NYC, Travel

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors

April 25, 2014

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

Happy Friday, friends. Let’s dive right in; this edition of Daily Diaries covers last week, from when my sister- and brother-in-law arrived to on Monday, to Saturday evening in New York City.

Monday: They arrive today! I worked in the morning instead of the afternoon like usual, so Andy and I had time to do last-minute clean up and laundry before driving down to JFK to pick up Liz and Ian. I waited in the Cell Phone Lot (super helpful, by the way!), while Andy met them at the terminal. Then we were off! We made the mistake of stopping at the first rest area along I-87 in New York for some Sbarro pizza & pasta: so overpriced! Ugh. The upshot was, all the food on the trip from that point forward was amazing, of course.

Tuesday: Just as I predicted, Liz and Ian were napping when I got home from work. Andy had walked them all over creation showing them Kingston’s many neighborhoods. Who has the energy to do that the day after an international flight? Not me. But Liz and Ian are such good sports; they were up for anything.

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring

No tour of Kingston is complete without seeing Gaia’s Artemis mural on Crown Street!

For dinner, we went to Broadway Light Diner here in Kingston. Andy ordered his usual veggie burger, and I tried the spanokopita entrée: so good! It was a bit greasy, but it’s a diner, I’m not surprised. There were no huge crunchy chunks of onion, the feta cheese was appropriately creamy and tangy, and the Greek side salad impressed everyone at the table.

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring

Liz tries to decide what to order as she peruses the ten page diner menu.

After dinner it was time for trivia again at Keegan Ales, where Liz and Ian fell in love with the Hudson Valley’s best beer, specifically Mother’s Milk. Really, guys. I used to hate dark beer, but somehow Mother’s Milk is in a class all by itself. You can find it bottled in shops throughout the Hudson Valley, so if you’re ever in the area, pick some up!

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

Andy snapped this great shot of Ian and his tattoos during trivia.

Wednesday: I worked 9-1 again, and then Andy, Liz, Ian and I crossed the river for a nice afternoon walk through Ferncliff Forest. The pay-off for our walk was the fire tower, which let’s be real, never gets old.

Next we headed to Rusty’s in Red Hook for an early dinner: a burger for Ian, a wrap with chicken, fresh mozzarella, fried eggplant, and greens for Liz, a veggie burger for Andy, and a fantastically flavorful and jam-packed roasted vegetable goat cheese wrap for me! The wraps were so large that I right away I saved half to take home. For dessert, Holy Cow ice cream! It’s so cheap and so good. Holy Cow has always been our favorite spot in the Hudson Valley for ice cream 🙂

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

My twin-sister-in-law, Liz and I at the top of Ferncliff Fire Tower, with the Hudson River and Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge in the background.

Thursday: The start of our New York adventure! Our day looked like this: Terrible wrong-pan version of my favorite breakfast: a berry-filled Dutch Baby pancake. Surprise photo shoot with a photographer friend here in Kingston, Eric Anthony Johnson. Liz and Ian were thrilled, and we’re all excited to see the final products.

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

Eric behind his huge old-timey camera on Thursday morning, trying to get all of us in focus.

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

The (almost) finished tin-type photograph of Ian and Liz. So cool.

We enjoyed a meandering drive south on Route 9 through Duchess County and into Putnam County, where we stopped at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery upon Liz’s request. The we stopped in Tarrytown just long enough to scarf down some fantastic pizza and garlic knots, and headed to our destination in Brooklyn Heights via the Triboro Bridge, Manhattan’s FDR Drive, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Whew! See my quick shots of our Thursday night sunset from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade in my O is for Orange Sky post.

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring

Fried eggplant on pizza, garlic knot on the side. Main Street Pizza in Tarrytown, NY.

Friday: Oh my goodness, Friday. What didn’t we do? We walked along the Promenade to Dumbo, where we ate fantastic egg and cheese bagel sandwiches. We hopped onto the subway so Liz and Ian could see the new-to-them Freedom Tower, then wandered around the West Village a bit because I was feeling equal parts nostalgic and adventurous. Someone really should have kept track of how many miles we walked on Friday and Saturday, because the amount of things I kept adding to our ‘itinerary’ was sort of insane. I photographed lots of street art, so stay tuned for that in a future post. Also in the works is a ‘Doors and Windows of ____’ series, featuring Harrisburg, Europe, and different boroughs of NYC.

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring

Back to Friday! From the West Village we walked up to 14th Street, where I saw Victor Garber(!!) and rather than approach him and giggle, I stood ten feet away, looking from him to Andy, Liz, and Ian, wide-eyed and speechless. That is how you do a celebrity encounter, my friends. I’m so not cool! No walking nonchalantly by for this girl, no sir. When I told Liz who it was, she exclaimed Oh, Mr. Andrews from Titanic! 

We made the mistake of going into Chelsea Market (Friday of Easter weekend!), where the throngs of people and smells and were multiplied by ten and all any of us wanted to do was leave ASAP. I pointed to Ronnybrook Milk Bar, (based in the HV!), where we’ve stopped for a snack on previous visits, and from there we went up to the High Line. Yay for the High Line! It was crowded as well, but crowded in a nice park above the city is an entirely different matter than crowded in a dimly-lit-former-factory-building where you’re basically herded like cattle from one end to the other.

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring

Blossoming trees along the High Line!

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

Nope, not standing on air: we’re looking up 10th Avenue from the High Line’s glass-enclosed amphitheater.

By that time, we were getting hungry, so we stopped at my beloved Doughnut Plant and ordered the coconut cream (of course), carrot cake, Meyer lemon, and coffee cake doughnuts, the last three of which were new to us and all of which were, predictably, unbelievably delicious. As Mary Poppins says, Practically perfect in every way. Is there a better way to describe Doughnut Plant? I think not.

Since everyone knows doughnuts only piqué one’s appetite rather than sate it, our next stop was further uptown: Grand Central Station, where we relaxed in a perhaps too-comfy corner booth at Two Boots Pizza.

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

Waiting for our pizza at Two Boots. Already tired eyes had set in!

To continue with our walking marathon, we took the train back downtown and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, a fun activity in and of itself. It turned out to be one of Liz and Ian’s favorite things in the city, despite the oh-my-god-so-crowded aspect, and despite the minor wait-are-we-still-standing-because-my-feet-are-killing-me issue. After the bridge we went to Chip Shop in Brooklyn Heights, had some beers and of course, chips, and promptly collapsed back at the apartment.

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring

You never know what you’re going to see on the Brooklyn Bridge!

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

The view from our borrowed apartment in Brooklyn Heights. Not bad, NY, not bad.

 Saturday: (You guys still with me?) Our second full day in NYC; again, I’m in awe of how much we packed in to twenty-four hours.

We rejoiced as soon as we stepped outside in the morning: our first warm day with blue skies! It was a gorgeous spring weekend, the trees were in bloom, and all the sidewalk cafes were packed with Brooklynites easing out of hibernation.

The short version of the day: Wall Street/Financial District, Staten Island Ferry, bus ride through Chinatown, lunch at Katz’s Delicatessen, New York Public Library, Rockefeller Center, Times Square (ugh), short rest back in Brooklyn, back to Top of the Rock and then ice cream sundaes at Ben & Jerry’s before deliriously returning to the apartment for some much-needed sleep.

The photo version:

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring

Flowering trees + blue sky + No Parking sign. Must be NYC in the spring!

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

In a blissful pedestrian zone right near the Wall Street 2 Station.

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

Standing on the Staten Island Ferry we we pull into St. George, the other ferries all waiting their turn.

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

The infamous Katz’s. Some people know if from ‘When Harry Met Sally’, we think of it as the place with crazy mayhem inside, with the meatiest sandwiches ever and the most delicious egg creams.

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

Katz’s has been in business since 1898. This is quintessential New York Jewish fare: pastrami, pickles, potato knishes, cole slaw. Don’t forget the egg cream (chocolate or vanilla syrup, seltzer, and milk- no actual egg)!

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring

Liz, Ian, and one of the two New York Public Library lions. Plus some ubiquitous random New Yorkers sitting around.

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

Oh-so-fancy ceiling inside the NYPL.

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring

Midtown, walking up 5th Avenue. Loved the detail here.

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

The GE Building at Rockefeller Center, home of NBC Studios and of course, Top of the Rock

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

The Naked Cowboy himself!

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

I interview Liz on the train between Manhattan & Brooklyn, completely unaware of Andy and his camera.

 And just because you’ve come this far, here’s another shot of Andy’s from the Top of the Rock, with the Empire State Building front and center:

Daily Diaries #4: Playing Tour Guide to Our English Visitors - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

Once again, I’m so glad we did Top of the Rock at night rather than in the daytime!

 Congratulations, now I’m sure you’re as exhausted as we were when we wrapped up our NYC extravaganza! (And I haven’t even told you guys about Sunday and Monday yet!)

How was your week? Was this a ridiculously touristy jaunt around New York, or did you see some new-t0-you stuff, too? Have you ever played host/tour guide for a whole week to visiting relatives?

 

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This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for April. Today’s theme is V for visitors. Four more days left of the challenge, huzzah!

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  • Andy April 26, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Good times had by all for sure!
    Here’s a panoramic view from the Staten Island ferry heading back to Manhattan:
    http://youtu.be/SiDUrt5pTCA?rel=0

    • Christy April 27, 2014 at 9:55 am

      Thanks hubs! Looking forward to spending a full day on Staten Island next time…

  • The Dose of Reality April 26, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Oh, this was just so fun to read! I’m so glad you all had such a wonderful time together. You packed in so much fun! Your pictures are just captivating. I loved each one more than the next. Fantastic!! –Lisa

    • Christy April 27, 2014 at 9:56 am

      I’m glad we made it to the end, Lisa- here, take one of my freshly-baked muffins to help with that exhaustion I’m sure you’re feeling. Trust me, they’re delicious 😉

  • Sophie Bowns April 27, 2014 at 7:13 am

    I love the look of your eggplant pizza- yummy! It looks like you had a really fun time!

    • Christy April 27, 2014 at 9:57 am

      Eggplant pizza is my favorite, hands down. Especially if there’s pesto, too…..

  • Deb Rothaug April 27, 2014 at 11:51 am

    “Lovely, just lovely! (In my Julie Andrews voice) It’s easy to vicariously enjoy your journeys, and the pictures make it like one is right there with you. I want a NYC tour with the Milford guides some time!

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