Lessons learned from our most recent trip. 1) Two days in New York City is not nearly enough time to do all the things on my list. 2) New York City isn’t as scary as intimidating as originally thought. We initially feared a bedbug-infested hotel room and being mugged, but NYC was just like our trips abroad.
With all those things, there is will be no hesitation of returning if timing and funding allows. But here are the things we did manage to fit in.
I had been to the Empire State Building once as a preteen on a family vacation. Paul? Never. But somehow I had implanted it into my skull that we must go there. In reality, it was a bad decision. We wasted three hours of our trip waiting to go up several elevators. Despite the incredible views and a bit of vertigo looking directly below the observation deck, the Empire State Building will always be remembered for the mad dash up five flight of stairs — floors 81-85 — to avoid additional 45 minutes of waiting time. Yes, five flights of stairs. The cardio prepared us for a long, long night of walking.
I had really, really wanted to go to this cafe that resembled a library turned on its side. We whipped out the iPad to double-check the cafe location (and only confirming myself as a tourist with several hundred dollars of equipment on me), we still could not locate it. We instead wandered up Manhattan in search of another place on my list.
On the way there, we encountered several notable sights.
Grand Central Station was majestic masterpiece and the hub for all trains leaving the city. Simply amazing architecture.
Rockefeller Center was much smaller than I had imagined but immediately recognizable from watching The Today Show and 30 Rock. The ice rink was set up and people were already skating, although the weather was near 80 degrees during our visit.
Radio City Music Hall was only a short walk away from Rockefeller Center.
We were so overtaken by the prominent landmarks we walked past Momofuku’s Milk Bar twice. Maybe it was the unassuming signage or the dark interior but their crack pie was everything I imagined. The crack pie’s oat crust was filled with a sinful and luscious buttery filling. I wanted to take home several of their other baked goods but instead walked away with a variety of cookies, including a compost cookie; I made my own batch earlier this year.
We had planned to take the subway back to our hotel but were swayed by the lights of Times Square off in the distance.
But first — pizza! Not just any kind of pizza but NY-style by Ray’s.
The typo in the awning outside was kind of annoying but the place was busy — always a good sign (it was now close to 10:30pm).
The crust was thin and crispy. Folding the pizza in half to eat it created a clean break. I loved my slice topped with breaded chicken, pepperoni and mushrooms. Paul’s ricotta-topped slice paled in comparison.
Times Square was crazy-busy and packed with people. It’s not for the faint of heart or those afraid of crowds. It is truly a sensory-overload among the lights, the smell of cooking food on the street and the noise.
After returning to our hotel room a half-hour later, my ears were still buzzing much like I had gone to a concert sans ear plugs.
The next day, we planned to leave NYC in the late afternoon to get to our rendezvous point in New Jersey. So we had a full day in front of us.
While waiting for breakfast at The Spotted Pig with a some dear friends, we watched people go into the famed Magnolia Bakery for a cupcake breakfast. We walked in and left with nothing. Although everything looked wonderful, it was just too early in the morning for sweets.
After breakfast, we continued the visit with our friends and wandered the streets of SoHo. Seriously, Deb Aoki and Kevin Church were the best sightseeing guides and retail therapy companions you could ask for. They kept us entertained as we explored New York on a mini walking tour. We were having so much fun, we eventually worked up an appetite for — you guessed it — cupcakes. Miniature Stuffed Cupcakes!
A half dozen cupcakes were $2.50 and the perfect size to pop into your mouth.
Eventually, we had to go to the convention center — after all, we were in Manhattan for a comic convention. Afterward, we had to race into New Jersey to meet my brother.
Up next: I’m Always Hungry in Philadelphia