Start spreading the news, I'm leaving today... Before starting his new job, I asked my boyfriend where he wanted to go. You can pick any place in the world, I said. He smiled, New York. And that was it, we booked our flights the next day. It wouldn't be my first time in the city, nor my last, but we would spend eight days wandering the streets, eating all the food, exploring all the sites, and soaking it all in, in true New York fashion.
I want to be a part of it... It was his first time in the Big Apple, and I decided we should spend our first few days in Manhattan. I had found a small boutique hotel nestled in the heart of the Lower East Side, the Sago Hotel, around the corner from the world-famous Russ & Daughters Cafe (where we spent one of our mornings devouring lox bagels, latkes, and eggs). On our first day, we woke up to blaring sirens, which, to me, was New York telling us, "Morning, you're here!" and we ventured from the comfort of our neighborhood (packed with brunch places like Eggshop and The Butcher's Daughter, restaurants and cafes like Blackseed Bagels, Cafe Habana and Tacombi Nolita, to name a few, and the McNally Jackson bookshop) and walked the length of Manhattan up to Central Park, just to feel that New York magic.
Right through the very heart of it... I had done my fair share of planning before we left, and at the time, eight days felt like a lot. But as the hours passed and we crossed from one side of the city to the other, we felt like we couldn't do it all. We jumped on a ferry to Ellis Island, waving to the Statue of Liberty as we passed, escaped the crowds on a walk in Central Park after visiting the American Natural History Museum (him) and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (me), and spent a rainy afternoon with what felt like all of New York at MoMA. We headed west, to try real New York pizza at Joe's and to admire the views of Manhattan from the newly-renovated Whitney Museum of American Art before walking the entirety of the former train tracks turned public park, the High Line.
I wanna wake up, in a city that doesn't sleep... We then packed our bags and took the J train over the Williamsburg Bridge to Brooklyn, where we would spend the remainder of our trip in an Airbnb in Williamsburg. We sampled chocolates at Mast Brothers, watched the sun set over Manhattan before warming up with hot chocolates at Bakeri and heading to the Wythe Hotel for The Great Discontent's event series, that evening with Kevin Allison and Cindy Gallop (listen to the podcast from the event here). We enjoyed coffees and pumpkin donuts at Toby's Estate Coffee, American burgers and fries at Diner, walked the Brooklyn Bridge and marveled at the views from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. On our last morning, we met with close friends from my university days at LaRina Pastificio & Vino, an Italian-inspired brunch place near Fort Greene Park.
I specifically remember this one moment, it must have been day six of eight, and we were crossing the Williamsburg Bridge after a day out in the city. The sun was setting over Manhattan's high-rise buildings as the train pushed along. "I'm not ready to go back," he said. I had the same heavy feeling in my chest. I didn't feel like we were done with New York just yet, we had so much more to see, to do, to EAT. "We'll be back," I said. At the end of the day, "It's up to you, New York, New York", right Sinatra?