My latest trip to New York was a reminder why so many people instantly fall in love with this vibrant, energetic city. The last time I was here was about 15 years ago, and the most I remember from that trip was getting soup from the “Soup Nazi,” made famous by Seinfeld, and drinking a lot with my best friend Jen.
This trip was great from the start. I flew on Virgin America, which my friend Lisa and I describe as a party in the air. It by far surpasses just about any other airline I’ve used in recent years.
Since I have no sense of direction, no trip for me would be complete without getting lost numerous times. I accomplished that tenfold. First, I apparently told our airport cabbie the wrong Sheraton, so when Lisa and I went to check in, we were told the Sheraton we were staying at was about a half mile away. Oops. Good thing Lisa likes walking. We finally made it to the right hotel, and since we’re sharing a room we asked for two beds. No such luck. That meant Lisa and I had some explaining to do to our husbands. The first night we were supposed to meet our other friends at the iconic New York bar, McSorley’s Old Ale House.
Well, we made it, but after everyone had left. Luckily, I “checked in” on Facebook, which allowed our friend Don to find us, and he graciously invited us to join their group at a restaurant a couple of blocks away. Once again, our lack of directional sense had us wandering the streets of New York in a big circle for about twenty minutes before we finally found the restaurant.
We then met up with some other friends at a hip restaurant called The Stanton Social. That’s where we had our first celebrity sighting of the trip. Adam Lambert, of American Idol fame was sitting one table away from us. We spent an obscene amount of time obsessing over if and how we should approach him for a picture. Lisa then did the most rational thing by tapping him on the shoulder, explaining it was our friend Kim’s 40th birthday, and asking if he would take a picture with her when he finished his meal. He couldn’t have been nicer about it, and he did indeed come over and took a picture with Kim, even though she’s more than a year away from turning 40. Yes, the man was wearing more eyeliner and nail polish than all the women combined at our table.
Since I’m all about food, I’d be remiss not to mention how fabulous the food was, from the smoky mac ‘n’ cheese, to the mini red snapper tacos, it was a great first meal in the Big Apple. It’s also a tapas restaurant, so the best part was we all got to share the food. We ended the night at a bar, but by that time I was really beat, so we made it a quick stop before Lisa and I turned in for the night in the king size bed. Our husbands will be happy to know that we each stayed on our respective side of the bed.
The next morning we got up and made our way on the subway to Central Park, and miracles of miracles, we didn’t get lost! The park simply stated is amazing, and one of the best places in the world to run. We were joined by countless other runners, which made me wonder if it was other tourists who descended on the park on this warm spring day, or if a crazy number of New Yorkers called in a mental health day to enjoy this treasure in their city. Lisa is a much faster runner than I am, and after keeping up with her for about a mile, I had to slow it way down. She was kind enough to stop at one point to take my picture. Oh, did I mention it was downright hot during the run? By the end, I was sweating buckets. I was no joy to sit next to on the subway.
I run so I can eat, so we indulged in some great New York pizza for lunch, a taste I can only describe as ooey, gooey, cheesy, crunchy goodness. I had two enormous slices, and I thoroughly enjoyed every bite. Lisa then suggested a trip to Dylan’s Candy Bar, and I readily agreed. That place is like the FAO Schwartz of candy stores. It has three floors of all things candy. I became the proverbial kid in a candy store, but I did show some restraint and only purchased candy for the girls. However, when Lisa offered me some of hers, I did not show any restraint.
The rest of the day and evening was filled with all things Tribeca Film Festival, which you can read all about in my previous blog.
On my final day, I went to Ground Zero. It’s hard to put into words what I felt while walking around what has become sacred ground for America. I not only felt a profound sadness for the thousands of lives lost on 9/11, but also a deep sense of patriotism for the country that we have become in the time since that awful day. As I walked in the church about a half block away from where the Twin Towers once stood, tears streamed down my face looking at the notes honoring loved ones killed, as well as the banners and pictures showing America’s deep resolve. The Freedom Tower is one very big and powerful reminder of America’s will to never forget, but also to move on.
I am now on my flight back home to the Bay Area. I was in New York a total of two-and-a-half days, not near enough time to take in even a fraction of all the city has to offer. But even though the trip went by in a flash, it was plenty of time to fall in love with the soul and energy of New York. I’ve lived in plenty of fantastic cities, but I wish New York was included in that list. Who knows, maybe one of the girls will one day live in New York so I can live vicariously through them. A Mom can dream.