The Bronx is up and the Battery's down...
...the people ride in a hole in the ground....
New York, New York! It's a wonderful town!
Sorry, but Gene Kelly always creeps into my brain when I think about New York City. (You know... "On the Town?" No? You haven't seen it? You weren't raised on movie musicals???)
Anyway... what a grand trip it was. Since my mom's only been there once, for a day, in 1983, I felt like we needed to do some of the typically touristy things. Empire State Building. Staten Island Ferry. Ground Zero (where I again welled up. what a dork). Cocktails in the Trump Bar in the Trump Tower. Window-shopping on Fifth Avenue. Times Square. Lincoln Center. The Time Warner Center. St. Patrick's Cathedral. Rockefeller Center... though after my mom said, "Is that it?" when we saw the big Christmas tree, I felt like we needed to swing by after dark one day, when it looks more impressive. Problem is, I chose to do that on Christmas Eve, when every other tourist in the five boroughs was there. It was the single biggest clusterfuck I've ever been in. And then we saw the crowd on Fifth Avenue. Holy crap. We managed to dodge that one, though.
Some of the other sites we saw:
We took the Yankee Stadium tour, which was very cool. This is the view from the press box. And I felt like a good daughter when my mom said she thought she'd never get to see Yankee Stadium in person.
I'll refrain from commenting on the jock straps we saw hanging in the Yankee locker room.
Central Park, Christmas Day. There were tons of people in the park that day, swarming the Wollman Rink and waiting in long lines for those horse-drawn carriage rides. Made me extra glad I'd skated on the OTHER rink in the park, the day before.
In fact, if you're not interested in celebrating Christmas, New York is the place to be. There was so much going on, so many businesses open, it felt like any other day of the year.
We also ran the gauntlet in Chinatown so I could buy more pashminas and knockoff purses (I have new bags from "Dolce and Gabbana" and "Prada"). At one point, I'd gotten so carried away with the pashminas that I had to stop and ask my mom to take inventory (she was being my sherpa) so I didn't end up with multiples in the same color. They're only 5 bucks! How can you not buy several??We walked and walked and walked until our feet nearly fell off, but that's the thing about New York. You can just walk in any direction and see something interesting. I also think it's the first vacation I've taken in years during which I lost weight, because of all the walking and the countless subway stairs. It certainly wasn't for lack of eating or drinking...
I got a chance to eat in a couple of the New York restaurants that have gluten-free menus (as pointed out by the Gluten-Free Girl several months ago), and I can't tell you how great it was to have entire menus to choose from, without having to analyze and ask questions. I think it's interesting that NYC has several such places, and San Francisco, which is such a big foodie town, has none that I know of.
I even had PIZZA, made by someone else, for the first time in 2 1/2 years. AND BEER. Omigod, beer! Anheuser-Busch has just started making a gluten-free beer, and I sucked down three (yes, THREE... not four!) of them in one sitting. I also dragged my mom and friend John on a long walk to the Lower East Side to a bakery that makes gluten-free treats. Really good ones, that taste and feel homemade. So yummy. I bought a bunch of things hoping to make them last the rest of my trip and maybe even bring some home and I ALMOST left them on the airplane! The HORROR.
We found many fun pubs (and many cute bartenders) and one very odd theme bar on a rainy night in the Village. Yes, I had many cocktails but none better than the mojitos they make in a small Chilean restaurant in the theatre district called Pomaire. My friend Cindy found this place on our last trip to NYC (during which I ate there twice) and it didn't disappoint this time. Those mojitos are to die for. Oh, the food's really great too, and so is the atmosphere. Edited to add: I've been nudged to mention this amazing rum (liqueur, really) we had after dinner. It's this stuff called "43." I was first introduced to it at a party a few years ago, but have never seen it in a bar or restaurant, so that was reason enough to order it. It's soooooo damned good, all warm and vanilla-y and yummy. The walk back to the hotel was interesting, though, as I couldn't feel my feet. Which wasn't a bad thing at that point. But this is what happens when you have cocktails before dinner and mojitos and then some 43. Whee! Good times.
As I was driving across the Bay Bridge on my way home from the Oakland airport, for the first time ever, my lovely city actually looked small to me. It IS a pretty small city, and after six days in THE big city, it looked so quaint to me. How odd. Not that that's a bad thing. I'm just saying.
I still harbor fantasies about living in New York. For now, though, I'll just plan another trip. I think I'm going to take a long weekend in June, to celebrate my birthday, and take in a bunch of shows. I really do heart New York.