We visited The Boy this past week in NYC (ulterior motive was to watch the NYC marathon). I can’t believe this is his last year at NYU!
We took a red eye flight into Newark and then took the New Jersey Transit train into Penn Station ($13/person) and then caught a subway for our airbnb apartment in the West Village. I tried to be clever and buy the exact amount of subway rides so that the card would eventually have a $0 balance but somehow ended up with about $3.80 after 8 rides. I dunno.
I had planned on a nice nap when we got into the city but I was too keyed up so we headed straight to Upright Brew House (a new place for us) for beer and lunch and then moved on to Carmine Street Beers (beer for Bob) and Spirits of Carmine (wine for me) to take back to the apartment. The Boy contacted me as we left Carmine to say his professor cancelled class (yippee!) so he headed our way and we all met up at Blind Tiger Alehouse (where we ran into the same guy we talked to at Upright — the beer world is a small world). As we wandered around the Village we ran into several tour groups. One group was checking out the Friends apartment building and another group was discussing Bob Dylan and the famous Bleecker Street. I can’t even imagine being part of a tour group like that. Hm. I guess I did a similar tour in New Orleans…
After feeding a very hungry Boy and sipping a few beers we headed to our apartment to drop off our supplies and venture out again. The Boy stayed in (he stayed with us for the entire trip rather than trek back to Borough Park in Brooklyn where he lives — a 30 minute subway ride) while Robert and I grabbed dinner just down the road at Rosemary’s. We enjoyed some really delicious pasta — I had maitake mushroom fettuccine and Robert had a linguine with preserved lemons and chili oil. Drool.
After a quick stop for drinks at Wogie’s we were ready for a big sleep. I think I slept about 11 hours (and so did The Boy who didn’t even take the red eye flight).
The following morning Robert headed out for a run while The Boy and I continued sleeping and then we headed out for a simple breakfast at La Bonbonniere. I’d searched for “basic breakfast, west village” and came up with this. The name is deceptive because it’s not chichi at all. Just a tiny diner (cash only!) with $8 plates of eggs, ham, white toast, and hashbrowns. The entire crew cooking and waiting tables were Hispanic. Anyway, it hit the spot, was cheap, and fast. Exactly what I like in a breakfast.
Next up, Robert and I headed to the NYC Marathon Expo while The Boy procured discount movie tickets for us at NYU’s ticket office. If you like marathon expos, you must go to this one at some point. It is everything and more than you could imagine. Insane and so much fun. We somehow managed to leave without spending any money. We were both pretty jealous that everyone else there was about to run such an amazing marathon. (Okay. That sounds insane. But it’s true.)
We met up with The Boy on West 34th Street to see The Martian in IMAX 3D. I’d been having a little vertigo ever since we went boating with our friends a week earlier and the plane ride seemed to make it worse so I was concerned about watching the movie but it didn’t bug me at all and the movie was just about as fun at the book. The Boy was especially pleased with the outing (probably because it didn’t involve us drinking beer).
We walked to Grand Central Station and grabbed a late lunch at Shake Shack. The Grand Central location is nice because the wait is short but I still prefer the Madison Square Park location for the outdoor seating ambiance.
After eating, we caught the subway down to the Lower East Side to grab groceries at Whole Foods and to visit Top Hops and then moved on to One Mile House (a new one for us and a pretty great tap list). On our walk back to the West Village we started getting hungry again (!) and after resting up a bit at the apartment we headed to nearby Niu Noodle House for late night dim sum. The hit of the night was the sticky rice wrapped in grape leaves (traditionally they are wrapped in banana leaves).
Robert and I both got a run in on Saturday morning. It was an absolutely beautiful, crisp, fall day and I could have run for a few hours but my neuroma started bugging me so I headed back to the apartment after 6 miles.
We grabbed a slice of Joe’s and then caught the D Train to Brooklyn with The Boy so he could fetch a change of clothes at his apartment. The neighborhood he lives in has a large population of orthodox Jews and it was the sabbath so it was basically a ghost town. The few people we did see were dressed in traditional attire. I felt a little like I’d been dropped into another dimension. (I’m sure that’s probably how some visitors feel the first time they visit Utah County on a Sunday.)
The Boy’s rental house is a mish-mash of odd-shaped rooms full of excess furniture and I honestly don’t know how can live there. It’s depressing, dirty, and crowded. I have to remind myself that at his age I lived out of my suitcase for a year and slept on a tatami mat with mosquito coils surrounding me.
We took the train back as far as Chinatown so that we could walk to the 9/11 Memorial and take in the sights of lower Manhattan. We didn’t visit the museum but we went to the pools and saw the survivor tree. It was a somber experience. With so many people there you’d be surprised how quiet it was.
We went shopping at Whole Foods in Tribeca so that I could make dinner for The Boy (his request: pasta) and walked up Greenwich Street. It was a fun experience to see all the trick or treaters out in big groups, going from business to business. The huge Village Halloween parade was set to start a few hours after we got back to the apartment and we weren’t sure whether we’d try to go see it or just hang out in the apartment to avoid the crowds. Our apartment was just a few short blocks from 6th Avenue where the parade was and our street was closed off to traffic so we could just look out our window and watch dozens and dozens of people walking past, dressed for the parade. It was a bit like Bourbon Street, actually.
In the end, Robert and I braved the crowds and snuck into Blind Tiger for a few drinks. We were packed in shoulder to shoulder but it was still a lot of fun to see everyone around us dressed up in preparation for the parade and holiday. My favorite group was the Scooby Doo Gang who lost Scooby for a bit and yelled out “Scooby Doo, Where are you???” through the crowded bar. We headed back to Upright Brew House which was also crowded but we nabbed an outdoor seat, perfect for people watching. At that point I was getting hungry so we headed back to the apartment and I made everyone meatballs in vodka sauce over spaghetti + some fresh mozzarella with balsamic on the side. The Boy was happy.
We watched footage of the parade on a local tv channel because we’re old. Then we went to bed. My earplugs couldn’t quite block out the festivities that went on throughout the night but that was okay.
Final Day = Marathon Day! I wish I could say that one or both of us was running it but no luck. Robert signed up for the lottery earlier this year but didn’t get in.
Robert and I left The Boy at the apartment so he could catch up on homework and we headed up to the marathon finish line in Central Park. We couldn’t quite get to the actual finish line because you have to purchase tickets for that area but we got there early enough to grab a good spot at the 26 mile mark. We were able to see all the elites come in and then continued watching until the fast to average runners (3:30 finishers) started coming in. We walked through the park for a bit until we got to the 24 mile mark where runners were entering the park at an incline. My marathon is still fresh enough that I could feel their pain. My favorite part about watching races is the expressions on the runners’ faces. Grimaces, smiles, and tears. So many emotions. It’s really cool.
We made our way past thousands of finishers and caught the subway back downtown to Washington Square Park to have ramen at Ramen Takumi with The Boy. We then headed to our final beer stops: Proletariat and Good Beer, before returning to the West Village.
Robert and I had our final outing at a little French bistro just below our apartment: Le Baratin. We each had a glass of wine and tried to pretend like we were back in Paris (it was kind of easy since the 2 employees, 1 customer, and a random guy who walked in to talk about the football game were all speaking fluent French).
Back at the apartment we watched the Seahawks game and then watched most of the Mets game (what a disaster). My last meal was a messy fried chicken sandwich from Wogies.
It was hard to get up early in the morning and say goodbye to The Boy. We caught an NYC airporter van at Penn Station (pre-purchased tickets for $17/person) and zipped off to JFK.
Boo. Vacations always end too quickly.