New York City is a city that I have barely explored even thought it is my birthplace. The concrete jungle is always calling my name. This trip was my first without family and my first trip back in several years. I went to go visit my sorority “little”, Laine. She recently moved to NYC for a job. We both had Labor Day off, so I flew up and got to spend four days with her.
I left for the Atlanta airport around 2 AM Friday morning to make my 6 AM flight. I made it to my gate as boarding started. After a 2-hour flight, I made it to Newark Liberty International Airport and started trying to figure out the AirTran and the New York City subway. It took me a little while to figure out how to get to Laine's apartment from Penn Station, but I eventually made it.
I took an office day from work on Friday, so I got straight to work when I got there. I was able to do all I needed to before 1 o’clock. This turned out to be the perfect time to meet my cousin on Stone Street for an al fresco lunch.
Stone Street is lined with restaurants and bars. All of the establishments have outdoor dining tables scattered along the cobblestone street. Of all the options available, we chose the Stone Street Tavern after being told they had "the best burger on the block”.
We enjoyed the beautiful, early September weather with our juicy burgers and great conversation. After we finished our food and our round of mid-afternoon cocktails, we decided to head uptown and look for another bar to visit.
The next bar was The Standard Biergarten, where Laine met my cousin and I. We drank our German styled beers with grins our faces while watching an intense games of ping pong. Once we finished the fairly large brews, we took The High Line to The Chelsea Market.
My cousin decided she was ready to go home, so Laine and I wandered through the market stands looking at jewelry, purses, fresh meat, and cheeses. We decided to get a plate of hummus and pita from one of the food vendors, Dizengoff.
After our delightful spread, we refrained from getting a second order so that we could eat in Little Italy later that night. We continued walking through the flea sections and looked at all the artists' works. Once we saw everything, we walked back to our subway stop and went back to Laine’s apartment to freshen up for dinner.
We walked a few blocks from her apartment to the entrance of Little Italy. We couldn’t decide where to eat, so we picked the first place without a long line. It probably wasn’t the best Italian food on that street, but it served Laine’s dietary restrictions. After we had our fill of pasta, we decided to call it a night and head back to her house to watch a movie.
The next morning, we got up really early to start our day. We began by running to H&M. I was not prepared for the chilly fall weather and needed to buy a sweater. After that, we realized her subway stop was not being serviced that day, so we took the scenic way and walked all the way to the Brooklyn bridge.
Along the way, we realized that we needed some breakfast, so we stopped at City Acres Market and got vegan, artisan doughnuts. As if those weren’t sugary enough, we stopped at Terri’s for vegan milkshakes to drink during the remainder of our walk to the Brooklyn Bridge.
We weren’t alone on this cloudy Saturday afternoon. There were tons of fellow walkers and several aggressive bikers. We strolled down the walkway turning around often to admire the views of the city, as we headed into Brooklyn. We wandered around the riverfront area of Brooklyn for a little bit before realizing we had worked up a bit of an appetite. We headed toward the subway to go to China Town.
We stumbled upon a fantastic Chinese restaurant on Canal Street. Shanghai Café provided us with a great, authentic meal and some of the most plump vegetable steamed dumplings. China Town was on our way back to Laine's apartment, but we decided to indulge in a little more retail therapy before returning.
We went shopping at Zara and H&M, but we were still so full from our lunch that we bought a few sweaters and went back to Laine’s to chill and get ready for the night.
Sadly, the weather became a big factor in our night's plans. The temperature dropped to about 50 degrees and the rain started to pour. We scratched our plans to go to the bar and decided to wait out the rain at Tacombi. After a few margaritas and fresh tacos, we headed back to Laine’s and called it a night.
The rain kept falling into Sunday morning, but Laine’s friend stopped by, and we all agreed to go grab a bite to eat. We braved the rain and found a quality brunch spot at Grey Dog Café. With coffee in hand, we hopped on the subway and headed toward Williamsburg to explore for the day.
As we wandered through Brooklyn for the second day in a row, I couldn’t get over the amazing view of the skyscrapers that make up Manhattan. We strolled in and out of stores and markets taking pictures at every cool graffiti spot we passed.
We ended our walk at an adorable city on the East River and managed to get a few pictures right before the rain came. We made one last stop to grab some ice cream at Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream. The other girls were able to get vegan ice cream, and I got mint chip in a waffle cone.
The rain never ended that night so we ordered some delivery Indian food from Kabab Bites. We enjoyed it on Laine’s couch while watching a Harry Potter marathon. We started to get cabin fever and braved the rain to get cupcakes and ice cream from Little Cupcake Bakery.
The rain finally broke and lead to a beautiful Labor Day, so we decided to spend the day in Central Park. Before getting to the park, we took the subway from Laine's apartment to Columbus Circle and immediately went looking for a brunch spot. Route 66 was a traditional brunch spot with a great street side patio.
Route 66 provided a great energy boost and allowed us to walk through Central Park for hours. Once our feet got tired, we took a nice little sun nap in the middle of the park. When we woke up, one of Laine’s friend had called and said she wanted to hang out, so we headed back to the apartment.
Earlier in the weekend, I had told Laine I wanted to go to Washington Circle and see the arch. It was less than a mile away, so we put on sneakers and enjoyed the sunshine on our walk to the park. We arrived to a large crowd but a stunning view no matter where we stood. Growing up, I was a big fan of the TV show Gossip Girl, so I was excited to see that the structure Blair and Chuck got married at was in that park. We had worked up a bit of an appetite by this time, so we headed to Snowdays Shaved Cream Co. to cool down a bit.
After our third ice cream stop of the trip, we decided to call it a day. We had walked over 30 miles in the four days and were quite exhausted. We had time for one last meal together, so Laine and I searched for street tacos to take to her apartment.
We found just what we were looking for at The Corner: Las Esquina. We enjoyed the street tacos from the comfort of Laine’s couch, thought about how to get me a job there, and recapped a great weekend in NYC.