I just returned home from NYC on Monday and now I'm in San Diego, so I didn't have a minute to blog about my trip before we left for another. Today is a shopping day for me, but it's only 8:45am so I figured I would try and post quickly before I forgot details of my wonderful time spent there. My dear friend Emily and I got a chance to spend time together when I was on the East Coast in June, and the one day we had together definitely wasn't enough, so we decided to plan for me to visit in July. And that's just what I did...and it was the most beautiful time!
I grew up in NJ, so I have spent lots of time in the city, but we moved when I was 13 so following the move I've gone a lot, but never really done touristy things. The last time I went with friends was in 2005, when I flew out with Erin and Rachel to visit Hank on tour with Life in Pictures. They were supposed to play Hellfest, which was canceled that year. It was a great time, but we didn't have much time for sightseeing besides one day in the city. I went back a few times following that year with my family and with Hank, but still just kind of visited friends and family without really exploring. This visit was totally different though, and I already can't wait to go back and do more things, see more things, etc.
I left at 11am on JetBlue and arrived into JFK around 8pm or so. I somehow managed to figure out the Airtrain, and then connected to the J train, where Em and her boyfriend Jesse met me at their stop. We walked back from to there home so I could drop off my luggage, and we decided to go out for awhile. So we hopped back on the subway and headed over to the Little Branch speakeasy, where Becky (a friend of Em's) was bartending. This spot was so insane- there's no sign, it's simply a black door you have to knock on to be admitted. Someone takes you downstairs, and you're literally in a 1920s speakeasy! It's small and super cute! I had some of the best drinks of my life at this bar...they have a whole bar full of fruit and you just tell them what flavors you like and they make you a healthy drink that is to die for! Emily, Jesse and I spent the entire night there, catching up and chatting. It was an amazing way to start my trip.
first photo of the trip- I am so tired and just arrived!
Em and Jesse down in the speakeasy- it was super dark and I didn't want to ruin the ambiance with a flash, so apologies for the grainy photo.
We went to bed pretty late, but Em and I decided to still get up early to go on a long run over the Williamsburg Bridge. Friday ended up being super humid and it was definitely a challenge, but really rewarding when we reached the other side and got water. Turning around and going back the other way was a different story though... ;)
After our run we got ready for the day and spent our afternoon walking around, shopping, and spending time together. Em and I are already in great touch so it was nice to not have to go over all the details of our lives and just pick up from the present. It was the best day, although it was crazy hot we still enjoyed the city, sweaty and worn out (well, I was) from our run!
We went to lunch at Souen, a vegan/raw spot that I just loved. I got the macro platter, which was the best macro platter I've ever had.
After our long day in the city, we headed home to wait for Meg to arrive from Westchester. We went to dinner (I am spacing on the name), and I got a delicious hand-packed veggie burger and we ended our meal with the most delectable piece of vegan blueberry/peach pie I've ever had. I am such a pie girl too, so calling something delectable is a true compliment. ;) It was so good to see Meg, it had been years and years, so the dinner was a great time for catching up.
After dinner we got into Meg's car and headed out to Westchester, where Megan lives with her daughter and family. We arrived pretty late, but I could totally tell how beautiful my surroundings were. I am a total tree/green/forest lover and Westchester was all of the above, much like my 2nd favorite place in the US besides Hawaii- Vermont. We spent the night drinking wine, making Meg a match.com profile (so fun) and giggling our heads off. Perfect night.
The next morning Emily got up early with Megan's Dad, Patrick to go for a run in the national park there. I elected to stay in bed and enjoyed another two hours of peaceful sleep! When they got home, I got to hang out with Chloe, Megan's daughter, and I totally fell in love with the little munchkin. Side note: both Emily and I are god-mothers to a Chloe! Me, to Autumn's Chloe, and Em to Meg's. Too funny. So after saying goodbye we got into Patrick's SUV and headed to the train station, where we boarded and headed back into the city, traveling along the Hudson River. It was a really pretty ride and it was nice to watch the river go by as we rode next to it.
We arrived in Grand Central station and were just starving, so we got some sushi (surprisingly really good) and gelato. I had never been in GC and I was blown away with the beautiful architechture and detail throughout the building.
After leaving GC we decided to do a bit of a tourist afternoon and visit FAO Schwartz and Central Park. We walked through a huge street fair to get there too, which was neat. The last time I had been in FAO I was just a kid, and probably just wanted to see the "BIG" piano, so this time it was neat to really take everything in...it really is an amazing store!
Muppets in FAO!
After FAO we headed over the Central Park to take advantage of the truly gorgeous day and lounge around a little.
view from our spot on the grass :)
After Central Park we went over to Union Sqaure to see 500 Days of Summer with the lovely Zooey. I had super high hopes for this film and liked it, but didn't love it. I wasn't necessarily let down, but perhaps my expectations were a bit too high. I am curious to see what my friends thought though, so if you've seen it, what did you think?
After the movie we decided to go over to Babycakes to finally (last time I was in the city with Em they were sold out) try their cupcakes. I have heard a lot of things about this shop, both good and bad, and I have to say that I LOVED what I tasted. We got the cupcake tops, which is just like a muffin top...but a cupcake. YUM! I also tried a couple of samples and really loved what I tasted. I thought the frosting was to die for, and as we were leaving I noticed the "Frosting Shot" sign on the wall, so I will definitely be taking that route next time!
After Babycakes we went home to get ready for a night out with friends! We started the night at Taco Chulo (amazing, amazing Vegan tacos...best ever) and ended up at the Levee, then out dancing before ending the night at Vinny's for pizza.
at Taco Chulo- like I said before, best tacos...and best healthy (as healthy as alcohol can get) margaritas!
Em and Jenn
So as I mentioned above, after a looong night of fun we ended up at Vinny's for pizza, which was delicious. We took a car home and I literally fell asleep before my head even hit the pillow. Not before I got some cuddle time in with Ms. Salsa though! :)
The next morning we woke up pretty late (thank goodness- I needed it!) and decided to go to Coney Island. Coty and Brandy picked us up and somehow we got lost along the way and ended up just going to a smaller beach. This beach was great, but super weird because along the shore was every kind of fruit you could imagine from coconuts to pears. Halves and wholes, pieces and fragments...scattered everywhere! It was bizarre, and the beach recieved a new name- "Fruit Island." Emily had ended up borrowing my banana bikini, which was quite appropriate for the day!
After the beach we went back and got ready to head out to a party with some friends from Jesse's work. The bbq was held in Brooklyn in a courtyard of an apartment building, and was such a cute spot. There were tons of dogs too, and even a doggy pool.
walking to the train
When we got home that night we spent a relaxing night in, watching movies and hanging out while Emily got caught up on some work. It was the best way to end a busy/wonderful weekend.
The next morning I woke up, excited because my flight didn't leave until 8pm that night, so I had an entire day of sightseeing ahead of me while Em was at work. I packed up my stuff, and took the train to the Financial District so I could leave my suitcases with her while I wandered around. She had already been up since 7 or so, that crazy girl! I spent the day shopping, eating and just really enjoying a "me" day. I tried Magnolia cupcakes (Babycakes IS better!) and walked my little heart out, covering a lot of ground all over NYC.
Overall it was one of the best trips/vacations I've ever been on. I could write a million pages about how wonderful it was, but the photos really do a better job. I could also write a million pages on how much it filled my heart to spend 5 solid days with Emily. We've been friends for a long time, and I loved being able to be around her for an extended period of time like we used to be able to do. She is like a sister to me, and it's amazing to know that no matter where life has taken us, we have remained close through our ups and downs, and our friendship continues to grow stronger! Jesse and Em were truly the best hosts- so generous and accommodating and I will always be thankful for how "at home" I felt in their beautiful house. We are already planning for me to come out in September and I can't wait. I've been out of NYC for two days, but I am still so so happy and cannot wipe this smile off of my face. :)