Please excuse my absence over the last few days, I’m back from a long weekend in NYC, and feel like I’m just getting caught up again. I spent my weekend visiting an old college roommate, Erin, in the city that never sleeps. I absolutely love going to visit her, she has lived there for the last 7 years and knows ALL the good spots. I realized while I was there this was my 9th time to visit New York City. Even though I’ve seen most of the big sights, Erin always takes me to places I’ve never been before. Let’s talk about it!
If you’re just interested in the quick version (where to eat, etc.), scroll to the bottom.
First off, let’s talk about my flight to NYC. My flight left OKC at 5:00am last Friday morning. When I booked it I thought to myself “that’s early, but efficient people are up at 5 a.m., I can do it too.” Then when I downloaded my boarding pass, it said I was scheduled to board at 4:30 a.m. 4:30?!!? That’s the middle of the night. Woof. My 3:00 a.m. alarm was painful. So painful.
I got to NYC around lunch time, sat in some traffic (because apparently the Pope is really important), and made my way to Erin’s office. She immediately took me to one of my favorite lunch spots: Westville. If Westville was the last meal I ever ate, I would leave this earth a happy girl. I also got pooped on by a bird while waiting for my lunch, I’ve heard that it’s good luck – it didn’t feel like it.
We didn’t really have any plans for Friday, so after a quick pit stop for caffeine, we set off exploring.
We made our way to Washington Square Park, did a little shopping in Soho, and ventured our way to the Hudson River. It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. Erin had read about a pop-up restaurant on the Hudson that we happened, completely by accident, to stumble upon. The restaurant is actually on a large historic wooden schooner that’s only in New York until Halloween (if weather permits). When Grand Banks isn’t docked at Pier 25, the owner sails the vessel down to Florida, and then back up to New York when the weather gets nice. We grabbed a drink and chatted on the bow until it got dark. If you’re in New York between now and Halloween, check out Grand Banks!
We ended our night at Clinton Street Baking Company. Clinton Street is always on lists of places you must eat in NY. I tried to eat there last time I was in the city, but just couldn’t do a 3 hour wait. They are known for their brunch, specifically they’re pancakes, so we figured we would try them for dinner to see if we could get in. Apparently that is the perfect time to go! We waltzed right in and ate breakfast for dinner. I see what the hype is about, best pancakes I’ve ever had.
Total Miles Walked: 8
We slept until 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning, it was glorious! We immediately put on our “running” clothes (we didn’t run), grabbed a coffee from the shop below Erin’s apartment, and made the short walk to the East River. We walked up and down the East River for about an hour, taking in the sights – the Williamsburg Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, and the Brooklyn Bridge. There are a few parks right up next to the river and we spent some time watching all the Saturday morning activities. Highlight? The little league football game. They were pint sized. Adorable.
I know a few girls from back home that just moved to NYC last month. We scheduled to eat lunch with them on the Upper West Side right by Central Park. After a quick shower, we hopped on the subway to meet up with the Brown girls. We brunched at The Smith (also delicious) and walked a few short blocks to Central Park. The park is beautiful. No matter how many times I go to NYC, I always make time to visit the park.
Close to the park is Levain Bakery. I had been reading about Levain for some time, and it was definitely on my list of “musts.” I feel like I’m saying this a lot in this post, but – best cookie I ever had. Seriously.
We went to a birthday party for one of Erin’s friends on the Hudson River – Boat Basin, laughed at an improv show, ate dinner at Lil’ Frankie’s (really great Italian), and ended our night at McSorley’s Old Ale House- oldest bar in New York. Opened in 1862 (or 1854- the exact year is up for debate), they have not taken a piece of memorabilia off the walls since 1910. It was a men only bar until they were forced (by court order) to admit women in 1970. Crazy! At McSorley’s you don’t order a specific beer, you’re options are light or dark and the drinks come in twos, one for each hand. It is such a cool atmosphere. You sit at community tables and it’s so much fun! We ended up with a group of about 15 people from Philly. We stayed until 2:30 a.m. playing games and checking the place out.
Total Miles Walked: 11.5
We had a few musts on our list for Sunday: Highline, West Village, Momofuku and cookies. Yes. I loved Levain so much I wanted to take cookies home with me.
We started with a walk in search of brunch. Ok, actually it was in search of shoes, but we ended up at brunch. Before I knew it, I looked up and there was The Butcher’s Daughter. Another restaurant I read about frequently; it had actually slipped my mind to find it and there we were! It was fate. We put our name on the list and walked around until our table was ready.
The Butcher’s Daughter was everything I hoped it would be. I had the red juice, followed by the Monterey Eggs, and we shared a banana walnut muffin. I would like for my kitchen to look like The Butcher’s Daughter, it was beautiful!
Next up, wandering through the West Village, and over to the High Line. The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side, a “park in the sky.” From the High Line we walked all the way back to Levain. Trust me, it’s a looooongggg walk. But we did get to see St. Patrick’s Cathedral! Erin said this is the first time in seven years she’s seen it without scaffolding. Thanks, Pope!
After re-grouping at Erin’s apartment, we set out for our last “must” of the weekend – Momofuku Noodle Bar. We each had ramen and split an order of chicken meatball buns. The perfect way to round out my awesome trip to NYC.
Celebrity Sightings: 2 (Julianne Moore and Debi Mazar)
Total Miles Walked: 12.5
In case you’re keeping track, that’s a total of 32 miles walked, 2 Levain’s cookies consumed, and 3 celebrity sightings (the other happened Monday morning in the airport) – Jackie Cruz, Flaca from OITNB.
Here’s a quick round-up of all the things I would recommend. Unfortunately, they’re all pretty much food – that’s why I go to New York!
- Westville – Everything is good, perfect lunch spot. Most recently I had a turkey burger, sweet potato fries, and blended mint lemonade. DELICIOUS!
- Clinton Street Baking Company – Get the pancakes. Go at dinner and avoid the wait.
- Levain Bakery – Best cookies in the world. Get one of each – they only have 4 options!
- Lil’ Frankie’s – Really delicious Italian food. They’re cash only, so stop by an ATM before you go.
- The Butcher’s Daughter – A large selection of vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free dishes; or just stop in for a juice!
- Momofuku Noodle Bar – Ramen. The perfect comfort food. I had the Spicy-Miso Ramen, Erin had the Momofuku Ramen, both were superb! Make sure you start with an order of buns. I could have made a meal out of the chicken meatball buns.
- Grand Banks – Go for the atmosphere. They serve dinner, but we didn’t try it.
- McSorley’s Old Ale House – Oldest bar in NY. Only beer options are light or dark, and they come in twos. Really fun place! Cash Only.
- Central Park
- The Highline
- West Village
- Washington Square Park
- Either River (East or Hudson)
- Williamsburg Bridge