A Roomie in NYC

Sometimes, being an adult sucks. For most of us it means more responsibility, more work, getting up to an alarm, eating healthier… Buuuut…. it can also mean eating ice cream for dinner, never folding your laundry, having your own money to do fun things, or getting the opportunity to move cross country! This is a story of how one of my best friends, with whom I shared a good portion of serious life-growth-and-learning-time, had one of those amazing changes!

Janelle (aka Roomie) and I were college roommates, and I cannot thank our RA enough for putting us together (even though it was purely on a first-letter-of-your-first-name-basis). This woman is a serious badass, and I am SO fortunate to be her friend!!! (We will do a Badass interview on her, don’t worry, I know you were wondering). Moral of the story is, she (and her very intelligent and knowledgeable husband, Cody – seriously, as a side note, if you spend one- maaaybe two minutes with Cody- you will learn at least one new, fascinating thing, it’s freakin’ amazing!) anyway, they moved to NYC with Janelle’s work, and I LOVE HER so I had to visit ASAP. I ended up with four (yup, count ’em, four) days off in June, and booked my red eye as fast as I could!

According to my fit bit, I clocked a whole hour and 7 minutes of sleep on the red eye, landing in New York around 0700 to this view:

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Not too shabby!! I grabbed an Uber (after getting totally confused about which terminal I was supposed to be picked up in – oops), and sat in silence for the 45 minute drive into the city (to be fair he did awkwardly answer my obnoxiously friendly questions). Janelle and Cody met me on the street and we climbed the three flights up to their super cute apartment!!! I quickly got reacquainted with one of my favs:

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Snorkel, cuddle champion and king of the third floor walk up! (featuring badass cup of amazingness/new york attitude)

We discussed the plan for the day over some coffee, and set out to do some exploring!

First things first, we rode the subway. I’ve been on other underground transportation, but I kind of nerded out a little about the NYC subway. It’s so cliche and big city – fast, loud, dirty, hot, uncomfortably tight seating-I loved it!! However, I am soo happy I was with Janelle and Cody – solo, this would have been incredibly confusing/anxiety-producing/stressful!

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Subway selfie!!

It was a gorgeous day (and supposed to get HOT), so we decided to do some outdoor exploring at The Highline earlier in the day. If you are unfamiliar (as I was) The Highline is an outdoor, elevated walking path (along an old railroad) that includes all kinds of different plants, gardens, artwork and views! It is beautiful, interesting and POPULAR! (Go early and be prepared to dodge strollers, both kid-type and slow-moving-people type).

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I was getting pretty hungry, and Janelle mentioned that the Chelsea Market was close by. What a cool place! It’s an indoor market, full of interesting shops and endless (mouth-watering) food choices! It’s like a really intense, fantastic mall food court, but with WAY more top-notch cuisine choices!

We ended up choosing Num Pang for lunch and we were NOT disappointed. They even have little Sriracha packets to-go. I wish we had these in the PNW!

More coffee was obtained (1hr of sleep people), and we decided to go see the Flat Iron building – classic- and do a little Eataly exploring! That place is crazy!! I had my first Negroni, since it was Negroni week, of course!

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I’ll be honest. I was getting hungry again. So we went looking for a Shake Shack that wasn’t crazy busy, then on to Central Park for a little exploring. What a badass park! I can’t imagine how long it would take to explore and discover all the corners/statues/fountains/neat-ness of this place!

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For dinner, we decided on pizza, obviously! Motorino was not that far from the apartment, so we walked on over and got a table (relatively quickly). The heirloom tomato salad appetizer was deliciousssssssssssssssss! And the pizza was great too! Our servers were attentive, kind and fast (and good looking), just sayin’.

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After dinner, it was back to the apartment for a little rest, a little Snorkel cuddle, and a little waiting for it to be dark enough to visit Times Square. We headed that direction, and I quickly remembered that I sometimes feel claustrophobic in crowds. Also, I was very happy I did not have epilepsy or any other stimulus-reactive-concerns. All I can say about Times Square is: YUCK. Not a fan!

It was quickly decided (by me) that we needed to leave, and get dessert (because, yum!). Our friend Beth had told me about Milk Bar and pretty much said we couldn’t be friends anymore if I didn’t go, so duh, I went. (Another side note: Beth is a FANTASTIC FREAKIN ARTIST. She created this gorgeous painting for Janelle and Cody’s NYC housewarming gift, and if you are looking for an extremely talented artist, look no further: http://www.bethaustinillustration.com/ ).

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Ok, back on point- Milk Bar – If you haven’t been, you should add this to your list. Unless you hate birthday cake, cereal milk, and generally sweet-awesome-deliciousness. Cereal milk, you ask? Remember, when you were little, and you’d have some Fruity Pebbles (Milk Bar says corn flakes, but let’s be real) or other equally badass sugary ‘cereal’, and you’d get to the end and the BEST PART was the milk? That’s what this ice cream tastes like! Speaking as someone who had a Funfetti wedding cake, this place is now a have-to-visit-any-chance-i-get/roomie-can-you-mail-me-milkbar-overnight? (Disclaimer: I think they have other things. Honestly I can’t remember. Honestly, who cares?).

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Finally we called it a day. Tallies: New York sights: a buuunch, 35769 steps, 31 floors, 15.61 miles, 3705 calories burned (let’s not talk about consumed, ok?) all on 1hr 7min sleep.

We all decided to just wake up naturally and then see what happened the next day, with the general plan being to head to Brooklyn. After about eleven hours of sleep (SO GOOD), we got going and headed towards the subway. There is some seriously gorgeous subway art, which is something that totally surprised me. Since Janelle and Cody live close to the Natural History Museum, there’s also a lot of neat science-y/nature-y things! Isn’t this tile amazing?!

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Of all the things I had told Janelle I wanted to see/do, the next stop was at the top of my list. At one point, I may have said if we do nothing else but this one thing, I’ll be content. What is that one thing? RAINBOW BAGEL! Most people associate bagels with New York, but I’ve never been a big bagel fan, so it wasn’t really on my radar. However! I have been completely memorized by the rainbow bagel since I saw it on the IG (that’s instagram for those of you who may be wondering, no judgement).

In Brooklyn, there is a small, pink shop called The Bagel Store (though the name may not be creative, their bagels definitely are! There’s rainbow bagels, unicorn bagels, patriotic red-white-and-blue-bagel (I suspect they also have normal bagels, but alas, I’ve again forgotten), and more! There’s cream cheese frosting and edible glitter. EDIBLE GLITTER PEOPLE! Slightly overwhelmed by the amazing choices, I went with the Rainbow Bagel (SHOCKING, I know), with the Birthday cake funfetti-cream-cheese. Excuse my language, but HOLY SHIT. This confection was absolutely, hands down, the MOST delicious bagel I have EVER (and probably will ever) consume.

I like to pride myself on my ability to eat. I love food. Particularly when it comes to sweets. I want you to know this, so that you’ll understand what I mean when I say I could NOT finish this bagel. I even shared with Cody and between the two of us, we couldn’t do it. It was SO RICH and DELICIOUS that even our powers combined could not conquer it!

We decided to do a little Brooklyn exploring since we were over there, and found some really cute parks, AMAZING street art, and fun buildings. We worked our way over to the Brooklyn Brewery (I promise it was late enough in the day for this, but even if it wasn’t it’s vacation, right? No judgement?). Being from Oregon, where there are 275 breweries in the state (as of 12/31/2017; https://oregoncraftbeer.org/facts/ ), I’ve sadly realized I’m a little snooty about my beer! Good news: The Brooklyn Brewery did NOT disappoint. From the spacious tasting room, delicious beers, and even a rainbow tap pull, I felt right at home!

After some brews, we went for a walk down to the water, and did a little geo-goodie hunting! Did I mention that Janelle’s husband Cody is extremely knowledgeable about pretty much everything? One of his specialties is with rocks/gems/crystals and other such natural badassness (check out his business Facebook and follow him at Icarus Stones on IG). We spent some time hunting for garnets (me for agates and “leaverites”, Cody actually finding the really cool stuff!), before we moved on to the Radegast Biergarten for a little German beer and pretzel action!

Next up: Slightly damp ferry ride!! We rode the ferry over to the Brooklyn Bridge area, stopped for a little Shake Shack (Don’t judge until you’ve had the Shroom Burger. I’m just sayin’. This is also on the overnight-shipping-request. It’s “Crisp-fried portobello mushroom filled with melted muenster and cheddar cheeses, topped with lettuce, tomato, ShackSauce™. ” (Source: Shake Shack website). I could LITERALLY survive on this and this alone!

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Janelle and I had to take the obligatory “blue bridge selfie” (it’s the Manhattan Bridge). I don’t really get it, but there were SO MANY people taking selfies on this street. Is this a thing? If you get it, let me know. All I know is this is the street where I got my one and only New York pupper pet. Not for lack of adoring all the puppers, but this was the friendliest owner we met. Must’ve been a tourist. 😉

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We joined the throngs of people headed towards the Brooklyn Bridge for the classic pilgrimage over the river, complete with lots of picture taking. What a gorgeous bridge! I feel like coming from Portland, we can really judge a nice bridge (along with beer… and coffee… Dang, am I a snob or what?). I only got yelled at by one bicyclist! Win!

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Because of the location we found ourselves in, it made sense to walk by the Bull and the Fearless Girl statues, and visit Battery Park. We were pretty tired, it wasn’t very nice out, and it was getting late, so we relaxed in the park for a short while, then hopped on the subway back to the apartment.

Dinner was at a nearby vegan restaurant called Blossom (on Columbus). For vegan food, it was good. Buuuut, I don’t think I’ll go back. The Wild Mushroom Ravioli was the best thing I had. Honestly, it was slightly disappointing. But they do have truffle fries, and I  love me some truffle fries!

Day three dawned sunny and warm! We planned on spending some serious time in the American Museum of Natural History, mostly so I could see all the dinosaurs, not gunna lie!

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Janelle and Cody had already been here a couple times, so I felt bad that they were probably bored out of their minds, but I LOVED it!! I’ll be honest, I only felt a little bad 😉

Having spent a good amount of time with the dinos, we didn’t spend too much time with the other displays (my tolerance for school aged children does have a time limit, and it is not very long), but I did really enjoy the meteors. They’re so beautiful and fascinating! I can’t wait to go back with Gene, and spend a whole day (or three) exploring!

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iridescent fossil of an 80-million-year-old ammonite

Lunch was… you guessed it! Shake Shack! I just CANNOT get over how DELICIOUS it is! Plus, it feels like Starbucks in Seattle – there’s a Shake Shack on every corner! YUMMM!!

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Next, we walked over to get “the best cookies in the world” at Levain Bakery. Anytime I hear that something is “the best in the world” I think, “Really? Is it reaaaaallly? In this case, the answer is unequivocally and undeniably HELL YES THEY ARE! If you love cookies, and are in New York, make a point to get some cookies here. They are beautifully baked on the outside, delicious, warm, and gooey on the inside, little piece of heaven treats! The bakery is small, so try to aim for slower times (not sure when that is?) and be prepared to wait. That being said, it took a matter of moments from ordering to having cookies in hand when we were there. We snagged some (more) coffee and walked to the park to enjoy these culinary masterpieces!

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PS. Cookies taste EVEN better in the park, on a giant rock, with best friends!!

We did some more Central Park exploring – I swear the thing just keeps going and going!! It was a GORGEOUS day, lots of people were out, but I was still amazed that you could find stretches of park where you wouldn’t see anyone for awhile.

As the day was winding down, we realized we all needed a drink! We walked over to The Empire Hotel, rode the tiny-ass elevator up to the roof, and found a great seat on the outdoor couches. It was so fun, great service, delicious drinks and all with a view! (Sadly, near the end, a couple joined us and the guy took his shoes and socks off. I mean, I know it’s outside, but yuck!).

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I love this shot, looking back toward the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (after leaving The Empire). Somehow the sun is reflecting off the building behind me, and I feel like it looks very magazine/advertising-esque.

Dinner was at Land Thai, followed by rosé in the park. Dinner was AMAZING. I’ll be honest, I have never met Thai food I didn’t like, but Land Thai really nailed it, and the service was great! The drinks were refreshing and delightful as well! The only downside is the small seating area, but this seems to be a theme in NYC. It’s well worth the coziness!

Rosé in the park was so, so fun! I LOVE these two humans, and enjoying the beautiful scenery with them as the sun set was a perfect way to wrap up a whirlwind three day visit. I never had New York on my list of must-see destinations prior to this – with so many people, cars, sources of noise and dirty city grime, I just didn’t think it would be for me, but I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised at how wrong I was! Having Janelle and Cody there made a world of difference in navigating transportation, and prioritizing our time. I can’t wait to go back with Gene!

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Let me know if you have any recommendations for our future visits, and I hope some of this info will be helpful for your own adventuring!

Cheers!

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