My boyfriend's awesome bosses sent him to New York to attend a conference earlier this month, so we decided to turn his work trip into a mini vacation. I'd been to NYC twice before, once as a teenager and again in 2010 to attend the Emmy Awards. This means I'd already seen the major tourist attractions: the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, a Broadway show, a deli that serves mammoth meat sandwiches, 5th Avenue and the Empire State Building.
On this trip we chipped away at a list of sights we compiled using our own ideas and the suggestions of others. Even with three full days in the city, we didn't see nearly everything on the list. We didn't even make it to Brooklyn to Barcade (a highly recommended bar that has 25 cent retro arcade games). Next time. We walked a lot in what turned out to be very hot weather. My feet hurt. It was still great.
Here's what we did:
- Ate delicious noodle soup at Totto Ramen, a tiny shop below street level. We waited in line for more than an hour — generally a reliable indication the food is going to be superb. I had the spicy pork ramen and my boyfriend went for the veggie.
- Took a nerdy photo outside the New York Times building. I'm a journalist. I had palpitations just looking at the sign.
- Shopped at Madewell and Uniqlo (thanks for taking all my money, guys).
- Visited Cafe Grumpy in the East Village. They make a mean iced latte.
- Toured the Tenement Museum and saw how immigrants to NYC's Lower East Side lived during the late 19th century and early 20th century. Our tour guide was very enthusiastic but the top bottom on his pants was undone the whole time. I got distracted trying to decide whether I should tell him. I never did.
- Walked the High Line, an old elevated railway that was turned into a path/garden/park. I loved this. It lets you see the city from a new perspective.
- Ate halal street meat and didn't get sick.
- Had a picnic in Central Park. I watched adorable children play and ate the only hot dog I'll have all year.
- Hung out and read books in both Washington Square Park and Union Square.
- Browsed the Strand Book Store. I didn't buy anything. I regret it.
- Ate mind-blowing cuban food at Cafe Habana in Soho. We started with the corn on the cob. It was so good I'm still thinking about it. For my main course, I had the shrimp tacos.
I found myself looking up a lot on this trip, captivated by the ornate fire escapes that snake down the sides of buildings. I know they have a specific (and terrifying) purpose but I find them very romantic. I wondered a lot about all the people who live inside those buildings. For fun, I'd count (and then lose count) of all the air conditioners sticking out from all the windows.
*The title of this post is a portion of a lyric from Jay-Z's song "Empire State of Mind"