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Being a tourist

April 24, 2012

Please forgive my extended absence from this blog. I’ve been away being a tourist in New York City. D and I had the opportunity to take a couple of weeks holiday without the kids and we decided to revisit a city we both love.

My love affair with NYC began long before I went there, in fact it began when I was little girl. I don’t know why I was so determined to go there, perhaps it was the result of watching dozens of TV shows set in Manhattan! I first visited in 2009 with D and all the kids. We had a fantastic time but D and I longed to go back and do all the “grown up” things that we couldn’t with three kids in tow.

This time was even more amazing than the last. We stayed at the wonderful Hotel Giraffe on Park Ave. This is a boutique hotel in a quiet(ish) neighbourhood but still within walking distance of great shopping and fantastic bars and restaurants. We could easily walk to Union Square, Madison Square Park and Herald Square. The hotel is also close to a couple of subway stations so we could be anywhere in the city in no time.

We really had no agenda for this visit. We had a couple of things that we wanted to do but otherwise we thought we’d just go with the flow and see what happened. D wanted to run a lap of Central Park. He managed to do this three times during the course of our stay and each time said it was a fantastic experience. I wanted to visit Brooklyn and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan. I loved Brooklyn and should I be lucky enough to get to go back to NY I’ll spend more time there. The views walking back across the bridge were truly spectacular.

                                                                

Statue of Liberty, Chrysler building and Empire State Building from the Brooklyn Bridge

On our second day in the city we were lucky enough to have a wonderful guide provided (at no cost to us!) by Big Apple Greeters. Wendy, our guide for the day, introduced us to the wonders of Eataly and then took us for a stroll through Chelsea. We spent considerable time there “gallery hopping”, which was just amazing and a true highlight of our trip. After we’d had our fill of art for the day, we walked across town and wandered along High Line Park, a disused railway track that has been turned into a walking/running trail and park. The views from up there were fantastic. Wendy left us in the Rooftop Bar of the Hotel Gansevoort (seriously worth a look.) After that we were in need of sustenance so dropped by Pastis for a late lunch.

This trip we spent a lot of time just being in New York. We wandered around neighbourhoods, we shopped, we ate, we drank! So many great restaurants in NYC it’s hard to pick a favourite. I totally loved Red Rooster in Harlem (and no, it’s not any relation the Red Rooster we have here in Australia!) Cafe Habana in Soho was fun for lunch. Their corn cobs are out-of-this-world-delicious! We visited Pastis for dinner as well as lunch and loved every bite. Spice Market had a great bar. It’s a super cool location for a pre-dinner drink. Blue Smoke  also has a nice bar area and the food’s not bad either. One of the best nights we had was at The Hurricane Club. The food is Polynesian, the decor is opulent and the vibe is very hip. Loved it!

Yes, in case you were wondering, I did gain a couple of kilos while we were away!

Shopping in New York is the best in the world without a doubt. You can get anything you want in this city. D and I spent many happy hours browsing in department stores like Macys, Bloomingdales and Lord and Taylor. We also spent a bit of time wandering around in neighbourhood shops in Soho and around Union Square. A great find was ABC Carpet and Home. This place has exquisite (and also quirky) homewares and gifts. Definitely worth a look if you are in the area.  We also spent some time at Toys R Us in Times Square (amazing but crazy busy) FAO Schwartz (even busier) and Tiffany & Co. (a lovely warm haven on a bitterly cold day.) The Aussie dollar is going a long way in the States at the moment. Needless to say we needed an extra suitcase to bring home all our purchases!

We spent time at the Guggenheim, which is worth a look for the stunning architecture alone and we took a trip to The Cloisters, a museum filled with medieval artifacts. The Cloisters was amazing because of it’s location. It’s in Upper Manhattan (Fort Tryon Park) in a beautiful spot overlooking the Hudson River. When we got off the train here we felt like we’d left the city well behind us. I wished we’d had the foresight to bring a picnic basket. It ‘s a great place to take respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.

I could go on and on, but this post is already waaay longer than I intended. We had the holiday of a lifetime, but I’m not satiated yet. Somehow I get the feeling that no matter how many times I visit New York it will never be enough.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. aright2behappy permalink
    April 25, 2012 9:28 am

    We have just booked to visit Miss 16 as she nears the end of her exchange in Chicago in October. We have included a week in New York. I am desperate to go back there and introduce the city to D and Mr12. Miss 16 ( who spent a few days there recently) is already begging to join us. Thanks for such good tips and we will definitely be using some of your recommendations. Sounds like it was blissful!

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