Thursday, May 21, 2015

Somethings New

Whenever I travel, no matter the destination, I try to do as much as I can. I try to see as much as the destination offers. When the destination is far away and my chances of returning are remote, I will fill my waking hours with as many activities as my body can endure.

Thankfully, New York City is close enough that I know if I can't fit an attraction into my visit, I will be back to see it, eventually.

My wife and I packed too many activities into this trip.

We were with two of our oldest and dearest friends, Bee and Marc, and we all had things we wanted to accomplish, things we wanted to see. There were activities that overlapped, which was great, and there were some things that took us in different directions.

Whenever I go to NYC, I try to do new things. There are some things I have done more than once: I have ascended the Empire State Building three times; I have been to DUMBO twice; I have been in Central Park countless times; I have been to the Met, the Guggenheim, and MoMA a couple of times; to the Lincoln Center and Rockefeller Center, several times. But I always try to fill my visit with more new things than old.

My latest trip, which began a week ago today (it doesn't seem that long ago) and ended on Sunday afternoon, had some new adventures. And, for this trip, we never went north of 37th Street, and yet we did so many things. On the top of the list, the following attractions are now favourites:


This rooftop brew pub is located in the Flatiron District and is the crown jewel of Eataly, the Italian up-scale food market. This covered area has lots of tables for dining and for snacking. There are plenty of taps that serve some amazing craft beers, including a few that are brewed on site. Reservations are a must, we found—waits for a table can exceed an hour and a half. We chose to go to the bar (no waiting) and snagged a standing table, from which we ordered platters of meats and cheeses, and enjoyed some great beers from Dogfish Head, Captain Lawrence, and Oxbow Brewing. While the ceiling at this brew pub is glass, it was covered during our visit. Usually, you can see the city, including the Empire State Building.

Photo courtesy Marc Dufour

I'll just have to come back, when I can sit down for a meal and enjoy the scenery.

High Line

This 80-year-old above-ground rail line has been converted into a scenic walkway that runs from Gansevoort Street, at the new Whitney Museum, up to 34th Street, at 11th, and offers great views of Chelsea. Along the nearly mile-and-a-half walk, you can see interesting art and lovely flowers and plants. There are lots of places to stop and rest, and even more vantage points to stop and take a picture.

I took advantage of the good mood of the many people strolling the line to continue my 100 Strangers Project. I asked 16 people to pose for me and only two people declined. I met people from Germany, from Argentina, and from Australia, as well as some New Yorkers. I highly recommend this attraction.

UCB Theatre

Because we left our kids at home, we could do some adult things, like take in an improv comedy performance. The best place to do this is at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, or simply the UCB. Located in Chelsea, this theatre was the breeding ground of many Saturday Night Live alumni and is an inexpensive way to laugh your guts out (tickets were $10 apiece). Our show featured four comedians, who asked the audience to provide a single word, and then off they went. As they said, they had never done this performance before and would never do it again.

Our word for the first half of the show was crime. For the second half, the group chatted with some audience members, who were on a school trip. Even the tiniest details of this trip were incorporated into the act. It was brilliant.

Get in line one hour before your show time. Seating is first-come, first-served, and they let you in a half hour before the show starts: plenty of time to get seated and have a beer or glass of wine.

Citi Bikes

We've had Bixi bikes in Ottawa for many years, although I think that because the Montreal-based company has been facing bankruptcy, I don't think we'll see them in our city this summer. However, New York has had similar bikes for a couple of years, and this year, my wife and I took advantage of them. With a base stationed outside of our hotel in the South Street Seaport, we hopped on the bikes and rode across the Brooklyn Bridge, into Brooklyn Heights, where we docked the bikes in another station and walked to One Girl Cookies, for some baked goods and coffee. From there, we grabbed two more bikes and rode to DUMBO, where we docked the bikes, wandered between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, and took photos. We then grabbed two more bikes and cycled across the Manhattan Bridge, into Chinatown, and from there, up to the East Village, where we parked the bikes and met up with Bee and Marc, where Bowery meets Cooper Square.

On Sunday morning, as the morning fog was burning off the East River, my wife and I grabbed more bikes and rode the trail that runs under the FDR Freeway, on South Street, down into Battery Park, and then up to West Thames Park, to One World Trade Center, and then across Barclay Street, past City Hall, and back to the South Street Seaport.

There are some amazing bike paths in NYC, and taking a Citi Bike is the best way to use them.

This trip to New York was great. Not only was I in the city that I love so much, but I was with people I also love so very much. And though there were so many things that we had planned to see and do but could not find the time to do everything, I know I will be back in the city again soon. Maybe, later this summer or in the fall.

And then, I'll find more favourites, more new somethings to treasure.

1 comment:

  1. looks like an amazing trip Ross! I love the Chelsea Highline.. one of my favorite "new" spots to visit when in NYC! I am making note of your UCB recommendation for another visit... I think my husband would really enjoy that! hope you will share more photos :)