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Blanket Covered Buildings

May 8, 2012

Oh, where to begin!? My sister, Miken, came to visit for the past 5 days and I have not even had a chance to catch my breath, let alone sit down and write about all the amazing things she we have been doing in the city. Of course, when people come to visit, I take them to all of my favorite places (which just happen to be the most amazing restaurants and parks in the city). After a tantalizing meal her first night at Graffiti, I decided to take her to a not-so-famous-in-the-Midwest-but-on-every-New York-corner chain, Pret a Manger, for lunch on Thursday. I essentially only put her through this “trying to be Panera restaurant” because I was at work and only had a few minutes to chow (and because the Panera on 5th Avenue does not open for another month – but they are looking for employees!!). During lunch, I quickly realized that she was making her way through the city quickly. In the few short hours of my Thursday morning, she had walked north through Time Square, visited the Museum of Modern Art and then walked back down 6th Avenue to make her way back to me (saying she was surprised she saw Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall within blocks of where I work is an understatement – and Miken, I forgot to tell you that Lady A performed there this weekend…oops!). She was then going to head east down 42nd Street to Grand Central, inevitably get lost inside, and then north on 5th Avenue so she could pass all of the “tourist shops” (meaning 10 H&M’s, 22 Forever 21’s, 3 Abercrombie’s, 6 American Eagles, and Tiffany’s). Well, perhaps that is an exaggeration on the store counts but that is my perception of 5th Avenue. By the time I saw her again after work, she had walked all the way to Central Park and saw a seal performance at the Central Park Zoo before making her way back to my apartment. Talk about a long first day in New York City. She saw pretty much all of what Midtown had to offer.  And it was time to pick her up for Kickball (duh, Thursday)! We walked down to the Lower East Side with no doubt her whole body was going to ache in the morning. But it was a relaxing night, contrast with previous Thursdays. (We lost our game so not many were up to go out but more about that later.) We finally called it a night around 10:00 pm.

Friday didn’t prove to be much different. As I headed north to work, she headed south to the Financial District. She quickly picked up on the subways even though not a single station in town could provide an adequate map. I had to print her a PDF from work that was barely readable, also thanks to the MTA. But she made it, nevertheless, only to divulge in another 500 mile hike at the tip of the city. Places she saw: Trinity Church, New York Stock Exchange, South Street SeaPort, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Battery Park, and, from what felt like a mile away, One World Trade. I would very much like to know how far she really walked as she zigzagged downtown. I still don’t believe it and do not recommend this to anybody who travels to the city. I met her at home as we rested until dinner at my second favorite restaurant in town – Boqueria. Yummy Spanish Tapas and great sangria, I could not have asked for a better meal on a Friday night. (Tapas are small plates and are a very popular trend in New York City, everyone orders a few small plates and share!) I would say their dates wrapped in bacon plate is one of the best I have ever had. Oh, how I crave their atmosphere! We did have to call it another early night based on sheer exhaustion.

Saturday: another day for walking and some more walking. Peels for brunch for a home-style feel (try the biscuit and get there early) and then to the Upper East Side. I should mention that Miken is getting married in 5 months which will explain why we had to go to the Upper East Side and also why I have never roamed this part of town, meaning I had no idea where to go. We had an appointment with J Crew Bridal to try on some bridesmaids dresses that we both were already in love with. It was a success, minus the fact that this particular part of the Upper East Side is full of Botox and Chanel dressed housewives who have nothing better to do with their time than shop. Needless to say, we rushed out of there like our pants were on fire. We headed to a quaint little nail salon called Tiffany Nails to get manicure’s and pedicure’s and read our “can’t stop reading” books. (She is reading Mockingjay, the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy and I am reading Don’t Put Me In, Coach by legendary OSU benchwarmer Mark Titus – needless to say, neither of us can put them down.) So after a few laugh out loud moments between Mark Titus and I, we paid $44.00 for both treatments and walked to Central Park. I should mention that our price was on the steep end for a manicure/pedicure in the city. And my nails have not chipped yet! As we meandered through the park towards our west side destination, we both silently prayed our feet would not fall off.(Spoiler: they didn’t.) We walked by John Lennon’s apartment, smelled the strawberries in Strawberry Fields and listened to a wannabe John Lennon serenade the tourists with The Beatles songs during a well deserved break.

Please note that at this point it was only 2:00 pm. And we had a ton more to cover. So we ditched the park and headed to grab the most greasy, delicious burger’s you will ever have in your life at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, across the street from the Flatiron Building (my favorite building in town). This burger, if you ever have the chance to try, is one of the most mouth-watering burgers you will ever have. (Seriously, my mouth is watering right now thinking about it.) Don’t let anyone ever tell you it is not worth the wait. After 38 minutes, we sat down with our food and melted into the greasiness, clearly testifying to the most recent research by Duke that 42% of Americans will be obese by 2030. We then decided it was nap time, obviously, and jumped on the subway home. After we I took a well deserved nap (she said she couldn’t sleep because I turned on My Best Friend’s Wedding — idiot), we got ready for another amazing food night. Josh stopped by Spotted Pig on his way home from work to put our name in as a typical Saturday night could be up to a three-hour wait at the Michelin rated restaurant in the West Village. We got lucky that it was only 2 hours! After he returned home and got ready, we set out on our typical “Pig” mission. To be clear, this mission is the same every time Josh takes me here. And it goes something like this:

Josh: “Logan took me to a bar once around here. It was awesome. Let’s find it while we are waiting.”
Me: “Josh, you tell me this every time we come over here and we never find it. What makes you think you can this time?”
Josh: “It’s worth a shot, let’s go.”
…After 30 minutes of walking through the “off the grid” West Village…
Me: “Seriously, not happening, dude. Let’s go back so we don’t miss our reservation.”
Josh: “Fiiiine. Next time I am going to find it, though.”

And guess what? This time, we found it. It was a matter of taking a right on Perry Street versus taking a left (which we always went left). And it was right there. Miken thinks she is our good luck charm – I think Josh just lost his mind for a few months trying to remember. The bar is call The Other Room and it was very much worth it. Low lighting, soft music, and a large array of draft and bottled beers, it was everything Josh described. We will probably be back every weekend now that we know both the name and location.

But, back to Spotted Pig for dinner. And what a dinner it was. The pig always living up to it’s rating with the best Blue Cheese Burger, fries, gnudi, and pork you could imagine. Plus a great wait staff and host, wine, and atmosphere – you simply cannot go wrong. If it wasn’t so pricey ($30/burger) or such a long wait (2 hours), I would be there for all my weekend meals. It’s a special place – take good people there when they visit. And the best place to go afterwards is obviously The Other Room. So we met some friends there and just relaxed the rest of the evening.

Sunday continued a long weekend of exploring. This time we headed to the Chelsea Market because all Miken could talk about was trying Chicken and Waffles for the first time. My favorite place to grab the grub is Friedman’s Lunch at the market. Chelsea Market offers so much New York Culture, it really is a fabulous place to go. However, in the past two years, it has become quite touristy as the Food Network operates upstairs and it is where the Oreo was invented (Happy 100th Oreo!). So, to be smart, we got there when it opened to avoid “drifters” and “picture-takers” alike. After a sad moment of realizing that Friedman’s took my favorite meal off the menu, I decided to head back to the original Chicken and Waffles with Miken. Still as amazing as the first time with that spicy tabasco syrup. And even though we were as full as could be, we still went for a banana/Nutella crepe as we made our way up the High Line, my favorite park in New York City. (Or, as one mother called it, “The Park in the Sky”.) It was built on old train tracks about two stories above the road and someone at some point after it’s demise suggested making it into a park. But you can read more about the here. From my perspective, it is just a gorgeous place that smells like flowers and greenery. We made our way to the northern most point and came down at 30th street. As Josh left to go “run” or “work”, it is still unclear, Miken and I decided to make our way south slowly, enjoying the sunshine and shops of Chelsea.

And we lucked out. I took her to my favorite (really the only one I know) vintage shop and we made out like bandits. She bought me beautiful jade green 1960s earrings for $20, antique silverware for $1 apiece, an antique can opener for dad for $1, and some earrings for herself for $5. I bought two scarves for $7 apiece and a Book of Psalms from 1856 for $35. (This will be used in Miken’s wedding for our nephew to carry down the aisle with the rings attached — pretty much meaning the coolest find ever!) And we wanted just about everything else in the store. Thanks Pippin!!

We walked home slowly, stopping in a toy store to meander and then made our way through Washington Square Park. When we finally ended up on my doorstep, we were exhausted and ready to call it a night…at 4:00 pm. We pretty much did just that. Minus the fact that Josh wanted me to make everything in the fridge, we turned out a pretty nice hodge-podge meal for the three of us: Goat Cheese PastaDates Wrapped in Bacon, Garlic Bread, and Corn on the Cob.  None of those go together but it was good, nonetheless.

My sissy left yesterday and I am still so sad. I wish she could stay forever but she assures me this city is not a place she can live, just visit frequently. I will try to convince her otherwise the next time she comes. And if any of you are looking for things to do in the city, this is pretty much everything minus Broadway. Way to go Mikey! Now get some rest…

PS – If you understand the title of this post you are either a) insane or b) Miken or Josh

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2012 9:27 pm

    Thanks Alex, I felt like I was there with you and Mike and Josh – I sat down to read this with my soup on the stove and it got pretty hot before I could break away to check it – I was really hyngry when I sat down here and now I feel full from all that wonderful food – Glad you had such a great visit – Love and miss you Gg

  2. Whitney Breanne permalink
    May 10, 2012 7:48 pm

    It made me more hungry…..

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