We had a last minute plan change this Thanksgiving and ended up driving over the George Washington bridge early Thanksgiving morning-early enough for us to head over to the Macy’s parade route. Our friends found a good deal on an apartment rental and generously let us join them in the small but perfect-for-us upper east side 5th floor walkup. Although. I must say, I have nothing but respect for people who manage to live in those tiny kitchenless studio apartments. I’m sure we could figure out how to do it if we needed to, but I would definitely have to simplify my belongings quite a bit.
Doing NYC 7 months pregnant was a whole different experience. Obviously the amount of walking we usually do was going to be a problem. You basically can’t visit the city without a substantial amount of walking unless you’re like, made of money and take taxis everywhere and then you would miss out on all the good wandering which is kind of the point anyway. So we still walked all over, but we had to take it slower and take lots more breaks than we ever did before. Also, everything was tinged with the bittersweet realization that this might be the last time we would take a trip like this. We sure have had some epically awesome trips together, Teddy and I, and I have loved every exhausting minute of them. Both of us are so excited for the new kind of adventure we are about to have, but we were also extra aware that we should take advantage of all the opportunities we had to do silly spontaneous things.
Well, I think I’ve kept you wondering about the title of this post for long enough. The headcheese. Oh, I still want to throw up thinking about the headcheese. Back when I lived in Provo, Utah (of all places) there was a little restaurant right next to campus that sold Bahn Mi sandwiches and I fell in love with them. So we searched Yelp for the best bahn mi shop in the city and found a cute place in the east village. Also on the yelp app, people recommended a sandwich called the “cub classic,”-the list of ingredients include bbq pork, headcheese, pork roll, and pate. So basically my worst nightmare. But sweet trusting Ted believed in the people of Yelp, and so the sandwich he ordered. While we were waiting for our sandwiches to be made, I looked up what exactly headcheese was and then felt like it was my duty to fill Ted in-after all, if I was about to eat something made of “…meat jelly made with flesh from the head of a calf or pig (sometimes a sheep or cow), and often set in aspic. The parts of the head used varies, but the brain, eyes, and ears are usually removed. The tongue, and sometimes even the feet and heart, may be included.” (thanks wikipedia)(there’s pictures too if your stomach is feeling extra strong) I would want to know. So that I could not eat it. Unfortunately, he still blames the ensuing stomachache that he had after eating his sandwich on me for telling him what was in it.
Other notable food experiences include finally getting to take Ted to the restaurant where all they sell are delicious french fries and even more scrumptious dipping sauces (parmesan peppercorn and rosemary garlic mayo were our faves.) Doughnut plant…twice. Banana pudding from Magnolia’s after walking around in the cold for a little too long looking at the shop windows and wishing for any kind of place with indoor seating to be open on Thanksgiving. A fancy schmancy prix fixe Thanksgiving dinner with our friends. The bagel place that was just around the corner from our apartment and where we went for breakfast every day. The Wafels and Dinges cart in Central Park that was totally worth the wait when we got there a half hour before they opened. I had no idea waffles could be so delicious.
At Washington Square Park one afternoon, we ran into this fellow covered in pigeons, then saw a crowd of people gathered around some street performers who we watched until they started aggressively shaking us down for cash, then saw a group of NYU students (?) dressed in mysterious costumes. We sat on a bench in the sun for a while watching them and hoping to find out what they were up to, while listening to someone play classical songs on the piano. As we walked out of the park, we passed someone doing some elaborate chalk art on the ground. We never did find out what those students were up to, but the whole thing just struck me as so completely New York.
The subway always makes for the best people watching. Late one night on our way back to the apartment, we saw a man completely dressed in yellow down to his socks and hat and carrying a huge case of yellow Peeps. Where he got Peeps this time of year is a mystery to me, but I appreciated his commitment.
THINGS WE DONE DID:
One of our goals for the trip was to see the city all decked out in her Christmas finery. When we went to the parade on Thanksgiving, we found a spot in Bryant Park right by the library, and we also found a holiday market. There were a couple markets getting started up around the city during the time we were there and I love me a good festive market. I already mentioned that we walked around to see the decorations in the big department store windows, I think Saks was my favorite-they had a whole yeti thing going on. And of course we saw the big tree at the Rockefeller Center. It was too early for us to see it lit up which was disappointing, but we got over it.
Probably my favorite thing we did while we were there was going to see a play called Peter and the Starcatcher. After striking out one day, we went the next morning to the box office and waited in line for cheap tickets. And we got what we paid for-second row waaay off to the side-but after the first act, we noticed rows and rows of empty seats that would not require any neck craning and moved back. The play is a prequel to Peter Pan, and I was completely charmed.
Ted always makes sure we make a stop by Times Square-partially because he knows I hate it-and so we did that too. Riding the Staten Island ferry back and forth past the Statue of Liberty was like heaven to me because I got to sit down the whole time haha but that was a low point for me, feet-wise. We had fun window-shopping in soho, I made Ted go into Madewell with me, and we were entertained by the hordes of shoppers carrying crazy expensive looking collections of shopping bags. We went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and were awed and overwhelmed. That museum would take a month straight to do it justice.
And so we returned home, happy and sore-footed and full of delicious treats.