The title of this blog sounds like some kind of crazy marathon time or an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, but no, it's just how long BHW and I spent in New York City on our day off. It all started in Pennsylvania when we decided the day before (typical) our day off that we were going to head to New York City. We then traveled to Delaware to play some ultimate. After a bitter loss, to BHW's team, we drove the entire length of New Jersey to hop on the ferry to New York. Once we docked, BHW and I took a short subway ride, where we arrived at our hostel in the super sketchy Queens. Aside from the location, our hostel was hip and the cheapest place around!
We got to our hostel around 11PM and were starving. After stopping by the only place open, a little corner deli, we headed over to Dutch Kills for a drink. (PLEASE click on the link, head to the gallery, and watch the videos, beautifully done!) BHW had read about the place and was eager to check it out for himself! While walking up to the door I got really skeptical really quickly. It was a rusty old door with no sign of life except for the white light blinking 'bar' above it. No name, no 'come on in!' sign, just the blinking sign. I mean, come on people, we're in Queens, this place was straight out of a scary movie! That is, until we walked in. It was the most beautiful speakeasy style bar I'd ever seen. Ok, it's the only speakeasy style bar I've ever seen but it was still gorgeous! They only served the fanciest of drinks and they hand cut their own ice, extremely classy! Again, please go to their website and check out their videos!
After listening to the subway literally all night, we decided it was time to get out of bed and explore the city in the day light! Of course, we didn't have a plan of what we were going to do.. when do we ever? We took a little walk down the street and wound up at Sage General Store for breakfast. I ordered the ham and cheese sandwich with a mocha and BHW ordered the Ranchero Burrito with a Mint and Ginger tea. While browsing the menu.. I realized that this wee little cafe had been on 'Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives!' The food was fantastic and this tiny place even had a catering service, so you know they were serving some top quality foods!
Before we left the hostel, I got a glimpse of some things to check out if we had the chance. One of them was 5 Pointz in Long Island City, the world's first graffiti mecca. When I think of graffiti, I think of some high school punks spray painting trains and bridge overhands, WRONG. What I saw at 5 Pointz was beautiful artwork that just so happened to be made by spray paint. Word on the street was that the place was going to be torn down or painted over soon. After I searched the website.. I didn't see any information about that though. BUT, to be safe, get to 5 Pointz soon if you get the chance! Of course I forgot my gloves and hat for the trip so I was freezing, but it was completely worth it to see some of this amazing art! The picture below may be a little 'scandalous' but someone created it with SPRAY PAINT! Can you believe that?! Spray paint!!
I convinced BHW that I needed to go inside in order to survive for much longer, so we proceeded to stay outside and 'walk around the city' for the next hour. I was not a happy camper.. but we did see a T.V. show about to film a chase scene! As we were walking through the city, I saw a sign for the 9/11 memorial. I actually forgot that it had opened so it was a nice surprise. I had the strangest experience there. While walking through the memorial I saw people posing, smiling, and throwing up peace signs. What is up with that? Yeah, I took pictures, and yes it was beautiful.. but there was nothing to be happy about. As stunning as the memorial was, it shouldn't even be there in the first place, the original buildings should still be standing. I saw a young girl with what seemed to be her grandmother, sitting on a bench, weeping. Two feet away I saw a group of people laughing and posing for pictures. I just don't know how I felt about being there and I know one thing for certain, I wasn't smiling about it.
One other point I do want to make is; if you are there and you forget to grab a map, like we did, see if you can find the tree that is clearly different from the rest. When we were there it was being supported with ropes and cords. I noticed people kept taking pictures of it. I thought to myself, maybe it was the poor little tree that made it through all this horror. Come to find out, it was, it's called the Survivor Tree. It's a beautiful sight to see.. there was even a birds nest in it.. I took it as a sign of a new beginning.
I was desperate to get warm when we stumbled upon Manon Cafe, home of the world's best hot chocolate (in my opinion as well as some other Yelp*ers). At $4 a cup (which was more like a shot) it better be good! But, in reality, it was that good. I even bought some to send home to my sister who is madly in love with Starbucks hot chocolate. I'm still waiting to hear back about the results of her taste testing that I instructed her to perform. Although the prices were quite steep, the drinks were exceptional, the cafe was charming, and served a complementary chocolate with each drink you purchased. While ordering our drinks, I wanted a baked good but couldn't decide on what to order. I looked at the cashier and said 'I'll take a hot chocolate, an earl gray, and your favorite muffin.' No matter how many times I say this to servers/cashiers the look on their face never gets old.
We had a plan to head to a museum but time got away from us and we had a reservation for a tour at 5 o'clock. Instead of the museum, we walked around China town and Little Italy. Cold and hungry, we Yelp*ed the nearest place to grab a slice of pizza, in Little Italy.. the options were overwhelming. Since the two of us can't make a decision to save our lives, I just pointed to a random place on the list and said we were going there. Without looking at reviews or info (other than the name and address) we somehow ended up eating at the World Famous Lombardi's, America's First Pizzeria. With not a lot of time, we couldn't sit down and order a whole pizza so we opted for the Calzone so we could eat and walk. To our surprise, the Calzone came in a huge pizza box and could have easily fed 3 people... so much for walking and eating. Instead, we found a park down the street and ate til our tummy's could take no more. The Calzone was fantastic and loaded with gourmet toppings and cheese.
BHW and I can hardly go anywhere without him dragging me into yet another brewery for a tour and tasting. I swear, this guy gets into the strangest of obsessions. We came up to an old brick building that I thought was abandoned but no, it was just the Brooklyn Brewery we were about to tour. The Brooklyn Brewery was closed to the public at the time and was only offering private tours, how fun! There were about 30 of us doing the tour and our tour guide was hilarious! I've never been one for beer, but I'm slowly learning about which types I like, which types I can stand, and which types I'll never have again. Most tours we've been on are all the same thing, the tour guide bragging about how awesome their beer is and smack talking all the other breweries around. This tour was pleasantly different. Our guide talked about craft beer in general and how many amazing beers are out there and how few people ever get around to trying them. The brewery also had a fairly interesting history behind the logo, I always love stories like that! After a long tasting session and a few too many beers after the tour BHW we needed something to eat! I'm fairly certain we spend 99% of our time in NYC eating.. but.. who doesn't?!
Once again, we couldn't decide where to eat so I asked the tour guide where we should go for some good grub nearby. He steered us in the direction of the Meatball Shop. It's basically a bunch of hipsters serving up some super tasty meatballs at slightly too high of a price. Even on a Tuesday this place was packed, so I knew it must be good! I asked the server for his favorite meal and he brought back the most delicious meatballs and salad I've ever tasted. Now, the thing that sucks about having a server do this for you is.. you never actually know what you just ate.. they bring it.. you eat it. But nevertheless, I was drunk and the food was top notch. After we sobered up, paid the bill, realized how much money we spent in such little time, sulked about the fact that we're now broke (even though we were before we even started this trip), BHW and I caught the subway to catch the ferry to find our car and head back to 'the real world'. Of course, no trip to NYC is complete without a photo of this lovely lady.
And there ya have it, ladies and gents, our whirlwind of a trip to the Big Apple. Next time New York, I'll spend a little more time with you!