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August 13, 2014

nyc: three days in the city
posted by soe 1:45 am

As I mentioned on Friday night, we headed up to New York City for a mini vacation.

We caught the bus up on Sunday morning and arrived shortly after noon. We wandered around Times Square for a bit, catching part of the Dominican Pride Parade and EcoFest before heading to Broadway for our first show of the day, Bullets over Broadway, starring Zach Braff (from Scrubs and Garden State). Luckily, when I first heard about the show, I hadn’t realized it was a Woody Allen piece, because I wouldn’t have agreed to give him my money if I had. That notwithstanding, I really enjoyed the musical about a writer looking to stage a pure version of his play until he discovers that it’s only going to be produced because a gangster’s girlfriend wants to be a star.

Rock of Ages Stage

Because it was Sunday, most theaters were dark that night, but Rudi discovered Rock of Ages, about the Sunset Strip in the mid-’80s, was playing and procured us tickets. I enjoyed singing along with all the heavy metal tunes/power ballads of our youth and found the characters likeable, but was not enamored of the rather misogynistic storyline.

We stayed on the Upper West Side at the Hotel Belleclaire, which I highly recommend. The room was large and comfortable, and the neighborhood is quiet, located a short walk from Central Park and several museums, and located doors away from an all-night bakery/deli that sold decent tea and a French bakery that offered a raspberry almond croissant that was to die for.

Hotel Belleclaire

Hotel Room in Manhattan: Bigger than My D.C. Bedroom

We headed to Central Park first thing for a late breakfast picnic and stroll, which ended with a surprise meeting with my cousin, who was joining classmates for a pre-finals picnic.

Raspberry Almond Croissant in Central Park


Rudi in Central Park

We partook ourselves of CitiBike and biked down to the High Line, the elevated-freight-rail-line-turned-park. We walked south along the park, stopping along the way for slices and local soda, caffeinated beverages, beer, and popsicles, as well as a quick romp through the water feature and the admiration of art and plants.

The High Line

Mural below the High Line

Tracks and Plants along the High Line

The park runs down to Chelsea, so we walked from there to the Village to buy coffee beans and tea leaves from some of our favorite purveyors and to shop at some of the record and cd stores that still exist there, before hopping back on bikes to head down to The Battery (at the tip of Manhattan) to meet Eri and Eric for a delicious dinner with a view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We biked past the new skyscraper at the World Trade Center site. (It is MASSIVE; you can’t actually see the top of it when you’re standing at street level next to it.) After dinner, the four of us walked back to Midtown along the river, chatting and catching up. It was a really good day, full of food, parks, and friends — and by the time we reached the hotel in the wee smalls, we were exhausted.

Today, I, at least, was lagging a bit. We slept in, which meant we didn’t get back to Central Park, the way I’d idealistically hoped to, checked out of the hotel, and lugged our bags down to Herald Square to meet Eric, who suggested we park our bags with his concierge. Less encumbered, we biked down to Chinatown, where he introduced us to an Australian cafĂ© he’d discovered.

Madison Square Park Art Installation

While we mulled over how to pass our final few hours in the city, it started to rain a bit, and, not wanting to be forced to sit in sopping wet clothes (I hadn’t brought a second pair of pants/skirt/shorts to change into), we opted not to bike over to Brooklyn to see the new parks they’re building out of defunct piers. Instead, we took a leisurely stroll through SoHo and other neighborhoods on the Lower West Side, chatting our way back to Times Square and our bus. Eri, who’d had a late afternoon work meeting, raced back uptown, arriving just minutes before we boarded to head home and letting us end our vacation with hugs and friendly faces waving us off.

Packing It In

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