Tuesday, June 26, 2012

NY Day 8

Our last real day in New York was hit with another thunderstorm, so once again we had to stay indoors a bit. Luckily good food is found indoors. We learned that if you want to eat at a fine steakhouse in New York, the way to do it is to join them for their lunch menu. Many of them offer a beautiful three-course lunch at a fraction of their price. We ate at the Porter House in Columbus Circle and had the three-course "Park View Lunch": salad and bread, steak and mashed potatoes, and a dessert--for $24. Delicious! That is the deal of the week, we believe.
 I was impressed with the bathroom mirror: that is a television screen in the middle!
The storm really kicked in after lunch!
We found refuge in an H&M for awhile, and once the rain subsided, we made it back to our apartment to dry off and head out again. This time it was back to the East Village, near Little Italy, where we enjoyed Italian food one last time at Numero 28. I went with a real Italian dish instead of pizza, but you can bet Rob stuck with his local favorite, though he did scale it down in size.
For our last night in New York, I wanted to check out one of the many rooftop lounges. It had stopped raining, so we headed over to The Strand, a modern hotel right in the heart of the fashion district. This is a perfect example of something looking and sounding really fantastic online, then turning out to be skeezy and shady. We braved the uninviting street and took the elevator up to the rooftop since the hotel itself did look nice. The scene there was strange: oddly dimmed lighting, unfamiliar music, an obscured view, and a whole slew of misfits. Robby and I looked at each other and quickly hopped right back in to the elevator and on out. Our last hoorah would have to be the tried and true View in Times Square, which actually was quite fitting: this was how we began the week.
It was fantastic enjoying a beautiful view of the city on our last night this week. And though we are a bit sad our time here is over, we don't plan on this being our last night in New York ever--there is still so much more to see! Another trip will have to happen again in our lives.

Monday, June 25, 2012

NY Day 7

Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day, perfect for a walk through the park. We started out by hunting for crepes for breakfast/lunch, but couldn't find a place or truck anywhere! We ended up at Bouchon Bakery at Columbus Circle, hoping they may serve a crepe but settling on a tasty baguette sandwich instead. This particular Bouchon Bakery even has a cool lounge that overlooks the circle and park below, which we wished we would have known earlier in the week. After a tasty lunch, I somewhat got my crepe taste curbed by having a waffle topped with strawberries and nutella for dessert from Wafels and Dinges, a fun and creative food cart.
Then it was on to Central Park, where people use the grand lawns for sun-tanning and picnicking. I guess when there is no beach around, you do what you can!
Central Park is 843 acres, 2.5 miles long and .5 miles wide, jam-packed with trees, lawns, large boulder-rocks, a zoo, a couple of restaurants, a lake, a carousel, and I'm sure I'm missing other elements in this list. It's pretty impressive and about 35 million people visit it each year! We took our sweet time hanging out in this park, taking a break in between to attend a worship service at Redeemer Church and get dinner at the Shake Shack that is nearby.
We purposefully waited til it was dark so we could get a glimpse of the city views at night. Lucky for us, we weren't the only ones hanging around! Check out this cute family of racoons: a mama and her two babies. Awww.
 And the grand finale:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

NY Day 6

We were Brooklyn-bound yesterday and did not leave until we enjoyed many of the tastes and sights of this part of New York. Our first stop was the Brooklyn Flea, where my goal was to get another charm for the necklace Robby bought me at our last visit. Before we made it to the jewelry gal, though, we had to enjoy one of the many tasty delicacies at the market: a chocolate donut from Dough. This donut was unbelievable, and I'm not just saying that to make me feel better for forking out $2.50 for it. (Doesn't that get you a dozen everywhere else?) It was simply amazing, and I wish I had another one right now.

We stopped and looked at all kinds of neat vendors along the way, then finally bought my new charm: an R to go with my C initial pendant. Now my necklace is complete!

After the flea market, we strolled through Fort Greene and refreshed ourselves with a soda and a chair.
Then it was on to the biggest adventure yet: standing in line at Grimaldi's so we could finally taste what many consider the best pizza in the world. All in all it took us about two hours or so to eat, but it was worth it. This pizza was delicious, and we thought in many ways it was a step above the others we had tried.

The picture below is Grimaldi's new building, no doubt bigger to hold the masses of people that come flocking to enjoy this treat. And rumor is Grimaldi's is opening another pizzeria right next door!

After lunch, we headed to the Brooklyn Bridge park, a waterfront site that stretches 1.3 miles and contains many piers, lookout points, playgrounds, and tree-filled parks. The view of Manhattan was beautiful. While there, we had to try out the favorite ice cream shop, The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, which did not disappoint! All natural and fresh ingredients, this ice cream tasted as good as home-made. 
From there we walked into Brooklyn Heights for more views, then made our way back to the start of the Brooklyn Bridge so we could walk it.
We made it all the way, then headed to NoHo Star, a Chinese restaurant featured on Rachael Ray, whose show also featured the pizza and ice cream places already mentioned. This restaurant was good, but it wasn't my favorite. Maybe I'm just a little too accustomed to our California-Chinese food?
Then came a pivotal decision: Robby had his heart set on taking views of the Manhattan skyline at night. So...what's better than walking the Brooklyn Bridge once? Walking the Brooklyn Bridge twice! We jumped on an empty subway train and went straight back to where we had been only a couple hours before.
Worth it? Definitely.

Friday, June 22, 2012

NY Day 5

Originally we had been concerned about the heat and humidity this week. We couldn't have imagined that we would be drenched by a crazy thunderstorm! Luckily, we found refuge in restaurants, shops, and a museum during (most of) the storm, and enjoyed a clear, cool stroll through Soho and Times Square late at night.

Lunch was another great meal at Ess-a-Bagel, a truly authentic bagel shop. We stayed just long enough to dry off a bit before heading to the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) for the afternoon.
The MoMA is pretty neat although I admit I don't really get truly contemporary modern art, which the main floor consisted of. We headed up the other floors, though, and were amazed by some of the paintings that are being exhibited. The most exciting was Van Gogh's "The Starry Night" and a collection of Monet's paintings. I also really enjoyed the architecture and design exhibits, such as the collection of modern chairs below.
Look! I'm in a Monet painting!
Another neat feature was the outdoor garden where we enjoyed fountains, beautiful birch trees, and sculptures.

The scenery around the museum also is quite stunning.
Soon, the rain came again, and this time it came with a vengeance! We were sopping wet by the time we returned to the apartment. A reprieve was coming, though, so we dried off and cleaned up and went to dinner.
Chelsea has commented that we have had pizza twice, and so I should say that our goal is to have it as much as we can! (Robby wants it everyday; I'm not sure if I can commit to that.) With so many amazing pizza places, it's hard to visit New York and not try all of these famous joints. Tonight we had Lombardi's Pizza, a restaurant that claims to be America's first pizzeria. It is located in Little Italy, which is part of (next to?) SoHo, a super fun area with lots of trendy shops and restaurants.
After dinner we had to take advantage of the clear weather and went back to Times Square, which was still a-bustling at midnight! We had a laugh getting our picture taken at the Starbucks in Times Square since it is displayed right there in the shop. That's right--we saw ourselves on the big screen tonight!
See? That's us! On the screen for all to see!
In spite of the heat, humidity, and rain, we are still having a fantastic time. Tomorrow's forecast is much cooler and clearer, so Brooklyn Bridge is on the agenda!