So I’ve already written about the wonderful experience that was the 2017 New York Marathon, but let me just go back and fill in the rest of the gaps in my whirlwind 4 day New York trip. I’ve been to New York only one other time before, and that too was for a 4 day trip – what’s up with that? Every time I go, I wish I had a longer period of time to spend there, and every time I come back, I tell myself that I’ll be back soon (for a longer period of time). It’s not happened yet (the last time I went was about 8 years ago!), but perhaps 3rd time lucky, because I had THE best time in New York and I want to be back there again. Now. 😀
If you’ve read my New York Marathon post, you’ll know that I arrived on a Friday afternoon and pretty much headed straight to the Javitts Centre to collect my race number and runner’s top. Expo over, I met up with an old friend who I haven’t seen since the last time I came to New York, over on the east side, midtown. Dinner was lovely, but I was crashing pretty hard due to all the travel and jet lag, and headed back to the apartment straight after to just sleep.
We woke up to a glorious Saturday morning. The sun was shining, the weather was mild, and we had no set plans for the day – we were free to do as we pleased in one of the best cities on earth. First things first though – brunch! Spoilt for choice, we made the hard decision of going with Cafe Cluny in Greenwich Village. Pacing ourselves for a full day of eating ahead, we shared the avocado toast and breakfast bowl with a couple of soya lattes between us.
With autumn (or fall as our American friends call it) weather this nice, we decided to walk through the lovely residential streets after brunch, spying on the leftover Halloween decorations which some of the locals clearly took very seriously.
Our next stop was for dessert. The original plan was vegan cupcakes from Sweets by Chloe., but we weren’t in the mood for cake yet, and so opted for the sit down place next door. We ordered some pancakes with apple sauce and peanut butter oatmeal. Simple but good.
I guess we counted that as mains, because we were still hankering for a proper dessert after that. Since we were in the general area, there was only one place to go really, and that was the Dominique Ansel Bakery, home of the famous cronut. If you have no idea what a cronut is (where have you been?), it’s basically a cross between a croissant and a doughnut. And yes, it tastes as great as it sounds. The queues for the cronut were fairly long (I think we waited for 45 minutes – apparently queues can be hours-long!) and there was a real danger at one point that they would run out. Thankfully, we managed to get what we came for, and it was all worth it when we sunk our teeth into the banana flavoured, multi-layered flaky pastry.
Having done nothing but eat so far, we decided it was time to get some more touristy things ticked off. Item number 1 was taking a photo of the Friends apartment building (c’mon, it had to be done for a kid who grew up in the 80s/90s!). We then walked towards Lower Manhattan, marvelling at just how large everything is, from the fire trucks (and firemen!) to just trucks full stop!
Our next stop was the World Trade Centre. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised at what they have managed to develop the area into. The site was made up of tall, imposing buildings surrounding two deep, vast and open memorial pools. There was an atmosphere of gravity and respectful quietness as I walked around the site, and it’s impossible not to stop for a bit and think about all that happened in 2011, but also more recently, just a week before my trip to NY.
The one building that really stands out here is the Oculus, which I stepped into to check out the architecture from the inside.
We gave the museum a miss and got tickets for the One World Observatory instead. With the New York (and Manhattan in particular) skyline being so distinctive, this was a really worthwhile experience in my view. The way they had curated the experience reminded me a lot of the viewing gallery at The Shard in London (if anyone’s had a chance to experience that).
Having seen it from afar, we decided that our next stop should be the Brooklyn Bridge. A romantic stroll along Brooklyn Bridge as the sun was setting – surely the quintessential New York walk! Unfortunately the reality was something else, with human traffic jams on the bridge as everyone seemed to have the same idea.
We tried to shuffle our way through the crowds but decided to abandon our quest about 20 minutes in as it just wasn’t all that pleasant. We therefore did a U-turn and headed back from where we came, walking past the New York City Hall and New York County Supreme Court.
The sun was starting to set at this point, and we wanted to call it a night fairly early in order to rest our legs and get our sleep in (I had to be up before 5am the next morning to catch the midtown buses to Staten Island). The only thing left to do therefore, was to grab some dinner. As with brunch this morning, it ended up being a 3 stop affair, starting with vegan donuts from Dun-well in East Village (yes, we started with dessert this time round).
We then made a stop by Superiority Burger just up the road. I thought it was a sit-in restaurant, but it turned out to be a small takeaway shop, so we had to find somewhere else for a proper dinner with seats. I didn’t leave without my takeaway order of a vegan burger though – I had heard so many positive reviews of this place, I just had to try it!
Speaking of East Village, can I just say that I love its entire vibe? The whole area seems super chill and relaxed, it’s pretty well located and easily accessible, it’s by the East River, and there are so many great options for coffee, drinks and food. Out of all the areas we visited in New York this time round, the East Village was where we spent the most amount of time and just seemed to keep coming back to.
So the challenge was still on for finding our dinner spot. I wanted something fairly close to our accommodation, something that wasn’t too expensive (uff, the GBP / USD exchange rate was killing us!), something not too heavy and something fairly healthy. The place we ended up at was Beyond Sushi which ticked off all the boxes. It’s a vegan sushi place, but they also sell decent sized portions of salad and noodle soups. Someone needs to bring this to London!
After an amazing dinner and with our bellies filled, we headed back and got ourselves prepared for the 2017 New York Marathon! I’ve already written about my experience in a previous post, so go back and check it out if you haven’t already. Spoiler: it was the best marathon experience I’ve ever had! Part 2 coming soon.