From The Big Smoke, To The Big Apple, And Back Again

Good times in New York City!

Lunch BoxDay One: Sweet flight with Porter Airlines from Toronto City Centre Airport to Newark International. Leather seats with lots of leg room, complimentary wine, cutest mascot ever. Porter rocks! We arrived in NYC at around 5pm, and hoofed it to our “hotel” – The Pod Hotel. Central location, swanky lobby, very comfortable rooms (me and Bex shared a bunk bed), and clean facilities. This is a great place to stay if you can’t afford a hotel, but want something a bit better than a crowded hostel in Manhattan. We grabbed some Abatino’s Pizza for our first meal in the city, and then headed to a CouchSurfing gathering at a bar called Revival, where we met up with tonnes of nice people, and Garry– a friend from Toronto who was also in the city for the weekend. I was surprised at how many Canadians were there, actually!

Bex In The MorningDay Two: On Friday, we walked down 2nd Avenue to John’s Diner for some breakfast. Bex was attracted to the pink vinyl booths, and her instinct paid off. Eggs cooked to perfection, with some great potatoes, bacon and toast, and super efficient service! Oh, and great coffee, which was important, because we had a lot of museum-going to do! After breakfast, we headed to The American Museum of Natural History, which was amazing. Lots of stuff to see. I can see how a kid might appreciate it a bit more than us grown-ups, though. For lunch, we grabbed a (highly inferior) “sausage” from a street vendor in Central Park. It was a piddly sausage. No more than a slightly inflated, slightly spicy hot dog, really. Toronto street meat is WAY better! After seeing The Great Lawn, we made our way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was even more amazing than the first museum. More than once I stood in absolute awe in front of some famous painting or other- Picasso, Renoir, Matisse, Monet. It was great. After the Met, we grabbed a clubhouse and a pint (or two) of cider at Murphy’s Pub, around the corner from our hotel. The music on the jukebox was great, and we overheard some people talking about hockey and weed at the bar… more Canadians!

Lady LibertyDay Three: Saturday we woke up early and decided to try out the subway. Sheesh! That’s a confusing network, to say the least! We rode around in circles for a bit, and then finally got on the right train to take us downtown, all the way to Battery Park. We hopped on a ferry to Liberty Island, where we got to admire The Lady herself, in all her humongous glory. It was pretty humbling. Lunch consisted of more pizza on the island – surprisingly good for frozen, pre-packaged pie! Once back on the mainland (so to speak), we started walking north. We were humbled yet again by the bronze mural memorializing those who were lost in the attack on the Twin Towers. The site itself was underwhelming… just a huge construction site now. Which is a good thing, really- time to move on, progress, show the world that New Yorkers, Americans, can’t be beat down. Next was a stop at Century 21, not the real estate firm, but the department store. I got a sweet pair of Blowfish booties. We continued to walk north to Union Square… man- that was a trek. For every 20 blocks, it’s one mile. I think we walked about 150 blocks! We met up with Bex’s godmom Suzanne, who is awesome by the way, and went to a place called the Chat n’ Chew for some dinner. Great little diner, tucked away on a lower level on East 16th Street. After, we visited Suzanne’s friend Hunter at the Borders (US version of Chapters), where they did NOT have Ondaatje’s Divisadero available. Silly American bookstores. We rested for a couple hours at the hotel that night, and then cabbed it to Soho, where we parked ourselves at the bench of The Broome Street Bar. Lo and behold, we met another Canadian- the barkeep was born in Stratford. I got “pants-shitting drunk” off of White Russians (just as Becky predicted) and we pretty much closed the bar. At the end, two more drinks showed up with a basket of fries. Compliments of the kitchen staff! It pays to get cosy at the bar, sometimes. It was an excellent night!

Up BroadwayDay Four: Sunday, however, was not so excellent. I would have to say it was the worst day for me, in a long long time. LOL… but I was in New York City! So, it really didn’t get me down too much. I started the day at around 6:30am… when I had to climb out of my top bunk to vomit repeatedly. This lasted until about 1pm. Yeah. That’s my typical hangover. Which is why I don’t drink that much! Bex texted me letting me know she’d located the Fluevog store, and that got me right out of bed. I showered, and was about to do my makeup, when SHIT! My glasses broke in half! WTF! So, I donned my prescription sunglasses (thankfully I had those with me) and picked out a new pair at Lenscrafters. They’re nice. Big and plastic and green. I like. Then, I ran out of minutes on my phone, and I’d forgotten how to reload directly from the handset. I spent a good hour looking for an internet cafe, but in the meantime got to see Brasilfest, Rockefeller Centre, Radio City Music Hall, a bit of Times Square, and I found out that the Broadway show Wicked does NOT have a Sunday evening performance (which was the third shitty thing that happened- these events do tend to come in threes). I met up again with Bex, and we visited Viva Pancho, a Mexican restaurant recommended to us. It was excellent, and reminded me of the authentic Mexican I used to get at Xoximocho’s in Detroit. After dinner, we walked through Times Square and then to the Empire State Building. After waiting for about an hour and half, we finally made it to the top, where the view was SPECTACULAR. I think this was my most favourite part of the trip.

TubeDay Five: Monday morning we awoke to another beautiful day (the weather was fabulous the entire time we were there). Today was supposed to be chock full of museums again, but we opted to take our time getting around, and wandered over to the Museum of Modern Art. I figured the MoMA was going to be alot like the Met, and there were many similarities (so much Picasso!), but the thing I liked about MoMA were the commonplace designer items, like chairs, and helmets, and camper vans! They also had a sweet Salvador Dali exhibit running, which was cool to see. After MoMA, we were supposed to hit the Guggenheim, but instead we decided to do more shopping. I finally got around to the Fluevog store, where I bought my third pair of Vogs. So good. We also got to try some of the infamous Pinkberry frozen yogurt, which was good, but nothing too special. Like Yogen-Fruz, but unstirred, and in New York. After a rest at the hotel, we met up again with Suzanne and Hunter, for a great meal at Serendipity3, home of the Frozen Hot Chocolate dessert. Basically, it’s a huge bowl of hot chocolate powder mixed with icy cold milk, blended with ice to make it frothy. Simple, and delicious! We couldn’t stay in on our last night in town, so we sought out a bar recommended to us by the guy at the wine and spirits store, a place called the Manchester Pub. He told us the bartenders there were Canadian, so that seemed like the place to go! It was a cute little pub, and the bartender, while not Canadian (the canucks had the night off), was super cute and super nice. He gave us a couple free drinks because it was our last night. And he liked my Shel Silverstein tattoo.

Grand CentralDay Six: Our last day in NYC, we hummed and hawed over whether we should go to the Guggenheim or not. See, we had the tickets already (we’d purchased these CitiPass booklets, which were a fantastic deal), but time was limited. We decided against, and went shopping instead. We walked into Bloomingdale’s, and shortly thereafter walked out (it’s DAMN expensive in that store)! I bought myself a cute “diamond” encrusted letter “K” necklace at an accessory shop called JFay, and we stopped into a sweet little pet shop where the cutest, smallest dogs in the world could be had for an astronomical price. We cabbed it over to Grand Central Station, where we caught our shuttle bus back to Newark. We boarded the plane at 4pm, and were back in Toronto by 6:30, home by 7pm (but not until I paid $30 tax on my purchases- damn customs!).

Phew. I think we spent the perfect amount of time in NYC… although, I’ll definitely be going back to see more!

All of my photos from the trip can be seen here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ravenswift/sets/72157607085128075/

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2 thoughts on “From The Big Smoke, To The Big Apple, And Back Again

  1. Great time in NYC!Being on top the of Empire was fantastic & Tony was GREAT!Shopping on Broadway & Canal was super fun.Cabbing it uptown, downtown and across town was hilarious.Clocking all those miles on our soles was the best.I'll never for get this trip we took together. Thanks for being such a great travel buddy! I don't want to travel with anyone else but you!

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