The alarm rang (well - sang. Elise's boyfriend is in this legit band Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors and her alarm is their CD) promptly at 8AM and we were off - hopping on the Amtrak out of New Haven.
These old train stations enthrall me. They take me back to a different time and the historian in me loves that. Once on the Amtrak, Elise and I got to planning. Elise had only been to NYC for basketball games (and an art opening - heyyy Ellen!) so we researched free things to do in NYC (this article was our main source) and made our game plan on the train.
I had not ever ridden in an Amtrak train before but it was easy and nice. I'd recommend it.
Our gameplan for Tuesday:
I snapped this picture out the window as we pulled into NYC - it was very overcast when we got there and just had rained but I loved how you could see city in the distance.
Once off the train at Penn Station, we got Starbucks (a running joke started with Elise getting off the train saying "I wonder if there is Starbucks around here - and then realizing that there is one on almost every single block!) and met up with Eric. From there we headed up to the Museum of Modern Art. On the way I just took in how busy, crowded, and tall everything was. New York City was different than almost every city I've ever visited. It was probably closest to Berlin but even that didn't have this many tall buildings. I felt like such a country bumpkin!
While walking to the MoMA, we passed this Dunkin Donuts and I took a pic to text to Jake - he loves Dunkin and I was missing him at that point. It made me smile.
Along the way we stopped at a hot dog cart for our first experience in NYC street food. Here's Eric ordering:
The hot dogs were good. You know, I don't normally eat hot dogs but you have to have one in New York.
We were totally tourists the whole walk to the MoMA (well the whole time we were there, really) and I snapped lots of pictures. Here we are spotting the Late Show:
And if you squint, you can see a billboard for Wicked in the back of this picture:
We arrived at the MoMA and met Claire, who is one of our great friends from camp and now works in development at the MoMA and lives in Brooklyn. Claire is pretty much ridiculously awesome and it had been way too long since I had seen her last so I was so excited to get to see her while I was doing my Tour de' Yankee-ville. She even said she'd get us in the MoMA free. It was closed on Tuesday so lucky us, we got to walk around with Claire and see it all with her as our personal guide!! That made it even more special.
So the MoMA is famous for having Starry Nights. It was surprisingly small in person but really cool to see.
We just walked around to the different exhibits, catching up and chatting. And being silly, too. Here's Eric:
This is a Picasso I liked:
With Elise and Claire:
Checking out the Monet:
The historian in me was super geeking out over the Diego Rivera exhibit. It is a special exhibit that Claire helped work on the funding for and it was super cool for me because we use so many of his works in my history classes from college (and now in AP World History).
We also saw a Jackson Pollack - this is Elise thinking "I could get Luna to do that with her tail":
We did some more walking and saw more art...
After finishing and saying goodbye to Claire (we'd be meeting up for dinner but she needed to finish work) we decided to be major tourists and hit up some of the hot spots. We walked down to the Rockefeller Center first.
(I looked for Liz Lemon but she was nowhere to be found - 30 Rock anyone?)
While in the Rockefeller Center area we stopped at a Magnolia Bakery. Now I know there is some controversy over the original Magnolia and its franchises but I wasn't about to haul down to the original that day and I wanted a cupcake so here we were. It was cute, the line was short (I've heard the original has beasts of lines) and my cupcake was delicious.
After eating our cupcakes we walked over to Times Square. I was not prepared for how overly large this was going to be. Times Square on movies doesn't do Times Square justice. It was unreal. We stood for a while just taking it in.
After a bit we walked over to this dumpling cart Claire had suggested called Rickshaw dumplings. We shared one order since we had already had a hot dog and cupcake each. The place was really cool, set up right in the middle of Times Square in a former shipping container. The dumplings were the best I've ever had. I'm craving them now. We got the pork.
From there we walked to our hotel to check in (thanks, Colby, for the Marriott hook up!). Our hotel was at 5th and 40th right by the library and Bryant Park:
I loved all the little square parks nestled in New York. They were so quaint! From the hotel we dropped off a lot of our stuff and walked to Grand Central Station. It was really beautiful. They have a huge Apple store inside and Eric wanted to check out their operations so we headed that way.
Next on the agenda was walking to Central Park. On the way I spied this NBA store and decided to see if they would have this specific Grizz hat Jake has that Harley ate (the Fed Ex Forum stopped selling it). We stopped inside and surely enough, they had it!
(I took this picture after I'd paid for the hat and walked out - I promise I didn't steal the hat! I just didn't want to carry other bag so it is in my Vera bag)
We arrived in Central Park. We explored the southeast corner, as the entire thing would take a long time. What was really nice was just sitting on the bench talking and taking in the beautiful day.
After Central Park we went to FAO Schwarz, which is on the edge of the park across the street. There was a candy bar and they had my favorite, sour strawberry ribbons, so I got some of those.
They also had a dollhouse section, which made me very excited and miss my parentals a bit. I texted a few pictures of the dollhouse stuff to my dad, who built my dollhouse for me when I was little.
We saw the famous "Big Piano":
After the toy store, we got on the Subway for the first time. We were heading to dinner and Claire had met us at the toy store so she was our navigator for this experience. I had been on a Metro and a subway in Germany but never the NYC subway. Was a cool experience.
We got off and walked to our dinner spot. Along the way I saw the famous "flatiron building." It was right outside where we were going for dinner, Eataly.
Eataly was really neat and a total NY experience. Eric's friend suggested it and Eric treated us to dinner - so fancy. It is a grocery store in the middle of the city with a lot of ready made dishes and specialty items. In addition, they have several small restaurants scattered around the HUGE store. Each restaurant has a different theme depending on the section- so there was a fish and seafood one, a beer garden, an antipasta one, and more. Our pick was the pizza and pasta one because I had been craving some legit Northerner real Italian pasta. This place did not disappoint.
I got the Tagliatelle al Ragu di Manzo, which was a homemade pasta with braised short rib. Elise and Claire both got the Pansotti di Ricotta e Spinaci, which was a homemade pasta with local ricotta and spinach in a lemon butter sauce with pistachios. Eric got the Spaghetti alla Gricia, which was spaghetti noodles with cheese, onion, pepper, and local bacon. Mine was divine. Probably the best pasta I've ever eaten. I tried Elise and Eric's and theirs were out of this world too. Good call - if you go to NYC, go there.
We roamed the grocery section for a bit. I was obsessed with all this pasta.
Afterwards it was a beautiful night and we weren't ready to say goodbye to our friend Claire and so we walked across to Madison Square Park and decided to stand in line for dessert from the Shake Shack. The line was about an hour long (it stretched the whole length of the park) but it was perfect because it gave us time to digest and chat. The night was truly perfect. Here's the Shake Shack with the Empire State Building in the background:
And my friends:
After that we convinced Claire to take a half day off work the next day, which was very exciting for us all. With that task accomplished, we headed back to the hotel to rest up for day two!
Until then, in pasta I am yours,