days, the light is perfect, and the people watching is the best. Putting a giant park smack in the middle of a huge city was a very good idea. 2. Bagels, pastrami and other New York delicacies. We waited 45 minutes one morning (OK, at noon) for what we’d read was one of New York’s most epic bagels. And after I scraped off a full tub’s worth of cream cheese schmear (not an exaggeration), I didn’t feel like it was time wasted. I’m attempting bagel making this week as a direct result. Bagels can be so much better than they usually are. Pastrami on rye from the iconic Katz’s was enormous and delicious, and the street pizza, while certainly lacking the perfectly chewy crust of my pizza snob dreams, was just perfect in a different way (you know, the way only street food can taste when you’re a few beers in and you’re in a city you love on a holiday.)
3. Jazz hands on Broadway. We got half price TKTS tickets like every other tourist in New York and saw Rock of Ages in a packed theater on a Monday night. Rock of Ages was a ridiculous 80s romp, and the jazz hands were ironic, but I don’t get tired of musicals, and I like having theater options on any night of the week.
4. The city doesn’t sleep. I am a grown up 30 year old and don’t want to go to clubs and stay out all night, but I still love the option of doing whatever I want to at any hour I choose. Following the theater show we were hungry for a late dinner ,and at 11:30 went to a neighbourhood gastropub called Spitzers Corner. The pub was still full and they were happy to serve us surprisingly great food; this kind of thing just doesn’t happen elsewhere, and it felt so very civilized.
5. The statue of Liberty and other major icons. Due to the lingering damage from Hurricane Sandy, the Statue of Liberty was closed during our visit and the closest we got was on the Staten Island ferry. But it was still pretty impressive. Likewise, the Empire state building, the Guggenheim, the Met, and the many many other iconic sites that make New York so amazing.
6. Massive skyscrapers and the views that result. I really enjoy climbing up stuff to get a good view. It’s just a weird thing about me, like how I enjoy crosswords and hate people who say ‘bisketti,’ In any case, I’ve never seen anything like the massive sky scrapers in New York, and I didn’t even have to climb any stairs to get to the top 67th floor of Rockefeller Center. I reached the top on a sunny fall day, and the views I enjoyed only confirmed what I already knew: climbing stuff for a view is awesome.
7. Too cool for school neighbourhoods. We stayed in the lower east side of Manhattan in a rented apartment (Check out Air bnb, it’s always cheaper and nicer than a hotel) in what turned out to be Lady Gaga’s old apartment building. This is not a lie, occassionally tourists came to pay homage to her roots- cool stuff like this never happens to me in Vancouver. It was one of those neighourhoods where I know I’m not really cool enough to belong, but in a big city like New York no one cares about me in a good way, and somehow I feel like I fit in anyways. Everything looks sketchy on the outside, but behind every beaten up door is a wicked boutique, a great pub or a pumpkin waffle to start my day. Williamsburg, Chelsea, the village…..I explored and discovered like a happy kid in a candy store.
8. Michelin starred restaurants. I spent almost 100% of the time we weren’t out on the town furiously reading the Michelin guide for New York, staring at menus and determining if we could splurge on a nice dinner out. I was overwhelmed with options (always a good thing) and managed to find Saul, a starred bistro in Brooklyn with a Prix Fixe menu that was relatively reasonable. We enjoyed a delicious meal on a Tuesday night and I feel like I could explore New York restaurants for the rest of my life without reaching an end to the happiness this brings me.
9. Architecture like mad. I can’t pretend to know very much about the history, purpose or design features of most architecture, but I do know that I love gorgeous buildings and that New York is full of them. From the Lincoln Center to the crazy gorgeous interior of the Grand Central Station, I like these buildings a lot.
10. The shopping I could have done and will do when I go back without the husband. The husband has approximately 5 minutes of shopping toleration in him before he gets all cranky and the experience is ruined for me, but I as I quickly wandered through Saks, and explored boutiques in Williamsburg I got the tiny taste I needed. I can’t wait to come back and go on a spending spree.
I’m back from holiday, and for the first time in a long time- no travelling plans are on the horizon. My lack of travel plans will hopefully be balanced by the joys that come from Christmas, egg nog, festive feasts and sparkly new dresses.