Back in a New York Groove
Over Memorial Day Weekend, Dave and I took off for an adventure to New York. Whether you call it The Big Apple, The City So Nice They Named It Twice, or Gotham, it is a beautiful city booming with life.
The main precipice for us traveling to the city was baseball related. As we are trying to get to all 30 MLB parks together, it made sense to head out to NYC when the Yankees and Mets were both in town and we had an extra long weekend due to the unofficial beginning-of-summer holiday. The baseball calendar ended up working in our favor better than we could have imagined, as the New York Mets were scheduled to play the Milwaukee Brewers on Memorial Day.
During our time there we made it to four out of the five boroughs (Sorry, Staten Island!), saw two Broadway shows, ate at the original Shake Shack twice, and stumbled upon coffeehouses, restaurants, and stores that reminded us of a more-upscale Madison.
While I had visited New York twice before, it was Dave's first time. I wanted to give him a crash-course on how great the city is while also taking enough time to explore the city for all it has to offer. We had many hits (and only one big miss), so I am excited to share our findings with you.
When it comes to traveling, food is a key component to my planning. I tend to mix fine dining in with local fast food joints. While in the city, we enjoyed two trips to the original Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, once for lunch consisting of burgers and another for breakfast to try their new egg sandwiches. A prime tip if you are planning on going to the OG Shack - download the Shake Shack app ahead of time and order online. We didn't have to wait in the long line and had our food 30 minutes after our order, which was made blocks away from the park.
As both Dave and I are huge fans of burgers, we wanted to try the Impossible Burger during our time in New York. While we had initially thought of heading to Momofuku Nishi to grab one, we actually ended up at now-defunct The Daily. The burger was the best vegetarian burger I have ever had, and better than half of the burgers I have eaten in my life, but I would not call it the best burger I've ever eaten. I am hoping to try another variation of the Impossible Burger to see if there is a difference in how it is prepared.
The rest of our meals were on the go, either grabbing a slice of pizza from a window before seeing a Broadway show or ordering street food on our last night in the city, eating on the steps of the New York Public Library.
As I love coffee and hope to drink the best cup in each city I visit, I had a long list of places to visit in NYC. We stopped at, in order, Blue Bottle Coffee, Third Rail Coffee, Intelligentsia Coffee, Devocion, and Kaffe 1668. I really enjoyed the ambiance at Devocion, and I wish we could have spent an entire morning hanging out on the plush leather chairs. However, the coffee was definitely the best from Blue Bottle.
Immediately after we booked our flight, I started looking up the bookstores I wanted to visit. First on the list was Strand Book Store located just south of Union Square Park. I loved browsing the shelves through classic novels and ended up picking up Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution by Janette Sadik-Khan. Janette is a former NYC transportation commissioner and her book describes the action steps needed to make your city safer for all forms of traffic. The book selection was twofold: I love purchasing books that have a connection to the city I am visiting and I have a weird obsession with urban planning. McNally Jackson ended up becoming my favorite bookstore I perused. I ended up grabbing a copy of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer and Why I Write by George Orwell. Across the street and up a block from McNally Jackson is Housing Works, a non-profit bookstore helping fight AIDS and homelessness in NYC and beyond. Housing Works is the perfect place to browse for out-of-print titles and peer over the store from the second story balcony.
I also had to get my hands on some new pens, which is where Goods for the Study came in. I went to the Nolita outpost, but desperately wished I would have known about the newer shop that opened in Greenwich Villiage. I also got a gorgeous new tote from the New York Public Library Shop which is the perfect memento from one of my favorite parts of our trip.
While tracking down independent bookstores was a bit of a cultural moment, Dave and I tried to take in as much as we could in our four days in the city. We saw two Broadway shows while we were in town, which was not the original plan. We had intended to see the 2017 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, Dear Evan Hansen, as part of the rationale of going to the city. But when Dave found out that Brendon Urie, the lead singer of Panic! at the Disco, was taking on a lead role in Kinky Boots, we ended up getting tickets for that show as well. To really celebrate our vacation, we went to drinks at Bar Sixty-Five which is the bar with the highest rooftop in the city. We opted to bypass any other overlooks in the city, as we wanted to see the main skyline rather than be in one of the iconic buildings.
When in Brooklyn, we spent the bulk of our time on one block trying beers at Brooklyn Brewery and showing off our bowling skills at the Brooklyn Bowl. The beer was cold (and delicious) at the brewery and I was able to get some dancing done while waiting my turn to bowl.
Although there are dozens of museums in town, we each opted to select one for the two of us to explore. I selected The Morgan Library and Museum where we took in the beauty of Mr. Morgan's Library and saw a Gutenberg Bible. Dave opted for us to go to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. As we took in the memorial and museum on Memorial Day, it took on a much somber tone than any Memorial Day previous. I would highly recommend going to the memorial and museum. If you do go, packing tissues is a must.
We also saw a lot of cultural mainstays: Central Park, the New York Public Library, Times Square, Battery Park, and the Financial District. Of course, we had to see Fearless Girl and I couldn't leave without taking a photo with her. While we just walked through some areas, we took our time in others. Dave and I are comfortable enough to split up in our travels so we can get the most out of the cities we vist.
We attended a Yankees game on our first night in town. We were able to get directly from our hotel to the stadium via the 4 train, walking less than ten blocks door to door. Our seats were in the grandstand, right behind home plate. From where we sat, we were able to see the entire field, the video board, and a gorgeous view of the sun setting in the city. Highlights of the park were the many options for dining. Dave and I both opted to eat at the Mighty Quinn's outpost in section 132. Their barbecue was some of the best I have had outside of Kansas City. We also had a round of craft tap beers which were good, but not good enough to make up for the $13.50 price tag that came with each pour. We happened to be in town the same week that the Yankees' "Judge's Chambers" opened to celebrate the success of outfielder Aaron Judge. While we left before the game ended, the Yankees fell to the A's 1-4.
There may be nothing better than celebrating a long holiday weekend with baseball. In fact, watching your favorite team play on Memorial Day is pretty special. We watched the Brewers play the Mets on our last day in the city. We were fortunate enough to take the 7 train out to Citi Field in a train car filled with fellow Brewer and Badger fans. We had amazing seats in the Delta Club level, allowing us to order food from the comfort of our own seats from all of the concession stands around the park. Despite this fact, we still went to the Fuku outpost to get the famed chicken sandwich and a cookie from Milk Bar and I waited in line to get cheese fries from Shake Shack at the bottom of the second inning. While the Brewers fell to the Mets 2-4, it was a delightful trip to our ninth MLB stadium.