When the first lucky thing happened on our most recent nyc trip, we weren’t even officially in the city yet. Way out on a platform in Jamaica, NY, two foreign tourists were ending their trip as we began ours and they happened to have (and give to us) two unlimited metrocards that would last us until Ted left the city. We thanked them soundly and I decided that the heavens were smiling on our trip and it was destined to be everything a new york city trip could hope to be. Then I was going through the turnstile to get to the subway, all high on our luck, and my suitcase handle totally got caught on the metal bars, effectively stopping all traffic in the line behind me until Ted shoved it through. Handily reminding me that I am firmly in the tourist camp, as much as I wish I could pull off pretending to be a local. (But mostly just making us laugh a lot.)
We got into the city a few hours before my family, so we walked down Bleecker street and into Murray cheese. There was a grilled cheese competition going on the weekend we were there, but we didn’t get tickets, so Ted and I were happy to get to try a sandwich from one of the contenders and I was in heaven looking around at all the cheesy stuff. We left and wandered around until we got to Washington Square Park where we sat and watched NYU students and street performers mill around and I reenacted scenes from When Harry Met Sally in my head.
Later that night, after a joyous mother and child (and brother and sister) reunion, we hit the town. We decided on Eataly for dinner and so we made our way to the flatiron. Eataly is this crazy, amazing indoor Italian marketplace that houses not one but several restaurants. Walking through, we really wanted to stop and gawk at everything we saw, but the crowds were crazy so we had to push onward. We arrived at our desired restaurant in the back of the building, only to hear the three parties of two in front of us be told that there was a two-plus hour wait. So our party of five had slim to no chance of being seated, right? But don’t worry, our lucky streak hadn’t worn off yet. I went up to put our name on the list just in case and a reservation had just cancelled so we got seated immediately. Lucky event number two! We shared a shaved winter salad that was so surprising and good (fennel, cauliflower, celery root, asian pear) and my cacio y pepe was a dream. We finished off the night in Times Square, because night is the time to see it.
The next day was our big touristy day. We started off with the Harry Potter exhibit which was full of costumes and props from the movie and some dubious English accents. It was pretty fun for us HP nerds. They took one of those photos you can buy of your group in front of a green screen which they then replaced with a picture of Hogwarts. However, I happened to be wearing green pants that day and so when they showed us our pics on the computer monitors at the end, I was just a floating torso (which I really wish we had managed to sneak a picture of). Magical indeed!
I’ve never been to the top of the Empire State Building, but I heard that the Top of the Rock was better anyway so we convinced my brothers and up we went. It was a windy day, but we found a sheltered sunny spot on the very top and were really content to sit gazing over the city for a long time. When we finally left, we walked around the lively Rockefeller center area (and I swear we walked in the same circle like four times) and hit up the Radio City Music Hall on the way(ish) to the beautiful New York Public Library. Man that library is awesome. Even though we were pretty tired at this point, and I had to take a rest on the floor after every set of stairs I went up, it was really worth it.
We went to church on the upper east side bright and early the next morning. I looked down the row at one point and every single person in our family was nodding off. Except for Christian. He was full on asleep the whole time. But, I mean, it was like 6 am their time. (Ted and I on the other hand had no excuse;) We woke up on a little walk through central park and ended up at the natural history museum. I thought that since my brothers were pretty tired, they probably wouldn’t want to stay for long but I was so wrong. Ted and I left after about an hour because he had to catch a train out to meet our friends who were giving him a ride back to Roch, but my mom and brothers kept going for at least three more. It was really kind of inspiring how much they loved it-I think museums definitely give you what you put into them and I sometimes sell museums short.
On our last day in the city, it started raining. We made our way through soho and the village and around nyu campus (had to get the bros some nyu apparel) then kept walking north and checked the city bakery off my bucket list. It was such a good place to have lunch. We had been eating a lot of bread and cheese and they had the veggies we were craving there plus killer hot chocolate. West Elm was right around the corner which was perfect because Christian wanted nothing more than to curl up on a couch and my mom and I wanted to see all the lovely things that we had only seen online or in catalogs before.
We had a last (genuinely enjoyable for all of us) stop at FAO Schwartz, then caught a veeeerry interesting cab ride out to our rental car in Newark. I will leave you with the words of our cabbie…”I’ve gotten arrested about seven times for fighting….I had to get a tire iron and bash his forehead in…there was a lot of blood.” And that brings me to our final bit of luck…not dying in the cab.
We had such a great time with my family and I am so grateful to them for making the trip out. They were really good sports about not getting to see all the sights and when we sometimes got lost and walked a few too many blocks. I miss them squillions.
‘Til next time you beautiful city. xo