Ah, the melting pot of the world. Smells of excess
street-trash, loud subways and phone calls and little privacy. That’s right.
This Midwestern girl made her way to the Big Apple this weekend. My big brother
has been interning there for the last six months (and recently landed a job
with the same company- whoohoo!) so
the fam and I decided to pay the city-dweller a little visit. Although only for
a little over four days, we were determined to cross as much off of our to-do
list as possible. One thing you should know about our family is that we’re not
your average tourists. We strive to be locals- heading to the little
hole-in-the-wall restaurants, avoiding any type of chain store and judging
those who use selfie sticks on the Brooklyn Bridge. Ready for this four day
adventure packed into one post? Me neither.
The only other time I’ve been to NYC was five years ago. We
knocked out some classic must-sees then: Times Square, Carnegie Hall, Little
Italy, China Town… you catch my drift. Now that my brother’s a ‘local,’ we
decided to hand over the reins to him as the family tour guide.
We started out day one in Williamsburg, aka the ‘hipster
capital of the world’. Although this little Brooklyn village is super cute,
it’s expensive as hell to live in. Guess my dream of living in a brownstone
there was short-lived. We brunched on the roof at the adorable Juliette, which reminded me of a little
breakfast cafe in Paris! Seriously a delicious, energizing meal to start our
We strolled around Brooklyn for a little, making our way
towards the Brooklyn Bridge. If you’re in NYC trying to avoid the tourist
masses, do not, I repeat do not, go
to the Brooklyn Bridge. This narrow path across the water is skinny enough that
each family stopping to snap a pic slows foot traffic to turtle-speed (for an
extremely impatient person like me, this was torture). With bikers
of the bridge, there isn’t much opportunity to bypass the photoshoots. Along
with the slow pace, there were numerous tourists selfie-stick-ing and
iPad-photographing (two of my least favorite things to ever exist). Alas, after
we made it across the bridge (and yes, we took some selfies, stick-less) we
managed to find ourselves some classic New York street performers. After
watching these hilarious guys for probably 30 minutes, the six volunteers were
essentially scammed out of their money in front of all of us. Lesson learned:
don’t fall into tourist traps like this.
We finally made it to our destination of the day: the 9/11memorial. If you haven’t been to see this, it is certainly a sight to see. Very
powerful stuff. We decided, spur of the moment, to pay a visit to the 9/11
museum (located right next to the memorial). This was hands-down my favorite
part of the trip. Bigger than I could have ever imagined, the museum has [practically]
every little piece we have left of the Twin Towers, the planes and everything related
to the tragedy. I was absolutely blown away by the details of this museum and
probably could’ve spent a day or more looking at everything. And this is coming
from a girl that usually hates museums. The museum was packed full, but
surprisingly silent. I don’t know if it was out of respect, out of shock of the
powerful images displayed or the disbelief that something this (for lack of a better term)
happened during our lifetime.
That night we headed to Greenwich Village for some dinner. We
went to a cute little restaurant (we suspected it was a mobster hangout back in
the day) then went to a bar my brother suggested. Check out this concept: a bar
with live music, dozens of pool tables, ping pong tables, foosball,
shuffleboard and chess. Seriously so fun. How and when can we get one of these
in Fort Worth?! I’m tired of bars where the only option is a creepy guy trying
to dance on my backside. No thank you.
Sarabeth’s, which seemed like a spot fit for
the [young] rich and famous. Seriously. This place looked like it was packed
full of B-list celebs, with their babies in tow. There was literally 10 strollers
parked at the restaurant’s entrance. Nonetheless, this place was great and I
highly recommend. Next we headed to the new Whitney Museum in Chelsea. As I
mentioned above, I hate museums (really convenient for a girl in a family of
creative art-types). But I succumbed to this one [art] museum for the trip. The
Whitney is all American art, each floor different decades. I liked the museum
(which is saying something), mainly due to the pop culture (I can dig some Andy
Warhol) and eccentric pieces in the 90s-00s area. In addition to the artwork,
the Whitney has some pretty nice views of the city, which was an added bonus.
The rest of the day was spent visiting my brother’s home
away from home in Brooklyn. However, that evening we did have a great authentic
Italian dinner in East Village at a place called Frank. That was some delicious
pasta mixed with a soundtrack full of Migos and Kanye. Mamma Mia.
Day three was dedicated to Central Park and I’m sure glad we
gave it a whole day because that place is huge.
Yeah, I’ve seen the maps and pictures and Gossip Girl scenes, but damn. We began our park journey in Sheep’s
Meadow, where not sheep, but thousands of people were lounging, tossing a
football and picnicking. We too brought our lunch along and looked just like
the locals, eating our Italian sandwiches on a blanket. We explored some more, paying
a visit to the pond with the mini sailboats (Stuart Little was nowhere in
sight), seeing the Belvedere Castle and finally ending up on the Great Lawn
with bomb-pops to stain our lips blue. ‘Twas a great [and exhausting] trip to
For dinner we decided to deal with tourists once again and
headed to Rockefeller Center, just to say we went. (I’m on a 30 Rock Netflix binge so naturally I had
to get a pic.) The Rainbow Room (in the Rockefeller building) was closed for
the holiday, so we took a security guard’s advice to go to the rotating rooftop
restaurant at the Marriott Marquis. After navigating our way through the worst part of the whole city, Times
Square, we finally got to the hotel, patience running low. (I thought the
Brooklyn Bridge was my own version of tourist hell until we got to Times
Square.) Well, we weren’t too happy. With sh***y service, a cover charge and only
a buffet option, my brother best described it as a “rotating Golden Corral.” Needless to say, we
finished our drinks and headed elsewhere for our main course. We ended up at
Otto, a nice pizza place by Washington Square Park. For you NYU kids, I suggest
this place. Good pizza and good prices. What’s not to love?!
Day four, our last day, began with a trek to SoHo where we
got a delicious breakfast of bagels and coffee (when in Rome, eh?) at a place
called Black Seed. Another great find. I guess I can never really be too
disappointed with any kind of bagel considering I am a self-proclaimed
carboholic. Our final stop for the trip was Yankee Stadium for a game against our boys in blue, the Royals. I guess we
were good luck for the wrong team seeing as the Yanks dominated 14-1, but it
was a great [and American] Memorial
Day spent in just about the most American place in America.
It was a great trip to the big city, but I definitely confirmed
my small-town-syndrome, meaning, I am not
a big city girl. I might be able to live
in Dallas or San Francisco, but never NYC or Chicago. Just not my thing. But I’m
so glad my brother was able to follow his dream and move out there! That’s not
something everyone gets the opportunity to do! As for me, I’ll be a Kansas /
Texas girl for now, until we see where the rivers and roads take me.
Hope everyone had such a great Memorial Day weekend!