Weekend in NYC - Part 2

Last Saturday was a long, wonderful day in NYC. We started with brunch at Rosemary's in Greenwich Village, not a far walk from where we were staying. The weather was wonderful for such a walk: sunny and clear, great for enjoying all the snow of the night before! Rosemary's was excellent too. Apparently much of their food comes from their rooftop garden, but when we went up to check out the garden it was buried under a foot of snow! So I'm assuming they make other arrangements during the winter . . . Regardless we had a blast catching up with friends from college and high school over delicious Italian-inspired breakfast food!

Well nourished, we hopped on the subway (Oh isn't it nice to be in a city with public transportation?!) up to the theater district where we saw a matinee showing of Phantom of the Opera. I was worried that that might be a bit of a cliche tourist trap and that the cast might just kind of mail in the performance but wow, were we ever impressed! Especially the Phantom and Carlotta (for whom it was a Broadway debut) really nailed it - I'm really glad we went!

From there we walked up to Rockefeller Plaza where we paid homage to 30 Rock and popped into a wine bar. After a quick freshening up back at the hotel we ventured out for a long evening. It began with dinner a great high school friend's house. In a city known for night life and fine restaurants, it was encouraging to learn that you could just enjoy dinner at home with some friends as well.

After great food and wine and an introduction to the recent addition to their family, we then made our way over to another high school friend's apartment. He happens to be starting up a new venture related to beer and food pairings so he regaled us with several flights of exotic beers paired perfectly with accompanying cheeses and even desserts!

He then joined us as we walked to our final destination: a bar in Alphabet City where we met up with several old friends from Lovett College at Rice. What a blast from the past - we hadn't seen most of them since college and it was fun to catch up with them until the very wee hours of the morning. It has been a long time since Katie and I stayed out until 3 AM but, if it's going to happen, NYC is probably an appropriate venue!

After our late night, Sunday morning began way too early but we managed to mobilize and make our way to Chinatown for a traditional New Year's celebration. We met friends from elementary school and business school at a dim sum restaurant, where we stuffed ourselves silly for an incredibly low priced meal. The only way to afford living in NYC must be to eat dim sum as often as possible!

As we walked back toward our hotel to pick up our bags and head to the airport we stopped in a Chinatown park where they were setting off fireworks and singing the US National Anthem in celebration - what a great way to ring in the year of the snake!

It was just a short trip to NYC, but I think we did it up right: museums, shows, restaurants, late nights, and - most importantly - friends. We still need to visit the Met and go running in Central Park so I guess we'll just have to return soon!


Weekend in NYC - Part 1

Katie and I had a wonderful weekend in New York City. As much as I travel, both domestically and abroad, I actually haven't been to NYC since before I started blogging - and Katie had never been at all.

One major reason is that I have never really loved NYC. Part of that is just my natural tendency to be a contrarian about "popular" things. I've always been a slow adopter of new popular music, for example, so the more people go on and on about how great "the City" is, the more I usually dig in and claim that you can get the same features elsewhere at a fraction of the price. Moreover, the things NYC is known for - fashion, marketing, [sketchy] finance, and lavish living - all run somewhat counter to the industries and values that I hold dear. Still, I have many great friends there and I always have a great time when I visit.

We flew up Thursday night just before the snow storm hit. We checked into our [tiny] hotel in the East Village and had a good night's sleep followed by a leisurely Friday morning. After breaking our travel fast we headed up to check out some museums, first the Guggenheim and then the MoMA.

The Guggenheim was sort of a bust; part of the museum was shut down due to installation of a new exhibit and the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit about which we were excited turned out to be quite small. The MoMA delivered more although, once again, the Goldfinger and The Scream exhibits we were anticipating were somewhat lackluster - but it made up with lots of impressionism.

The biggest hit by far was our lunch between museums at Candle 79! All organic, all vegan, and with some raw entrees, this restaurant proved emphatically that catering to special dietary needs can still be gourmet and delicious! Plus we were able to catch up with a friend there whom we hadn't in a long time.

After freshening up back at our hotel we had an early dinner at nearby Almond. This definitely satisfied our seafood fix (in a south of France kind of way!) and ensured that we were properly nourished before our evening show. Between the early reservation and people staying in due to the weather, we didn't feel rushed or crowded at all.

Friday evening we attended a performance of Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, one of Katie's favorite Tennessee Williams plays. We knew that Scarlett Johansson was headlining but we were pleased to recognize several of the other actors as well, including CiarĂ¡n Hinds and Benjamin Walker, as well. We really enjoyed the production and would recommend it to anyone else who is a fan of the play. Point to New York: top notch theater packed with Hollywood's best is not a feature you find anywhere else.

By the time we left the theater, NYC was dead. The snow was falling heavily, the roads were slushy, and there were only a few other people in Times Square. We decided to call it a night and save our strength for Saturday.