new york is one of my favorite places to visit, and october’s trip was no exception. i am lucky enough to have family and friends scattered throughout the city, so i have an abundance of places to stay and an assortment of people to keep me company.
on each visit i pick two things i’ve never done or seen before and make it a point to check them out, but i outdid myself on this last visit. with lannon out of town, maggie out of the country, and the rest at work on the weekdays [and over the weekend, in the case of molly], i found lots of ways to entertain myself and saw lots of new and familiar places along the way.
below are some of the highlights from my most recent visit to one of my favorite cities.
a [very brief] reunion with my bear! i don’t know how the stars aligned for this one, but ellie happened to be in from london for work for 48 hours at the same time i was. she was busy with her work, but we managed a late lunch and catch up session before i needed to get ready for hamilton and she had to catch her flight. it was so nice to see her, however briefly, and it did my heart good to see her in person and not just over skype.
hamilton. i have already written extensively about our experience seeing this show come to life, but i would be remiss if i didn’t also mention it here. it was incredible.
lower east side tenement museum. this museum first came to my attention when i read orphan train in 2014, and i have been wanting to visit ever since. i learned a lot about the families living in the lower east side, and it was an incredible experience to walk through a few of the apartments and imagine the lives of those who lived there not all that long ago. i highly recommend a visit, especially for all of my fellow history nerds.
catching up with peyton. peyton was a classmate of my brother’s in helena, and she was the reason i found out about baylor and then ended up boarding there my last two years of high school. we hadn’t seen each other in years but have kept in touch over social media, and luckily our schedules overlapped while i was in town and we were able to spend an evening drinking and eating and catching up over the last two decades of each other’s lives. it is so nice to spend time with someone who has known you your entire life and who remembers random moments of your childhood.
coney island. i have been wanting to visit coney island for some time, and i finally made it out there on this visit. luke and khadija joined me, and together we rode the cyclone, a 90-year-old wooden roller coaster that was so much fun and also a little terrifying. i seriously thought i might fly out when we went around one of the turns, but it was amazing and i would do it again if i could. it was fun to wander through the different parks and see all the families out enjoying one of the final weekends of the season.
a return to saravanaa bhavan. as much as i like to try new places when i visit the city, one of my staples is saravanaa bhavan, a delicious south indian eatery on the upper west side. this year, molly and lili joined me for a late sunday lunch, and we stuffed ourselves silly before heading across the street to sample on some whiskey at caledonia. that masala dosa is the stuff dreams are made of.
absolute bagels and a tour of columbia. madhav has been gushing about absolute bagels since i met him two years ago, so i knew i had to make it up there on this visit. as luck would have it, julie was free for breakfast on monday, and absolute is close to both her house and columbia’s campus. we picked up bagels and headed up to columbia, where julie showed me around for a bit before we settled down in the library to eat and catch up. it was great to hear about her life back in the states and to enjoy such a delicious breakfast, and i loved wandering columbia’s campus and pretending i was a student.
ethiopian deliciousness at abyssinia. when tosca found out i was going to new york, she insisted i try ethiopian food in harlem. i had never been to harlem, so it seemed like a great monday lunch adventure. after i left columbia i made my way up to harlem and abysinnia at w 135th and frederick douglass boulevard. the food was amazing, and i had the place almost entirely to myself on a rainy monday afternoon.
moma. i had never been to the museum of modern art, so i figured a rainy monday was as good a day as ever to check it out. as it turns out, most everyone else had the same idea, especially as it was a long weekend and there were a lot of people in town. i had seen posters advertising their history of fashion exhibit, so when i arrived i headed straight up there and took my time wandering around. it was a very cool exhibit, and i enjoyed reading about how different styles have evolved from others. after, i wandered through one of the permanent galleries and was able to see van gogh’s starry night, which i did not even realize was at moma, so that was pretty cool. what was not cool, however, was the fifty or so people crowded around it with their cameras and selfie sticks. i love my photos, but some things are best remembered as memories, i think.
the strand. as a compulsive book-buyer, the strand bookstore and its touted “18 miles of books” has been on my list for years. i have previously visited their setup at central park east, but this was the first time i made it to their brick-and-mortar location near union square. it is multiple floors of floor-to-ceiling books and knickknacks for book lovers, and i spent far too much money on books, postcards, tote bags, magnets, and a whole host of other things. it is a mecca for book lovers, and the only thing that would have made it better is some comfy chairs to curl into with a book or two.
hitting up some neighborhood favorites. one of the great parts of staying at maggie and lannon’s place is that i know the neighborhood pretty well and could revisit some neighborhood favorites from last year. on my last night in town, molly and i had drinks at sugarburg and union pool before grabbing food at kings co imperial, and it was such fun to experience those places again. sugarburg is up there with fred’s for the title of my favorite new york bar, union pool is a sentimental favorite from a few years ago, and kings co is such good food.
fearless girl. i almost forgot about the fearless girl statue on wall st, remembering it only on my last evening in town. luckily i was heading down that way on my last morning, so i made sure to stop by and say hi to her in person. she’s so cool and collected and really everything i want to be. i didn’t have it in me to ask someone to take my picture with her, but it was cool to see her nonetheless.
trinity church. since this trip was all about seeing hamilton, i knew i had to visit trinity church and see alexander hamilton’s grave. the churchyard was pretty empty on tuesday morning, so i got to stand at hamilton’s grave for quite a while and just look while listening to the soundtrack. i thought it was interesting that i couldn’t find angelica’s headstone, since the show specifically mentions her being buried near him, although eliza was easy to spot since there are lots of plaques from the daughters of the american revolution. the other thing that stood out was the marker for their first son phillip — it notes that although it is known he was buried at trinity, the exact location of his grave was never marked, so it is not known exactly where he lays.
wrapping it all up at central park. no visit to new york is complete without a stop in central park. it took me to my last day in town, but i made it over there to sit and read and people watch and enjoy the gorgeous weather and the greenery. even mid-morning on a tuesday it is bustling with walkers and joggers and tourists and locals and children and college students and middle-aged adults and senior citizens and vendors and artists and people from literally all walks of life and it is hands down one of my favorite places in the world. it was a great way to wrap up a fantastic week.
every visit to new york is unique and special and so much fun, and this one was no exception. until next time…