This will be my last NYC holiday blog post, thanks for bearing with me! I just knew if I never documented the trip in any detail anywhere, then it would slip off into the sands of time and after a few weeks back in real-world Bee life I would barely be able to recount the places I saw or the best memories and it would just feel like a dream.
I have missed out about 1000 minute details too like the man we met who own a bar called The Crooked Tree and gave me a free chocolate & mango crepe and a glass of his house delicacy – prosecco with a merlot sorbet float! Or the fact most houses I saw on the greyhound drive looked like the one from Amityville . The shooting stars I saw out in the mountains and the dragonfly as big as a dinner plate. The morning we lazed in bed and watched Maury and the show was called Think your spouse is fooling around with the delivery man? (How specific?!) or the day we got a taxi in the rain and I saw lightening hit the Empire State building. I suppose I will have to rely on my battered NewYork moleskin packed with scribbled wobbly notes for them!
On our last morning in Williamsburg we went to an amazing little diner called Pies n Thighs. Just check out their brunch menu and feel our pain when it made no sense whatsoever! I opted for a hippie banjo which was sprouts (!) egg tomato and cheese on a biscuit (which is a scone to us Brits) and the beau had a Rob Evans which was scarmbled egg, cheese and gravy on a biscuit. Apart from the undeciferable menu, the food was amazing and we were served by a girl who wore super mario dungarees and was maximum friendly. We then went on a hike across the Brooklyn bridge…
It was a cloudy day but the views were still amazing and we were on a mission anyway, to Grimaldi’s – apparently the best pizza in New York. Tucked away under Brooklyn Bridge, whatever the day, time OR weather there will always be a queue of at least 20 people. We waited for 40 minutes and eventually shuffled into a booth and I’m going to go against the grain and say it wasn’t the best I’ve ever had in my life BUT the set up, the traditional chefs shouting in Italian to each other over the tables and the amazingly random decor definitely made it one of my best NY experiences.
I’m sure thousands of tourist types go to New York and never venture anywhere near the library which is such a crying shame. Even if you aren’t the worlds hugest Ghostbusters nerd (err, that’d be me) then you can appreciate the incredible architecture and endless rooms and offices and specialist areas and nooks and crannies. That is me in the ACTUAL aisle where the librarian ghost scene was filmed. It’s so typical that I don’t have a single photo of me in Times Square… Statue of Liberty… Empire State… but of course I have a tourist shot in the library! We found some amazing old records too of all the ferrys that arrived from England and Ireland pre-war, with the names of every single person who came.
My number one recomendation if you are in NYC is that you check out St Marks Place. That was definitely my favourite place for drinking and socialising. It’s a wonderful road packed with cafes, diners, Japanese saki bars, and was where I felt most at home. On St Marks place was a bar called PDT (Please Don’t Tell!) which we had read about in Time Out on the flight over. It’s in such high demand that we had to phone at 3pm on the day to make reservations and the lines were busy for HALF an hour (hello £100 phonebill, urk) and then when we got through, we got the last table. The concept is that PDT is a speakeasy. From the outside, it just looks like Criff Dogs which is a working, functioning hot dog diner. However if you have a reservation you pass through Criff Dogs to a payphone in the corner. You dial a code and then the door swing open and you are quickly ushered into a 1920s Speakeasy. It IS prohibition and you must mutter and mumble so as not to draw attention, as you sip the most amazing and intricate cocktails. It was such a unique experience and everything from the barmen in bow ties, to the language used in the menu, to the spirits available is as authentic as possible.
For the last few days we stayed in Manhattan, near Chelsea Market. I visited the chess men, and I don’t think this guy was very happy I caught his losing being mocked on camera! Then, a pilgrimage to Magnolia Bakery…
We picked up the cakes to take-away, and ate them in the courtyard under the Rockerfellar Centre. We opted for a Red Velvet and a Chocolate Devil Food and they were, as expected, out of this world good. The scariest thing was that although they were incredible – moist, rich and delish… but dangerously they were so fluffy that you felt like you could easily eat about 20. In fact when we were queuing for our purchases (you take them from the bakery counter, then to a seperate cashier to pay), a girl behind me devoured her two WHILST STILL IN THE QUEUE TO PAY. That would so be me if I lived in New York.
As we sat eating our cakes, my beau said there’s a storm coming, I can feel it and I looked at him like alright Mystic Meg! Jog on! It’s all white sky and no grey clouds!
Fast forward ten minutes and as we are walking to the subway, a crash of thunder shakes the city and suddenly we are in the most torrential rainstorm! We had to cower in a tourist shop whilst the thunder roared and lightening crackled and the radio started talking about the TORNADO about to hit Manhattan! It was all quite dramatic and although after a while we braved the weather and skipped through the rain getting soggy feet – the tornado did really hit Queens and destroyed two roads of houses and killed one woman. So that was my first taste of real extreme weather I’ve ever had and it was a little bit un-nerving.
On our last night we really went large in Brooklyn. As I mentioned on my return, we went to the quirkiest place called Barcade which is basically cocktails + all the BEST old school arcade machines = :]) And obviously the merrier you get, the better you think you are at games like Pacman, Outrun and my personal favourite Paperboy. Or in my case, you get more and more outraged that you can’t complete one level and start thinking it’s a comlete fix and telling everyone you meet so. Ahem…
We then managed to accidentally gatecrash a lovely ladys bachalorette party and join the party train to a Hiphop club where we were the only ones on the dancefloor for many hours. I can’t remember much about getting home except that we got a really shady non-taxi who only charged $8 from Brookly to Manhattan… errr!
Safe to say on my last day in NYC I was a complete state. We checked out late because it took me an hour to even be able to lift my head from the pillow. We then had reservations at the very hard-to-get-into brunch at Essex. I had been SO excited about our last brunch (and the unlimited bloody marys!) but when we actually got there I could do nothing but sit and shake and try not to be sick. I couldnt touch a drop of alcohol and couldn’t eat my banana and chocolate pancake either – I had to ask for it in a doggy bag. Mortifying! I was so cross with myself! I also was spotted! by the adorable Helen who happened to be brunching in Essex too. What a small blogworld it is. I’m absolutely cringing that she saw me in such a shrivelled, sad state of affairs! Luckily, a brisk walk across the WIlliamsburg bridge to say a final goodbye to the NY skyline sorted me out enough to be able to get on the plane with out too much fuss but a 6 hour flight with a raging hangover is something I will never repeat! I literally sat weeping to myself and half watching The Runaways.
So, I get it now. I get New York and why everyone loves it enough to emblazen their adoration on their teeshirt, and sing about it and set endless movies there. I of course like anyone who’s ever visited, am now hellbent on moving there at some point. And you know what, I have a feeling it might just happen! I don’t think I’m finished with the big apple just yet…