"One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five mintues as in five years." -Tom Wolfe
And we were as surprised as anyone how quickly the enchantment of the city had us feeling right at home. It's a unique place with a steep learning curve starting from the moment you leave the airport, but if you're a quick learner who pays attention and isn't afraid to navigate a crowd, there really is a sense of room for everyone (as long as you stay out of the way, that is!).
We stayed in the Upper East side with friends we've held onto since college, and we fell in love with the way of life in their city neighborhood. Women pushing strollers, dogs being walked, children playing in the park- it was all so charming set to the backdrop of an towering cityscape. The nights were warm, and the city outside the window seemed to stay awake, idling, even as most of the world was sleeping.
And then there is the sense of history and nostalgia everywhere we went. Even if it's your first time visiting New York, you see familiar sites and remember scenes and songs from your favorite movies and it all just feels so familiar. The score from Home Alone played in my mind as we flew in, scenes from Ghostbusters replayed at the New York Public Library and the Statue of Liberty, and all the while the soundtrack from You've Got Mail was stuck in my head. You just feel like you're going to run into Jerry Seinfeld or Tina Fey at any moment!
Of everything we saw while we were there, I think my three favorites were the Statue of Liberty, The MET, and the New York Public Library (as any book lover would). We visited Lady Liberty on our first day in the city, which added to that happy sense of belonging. You can't help but remember our history looking up at her, and to feel a part of something bigger. And in an odd way, the art at the MET had the same effect on me. Here were paintings I had only ever seen online or in textbooks, pieces of art and ancient artifacts, and I found myself marveling at how much better it was to experience them in person. The texture of the art and their physical weight make them and their creators as real as you are, standing there, and you're suddenly part of something timeless.
There was so much to take in- and so much to eat! Our first day in the city started out right with a stop at Dominique Ansel Bakery to pick up a world famous cronut. I had to preorder it a week in advance, but it lived up to the hype. The May flavor is Strawberry Fior di Latte, "filled with strawberry jam and creamy Fior di Latte ganache," and it was absolutely swoon worthy! As soon as we got home, I picked up the Dominique Ansel Cookbook, Dominique Ansel: Secret Recipes, at the library, so now it's only a matter of time before I attempt to recreate the cronut at home!
But when I think about what I crave the most, Levain Bakery and Schaller's Stube Sausage Bar immediately come to mind. Matt and I both agree that the cookies at Levain were the best we have ever had, and the Big Ludwig at Stube was life changing! Matt would want me to add 2nd Ave. Deli too- Pastrami and Corned Beef like you've never had them before. He was in heaven!
There is so much more that we saw and did, but that's the gist of our trip, the gist of New York City. We'll have to go back, for the food, yes, but also for the many things we couldn't fit in this time. But we're glad for any excuse that means there will be a next time :)
Resources, Tips, and Takeaways
Thank you so much Orton family for hosting us while we were in town! You were our favorite part!!!
... and the cookies :)