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.
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.
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!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 🙂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. 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.
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.
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.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.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. 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: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: 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?
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!