48 Hours in NYC

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Recently my sister had an opportunity to take a class in Manhattan.  She asked if I would like to accompany her for the trip.  Of course, I jumped at the chance to visit NYC and to travel with my sister.  It would be a quick trip.  Our flight would land at JFK a little before 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon and we would leave JFK at 4pm on Friday.  Challenge accepted.  🙂  My sister had class from 8:30am to 5:30pm on Thursday and from 8:00am to 1:00pm on Friday.  She wanted to make the most of her extremely limited time outside of class, also.  Her job was to procure our plane tickets and make the room reservations and mine was to be our recreation director.  “For your pleasure on the Lido deck today”…flash back to The Love Boat in the seventies.  Sorry, I easily digress.

So this is what went down:

We landed at JFK on Wednesday, as planned at 1:45.  We quickly grabbed our bags and easily found a taxi to take us to the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan.  Yes, we stayed there.  🙂  Her conference was located there-Lucky us!

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I had made a list the week prior of the things I thought would be fun to do and then cross-referenced that with a walking map to see what was actually doable.  Our taxi ride took about 40 minutes.  I had estimated that we would be checked in by 3pm on Wednesday and planned our activities based off of that information.  We were walking out of the Waldorf at 3:10.  The weather was sunny, but the leftover snow and ice made our adventure a little sketchy.  Quite a few times we dodged melting ice falling off of the many high-rise buildings.  Rockefeller Center required another selfie:

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Our first destination was The High Line.  The High Line is a public park, that was designed on old freight lines.  The first section opened in 2009.  It’s located in Manhattan’s west side.  I had read online that due to weather sometimes sections of the High Line are closed.  We decided to risk it and walked to the 34th street entrance, which was in fact closed.  It had at least one foot of snow on it from what we could tell below.  We decided to continue our walking adventure and follow the High Line from below until we found an open entrance.  We were enjoying all of the sights and sounds.  It’s not like we weren’t enjoying the walk through Manhattan with each other.  It wasn’t long before we did find an entrance and we scurried up the stairs. It was really perfect.  More selfies ensued.

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It was such a fantastic way to view the city.  The High Line is reason enough to visit again in the spring if for no other reason than to appreciate the garden areas that have been created up there.  It’s really brilliant.  After over an hour of dodging traffic and falling ice, it was a welcome reprieve from the business of the sidewalks.  We walked about a mile before it was closed off again, but it was an amazing mile.  Check this view out:

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At this point we realized we needed to hail a cab for our next stop.  We both decided that the 9/11 Museum was a must for our trip.  I had purchased advanced tickets for a 6:00 tour and it was about 5:30 when we exited the High Line.  Once again, it was super easy to hail a taxi and we were at the Museum site by 5:40.  At this point we were hungry and starting to lose a little momentum, so we asked one of the security guards outside of the museum if he could point us in the direction of a coffee shop close by.  Thank goodness we asked, because there was nothing in our view.  He told us there was a Starbucks across the street and upstairs on the second floor.  We thanked him and hurried across the intersection and up the escalator.  We sucked down our drinks and scarfed up a cake pop each.  We decided to grab a mocha for the guard as a thank you.  Once we crossed back over, we realized that our helpful security guard was gone.  We laughed at how difficult it was to give away our coffee.  And then we took some time to appreciate the memorial outside.  There would be no “selfie” taking while we visited this most sacred site.  The following are a few pictures that I had to share.  My eyes were pretty full of tears throughout the next two hours.

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We had planned on being at the 9/11 museum for about an hour, but quickly lost track of time.  By the time I checked my watch it was 7:40.  I panicked and tried not to be disrespectful as we both rushed out of the museum and tried to flag down a cab.  I had purchased advanced tickets for a play about 5 miles away.  Without going into much detail, I’ll just say we made it there in time.  We went to the John Golden Theatre to see “A Delicate Balance”  It was superb!  The cast was made up of Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Martha Plimpton, Lindsay Duncan and Bob Balaban and Claire Higgins.  Claire caught me off guard with her prowess on the stage.  My sister commented that she reminded her of Shirley MacLaine.  I thought her comparison was pretty spot on and that’s not to take away from either actor.  At the first intermission we found no food, but quickly threw back a glass of wine.

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We had been so enthralled with everything that we managed to go all day without eating.  Well, except for the loaded fries we ate at the airport at about 11 that morning.  When the show let out at 11pm, I suggested we walk to a place called Sophia’s that I had read about online.  It would be on our walk back to the Waldorf anyway.  Unfortunately when we got there it looked like they were closing up, so we didn’t risk ruining someone’s night by walking in so late on a Wednesday night.  We thought for sure we would either find a place on the way or worst scenario we’d order something at the hotel bar.  Although the city was still quite awake, the restaurants were not.  By the time we arrived back at the Waldorf, we were starving.  The lobby was buzzing with conversation and the beautiful sound of  someone tickling the ivory keys came from the bar.  We walked quickly by the pianist and plopped down at the first, open table we came across.  The server immediately served us two glasses of water and placed two cocktail menus in front of us.  Woops-no food at the Waldorf after 11.  Oh crap.  We apologized to the waiter and excused ourselves quickly to return to our room.  We called for room service, but they also stopped serving food after 11pm.  They suggested we call guest services to which I promptly did.  Pizza delivery at the Waldorf it was and we’ve most likely not enjoyed a slice that much since our college days.  It’s probably been that long since either of us have eaten dinner after 11:30pm, too.  At this point we could finally take a breath and appreciate our room at the Waldorf.

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and in Pioneer Woman fashion-a bathroom shot:

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Thursday morning we both were up pretty early.  She wanted to be early for her class and I didn’t want to waste any time on our quick trip.  I was dressed in my snow boots and walking down Park Avenue by 9 am and in search of a cute breakfast stop.  It was a little colder than my NC body was used to, but the beautiful snow flurries made up for any discomfort I felt.  My plan for Thursday was to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, have a nice lunch and then meet up with Kelly for our dinner extravaganza that evening.  The walk to the museum was under 2 miles.  When I arrived there, I was a little early.  I took that time to appreciate the moment.

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I spent the next few hours walking and admiring the immense museum.

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Jain Svetambara Tirhankara in meditation.

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Amida Nyori 1185-1333

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Madonna and Child 1300

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American Kettle Drum from 1722

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American Banjo-William Esperance Boucher, Jr. 1845

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Ugolini and his Sons

I spent hours meandering through the halls.  Hunger beckoned my attention around 12 and I knew I should start searching for lunch.  I had taken Park avenue to get to the museum and decided on taking 5th avenue on my return.  This way I could see more and walk alongside the park.

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I wanted to run and hug each and everyone of these dogs.  I restrained myself and just appreciated them from afar.  I think I would have made a great dog walker.  There’s not much need for them where I live.

As I continued on my return walk towards the Waldorf I happened upon a restaurant that I had read some reviews on and decided to enter.  I was immediately greeted and seated.  Within moments I had a glass of water, a basket of bread with a side of delicious olive oil to drench my bread seated in front of me.  I was quickly transported to Italy.  Serafina’s in Manhattan is a must eat establishment.

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This picture does not do my entree justice:

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I had worked up an appetite and although I chose to skip the salad and appetizers, I chose one of their specials that would normally be too much for lunch.  I chose the chicken stuffed with asparagus and fontina cheese smothered with a marsala and mushroom sauce.  It had a perfectly paired side of spinach.  I devoured it and held back my wish to scrape the plate with my mouth.  🙂  With a full belly, I paid the check and continued checking out the small galleries on Madison, 5th and Park.  By the time I made it back to the Waldorf I had a strong desire for a beer.  After ordering my beer, I decided to be even more naughty and ordered their signature Red Velvet cupcakes.  They did not disappoint.

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After eating two of these mini cupcakes, I had the server wrap up the rest.  I knew my sister would appreciate the treat.  At this point I was so tired and I had made reservations for Colicchio & Sons at 7pm for the two of us.  I decided to treat myself to a thirty minute power nap and a long, hot shower.  By the time my sister returned back to the room, I was showered and putting on my makeup.  We leisurely got ready and then went down to the lobby around 6:30 to grab a cab.  To our dismay, there was a line of people waiting there turn.  We realized we should have given ourselves more time, but instead of risking being too late for our reservations we paid a little more for the Waldorf’s car to take us there.  We were a few minutes late, but the host made us feel that our apologies were unnecessary.  She set the tone for what would turn out to be one of the best dinners we’ve ever had.  We both consider ourselves lucky to have dined in some fantastic restaurants.  We were actually pleasantly surprised with the pricing for their four course tasting menu.  We chose not to indulge in the wine pairings and instead purchased a half bottle of one of my favorites.  You just can’t go wrong with a glass of Chateauneuf-Du-Pape.  And besides, I like to say the name.  It rolls off the tongue in such a pleasant way.

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Our first course was a trio of canapes.  They were so incredibly scrumptious.  Each bite seemed impossibly better than the prior one.  The first was a profiterole stuffed with foie gras, the second was an oyster with red pepper butter foam and the last was a pastry stuffed with ricotta and dusted with truffle shavings.  We both smiled and ooohed and aaahhed throughout the course.

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The second course was a sea urchin and crab fondue.  Can I get a “what, what”  SOOOOO yummy.

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The third course was octopus with blood oranges. We were a little hesitant, but as expected, we loved it.
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We were then served a palette cleanser. I’m not 100% on this, but I think it was a green-tea sorbet with parmesan shavings on top of it and it was superb.

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Okay-this next course was our favorite. The perfection of the medium rare sirloin with sweet potato coins, charred broccolini and onion puree was something we both savored as long as we could.

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At this point, we were full, but they brought us this wonderfully composed plate of marshmallow pillows with toffee and pistachio ice cream. It was the perfect ending.

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But then they brought us these hand-made chocolates and we were embarrassed to ask for a box We just could not add one more thing into our bodies. (but I totally ate my half for breakfast the next day)

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And just because Colicchio & Sons is the bomb-diggety-D, they gave us a home-made chocolate chip muffin each to take home. (and I had that with my breakfast, too)

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After dinner we went back to the hotel and put on our jammies. There was nothing left in me after my day. I was joyful and worn out. I felt like a kid at Christmas.

The next morning my sister had class again and I had limited time to explore. I had one more thing on my list and it was to visit Grand Central Station. It wasn’t far from the hotel. I entered through the Lexington entrance. I walked through the Garden market first and loved it. The fresh flowers, the produce, the cheeses, the spices, oh My! I couldn’t justify one single purchase in there. I mean, what would security think at JFK?

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I walked through the station and shopped a little. Some of my favorites were there like L’Occitaine, where I picked up some more hand lotion. I bought olive oil, tapenade, pate, and a pecorino paste from O & Company and then I walked back to the hotel. I had brunch at Oscars and then walked back up to our room to pack.

We decided to take our cab early to JFK and just hang out and wait for our flight-Which of course meant a cheese plate and wine. I’ve had the pleasure of going to New York before and seeing the tourist attractions like the Statue of Liberty and the Rockette’s on stage, but it was nice to see more of New York. We’ll do it again. I still want to take a cheese-making class at the famous Murray’s Cheese. It was a fabulous 48 hours in NYC. What would you do with just 48 hours to see the city?

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