Welcome to Part 2 of our trip to New York! In Part 1 I should have mentioned that our time there was filled with all things quintessentially New York – from the incredibly talented street artists, to the guy walking with balloons down the street, to the bustling energy, the huge bagels – we felt like it was all part of the set of a movie…except that indeed all these things make up the city itself (New Yorker’s are so lucky!).
On our second day, Vince and I headed into Manhattan for the day – just the two of us. Walking everywhere the day before had led us to experience the different neighbourhoods in ways we wouldn’t be able to by taking cabs or the subway.
So we decided to walk everywhere we wanted to go…again.
Our first stop – the New York Public Library. The building is stunning – there is marble on every surface and the history is embedded in the walls. I adored the Reading Room and we even pulled out the iPad just so we could have an excuse to sit at one of the tables for a bit. I didn’t want to leave – every room was so detailed and majestic. Who knew there would be so much to see!
Keeping up with the theme of our trip, we randomly stumbled across Bryant Park behind the library. If I thought that our first day was like walking through the set of a movie all about New York, our second day may arguably have been more so. It was almost like while walking through the park, someone was quietly whispering “action!” and then people would assume positions as jugglers, playing the accordion, and turning on the carousel. My co-worker who had just recently visited Manhattan, said the High Line Park – a historic freight rail line turned public park – was not to be missed. We walked there from the Public Library in the heat and humidity, and at times through some sketchy parts of town, so by the time we got there we were a bit tired of walking, but it was worth it.
We were not only overheated and tired, but we were also starving (I’m sure you’re shocked by this). In doing some research prior to the trip, I had read a review about Artichoke Basille’s Pizza. So when I looked down from the High Line and saw their storefront, it was like water in the dessert so in a daze, we walked on over to grab a bite.
Or so we thought.
As we walked through the door, the first meal we saw was a couple eating the dish below. What it looked like to us was that they had each ordered one half of the meatball roll – a meatball parmigiano wrapped in homemade dough – turns out, both halves made up one serving. Except that we ordered two. AND 1/3 of their famous namesake pizza. When Vince saw the food coming off the pass, his draw dropped – in a scared and astonished way. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was enough food for 6-8 very hungry people. And the waitress said nothing to perhaps warn us that it was a lot of food we had ordered.
I know, I know. American servings are triple (and in this case quadruple?) the size of those in Canada and we should have known better, but we were starving and it was water in the dessert (also known as tomato sauce in the skillet)…remember?
The sauce that accompanied the meatball roll might have been the tastiest sauce I’ve had. Ever. The artichoke pizza was the richest tasting pizza I have ever had. Delicious – just slathered in cream, cheese and LOTS of butter. It was so rich that half a slice later, I was satisfied. Except that there were four or five more slices to go.Vince made a valiant effort but in the end we just couldn’t do it. There were times when we debated asking people coming through the door if they wanted to just sit with us instead!
So the waitress came over and chuckled at the mess she could have prevented, and offered us take out boxes for leftovers that could have fed a small family.With the takeout box in hand, in the scorching heat we made our way back up to the High Line and finally came across the food vendors and People’s Pops. There was no room in our stomachs though so we sadly passed them.Eventually, the takeout boxes became too heavy and, don’t hate us for doing this, but we had to throw it out. It wouldn’t have lasted and besides, we were now walking to a place I HAD to eat before I left New York – Momofuku’s Ssam Bar.
We thought that walking from 10th St to 2nd St would be enough to digest the food we had eaten. By the time we got there, we only had room for one thing – pork belly on a milk bun. So we found a bench in Union Square park, and we shared it. While Vince didn’t have the appetite to enjoy it, I was determined to savour each bite of the succulent, flavourful pork belly, with pickled cucumber, on a soft milk bun. Yummy! Side note: I cannot wait for Momofuku to open in Toronto soon…for real.
A friend of mine just recently moved to NYC and so we had planned to meet up for a drink. She told me to meet her at the Union Square Cafe. So we did. When I walked in, I thought it was a bit formal for a casual get together but I thought maybe there were some cool drinks or food that was hiding, but after waiting a while with no sign of her, alas she got a hold of me to ask me where I was. Turns out she meant the Coffee Shop and Bar near Union Square (which is what her friends and others refer to as the Union Square Cafe).
I’m really excited we found each other.
Not only was it amazing to catch up with her since her move to the big apple, but she recommended their mojitos. They were IN-credible! Now I know where to go in Manhattan if I ever want some good drinks. The vibe there was really chill, and maybe even a bit hipster, with a very well stocked bar.
On our way back to Penn Station (which we obviously walked to from Union Square), we passed through Korea Town, but our stomachs were still full and we had to pass up on ducking in to grab one last meal in Manhattan.
I love this city, and I can’t wait to come back for another visit…soon!