About a month ago, I headed to the Big Apple. I’m a semi-frequent visitor of New York City, but this visit was concocted when I was trying to figure out where and when to see Adele in concert. I wasn’t in the US when tickets went on sale, and by the time I got home, everything was sold out. I told myself that it was okay and that I didn’t REALLY need to see her, but when I still wasn’t convinced a few weeks after returning to the US, I decide to splurge for a ticket. I looked at all of the weekend dates of her tour and realized New York was the only location where I had a friend who would join me. Thanks to Adele, I had an excuse to spend a fabulous fall weekend in the city!
I used to only have one friend living in New York, but over the past 1.5 years, several more friends have moved to the city (and a few others are moving there soon!). This visit, I got to spend time with friends from FIVE different life stages – high school, Miami University, Grand Rapids, St. Louis, and Switzerland! It made for a little bit of chaos jumping from thing to thing and friend to friend all weekend long, but my heart was really full when I left on Monday evening.
One of my friends from my time in Grand Rapids, Michigan offered to host me. She lives in Midtown West, and it was the first time I’ve ever seen inside a Manhattan apartment. Her place was adorable! I got there in time to drop my bags and run out the door to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). On Friday nights, it’s free! We walked in the lobby, and I had another deja vu moment (similar to when I walked into the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe, NM). Had I already visited this museum, too? This time I remembered that my dad and I walked in when we visited in January 2014, but since he’s not that into art, the $25 admission didn’t seem worth it. Anyway…I digress…
There were A LOT of people in the museum, but we meandered our way through the crowds to find some favorite pieces. The highlights for me were Van Gogh’s Starry Night (I always wondered where it lived) and some of Monet’s Water Lilies (I saw a number of these at Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris, and they are incredible!).
After the museum, we went to B Side Pizza for dinner. It was such a beautiful night, so all of the windows were open out to the sidewalk. We shared roasted brussel sprouts (honey, lemon, egg, pancetta, parmesan, and chiles) and the Killer Bee pizza (tomato, mozzarella, sopressata, garlic puree, chili oil, and honey), which were both AMAZING! It was such a fun night, and I’m glad we squeezed it in, because she had to fly out of town early Saturday morning.
On Saturday morning, I got to have a leisurely morning before meeting some Miami friends in Central Park. They just moved to the city a couple of months ago with their two little girls. They previously lived in Rome, so I saw them on my first weekend visit to Rome, and we spent Easter 2014 together. We found an amazing playground in the park for the girls to enjoy while we caught up.
These kids have such incredible skyline views surrounding them while they play in the park! Amazing! I learned that swings are a fan favorite among little ones!
From there, I hurried over to meet one of my old Vevey bosses for lunch at Dos Caminos. He now lives in Connecticut, and he came to meet me with his wife and daughter. I haven’t seen his little girl since she was a baby in Vevey! Sadly, I lost track of the time and had to run out of the restaurant to make it to my show, and I completely forgot to take a picture with them!
The show I went to see was “The Color Purple,” and the music was incredible! Seriously. Very soulful. I almost didn’t go to a musical while I was in town, but I LOVE musicals, so I bought a ticket at the last minute. I’m glad I did.
Later in the evening, I went to meet up with a St. Louis friend who was also spending the weekend in New York. We had dinner at Lil Frankie’s in the East Village. They have an amazing Lemon Pasta that was delicious! After dinner, my friend introduced me to Big Gay Ice Cream, which was SO GOOD! They layer all kinds of goodness inside a soft serve ice cream cone and then dip it in more goodness. Mine had dolce de leche inside and crushed Nilla wafers on the outside!
After pasta and ice cream, we took a LONG walk (like, 5 miles long) through the East Village, the NYU campus, Washington Park, the West Village, the FRIENDS apartment, and all the way up through Midtown. It was such a fun, refreshing, inspiring evening with this sweet friend.
[Feeling right at home. I miss speaking French. Is there ever an appropriate moment to confess that I speak French to myself at home?!]
On Sunday morning, my friend & I went to church and then headed to Talde in Brooklyn for brunch. The chef at Talde was on Top Chef (not something I watch, but maybe a fact that gives you an idea of how delicious it was). One of my friends from my high school youth group met up with us, which was really fun.
After brunch, we walked through Prospect Park and then headed for the Brooklyn Bridge. This was my first time in Brooklyn, and I LOVED it…the tree-lined streets, the beautiful buildings, the neighborhood feel, the feeling of calm after time in Manhattan!
Aside from seeing Adele in concert, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge was another goal for the weekend. It’s possible I’ve seen the Brooklyn Bridge from the water or another bridge, but I actually don’t think I’d ever seen it before, and I know I’ve never walked across it. It would be hard to forget dodging bicycles and a man carrying a HUGE long white snake! (True story – I got WAY too close before seeing the snake and nearly started to hyperventilate until I was sure we were in the clear. Have I mentioned I do not do snakes AT ALL? Like really, really, REALLY don’t do snakes.)
Before walking across, we stopped for ice cream at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, which sits just below the bridge. I couldn’t resist sprinkles! Or a picture of their sign: “Ice Cream is the new health food.” I completely agree. Or maybe I just wish.
Someone advised us to walk from the Brooklyn side toward Manhattan, so we would get the better skyline view. The views were great. There were SO MANY PEOPLE, but I guess that’s to be expected on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in the fall in New York.
My friend and I took a VERY long walk from the bridge into Midtown. She just moved to the city a couple of months ago, so it was fun to hear all about her adjustment and new adventures.
Once we made it to Midtown, I met up with two friends for dinner at Trademark Taste + Grind. I hadn’t seen them in ages, so it was really fun to catch up. They were the ones who went to see Adele with me! After dinner, we headed over to Madison Square Garden for the show. She did not disappoint! In fact, I thought she was hilarious! And of course, she opened with “Hello.”
I couldn’t resist buying a poster to commemorate the evening (and the weekend). The fact that it has the Statue of Liberty on it is even better, since that’s where I was heading the next day!
On Monday morning, I met up with my St. Louis friends at Dominique Ansel Bakery. Dominique Ansel is the inventor of the cronut (half croissant, half doughnut). When we arrived, we learned that they serve one flavor of cronut per month. The flavor is never repeated. The September flavor was Pear Honey Cream Cheese. It was divine!
After our cronut, we walked down to Battery Park to board the ferry out to the Statue of Liberty. When I was ten years old, my family went to New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. We did all of the touristy things while we were there, including the Statue of Liberty. This was pre-9/11, so the security was nothing like it is today. All I remember is being in the base of the statue, starting to walk up the stairs, hitting the line of people in the stairwell, and my claustrophobic father immediately deciding that we had to turn around and leave. Since then, I’ve wanted to return to the Statue of Liberty and to go all the way to the crown! You have to buy tickets WAY in advance. (I literally purchased mine in May.) But, now I can say that I’ve successfully visited the Statue of Liberty and made it out of the stairwell! She is a beauty, and it was an incredibly beautiful day for our visit.
I forgot how big and majestic she is after seeing her smaller counterparts in Paris and Colmar, France.
[The old torch]
[This girl is PASSIONATE about New York! It is so fun to spend time in the city with her!]
[Heading up the center of the Statue to the crown! LOTS of narrow, winding stairs. Thankfully, they only let a few people go up per day, so I was all alone on the climb up to the top.]
[In the crown!]
[The crown is the only place where you can read what’s written on her tablet…July 4, 1776]
[Visitors haven’t been allowed to visit the torch since 1916. Only maintenance is allowed up there now.]
[Can you tell how narrow and winding the stairs were?!]
I think I walked over 30 miles in 72 hours, but it was a BEAUTIFUL weekend! I loved the variety of activities, the amazing food, and all of the wonderful friends. I know I’ll be back soon!