We finally made it to “the city.” Though there are a lot of cities around here, and New Haven is actually really big itself, if you say you’re going to “the city,” everyone knows you’re headed to NYC. We actually went twice over the past two weeks or so and definitely understand what all the fuss is about. It’s big, it’s exciting, it’s loud, and it has more to look at on a single block than all of Alabama I think (though I’ll always prefer the views in Bama!).
Charlie and I took an early train from New Haven one Tuesday morning, and about an hour and a half later we arrived at Grand Central Terminal. Thanks to a very handy iPhone app, we managed to easily navigate the subway and go straight down to lower Manhattan to board the Staten Island Ferry. The ferry is free and is a great way to see the NYC skyline, as well as the Statue of Liberty. What a great, “Welcome to NYC!” view! Cruising past the Statue of Liberty was definitely another moment where we pinched ourselves and wondered if this is really our life now.
It was really cold and overcast on this trip, so we were glad we had bundled up (fashion district be darned!) so we could do a lot of walking. We took the subway back to Central Park and enjoyed wandering around for more than an hour. We stopped to watch the ice skaters, got a hot dog from a cart near the literary walk, saw the most famous bridge in the park where everyone gets engaged, and met a man who read us a poem about the importance of doing your best. I would love to go back there in the spring sometime, paddle around on a boat and enjoy the sun on the grass as the city goes by all around.
One very nice benefit of all of our walking was that we ended up on the west side of the park, conveniently near Levain Bakery. I have always wanted to go here to try one of their famous 6 oz. cookies. We made our way over and ordered one of each variety (chocolate chip walnut, oatmeal raisin, dark chocolate with peanut butter chips and dark chocolate with dark chocolate chips). I’d heard that it’s impossible to finish one of these on your own, so you should either share it with a friend or eat it over several days. I feel sure I would not get along with the weaklings who made that statement. Charlie and I took down all four of these bad boys, and a glass of whole milk, in about ten minutes. They definitely lived up to the hype and are now the cookie by which I’ll measure all others!
It started to rain after we left Levain, so we don’t have many pictures from the rest of our day. We headed back through the park and made our way to Fifth Avenue. We enjoyed playing around in FAO Schwarz (absolutely packed) and going underground to the Apple store. We braved the cold rain and headed to Times Square which was also bustling despite the bad weather. After looking around for a little while, we took the subway to Chelsea and had a fantastic dinner at Da Andrea, a cozy neighborhood place run by an Italian family who makes fresh pasta each day. This restaurant definitely dispels the rumor that it’s impossible to have a quiet dinner on a normal person’s budget in Manhattan.
This past Saturday, we headed back into the city with our friend Jessica to check out the holiday cheer in Rockefeller Center and see all the stores’ Christmas displays. Thankfully, the weather was perfect this day and we could really enjoy being out on the streets. I had watched the lighting of the Rockefeller Center tree the previous Wednesday, so it was neat to actually be there. I was also a huge nerd and really excited to be standing outside of the NBC studios and looking into the Today Show set!
After admiring all the great decorations in the plaza, we headed to lunch and then back through Times Square. It was nice to see this in the sunshine. We went into Toys R Us to see the giant indoor ferris wheel and wanted to go into a few other places (hello Hershey store!) but the lines to get in where ridiculously long. We enjoyed just wandering around, and it was really fun to have Jessica with us on this trip!
After Times Square, we headed down to Macy’s on 34th street. Macy’s just feels like the quintessential department store and its decorations definitely put us in the Christmas spirit.
I picked up an ornamanent to remember our holiday trip to the city and then we headed back up Fifth Avenue to see the Christmas storefronts. We popped into Saks Fifth Avenue, and Charlie was very patient to let us go up to the 8th floor and ogle the shoe department. I don’t know how people afford these shoes, but I want them to adopt me. I’d make them cookies in exchange for $1100 stilettos. It’d be an even trade eventually, I promise.
There are so many things to do in NYC, and we only scratched the surface. I’m so glad we went twice and focused on just soaking up the feel of the city rather than trying to rush around seeing a bunch of things. I don’t think I’d ever want to live there (I’d miss trees and open space way too much), but it was a wonderful place to visit around the holidays and I hope we can go back someday to see some of the sights we missed!