Thursday, September 20, 2012

New York City 2012

We had a wonderful five days in NYC. We left early Thursday morning and got there mid afternoon. We had called to have an SUV pick us up, but when we got there, we had a limo waiting! We drove into the city, dropped mom and dad off at the Excelsior and headed to our hotel, Dream. We had chosen this hotel, because we could use some AA miles to bring down the cost on it. It had a great location, 55th and Broadway. Inside it was very South Beach. The room was as small as a cruise ship, but it had this fun, blue uplighting and a good bed. It was a party hotel, with huge lines outside on the weekend trying to get in the bar and loud, late night parties in the halls. We won't be staying there again, though we'd love to stay in the same location. We had every subway accessible within four blocks and we could walk to both Central Park and Times Square easily.
We had dinner Thursday evening at Ocean, a great seafood restaurant across from the Museum of Natural History and a block from mom and dad's hotel. Michael and I walked up and enjoyed strolling the upper west side. We met in the hotel bar before hand for a drink with mom and dad, our fellow travelers Tony and Pam and our dear friend from NY, Mario. The dinner was delicious at Ocean and I loved the conversations between our Italians Tony and Mario. Michael and I shared some vegetable rolls and and I had a gorgeous piece of salmon and Michael had shrimp scampi with homemade pasta.
Friday we slept in till eight, snacked on a bar and met Mom and Dad at Columbus Circle to go together down to the 9/11 Memorial. We have a great app on our phones called Hop Stop and it navigated us reliably and perfectly all over NYC. We toured the memorial with Tony and Pam. It was very moving. The pools are so much more beautiful in real life. We stopped in the gift shop and got some gifts and then we all followed me and my phone with Hop Stop on a walking tour as we made our way to Little Italy. Michael had never seen any of it as this was only his third trip to the Big Apple. We did a great downtown tour before we arrived in Little Italy for the San Gennaro festival. We purposely planned to attend on a Friday before it got too crowded and we were so glad we did. The weather was beautiful the whole trip and this day was perfect as well. We strolled down the streets and browsed all the food and shopping stands. We stopped for lunch in a restaurant and rested our feet while we did a three course tasting menu with garlic bread, salad and pasta.
After lunch we continued with the festival, though Tony and Pam went on home. We stopped into this warehouse that had been converted into a post-fashion week sale and Mom bought Michael a gorgeous jacket and shirt. Later I found a hand knitted white wool sweater from Ecuador and mom bought that for me as well. Yay, presents! We also bought these great little plates where you can grind ginger and garlic on them. They are awesome.
We took the subway home after Little Italy and rested at our hotels before meeting back up at Prune that evening. Mom and I had read, "Blood, Bones and Butter", the Prune chef's memoir in bookgroup and were so excited to eat there. The restaurant was in a cute old house in the Bowery. We ordered triscuits with mustard and sardines from the bar. For dinner Michael and I shared charred squid and a vegetable platter with warm garlic olive oil for dipping as appetizers and then we both had a pan fried trout for our entrees. It was delicious.
Saturday morning Michael and I put on our running clothes and went for a fantastic run through Central Park. I loved getting to run with Michael in the brisk, cool, fall air in such a gorgeous park. There was great people watching! We cleaned up after our run and went up to the Upper West Side to eat at our favorite vegan restaurant Blossom. We met mom and dad there for lunch. We shared some raw sweet potato, coconut carrot summer rolls and I had a huge kale salad with some amazing creamy dressing for my entree.
When we finished lunch we went down to Times Square to see Book of Mormon! We had tickets last year and got hurricaned out, so we were extra thrilled to see it this year. Tony had gotten us amazing seats in the front of the mezzanine through an industry contact. We loved the show. I know several people around us were offended, but we thought it hilarious. I especially though the choreography to be so funny. After the show we changed into warmer clothes at our hotel and had a drink in the bar. Then we went down to China Town. We explored the shops and stands and I bought two gorgeous scarves (one for me and one for my MIL) and mom bought a purse. We stopped at a stand and tried some jackfruit which I'd never tried before and which was delicious. We had dinner reservations at place called Amazing 66. It was full of Chinese people so I figured that was a good sign. We ordered a lobster dish, oysters with leeks and ginger, bean curd with mushrooms, twin rice with prawns, duck and abalone. We also shared and tasted and enjoyed it, though this wasn't my favorite meal. I thought everything had the same brown gravy and realized I much prefer the flavors of Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese food.
It was early yet, when we finished dinner and mom had made us 9:30 supper club reservations at a jazz club in Harlem called Smoke. We took the subway up and stood in line to be let in. During that time I realized that the sore throat that had been bothering me all day was turning into something worse. I started to get the chills. My body started to ache all over until there was no comfortable position. Michael offered to take me home, but I refused. I wanted to see some jazz! We finally got in and took our seats. I shook and ached and waited for the music. I made it through a half hour (which was wonderful) and then let Michael put me in a cab and take me home. By then the chills were worse and I couldn't even bare to be touched my skin hurt so bad. My fever finally broke in the night, but I woke up with no voice and feeling pretty terrible.
Despite all that, I took two Mucinex Ds, drank some tea and was ready to go Sunday morning. Michael and I went up to the Upper west side and met mom and Dad at the 4th UU Church on Central Park West. It was an amazing church and an even more amazing service. I hung on every word the minister said. She had such a good delivery and such a good message- all about forgiveness. The music was fantastic. They had a great piano player, cellist and two violins. And then India.Arie got up out of the choir and sang the closing hymn. It was so amazing, ya'll. Unbelievable. We all left feeling uplifted and full of spirit and song.
We walked up a couple of blocks to Amsterdam and had lunch at an Indian food place called Swagat. It was delcious. I had the best bite of the trip there in our appetizer, a thing called lasuni gobi. It was amazing. It was perfect lunch. Michael and I then went home to let me nap and then we changed and met everybody at the Highline Standard Bar. We had been there on our last trip with my friend Jamey and loved it and wanted to share it with everyone. It has amazing views. It's like getting a drink at the Carousel Bar in New Orleans- it's expensive, but it's unique and one-of-a-kind and represents the city. The Standard bar is the same for New York in my mind. When we finished our cocktails (I had a muddled Plum), Mom and Dad and Michael and I decided to walk the Highline, which is an old, above ground subway track which has been transformed into a park. It was a nice walk in great weather with lots of eye candy.
We went straight from the highline to my parent's hotel where we met Mario, Tony, Pam and Nick and Tina (more wonderful friends from NYC) at their hotel restaurant, Calle Ocho. I was feeling pretty sick and exhausted by then, but we pushed through, because I really wanted to spend time with Tina and Nick. We had a lovely dinner of vegan mushroom paella and then Michael took me to the hotel and put me to bed.
And Monday morning we came home. We left our hotel at 8:30AM, flew all day and got home around 6:15PM, just in time to throw presents at my in-laws and kids and watch Micheal fly out the door to take Davis to cub scouts.
It was a wonderful trip. We did so many amazing things. I am so grateful to my in-laws for keeping the kids. Michael and I really reconnected and enjoyed being a couple. Michael loved seeing so much of NYC and I loved showing him. He's hooked on real Broadway shows now and I am so glad! And I love, love, love traveling with my parents. They are so much fun and it so special to get to spend so much quality time with my mom, who is truly my best friend. Can't wait to go again!

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