Tuesday, September 10, 2013

36 Hours In New York City

This weekend we took a quick trip to New York, heading down at the crack of dawn (literally) Saturday and returning Sunday afternoon.  Roughly 36 hours is about as long as I can spend in Manhattan before I'm ready to head home, but we had an absolutely fantastic time! We went for a play Saturday night, and the rest of the time we spent eating and drinking around town. Here are highlights from our trip! 
Mandatory first stop in NYC? Shake Shack! We grabbed a spot in the outdoor seating area of the Upper East Side location to enjoy those ridiculously good cheeseburgers, a tray of their new fresh cut fries doused in cheese sauce, and a heavenly caramel shake. Once we finished, we weren't quite ready to leave the patio, so we lingered a little longer over a round of Shackmeister Ale from Brooklyn Brewery. (Side Note: As a former LA resident, I can confirm that Shake Shack is better than In N' Out. There. I said it.)
We dropped off our bags at the hotel, which was down the street from the awe-inspiring Chrysler Building. Manhattan, you can have your Empire State Building, but the Chrysler Building I want to steal and bring back to Boston!
Next on the agenda was a visit to the Rooftop Garden of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I learned abut this summertime opportunity thanks to a tip from A Cup of Jo. Drinks on the rooftop of a world-famous art museum overlooking Central Park and the Manhattan skyline? Yes, please.
After getting a ticket (did you know you can pay whatever you want, more or less than the requested ticket price, to get into The Met? Crazy!), we wandered through the first floor of the museum and a breathtaking array of sculptures just to find the elevator to the rooftop. Once upstairs, we got our drinks, checked out the exhibit, and took in the spectacular view. 
Sipping champagne and hanging out with that handsome husband of mine is not a bad way to spend an afternoon!
Our next stop can be explained by my love for Sabrina (the 1995 version of course). It's a little silly, but ever since I heard Linus Larabee (played by my first actor crush, Harrison Ford) mention "drinks at The Carlyle," I've wanted to go there. We ducked into Bemelmans Bar, complete with tufted leather seating, a 24-karat gold-leafed ceiling, glowing table lamps, and walls scrawled with whimsical paintings by Ludwig Bemelmans (the artist behind the Madeline books). We cozied up in a corner booth and sipped on overpriced cocktails while enjoying music from a pianist. And though it didn't quite live up to the old-money-glamour that I had imagined, it was a fun experience and a fine way to start our date night in the city.
For dinner, we tried Flex Mussels, starting with fried clam strips and a couple oysters and finishing with the star of the show, two steaming bowls of mussels and a bottle of cava. My mussels were served in a creamy broth with fresh herbs, roasted garlic, and mushrooms, and served alongside a cone of fries and the crisp cava, it was a great meal.
After dinner we strolled over to the Park Avenue Armory to see The Machine,  featuring the incredibly talented Hadley Fraser (though sadly we didn't get to enjoy his gorgeous singing voice this time around). And what a cool venue the Park Avenue Armory is, an old castle-like building filled with character and history. They had chess boards set up, so we sat down for a game beore the show. Fortunately for me, we had to take our seats before my inevitable loss!
The play tells the story of the 1997 chess match between Chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov and the IBM super-computer Deep Blue. Now, I know what you're thinking: a play about chess sounds awfully boring. But they pulled it off! It was captivating. Hadley did a phenomenal job, and we really enjoyed it!
The next morning we met up with my friend Philip for brunch at The Spotted Pig. Philip and I grew up together, and he lives in Manhattan these days, so it was a lot of fun to catch up, two small town kids out in the big city!
The Spotted Pig was a little tricky to find, but we eventually spotted (no pun intended) a little pig above a door and knew we were in the right place. It's quirky and cozy inside, and we had a great time, though I will admit that I was a bit disappointed in my poached eggs and corned beef hash. They were fine but did not live up to my expectations based on the restaurant's reputation. We did love our a side order though, perfectly crispy shoestring fries tossed with fried garlic slivers and rosemary.
After brunch, we stopped into the nearby Think Coffee for more caffeine. It's a cute little spot, and I really enjoyed their single source pourover coffee.
Next, Philip suggested that we walk a couple blocks to an entrance to The High Line, a park created along an abandoned elevated train track along the west side of the island. On our way there, we spotted a group of mannequins hanging out on a street corner. Can you tell that Fashion Week is going on?
We climbed the stairs leading up to the 14th Street entrance and began the roughly 1 mile trek north.
The views are fantastic, and the landscaping is beautiful.  You feel completely elevated and separated from the bustle of the streets below you. I loved it. Since it was a warm afternoon, we stopped at one of the many food stands and bought frozen treats from People's Pops (the Cantaloupe Cardamom popsicle was delicious and a little weird all at the same time).
My honey and I above the city streets!
Before skipping town, we managed to squeeze in one more meal: a slice at NY Pizza Suprema! Across the street from Penn Station, it's usually a "must" for us before catching the train or bus home. Now, I am no expert on New York pizza, but a piping hot slice of their pepproni pizza makes me a very happy girl.
Until next time New York!

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