One week ago today, we were finishing our amazingly awesome long weekend in New York City. It was our first time back to the Big Apple since we moved to Minnesota in January 2014, so that was a grand total of 20 months between visits.
Far too long, if you ask me.
We had a month to rally the troops and arrange to see our friends. Of course, traveling over a holiday weekend also meant that other people were traveling, so we didn’t get to see everyone. Clearly, we have to go back! One of my top priorities for the trip was to do a harbor cruise. It was one of the few things that we never managed to do when we lived there, and I was determined that we would do it on this trip. The only other things I wanted to do besides seeing friends was going to a few of our favorite restaurants and seeing a Broadway show.
So, what did we end up doing?
We had an early morning flight so that we could have as much time in New York as possible. We arrived at our Airbnb just after noon.
After the lady we stayed with showed us around, we debated between sleeping (which we really wanted to do) and going out and doing something (which we really felt we should do, obviously). After a very brief rest, we headed out to get lunch at Shake Shack, which is like NYC’s version of In N Out. Good, popular, probably a little overrated. After lunch, we walked over to the Brooklyn Museum, which I had only been to once and Erik had never been to before. We saw Judy Chicago’s exhibition The Dinner Party (which I affectionately nicknamed “The Vagina Plates” — go read about it, you’ll understand) as well as some feminist photography and Egyptian artifacts.
We couldn’t stay long because we had to head back to change for our cruise. Which was lovely, but the weather wasn’t the most cooperative. It was quite humid and hazy that day. We took a Classic Harbor Line Champagne Sunset cruise. We sailed past downtown, up the East River and then back down to the Statue of Liberty before heading back to the pier in Chelsea.
It was very windy!
After our cruise, we had dinner at One If By Land, Two If By Sea, which is where we went when we got engaged. It was our first time back in five years! Definitely one of the best restaurants we’ve ever been to. It’s in the West Village, which is one of our favorite neighborhoods, so we walked around briefly on our way to the subway.
I got up early on Saturday to go running with my friend Caroline in Prospect Park. Sadly, didn’t get a picture, but just imagine a really pretty park and that’s what it looks like. I had never gone running with anyone before, mostly because I’m still pretty slow but Caroline (who is much faster than me) graciously tolerated my pace. We had a lot of fun and we mostly chatted about running. It’s super helpful to have a friend who loves to run and has diabetes too!
We split up briefly so we could change, but then met up again at Hi-Life Restaurant on the Upper East Side where we were holding our big friend brunch. So many of our awesome friends came! Three couples brought their babies who were all born after we had moved away. All of them were so adorable and well-behaved. We were very impressed! All the couples had to take off after brunch, but three of our friends from church decided to stick around and go to Central Park with us, where we were going to meet up with another couple and their son (who was also born after we moved).
Central Park is so gorgeous! It was absolutely picture-perfect weather that day. We were in heaven.
After a few hours of hanging out, we had to split from those friends so we could head to Soho for dinner with one of Erik’s best friends from grad school and his wife (who is preggers — yet another birth we will miss). Papatzul is one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, and they have really good (and strong) margaritas. We had so much fun catching up, talking about home-owning, work and family.
Erik had a former co-worker who was hosting a little gathering at The Whiskey Ward, a whiskey bar in the Lower East Side. I’m to a huge whiskey fan, so we didn’t stay for too long. We meandered a little bit and found Melt Bakery, a tiny little shop specializing in gourmet ice cream sandwiches. And then with the help of Yelp, we got drinks at Antler Beer and Wine Dispensery, but the reviews made it sound like it was going to be better than it was. It wasn’t bad, I was just a little underwhelmed. Probably because I was exhausted, so we headed back to Brooklyn.
Slept in (glorious sleep!), but then realized that we needed to get up so that we could do stuff! One of my wishes for the trip was to have brunch at Norma’s, which one of our friend’s had been raving about for years. So we finally went! It’s inside The Parker Meridien hotel in Midtown Manhattan and it’s sort of this unassuming hotel restaurant. Really nothing to write home about, ambience-wise. But you guys? The food? Is in-cred-able. Yes, the orange juice is $9 (I know, but fresh-squeezed with unlimited refills!). The items we got were the crunchy french toast (covered with caramel instead of maple syrup) and the Eggs Benedict (they use pancakes instead of english muffins!). It was insanely good and we ate every single bite.
We had originally planned to visit a museum between brunch and our show but we didn’t have enough time, so we decided to wandered around the West Village instead. It was sort of a waste of time because brunch was in the same neighborhood as the show, but I hate Midtown. Our show, An American in Paris, was great! It was a ballet musical, so it had the ballet dancing but with talking and singing. It was a romantic comedy set in Paris after World War II. It was very funny! We really enjoyed it. I had no idea what to expect other than it won several Tony awards, and I was very happy with the choice. After we decided to visit Time Square for a hot minute so we could take some pictures but then we scrammed because Times Square is definitely the Ninth Circle of Hell.
We had dinner reservations at Brick Lane Curry House in the East Village, where we went on our first date and every anniversary after. But when we arrived, the restaurant was empty and shuttered! I nearly had a heart attack but we realized they had just moved locations to a larger space a block away. While the food was still amazing, it was simply not the same having dinner in a new space. It really felt like an entirely different restaurant. I had no idea how much I had come to associate the restaurant with the location, and of course, we’re kicking ourselves for never taking a picture of us in the restaurant (or if we did, we don’t know where the photo is). C’est la vie, right?
We wandered around Williamsburg in Brooklyn after dinner and grabbed drinks somewhere but we were both pretty tired (wonder why?!) so we didn’t stay out long.
I was supposed to get up early and go running again, but I couldn’t muster the strength when my alarm went off. Instead, we slept in and then went to lunch at Max Brenner in Union Square with Caroline and Katy, who used to be my manager at the Rye Running Company. Max Brenner is famous for their desserts and they are no joke:
Afterward, we wandered through Washington Square Park and down to Soho, where we visited the Peter Lik gallery (our favorite photographer) and Evolution (an awesome store of rare and awesome archeological artifacts). We also stopped at the Lucky store on Broadway, which was sort of ridiculous because we have Lucky here, but it’s my favorite store and I bought some cute clothes.
Then it was time to leave! Nooooooo. We checked out of our Airbnb and took the subway back to JFK to fly out. The trip went by so fast, and we are hoping that it will not be 20 months before we visit again. While I kept saying over and over how I wish we stilled lived in New York, it has been nice being back in Minnesota. I think because we have established more of a life here now, it was easier to go to New York and then leave again. I think if we had gone back last year, when I was less stable and less happy with life in Minneapolis, it would have been much harder. But now we have a really nice house, good friends, great family. It’s a good life.