Posted by: Kennedy | December 7, 2010

I heart New York

The weekend before last, I crossed another item off my bucket list. I visited New York City.

I’m sure none of you will be surprised when I say it was fabulous. Absolutely fabulous. My girlfriend Alana and I spent a whirlwind weekend in the Big Apple – living it up tourist style.

With just 48 hours worth of sightseeing time, we were busy girls. Our hotel was great and in an amazing location – just a few minutes’ walk to Central Park, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Magnolia bakery and a whole whack of other stuff. There’s no way we could have done it all, but I think we did pretty well.

Friday began with breakfast at Astro Diner. Super fast service, tasty eggs and grape jelly, and great coffee. Properly fuelled, we went back to the hotel for a quick catnap (we woke up at 4 a.m. to catch our flight).

This decision would prove crucial, as one thing we did not do much of over the weekend was sleep.

Feeling refreshed, we headed out to explore SoHo and Greenwich Village. I have decided that when I move to NYC (like, in my dreams) I want an apartment with high ceilings, soft lighting and exposed brick. All the shops and cafes were stunning.

When it started getting dark and chilly, we ventured indoors to a little bar for happy hour. I’m curious as to why there aren’t more bars in Toronto participating in this glorious tradition? I think I’m going to make it my mission to bring it back. Who’s with me?

With our stomachs growling, we stepped back into the chilly outdoors to find dinner. We already had a spot in mind – an off-the-beaten-path Italian restaurant called Piadina, recommended by Caitlin. It was amazing – definitely worth the trouble of searching down the address on those confusing diagonal streets in the West Village.

The place was really cozy – just a handful of tables, each lit with candles. So romantic. We got the sense we were dining amongst the locals – there was a family nearby who appeared very much at home, eating off each others’ plates and chatting with the Italian waiters.

And then there was the food.

Alana ordered the gnocchi and I had a dish with noodles wrapped into what looked like penne but better. Whatever it was, I wish I could have more. (I have photos, but they are currently trapped in Alana’s camera…)

Reluctantly, we opted out of dessert and started the trek back up to our stomping ground. It was still early, so we thought we’d find ourselves a drink in a funky bar.

Instead, we ended up in Times Square.

Not sure how that happened. I think it was all the light emanating from the billboards. We’re like small children: mesmerized by shiny objects.

Anyway, we took the obligatory tourist photo and moved on with our lives, trying to get away as fast as we’d arrived. Though it was frigid and our desperation for a warm booth and a strong drink was steadily increasing, I refused to settle for T.G.I.Friday’s. I sure didn’t come all the way to New York to hang out there.

When we’d walked a satisfactory distance away, we gave in… and went to an Irish pub. I know, it’s not funky. But it was warm, and the hostess wanted our business so badly that she walked outside to greet us when we slowed down slightly to peer in. Plus, they had live music. And $6 pints. And cute tourists from the U.K. Not bad.

We had planned to wake up early Saturday morning for a run in Central Park. Sadly, this was not in the cards after we stayed up a tad past our bedtime the night before (curse you, New York bars without a prompt last call at 1:45 a.m….).

Instead, we opted for a less vigorous morning of walking around Ground Zero and making our way over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Ground Zero was emotional, more so than I’d expected. Hard to believe almost a decade has passed; I still remember that day vividly. The bridge was cool, albeit windy and crowded. People kept jogging by in the ‘passing’ lane. The Brooklyn Bridge is definitely not a place I would choose to include in my running route. Sure puts those after-work runs in the downtown core of Toronto in perspective…

After warming up with some Moroccan soup and tea in Pret Manger (ahh, Europe…), we toured back up to Central Park, strolling, taking photos, watching the skaters, climbing rocks.

And when our legs got tired, we stopped at Rockefeller Center, where we made it to the ‘Top of the Rock’ just after sunset for some sparkly panoramic views of the city.

A hop, skip and jump to a street meat vendor later, we arrived at one of our few booked-ahead-of-time activities: the Radio City Christmas Spectacular! What a show those Rockettes put on, wowza.

Our fabulous Saturday night ended at 230 on 5th, a two-level bar located 20 floors up, with rooftop patio views of the Empire State building. The best/most random thing about this bar? The fuzzy red housecoats provided to shivering, scantily-clad patrons who checked their coats like silly Canadians. Honestly, you’d think we’d know better.

But seriously, picture an outdoor patio in late November, full of people sipping drinks, chatting, all wearing the same red housecoat. It is really quite the sight.

But when the novelty of the housecoats inevitably wore off, we ducked downstairs to have a dance party in the lounge. Hilarity ensued.

We woke up Sunday morning with sleep in our eyes and sadness in our hearts. We knew that in just a few short hours, we’d have to get on a plane and head back to our boring old city.

But until then, we were still in NYC and we were going to act like it. We took to the streets, where we came across random Christmas decorations on our way to Macy’s to see the window displays (New York really loves Christmas).

And before we knew it, the time had come to pack up and head home.

A week later, I’m already nostalgic for the bustling streets, crazy cab drivers, towering buildings and excessive honking. I love New York. And I will be back again soon.



  1. Can i come with you next time???

  2. Aww reading this just brought back so many memories of when I was there and I want to go back asap! Haha too funny about the irish bar near times square – we ended up at one that sounds just like it in the same area. And I loved Central Park! So jealous you were there around Christmas!!

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