New York City
Hi all. Sorry for not posting in a while. Thanks for your patience. After two months of intensive manuscript writing, GRE studying, and job applications, I took a much needed vacation to the center of the known universe… Manhattan! I also wanted to reward myself for finally landing an awesome summer job that will be making many appearances on my blog. More on that later.
I had a wonderful time staying with former housemate Michelle and catching up with other friends in town. Much fun was had, mostly in edible format, with notable awesome exceptions. Here was the itinerary!
Apologies for the bad photos. All I had was my low-end cell phone.
The Grand Entrance- VT to NYC. Quick and painless. It turned out that a good friend was heading back to the city on the same day, so we carpooled. Parking was a cinch, and driving into and around the city was not as mind-melting as expected.
The American Museum of Natural History- While Michelle was at work I walked around central park for a while admiring the migrating grackles and blackbirds (not yet in VT en-force), then found my way to the museum. I spent most of my time in the Hall of North American Mammals. Fortunately the Alaskan brown bears and wolves seemed a bit lethargic that day, so I made it out alive. The dioramas are truly remarkable. Check some out in the link.
Westsider Books- After spending a weekend with Danielle watching the new BBC Sherlock Holmes mini-series, I couldn’t resist picking up a copy of Sherlock’s original adventures. This store was floor-to-ceiling, three-layers-deep in books. The back door must have opened into Diagon Alley.
Burger Joint - That’s what it’s called, and that’s what it was. Tucked away in a hidden corner of the luxurious Le Parker Meridian hotel lobby, behind cosmo-sipping international businesspeople and clean-cut chefs in chef hats, was a grungy, noisy, bustling, burger-version-of-a-speakeasy that would fit comfortably in your living room. The hotel staff looked disdainfully at all the slobs eating greasy fries in their leather lobby furniture.
FRIDAY- a day of cheese and dessert
Musical Cars- Parking on the streets of the upper west side is free, but restricted at annoying morning hours a couple times a week. We drove in circles for half an hour trying to find a legal spot until paying for a parking garage for the 2 restricted hours.
H&H Bagels- A fresh bagel with lox and cream cheese is my new favorite breakfast food.
Magnolia Bakery- Many of my friends are aware of my irrational love of Magnolia cupcakes. Eat one and you will have an irrational love of them too. Don’t I wish I were one of the fat pigeons residing in the park across the street from the bakery.
Pasticceria Rocco- Their sign advertised the world’s best cannoli. After investigation, they may be right. Michelle managed to end up with most of her cannoli all over herself and her clothing.
The Dead Poet- A great pub, with drink specials named after your favorite dead poets.
Murray's- Aged goat cheese, brie, and Hudson Valley camembert. Eaten on a baguette from Amy's Bread. This induced 2 hours of torpor on the couch.
Topaz- Tasty Thai food, but a venue made for people of smaller stature than myself. Avocado peanut chicken curry over white rice, which arrived so quickly after we ordered that I barely had time to put the menu down.
Dizzy's- An upscale jazz lounge in Lincoln Center at Columbus Circle. Best enjoyed with a suit and martini. The backdrop of the stage was almost better than the act itself: giant windows overlooking central park and the Manhattan skyline. We were there to see one of my favorite trumpet players, Nicholas Payton, who was either having a serious off-night, or sounds much better on CD.
(I'm definitely finding a better photo formatting interface for future blog posts)
We started out with a long walk through central park in the spring weather. We had coffee at one of those ubiquitous New York non-Starbucks coffee shops, and falafels at one of those ubiquitous hip vegetarian Greek semi-fast-food dives. Only slightly kidding about that.
Times Square- Our walk brought us here, where the entire population of New York City also shared our idea to get rush tickets to Broadway shows for that evening. We joined the masses, and came out the other side with half-price tickets to:
Chicago- Scantily-clad singers, murderous divas, swaggering superstar lawyers, vaudeville dances, and all that jazz. Unsurprisingly, there is quite a bit they leave out of the high school version of this musical. I was most excited to see the pit orchestra built into the set onstage, and they did not disappoint!
Rangers v Flyers- That’s right, Hockey (you know, the game with a puck and ice. I hear it’s big in Canada). This was by far the highlight of the trip. The NY Rangers absolutely trounced the Philadelphia Flyers 7-0. Hat tricks, shut outs, fights, penalties left and right, and one very enthusiastic fan in her official Rangers jersey (well, more than one. I should probably clarify that we were not the only ones in the stands). While writing this I’m also trying to find the Rangers game on TV. We snuck in some breakfast food. More bagels with lox. Can’t get enough of that stuff.
Rice to Riches- What’s the best way to follow up 3 hours of shouting insults at the icy ambassadors of Philadelphia? Rice pudding. And a long trek across town in pouring rain. But especially Rice pudding. They deliver via overnight express mail, and I will definitely be taking advantage of this. An entire shop dedicated to this under-appreciated, over-sugared dessert!
The Blind Tiger- One of the city’s oldest and finest taprooms. Twenty-eight craft beers on tap. Really, really loud, and really dark. Can’t wait to go back off-peak.
The Dinner- Cooked by Michelle and I. Appetizer: heirloom tomatoes over fresh mozzarella and basil. Main course: macadamia, shitake, and goat cheese stuffed ravioli with walnut pesto. Dessert: blood-orange chocolate mousse. This dinner was one of the crowning achievements of human civilization. Spilled a half-cup of balsamic glaze all over the kitchen… Inside the fridge, outside the fridge, floor, cabinets, ceiling, walls, washing machine, around the corner. What a mess. Definitely not one of humanity’s highest points.
Harrowing Journey into the Frozen North- I leave this state for 4 days and hell freezes over. Signs of the storm permeated my drive home. The Taconic Parkway was entirely underwater. The bridge over the parkway may as well have been over a river. Ducks were swimming in fields with half-submerged fir trees. A 50-mile stretch of I-87 looked like the inside of a chandelier, with ice coating every branch and twig. I drove from blue skies into a thick, dark, ominous front that sat squarely over everything north of Brandon. A state snowplow had to be extracted from a snowbank at the end of my driveway by another plow. Mother Nature stomped all over this poor county. I definitely picked the right weekend for a vacation!