NYC Day 4

With our NYC vacation coming to an end, we had a rough outline of what we wanted to do before heading to JFK and flying back to Sacramento.  We had to check out of our hotel by noon so by 11 or so we checked out of the room and the hotel was kind enough to store our bags until we left for the airport that afternoon.

Our first stop was for food since we hadn’t had breakfast.  I figured since we wanted to check out the High Line, we would look for a brunch spot near there.  Many of our friends had told us that we had to “brunch” while in NYC so figured this was our last chance.

I found a place called Cookshop.  I thought it was funny that the brief description on Google maps said “Farm-to-hipster American dining.”  At first that made me not want to go there but it had some good reviews on the food and that really was all I cared about.  D started with the Beignets and then had the Poached Eggs (with beefsteak tomatoes, basil, herbed breadcrumbs, and cheese fonduta).  I started with the House smoked Arctic Char (with horseradish creme fraiche and toast) and then had their Fried Egg Sandwich.  The Beignets were good, though not the traditional light airy ones that you think of.  They have ricotta cheese inside their batter and made the internal part of the beignets more cake-like than airy.  Overall the food was great.

Not too long after we ordered, there were two young women sat right next to us.  Now they were not quiet nor shy about their conversation.  From the conversation I gleaned that they were most likely towards the end of high school (suspect senior year) but they lived a fairly privileged life.  One girl talked about how she spent the summer traveling through Europe and the other through Africa.  What struck me as outrageous was one girl talking about how she was dating a boy but was very attracted to another guy on her trip and was proud of herself that she didn’t cheat on the boy she was dating.  And I quote, “I didn’t kiss him, though I did shower  with him.” um…WHAT?!? The conversation was filled with ridiculous things like that and distracted me from a nice brunch.  Kids these days…

After lunch, we trekked over to the High Line.  The High Line is essentially an old elevated railroad track that was converted into an elevated urban park walkway.  Honestly, coming from Sacramento and the City of Trees, it wasn’t all that impressive to me.  I can see how it is a nice getaway from the concrete and skyscrapers of NYC though.  So I can appreciate it as a nice thing for people who live in NYC.  However, the High Line is now a touristy thing that it was fairly congested and filled with tourists (like us).  It was also a bit warm being elevated and not having much shade.

One thing that D wanted to see was the old cobblestones of New York.  I told her that one place you can still see it is the Meat Packing District.  We got off the High Line and found ourselves in Meat Packing and D got to see the cobblestones.

I needed to use the facilities and so while D was browsing in a store, I walked over to Chelsea Market.  Now I thought the High Line was packed with people walking, but Chelsea Market was even more packed.  I felt like a sardine.  We grabbed some water here and then jumped on the subway back up to Columbus Circle (at the southwest corner of Central Park).  We also used the bathrooms at the Essex Hotel so got to see the nice architecture in the lobby and registration area.  We then just chilled on a big rock in Central Park until it was time to head back to the hotel and head for the airport.

It’s a good thing we decided to head to JFK early because there was a ton of traffic on the roads back tot he airport.  Luckily we were able to get there with plenty of time to grab some food.  Course it helped that our flight ended up being delayed because the co-pilot wasn’t at the airport in time.  You would think as your job you’d try to get to the airport on time or early (it was an evening flight).  The gate people came on once saying that the co-pilot was in a cab, that some people commute to work.  Um, unless you work at home, everyone commutes to work, and plans as such.  We ended up arriving home a half hour after our normal scheduled time.

That’s a wrap on our NYC trip, overall was a good time.  Definitely left more stuff to do so maybe one day we’ll head back.


NYC Day 2

NYC Day 2

Since we had gone to bed relatively early, we woke up mid-morning and got ready for the day.  The plan was to check out the upper east side area before eventually meeting up with our friends in Brooklyn for some steak at Peter Lugers.

We had created a google maps with specific points of interest (mostly food, bars, museums).  You can reference this map and see where all your “pins” on the map are located.  Our plan was to hit up the Met so we found a breakfast place nearby.  The pin by the Met said Zabar’s so we headed there.  However, once we walked by its address, we noted there was no Zabar’s but there was EAT by Eli Zabar.  Turns out the actual Zabar’s is on the west side of Central Park (whereas we were on the east side).  We decided to eat there and had an all right breakfast.  D had an omelette with tomatoes and mozzarella (the mozz was very fresh and delicious).  I had the smoked salmon on healthy bread.  It did taste healthy but was all right.  For the table it came with some of their freshly made breads and also my meal came with a side of sliced cucumber and dill.

Smoked salmon on healthy bread

With breakfast/brunch/lunch out of the way, we walked over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art  (or The MET).  Last time I was in the City, I didn’t go.  Man, I did not realize how enormous the place is.  D really wanted to see the Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology exhibit that was going on so that was the first thing we hit up.  After being with D for so long, I’ve come to appreciate some fashion so it was impressive to see the various ways of creating and making dresses.

Manus x Machina

Since we knew that we could spend all day (and then multiple days at the museum) to see everything, we agreed upon a few various exhibit/halls.  I wanted to see the armor and armorer exhibit, which was pretty cool since you were able to compare the way various cultures created similar type weapons (like swords).

We also briefly went through the Egyptian exhibit since that is not common art/artifacts that you find in many museums.  It was amazing to see that they had so many sarcophagi along with the contents of said sarcophagi (aka mummies).


We hit up some 19th and 20th century European art and then made our way up to the roof of the MET.  My cousin suggested we go up there as you get a pretty spectacular view of the city (and you don’t have to pay!) and can have a cocktail while you’re at it.  There were a bunch of people up there.  They also have an art installation of a building on the roof as well.  It was smaller than I imagined.  As the sun was beating down, it was fairly warm so we didn’t stay to have a cocktail but did soak up the views of Central Park and the skyline.

After the MET, we were a little bit hungry and wanted to check out a NY classic institution and walked over to Papaya King.  We each had a hot dog and shared their papaya drink.  The papaya drink was good stuff.

From Papaya King we walked to the Carlyle and the famous Bemelmans Bar.  This bar was featured by Tony Bourdain as a place to go drink but also was in a Christmas Special movie with Bill Murray.  The walls of the bar are decorated with drawings by Ludwig Bemelman (the creator of the classic Madeline children’s books).  D had the Old Cuban and I had the Fleur de Paradis and then we shared The Carlyle Punch.  All were quite tasty.

Afterwards we decided to stroll through Central Park.  We walked by the little pond where people do the model bowl sailing.  From there it was a short walk over to the Loeb Boathouse.  I didn’t expect to see so many people out on the water on a rowboat.  Next to that is Bethesda Fountain and Terrace.


We walked down the area of the park that has a bunch of benches lining both sides of the walkway.  From there we made our way to the southeast corner of the park and walked back towards our hotel.  Along the way we passed by all the fancy stores on 5th Avenue .

Across from our hotel is St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is an impressive Neo-Gothic style Roman Catholic cathedral.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

For dinner, as mentioned above, we made our way down into Brooklyn to Peter Lugers Steakhouse.  Many places list Peter Lugers as the best steakhouse in America year after year.  I figured since we were in the area we might as well check out the supposed best steak in America.  Our friends Matt and his wife Lisa met us at the restaurant.  We ordered the steak for 4 (makes sense given there were 4 of us).  This ended up being two huge porterhouses (fillet and a strip steak).  This was cooked at a medium rare.  I gotta say the fillet portion of the steak was uber tender and tasty.  The strip steak was also good though not as tender as the fillet.  Was it the best steak ever?  Probably not, but it was a good steak.  I still am a fan of real Kobe (wagyu) beef though that is super duper expensive.  We also had the creamed spinach and german potatoes, which were okay.  They also do thick cut bacon and that was very tasty.  It was great to catch up with Matt and Lisa as we hadn’t seen each other in 4 years.


Not wanting to end the night early (and show D that you really do stay out super late in NYC, we’re usually in bed by 10), we headed back to Manhattan to get some drinks.  Our first stop was at Essex and Beauty in the LES (lower east side).  The 4 of us hung out on a couch next to the bar area.  We were between the dining area and the restrooms/front doors so there was a constant stream of people going back and forth.  Interesting to see how people in NYC really do it up when they go out (guys in fancy dress shirts and slacks/fancy jeans and ladies dolled up in fancy dresses).

With multiple recommendations to go to Death and Co. (cocktail bar), we headed out of Essex and Beauty after a drink and wandered our way through the LES to find Death and Co.  You had to put your name down at the front and they’d text you when they had an availability.  By this time it was around midnight and luckily our wait was only about 15 minutes.  On the walk from Essex and Co., I started feeling a few drops of water fall on me.  At first I thought it was from the window A/Cs but realized it was probably some rain.

There was an extensive list of cocktails and had some interesting names.  We ordered as a group:  Beyond the Sea, Tramps Like Us, Birds of Prey, Minaseno, Lord Baltimore, Francois Dillinger.  Overall the cocktails were good.  I actually expected the cocktails to be more expensive than they were but they ranged from around $14-17 per drink.  I was expecting closer to $20 per drink.  After 2 cocktails at this place we were done.  Matt called and Uber and they dropped us off at our hotel (which was good because it had started lightly raining by the time we left Death and Co.).

D and I were getting a bit hungry since it was now like 1:30.  I looked up places that may still be open and a few blocks away was a 24 hour place called Uncle Paul’s Pizza.  The slices we got were only okay and nothing like I remembered as a true NY slice.  I told D we’d have to try again at another place.

We turned in for the night around 2 AM.