We recently returned from a week long vacation, most of which was spent in New York City. Daniel and I have loved this city for a very long time. He first visited there when we were dating and picture phones were not readily available. He called me from Time Square so I could share in the excitement of the city. Over the course of his career Daniel has traveled there many times, most of the time without me.
One particular time he was there I awoke to the phone ringing and the answering machine clicking on – “Carrie, I’m ok, turn on the TV.” September 11, 2001 will be a day that I grieved with the people of NYC and rejoiced that my husband was safe. In November that year we packed up our car and took a vacation that we will never forget. Buying cheap stuff in Chinatown, walking past ground zero, and spending a day in Central Park. This was our first family vacation which happened to be a working vacation as most all of our vacations have been.
This year it would be a working trip again, but this time the girls are teenagers and we can wander the streets while Daniel goes to a meeting. Our first day we spend at Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty. I will absolutely go back here when I have time to stand and read everything. It is testament to peoples will to survive, as they leave everything they know to make a better life for themselves. Our ancestors worked so hard to build America and I wonder what they would think of what it has become.
Our hotel was by far the most amazing hotel that we’ve ever stayed in. The staff was friendly and always available. The room was a 550 sq foot Ikea style apartment that was laid out so perfectly that it felt spacious for the four of us. If you are ever in the New York area and need a place to stay The Box House Hotel in GreenPoint should be the place you stay.
The Box House was located a few short blocks to the subway but always have someone on hand to drive you there in their cool 1950’s checkered cab or their luxurious BMW X5. Down the street at Champion Coffee we had the best breakfast of our trip. Parfaits prepared to order made with fresh cut fruit, beautifully crafted coffees, along with a cool atmosphere made this a great stop. It was easy to see how people could live in their little part of town and not feel swallowed by the large city surrounding them.
If you love to eat you will not find a better city to eat your way though. My daughter and I have relatively (very) strict diets to follow and we had no trouble finding amazing food. Our favorite place to eat was located in Chelsea. We had been losing track of time wandering around Strand’s 18 miles of books when we happened to see The Pita and Hummus company across the street. They have 3 Manhattan locations and from the looks of their website they hope to add more stores. Corinne was so in love with this place she has made it her priority to call and email them in hopes of an Indianapolis expansion. We had schwarma, gyros, and falafel, made fresh with an assortment of hummus, grilled veggies, saffron rice, and more delicious toppings than I can recall. There are plenty of great places to eat in NYC but this one was our favorite. It also happened to be the least expensive meal with all four of us eating for under 35 dollars.
We spent two days walking around Chinatown, Little Italy, SoHo, Tribeca, and Times Square. I marveled at the people as we walked. They were all in a hurry but no one was pushy or rude. If someone walked around you briskly it was no problem, it’s the life of the city, always moving like a current of a river. Driving through Manhattan was similar, a crush of cars moving as quickly and closely as possible without ever smashing into one another. Someone would ease into your lane and you’d let them in and then a block later you’d do that to someone else. Driving there is like a chaotic dance that all New Yorkers know the moves to and the outsiders observe in amazement. We’ve driven in Manhattan many times before and it was just as exhilarating as it was the first time.
On the third day we there I was in desperate need of some green so we went to Central Park. This is an oasis in the middle of bricks, mortar, honking cars, and the throngs of people. We spent half of our day walking around the lake, going over and under bridges, visiting castles, watching turtles swim, and scaling large rocks. I felt completely at home here. With the close access to Central Park I understand why the Upper West and Upper East sides of town are so desirable.
Our final day was spent shopping on Broadway because any good trip to NYC will result in awesome additions to the wardrobe. Like all great vacations this one also had to end. We enjoyed our last cup of coffee in SoHo and proceeded to our car. After an hour we made it out of the beautiful concrete jungle. Soon we were wrapped up in the lush green countryside of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and then back home in Indiana. It’s wonderful to be home but I will always have a love affair with New York City.
Do you have a New York City story?