A photo of the Brooklyn Bridge's iconic central tower.

New York Report

Yeah, so remember that post way back where I said I wanted to check X, Y, and Z? Yep, none of that happened.

But it’s alright—it was my husband’s first time in New York City. There were certain things on his personal wish list that he wanted to see, and others that I wanted to show him. Three days barely even scratched the surface, and while we hardly ventured off the beaten path, I haven’t been in New York for ten years. Besides, I have a soft spot for classic New York.

As soon as we dropped off our bags at the Hotel Gansevoort Park Avenue, we bee-lined straight to General Worth Square at Madison Square Park for some grub. Madison Square Eats (aka Mad. Sq. Eats) has become a new city tradition to look forward to every spring. Since it was unlikely that we’d make our way out to Bushwick due to time, I was relieved that Roberta’s was in the lineup at Madison Square Eats this year. Sitting there under the twinkling string lights, scarfing down delicious pizza with the Flatiron Building as the backdrop was one of those “only in New York” experiences.

As a visitor, it’s also fun to experience the city’s transformation during sunset atop the Empire State Building—just don’t forget that jacket because it gets hella cold.

It was early May when we were in New York City, and throughout the week there was evidence of sports fever everywhere. Fans in red, white, and blue rushed towards Madison Square Garden to see their beloved Rangers in the NHL playoffs. Crowds gathered around Radio City Music Hall for the NFL Draft. Back over at the Hotel Gansevoort Park Avenue, there were draft parties attended by well-dressed men in suits. At the 9/11 Memorial, a squad of draftees (again, well-dressed in suits) were escorted to the memorial site, their coach buses and black SUVs parked in front of the W Hotel directly across the street. Having binge-watched ESPN’s draft coverage on the flight to JFK, I was a little starstruck. I’m still processing my varied emotions about the 9/11 Memorial even now, but that’s for another time.

We also ate. A lot. We had to walk off all that food at some point, so we did a couple classic walks: the Brooklyn Bridge (old) and the entire length of the High Line (new). The last time I was in New York was way back in 2004—before the High Line’s transformation began—so I was excited to finally check it out. I may have to do a separate post about it in the future. Pitstops at the Wafels & Dinges cart in Lower Manhattan and at Num Pang in Chelsea Market were tasty opportunities to refuel.

Ditto a long, rainy day of museums and walking through Central Park—sometimes you need to sit down to a hot bowl of ramen. After checking out the Charles James exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, then geeking out at dinosaur fossils, animal specimens, and dark universes at the American Museum of Natural History, we headed over to Hide-Chan Ramen for dinner.

Our big gastronomic splurge for the week was meeting up with friends for dinner at the glamorous NoMad Hotel. After enjoying a couple of expertly crafted negroni sbagliati in the bar, we were game for the main event, namely the oft-praised roast chicken for two. Meat and potatoes had never tasted so good. Likewise, the signature Milk & Honey dessert was another delicious and inventive spin on a classic combo. The eye-catching presentation of these dishes, especially when the whole roast chicken is trotted out in a cast iron dish for diners to admire before it is whisked away back into the kitchen (to be prepared for serving in two separate courses), serves as evening entertainment.

At the end of our trip, we hopped on the Circle Line boat tour at Pier 81 for the views of Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Statue of Liberty. Our timing wasn’t great—unfortunately the weather had gotten progressively worse throughout the week, and by Friday it was incredibly foggy. Maybe Mother Nature knew that we were heading back to San Francisco the next day. In spite of that, it was still a treat to be out on the water.

New York City’s skyline is dramatically changing. What I recall seeing ten years ago is nearly unrecognizable compared to what stands there today. Hopefully it won’t be another ten years until my next trip.

Oh, and Shake Shack? It was so good, I couldn’t get enough. We dragged ourselves from one end of JFK to the other for our last NYC meal and bought some extra to eat on the plane ride home. My heart says In-n-Out, but my stomach says there’s room for everyone.

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