72 Hours in Brooklyn

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Near Madison Square Garden, walking between subway stations!

SMS and I had an extended weekend in NYC!  It was fantastic!  We arrived into EWR very late on Friday and took a ride share over to Brooklyn.  We stayed at an Aloft that was on the edge of the DUMBO district.  The hotel had a few mixed reviews, mainly regarding the paper thin walls (true) and the too-tiny size (not really true but this is very subjective).  Importantly, it was clean, on the inexpensive side, and a place to sleep.  Since we usually travel to do things rather than hang out at the hotel, I would recommend the Aloft.  The only reason I wouldn’t stay again is that I would likely want to explore a different neighborhood rather than repeat an experience.

It wasn’t the most über-cool part of Brooklyn, but enough that there was an awesome food hall nearby.  We ate at the DeKalb Market Hall three times during the trip.  We had thin Spanish-style churros (awesome), arepas (really disappointing), pierogis (delicious), and coffee (necessary).  The building also has an Alamo Drafthouse and Flying Tiger so it’s definitely worth checking out.

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We were in town to celebrate my college friend’s birthday.  I still owe her for the amazing time she showed me on my 21st birthday (heavy sarcasm).  In all seriousness, I wanted to be there for my amazing friend for her landmark birthday so SMS and I made it happen!  Saturday was the main day so after sleeping in (we stayed on West Coast time the whole trip) and eating at DeKalb, we headed over to Citi Field for a private tour!

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Overall, Google Maps is a lifesaver for figuring out how to take public transport in a new city but there are definitely some gaps in the system.  We found a big one on our way to the tour since we took the subway to the LIRR with the plan to go two stops to Mets-Willets Park.  We were cheerfully oblivious that this would not work since the train does not stop there on game days.  Fortunately, a very nice conductor saw our tickets and told us this before we reached Woodside, so we hopped off and took a Lyft.  So, not the most efficient and we didn’t have time for a pre-tour drink at Mikkeller, but at least we weren’t late for the tour itself.

The tour was awesome!  We went to the press room, different box seat levels, the rotunda, the club house, the dugout, and the field.  I think the highlight for me is knowing that beer cooler #1, the Grand Central Station of all the non-craft beer to different vendors around the stadium, is directly opposite the Clubhouse.  It was nice to meet some of Karen’s friends before the group grew for a delicious Thai dinner at SriPraPhai.

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Best Bobblehead Collection- more were on the side!

Dinner was delicious.  SMS and I shared a green curry and pad see-ew.  After that, we headed back to Brooklyn with Laddie, Dave, Hillary, and Jason.  Laddie, Hillary, SMS, and I grabbed an after-dinner drink at Svendale Brewing Co. Tasting Room, which was a really cute place with a nice bartender.  All the beers were served in wine glasses, which angers one of Karen’s friends on principle but fortunately, he wasn’t there.

On Sunday, SMS and I slept in again and then headed to DeKalb.   We headed to the NY Transit Museum, which was pretty interesting.  It’s not a must-do but it is cool to learn more about the vast, iconic subway system and what went into making it and the maintenance and upgrades over the years.

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The most Brooklyn thing that every Brooklyn’d.

Then, we went to the Other Half brewing company where we had a few taster beers with Karen and, a little later on, Stephen.  The beers were delicious and it was fun to try a lot of different small pours.  Then, we went to Laddie and Dave’s house for the Super Bowl with a brief stop in the most ridiculous, gourmet grocer on the way, Court St Grocer.  It’s less ridiculous if you just accept it as a slightly mis-named fancy sandwich shop.

Laddie had an ad in the Super Bowl line-up, which was fun to see.  The game was an exciting, fast-paced one with a comeback ending.  And that’s about the depth of my analysis and caring.

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What nightmares are made of…

Monday was our dedicated tourist day.  I had listened to Abbi Jacobson’s A Piece of Work podcast and I really wanted to go to MoMA.  There were a few Jackson Pollack’s that were really cool and “Number 1A, 1948” was interesting to look at in juxtaposition with Jack Whitten’s “Atopolis: For Edouard Glissant.”  I also liked The Planes of Color gallery.    We also enjoyed Haegue Yang’s Handles installation and took a few pictures there.

The highlight, though, was a trip across the river to PS1.  This is prime evidence that SMS is a saint because once I realized the James Turrell Meeting was located there and that it wasn’t in the middle of Long Island (I don’t know why I thought this), I wanted to go so badly.  And SMS gamely agreed to two art museums in a day!

PS1 was so cool! It’s located in an old public elementary school and is such a throwback, evocative building that the setting itself is one of the best elements about the visit. It reminds me of St. James Catholic School in Red Bank, NJ.

We saw Meeting (yay!) and a few other pieces.  SMS thought the coolest thing was the old coal furnace in the basement.  It was huge and very elaborate!  We grabbed a coffee in the little cafe and then headed to Williamsburg for pulled noodles at Xi’an’s Famous Foods, which were delicious!

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In North Williamsburg, walking towards the water.
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Skyline at Dusk.  The ferry pictures were a bit blurry.

We walked around Williamsburg, including McCarren Park.  Then we headed to the water and took the East River Ferry from North Williamsburg down to Dumbo, which was a gorgeous thing to do at sunset.  We walked through Dumbo and settled on Colonie for drinks and a light dinner.  I loved that bar and, since we came upon it rather than researching it, were lucky that we found the perfect fit for what we were looking for!

After dinner, we headed to the hotel and watched two episodes of Cheer.  It’s a good series and it let us stay up so we were still on West Coast time.  One more episode to go!  Will they win?!?!  I think the answer is yes but I’m waiting to watch with SMS!

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Bluestone Lane.  Can you tell why I picked the place?

Our last day, we went to Bluestone Lane for breakfast after testing the wheels on my MUJI roll-aboard.  Still holding strong!  Strong recommend- both the cafe and the suitcase!

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9/11 Memorial

Then, we went to the 9/11 memorial since SMS had never been.  It is so amazingly powerful.  It doesn’t even feel like history since I can so vividly remember the day and it still has such wide ramifications on our current time.

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Afterwards, we went to Eataly and grabbed a coffee while discussing a super cool company, Cesta Collective with the two founders.  It was really exciting to talk about a promising, mission-based business that these two women believe in so strongly.

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One World Trade Center and the Occulus

Then, it was time to go.  We took the PATH train from WTC to Newark-Penn Station.  Then, we took the 62 bus, which was really easy and came every 10 minutes.  Even an Uber wouldn’t have been that much faster and it was nice to use public transportation.  Basically, getting to EWR is a bit of hassle no matter which way we would go but hey, the flights are the cheapest!

We had cheesesteaks before our flights because we like to choose the healthy option.  Then, it was back to the West Coast for an abbreviated work week.

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Hold out your hand for a special surprise! Seriously, is this sign for real?

Busy (NYC) Weekend

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On Friday, I got a few hours of sleep and then woke up to start the journey home.  I grabbed my takeaway breakfast from the fridge and walked to the station.  The journey home was pretty uneventful although connecting through Brussels was a little nerve-wracking since there was a HUGE line for non-EU citizens leaving the Schengen zone.  I also had to run back to the United counter to get a sticker saying I had been through security.  This seemed ridiculous because of course I went through security, there was no other way to be at the gate.  Anyway, it was a pretty tight connection because of all that but I made it and got home, just in time for Chief’s Dinner.

After a nice dinner with colleagues and some funny roast skits (on video), I went home and slept pretty soundly.  The next morning, I got up to…take a plane to NYC.  I know.  Totally crazy but a friend of mine was having a baby shower hosted by friends with an amazing apartment.  So, off I went!

I landed in Newark and took the train into Penn Station.  I had made an appointment at the Apple Store near World Trade Center so after a delicious lunch at Sliced.  It was delicious and pretty healthy, too.  I had an open-faced toast and the counterman was really nice.

Then I walked down to the World Trade Center area.  I walked through the memorial, which was pretty somber.  It is clear that in the NYC area, 9/11 is an event that affects people daily.  I feel that elsewhere in the US, while people treat the date with solemnity, the direct impact is felt less often by the overall population on a day-to-day basis.

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The Oculus mohawk
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Inside Oculus

Next, I walked into Oculus, a futuristic-looking multi-use space that is impressive on the outside and the interior even more so.  I walked through Eatly and then went to the Apple store where they took my laptop away to send it in.  Although the girl tried to insinuate that I must have done something by showing my photos of a few spots of micro-rust from water damage, it ultimately turned out that the logic board had failed.  I didn’t have to pay anymore than the (expensive) base rate and my computer was returned with memory intact (my last backup had been a month ago!).

After that, it was time to party!  Michael and Scott organized a great party with awesome drinks and delicious food.  We went up to their deck and socialized while admiring the spectacular views.

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The star of the party! (On the left.  Sheesh.  I’m not that self-centered!)
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Brooklyn Bridge from M and S’s apartment
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It’s all fun and games until there are unintended consequences.  Fortunately, none here!

Then the party headed downstairs where we ate and drank some more.  We played pin-the-sperm-on-the-uterus after getting fairly liquored up (varied from person to person), which was a lot of fun.  One of the (gay) guys was right on target (cheater) and very proud of himself.  Most everyone else did rather poorly but there were no hurt feelings or broken household items.

The party was still going but I had to leave to meet up with my AirBnB host.  I know I wasn’t thrilled about my Gothenburg experience but NYC is expensive!  I met up and it was a cool loft, although several units had eviction/condemned notices up for overcrowding violations.  So, a little shady but my stay was fine.

Then I met up with Hillary and Karen for Ethiopian food.  It was so fun to hang out with them and after dinner, we headed over to Hillary’s to hang out and drink some wine.  They were a little mad at me for staying at an AirBnB but both of them were so busy with family and job obligations that I didn’t want to stress them out.  But they said if I ever came again, no AirBnB!  Stay with one of them!

The next day, Karen and I met up for brunch.  Afterwards, I walked for a bit and then met two of my aunts for a second brunch.  One of my aunts and I had planned to go to the Met but my grandfather really hoped to see me.  Well, the Met can wait!  Also, it was Father’s Day so it was nice to spend the day with family.  We had a really nice dinner at Navesink.  I took an Uber to Newark.  There was very little traffic and I made my flight without a hitch.

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Aunties!!

It was a wonderful weekend.

NYC Fall weekend!

Outside of Diner

This past weekend, I took a quick trip up to NYC to see several of my college friends.  It was amazing!  I feel so lucky to have these women in my life.  It’s even more impressive in that we’re not necessarily the best in keeping in constant contact but I think we revive our email strings juuuust frequently enough that we’ve managed to keep in touch over the years.  I wish I was part of the NYC-area contingent so I could see people even more but hey, I’ll take what I can get!

Flying into LGA

So, the weekend didn’t start out super-auspiciously since I got stuck in an unexpected delay on the highway.  I mean, yes, it was rush hour but traffic was stopped for 20 minutes.  Not ideal.  I ran to the gate and saw the door closing just as I approached.  Boo!  But, the missed flight was easily rebooked and it meant I could meet up with my amazing friend at LaGuardia and head into the city with her.

A chicken in the apartment!

Unfortunately, Marissa’s roller-bag was forced gate-checked and utterly, completely lost by Delta. Boo!  We waited for awhile at LGA with growing baggage despondency which was totally offset by our delight in catching up with each other.  We headed into the city to meet up with the rest of the group.  We went to a bar briefly before heading back to the house where we drank wine, ate Dorritos and talked until 2 a.m(!).

 

The next day, my eyes flew open at 7:20 (boo!) and I stayed quiet-as-a-church mouse until everyone else got up around 9:30.  We got ready and headed out to brunch at Diner, a great restaurant under the Williamsburg bridge.  We had drinks while we waited and then had a nice brunch outside on a gorgeous Fall day.

Chloe’s Sweets

 

Afterwards, we headed into Manhattan where we took the Big Onion Satan’s Seat Prohibition Tour.  It was fun to have an guided walk through the Bowery and West Village.  The tour guide only talked at specific stops rather than the whole time so while I prefer continuous guiding, it was still a worthwhile tour.  Again, the weather was incredible.  It was so nice to be outside and in such good company.

How does a selfie stick wor-*click*

We went shopping for a bit so Marissa could get some clothes.  Then we headed back to the apartment to get ready for our night out.  We stopped by Hillary’s sister’s apartment, which was beautiful.  Her sister and parents were there.  It was so nice to see them!  After socializing for almost an hour (and we could have kept going!), we went around the corner to Lilia.  We had an incredible meal of shared dishes to include roasted cauliflower, roasted trumpet mushrooms, mafaldini, ricotta gnocchi, butternut squash ravioli, scallops and lamb.  The lamb was incredible and, really, all the dishes were winners in my book.

Very important a.m. pit stop

We went back to the apartment and spent some more time talking before going to bed at 1:30.  The next day, I slept in until 8:30 thanks to two late nights and daylight savings time!  Marissa left on the early side to catch her flight back.  As for the rest of us, we packed up our bags and headed down to cheer at the NYC marathon.  We were in the Hasidic section of Brooklyn, so our cheers were heard since it was otherwise quiet. Later, when we walked in deeper to hipster Williamsburg, there were a lot more spectators out.

Run, run, run!
Cheering and working up an appetite!

From our spot, we saw the men’s leader pack and the motorcade in front of them, which included Meb Keflezighi.  Watching other people run made us decidedly hungry so we went out to brunch/lunch in the city where we could watch some football.  We ate at Duke’s where the food was fine and hung out for a bit more until we started saying our goodbyes.  Hillary, Laddie and I headed to the Upper East Side, where Hil and I met Laddie’s daughter whom I’m fairly certain is a living doll. She’s so cute!

Norfolk Buddy!

 

Norfolk Buddy #2!

I went out to Central Park to cheer a Norfolk friend running in the marathon.  She looked great!  I held onto her dog while her boyfriend took pictures and said hello.  Then I headed back to Laddie’s, said goodbye and went on a long walk through NYC.  It was another gorgeous day.  I walked through the park with the constant stream of marathoners to my right and then I headed downtown past Rockefeller Center.  I got to Karen’s house just about the time I needed to head out to the airport.  I was thinking of an Uber but since it was $130(!!!!), I took public transportation.  $8 for the win!

I headed on my flight, already missing my friends but so happy to have had such a great weekend!  I can’t wait for the next one!