I can’t believe it’s February already! It has been three months since our visit to New York and time has completely slipped away on me. I thought I finally better get around to documenting our trip.
After Andrew qualified for the NYC Marathon, by getting good for age at Berlin, we decided to make this one of our bigger holidays for the year. He flew a few days ahead of me to work from his New York office and I joined on the Friday after work and stayed eight nights in total. This was my first time visiting anywhere in America and I was pretty damn excited to experience this iconic city, the American culture and needless to say the food!
We spent the first five nights in a pretty rubbish apartment in Midtown, but it was a fantastic location for exploring. The day before the marathon Andrew made me get up early to try push through the jetlag, and we headed straight to Central Park, grabbing a bagel for breakfast on our way. We visited the marathon finish line, picking out the New Zealand flag along the way. The weather that day wasn’t too flashy so we choose to get a couple of citi bikes so we could cover more ground. The autumn colours were starting to pop out throughout the park which was lovely to see.
We had a pretty quiet afternoon and in the evening headed over to Greenwich to grab an authentic slice at Joe’s Pizza, known as a ‘Greenwich Village institution’. The eatery is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike. Don’t let the lines deter you as they move quickly and the hot, fresh pizza slices are worth it!
The day of the marathon, Andrew had to leave our apartment at 5am in order to get the prearranged bus across to Staten Island for the 10am race start. So, I had the morning to myself and I started by lining up at Ess-a-bagel for another NY classic – the lox bagel. I am still dreaming of these bagels, they had the perfect mix of a warm, chewy centre with a crunchy outside. The morning was fresh, the sun was shining and the streets were calm, so I enjoyed wandered around by myself taking in the sights of the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Station, New York Library and the Rockefeller Center.
Tracking Andrew’s progress through the app I found a spot underneath the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge at the 26km mark. The atmosphere in NY that day was electric, the crowd was so supportive and there was a brass band not far from where I was. I managed to see the first runners fly past and waited for Andrew then hightailed it to Central Park to find another spot in the sunshine at the 40km mark.
Andrew said the course was challenging, with a bit more incline than expected. Nonetheless, he finished with a great time of 3.02, not a PB but he was happy given his recent niggly injuries leading up to the event. After seeing him run past the second time I navigated my way out of CP to try meet up with him on the Upper West Side. I got a bit lost and frustrated as many of the exits were cordoned off for the race. But it was a blessing as I stumbled upon Cherry Hill leading down to The Lake which was sprinkled with pretty autumn shades. We celebrated at a nearby pub and strangers in the street enthusiastically, and genuinely, congratulated Andrew and I thought it myself “who said New Yorkers are rude?!” That evening we had dinner with a fellow London couple, both of whom had run that day, at Tao Uptown. Google describes it as a pan-Asian restaurant with a clublike setting. The food was delicious and the decor was really awesome with a giant Buddha as the main centrepiece.
I was thinking the day after the marathon we took things pretty easy, but I actually managed to get Andrew out and about and we covered quite a lot of ground, and sights. The weather was a bit grim but we didn’t let it deter our day. First things first was to track down another bagel for breakfast – this time we settled on Zuckers, sharing a lox and an avocado bacon bagel. I think we decided simple is best when it comes to bagels, letting the bagel be the star it deserves to be 😀
We wandered around Grand Central station before hopping on the train down to the Financial District. We checked out Wall Street, the Stock Exchange and the Federal Hall, before heading down to the Charging Bull and Fearless Girl statues.
Then we did what probably every tourist does while they are in New York and went to check out the Statue of Liberty. We took the return free ferry across to Staten Island which in itself was an event. There was an array of colourful characters, including a young homeless guy called Johnathan, who we weirdly saw again days later in LES – small world. Anyway, I digress… After our misty viewing, of the shorter than everyone expects statue, we found our way to the 9/11 Memorial and then had a short wander through Chinatown, having a delicious and cheap lunch at 88 Dumplings and grabbing a cereal mochi doughnut and cream puff at a new-age dessert shop.
That evening we had booked ourselves into a night session at the quaint basement jazz club, Smalls, located in the West Village. The band was a trio with a sax, double bass and drums. The sax dominated the room and it took a while for the band to get into a coherent swing but we had a great evening. We also visited Smalls sister club, Mezzrow where we managed to nab a table and enjoyed the tail-end of a sultry jazz singer and then a duo with the double bass and guitar.
That sums up our first few days exploring this crazy cool city!
Read about our the rest of our trip in Part two…