This week’s writing prompt from Mama’s Losin’ It is to pick a word that someone else used for their New Year word and let it inspire you. It couldn’t be more perfect for this second part of my trip. I chose Explore from Farewell Stranger.
I am not a city girl. I watch shows like Sex and the City and Friends and not even a small part of me wants to live in the city. I spend every New Year’s at my sister and brother-in-law’s condo in downtown Chicago and still, there is no desire to walk around and explore the city. When I am there, I feel like a bumbling idiot that is one wrong turn away from ending up in a rough neighborhood. Maybe it is that I have lived here my whole life so it doesn’t have the same exciting feel to it. I think it has something to do with finding out that Nico had CF while we were down there. It’s forever tainted in my mind. I went to Texas a few times and if money were no object and I could take my friends and family with me, my dream would be to live in a big house with acres and acres of sprawling land (and afford someone to take care of it since we can’t even seem to get a patio built-in our dinky yard). I fell in love with Texas many, many years ago over the course of a few trips. I didn’t think it was possible to fall in love in just two days but I am completely in love with New York City!
We landed in New York with the weather at a wonderful 57 degrees. Not a windy, blustery 57. Just 57…which honestly felt like 70 here. We checked in at our hotel, The Omni Berkshire and the first thing I noticed was across the street, there were a few office buildings that looked like fashion design studios (me being the Project Runway fan that I am was instantly giddy to see some in real life). We didn’t want to waste one minute of exploring so we headed out to Central Park.
I was just in awe of how cool it would be to live near Central Park. On a warm day, I could sit on a bench or on top of a hill and write or read all day. It was inspiring all sorts of scenes for books that are swirling around in my head. We walked around until we came to the ice rink. It made me think of the movie Serendipity and we were this close to ice skating ourselves but I didn’t want to explore the ER in New York so we passed.
Central Park was the first thing I wanted to do. Going to FAO Schwartz was the second. When I was little, since my birthday was in June, my family would go to Kiddie Kingdom. The best part was that there was a castle that was a toy store and my parents would let me pick out my birthday present. I am a lover of toy stores. Let’s face it, I am a lover of most stores but book and toy are my favorites. I wanted to be able to say, I was where they filmed Big. It was hard but I walked out of there feeling satisfied that I had seen it and without spending one dime. That even impressed me.
Then next thing I really wanted to do was have a slice of New York style pizza. It had been a while since we had eaten and without the kids, we were planning on having a late dinner so with Leo’s trusty GPS, we headed to Ray’s Pizza. Now, pizza is my favorite meal. I could eat it all day everyday so I was really skeptical since Lou Malnati’s is my favorite here. I was expecting it to be different and it was and it was amazing! I think I loved it so much because it wasn’t my dinner. It was the perfect thing to eat at that time. It was sooo good.
After that, we headed over to Magnolia’s Bakery. It was the bakery featured in one of the Sex and the City episodes and has been in a few movies as well. Leo is not a sweet-eater (yeah, I don’t get that either) but was such a good sport to humor me while I ordered flourless chocolate cake (would have been sooo good if I had been able to heat it), a lemon bar (I am still dreaming of it right now it was that good) and a s’mores cupcake that was worth every bit of the walk to get there. I swear it tasted like a real s’more.
After that, we headed back to the hotel. Leo had to do something for work and I wanted to change before heading back out for dinner. To be honest, I needed a break from eating. I said I was going to eat my way through New York and that was pretty much what I was doing. I took a very small nap and then we headed out again. We had several suggestions from friends, Ashley from The Dose of Reality and Kimberly from Reflections of Now as well as from our friend Jerry. We planned on hitting them all and then deciding but when we stepped outside, it was raining. I was bummed that there was not a drugstore anywhere on the way to Times Square from our hotel? I felt like that Seinfeld episode where Jerry tried to buy and umbrella from someone on the street.
I should interject here that we had to do some business with the FedEx/Kinkos across the street before we could go to dinner. Kimberly from above sent me a design for business cards (on a side note, if you have any design needs, click on that link, she is awesome!) but with all the craziness leading up to leaving, I didn’t get them done nor did I think I’d need them. Leo thought differently so we had a wonderful guy there help us and I left with 20. It’s just the best feeling to have someone believe in you.
After the business cards were picked up, we started walking. Now, I will tell you, I wanted very much to be a “wind in my hair” kind of woman. I wanted to say, “Screw it! I don’t care if my hair gets wet. Let’s be that romantic couple that runs through New York City in the rain laughing and giggling the whole time.” I wanted to but you see, I only had my flat-iron with me. Straightening my hair would have eaten up a lot of time in NY so I opted to wash it that morning and only bring my flat-iron to fix it before the luncheon the next day. Getting caught in the rain would not make for a good look for me the next day. However, I was a good sport until Leo wanted to get a picture of us in Times Square and there was a huge crowd waiting and doing it so he took one of me freezing. It came out dark and it’s on his phone so that is why it isn’t here. Me looking like a drowned rat has nothing to do with it.
We went to one restaurant, Joe Allen and we were warned and sure enough, we needed a reservation. We were heading to Carmine’s when it started raining really hard. There was an Italian restaurant called Sofia’s and that is where we ended up eating. Again, we were not disappointed. I think Leo licked his bowl clean.
Did I explore New York? Absolutely. Was it mostly the food? Why, yes, yes it was. Was it also the surroundings of where we were? Definitely! I fell completely in love with the city. It might have been where we were (Midtown Manhattan where Carrie Bradshaw did all of her shopping), why I was there (someone read my blog, liked it and invited me there…that is a high in and of itself) or who I was with (a husband that went above and beyond humoring me making sure I loved every minute of our exploring the city).
It doesn’t matter. I can’t wait to go back! Hopefully next time, it will be to meet with a literary agent! A girl can dream…
What about you? What is your favorite city?
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