Written by AnnaDenise on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 09:00
I promised you a big fat photo post on our trip to New York - so here it is. I'm not much of a writer (so I'm not sure why I even keep a blog), but I thought you'd enjoy hearing about some of our experiences! Enjoy!
Day 1: WED March 16th > Flight & Sushi
Our taxi to take us to the airport arrived at 5:30 am. I had hardly gotten any sleep as I had a big opening at work the evening before and didn't want to miss out on the celebratory dinner afterwards. Needless to say, I was pretty exhausted and really dreading the long flight. Usually I love flying, but I guess the crappy in-flight entertainment system + the smelly people sitting pretty much on top of me the last time kind of left a bitter aftertaste. Dating a total airplane geek has it's benefits, however, and seeing the awesome personal entertainment screens I suddenly was very grateful for Ashwin's decision to spend a little more money on getting us a flight on a Boing 777 (instead of a much smaller and older MD11 - see, I pay attention to the things he says). I watched two movies and three episodes of Bones back to back and before I knew it, we had landed at Newark (11:30 local time).
We checked into our hotel near Wall Street and walked around the southern part of Manhattan before it was time for Ashwin to catch a train to Albany where he would be sworn in as a lawyer the next morning. I ordered enough sushi to feed an orphanage while watching three more episodes of Bones and one Law & Order SVU. We don't have TV at our house, so cable still has a magical power over me.
Day 2: THU March 17th > Etsy & SoHo
The next day I got up early and took a subway to Brooklyn, where I walked around DUMBO, bought some books at the local used book store and sat in the sun for a while.
The reason I had come to Brooklyn this morning is because I was meeting Laura from Etsy for lunch and a tour around the Etsy offices! Eeek! Every week Etsy hosts a locally sourced, organic lunch ('Eatsy') for its employees and I joined Laura for some veggie couscous.
Etsy's offices are the most inspiring offices I've ever seen (not that I've seen very many). It's one, big, open space with lots of light. All the desks are unique and bought from Etsy seller around the globe. There are funky and interesting decorations everywhere you look. Laura told me that every employee gets a budget to spend on Etsy to spruce up their office space. Laura was an awesome host and a great tour guide. Thank you so much Laura!
Ashwin returned from Albany some time in the afternoon and I met him at the hotel for a short celebration of his newfound attorney-hood. I got him a book on the nine justices on the supreme court, which I think he really liked. We then proceeded to walk to SoHo where we had hoped to attend a The Moth Story Slam evening in the Housing Works Used Book Café. We were surprised (and naïve?) to find a line stretching around the block and although we stood in it for a while, we never actually got in. Boo! Fortunately, not all was lost, as there was nice inexpensive food, Blue Moon beers, and music to be found at the nearby SoHo Park restaurant.
Day 3: FRI March 18th > Brooklyn
My birthday! Yay!
After having a quick lunch at the Prêt-a-Manger near our hotel, we took a subway to Brooklyn again, where we followed most of an amazing walking tour as described in our 100% New York guidebook. We interrupted the tour for a visit to the New York Transit Museum, located in an old but still functional subway station in Brooklyn Heights. The museum tells the history of the subway system in New York, but also gives a lot of insight into the immigrant societies that sprung up around the construction of the subway tunnels. Ashwin and I both really enjoyed the museum (albeit for different reasons - me being more into the history part, him being more into the construction part of the story) and I would definitely recommend a visit if you happen to be around.
After this historical intermezzo, we continued the walking tour through Brooklyn. We were both surprised by the amazing views of Manhattan, the beautiful brownstone houses, the pretty neighborhoods and lovely, relaxed atmosphere.
Our tour took us by a few cute café's and bakeries where we enjoyed some drinks and snacks in the sun (most notably beers at Bar Tabac and a cupcake at Downtown Atlantic).
After walking all day, both of us were exhausted, yet we still managed to get back to the hotel, freshen up and have dinner at Smorgas Chef, a Scandinavian restaurant on Stone Street. Stone Street really was a really fun discovery (as was the very cosy restaurant) - the weather was great and people were standing outside, chatting, on the cobbled stones of the small street. So cute and very European-ish. What a great birthday!
Day 4: SAT March 19th > MoMA + Columbia + Shopping
By our fourth day we had walked so very much, we were ready for a more chill day. My feet were so soar, I really couldn't do another walking tour as we had planned, so we headed to the MoMA, where we saw (among other things) the Picasso exhibit, which I loved but Ashwin wasn't too impressed by. The design exhibition on type fonts was a big hit as was the sculpture garden where we timed a frantic security officer, apparently running laps around the garden. We wondered if it was a performance of some kind as he did 20 rounds of 1:20 minutes around the garden each time. My guess is that he was probably just trying to get a workout out of his otherwise boring shift.
We then pretty much went all over the map as we first visited the campus of Columbia University where we ate some noodles, only to return to midtown to do some shopping (and take the obligatory Times Square picture). Oh, I don't think I told you yet, but Ashwin took me shopping for my birthday! Yay! So after some hesitation (I felt kind of weird spending Ashwin's money), I went all out at Anthropologie, LOFT (see below), and Victoria's Secret (no, no pictures for you my friend).
We then slowly walked back to our hotel and pretty much passed out right after ordering in some food and watching the news about Libya on CNN.
Day 5: SUN March 20th > West Village + The End
On our final day, we got up early and walked around the West Village to get some gifts for our lovely cat-sitters and pregnant friend and sister. It had gotten a lot colder (although it was still sunny, as it had been all week) and before heading back to the airport we popped into a café for a quite disgusting beer from Brooklyn (sorry).
And then we got our luggage, barely managed to stuff all of our sh*t back into our suitcases and flew back home. I had a horrible jet lag all week, which was totally my fault (I didn't even try to stay awake that first day home) and totally worth it. All I can think about is going back. We had such a lovely time.
So yeah, we've been back home for over a week now, which is pretty sad. And Ashwin has the flu, which is of course very very sad. So, if you'll excuse me, I'll go back into mourning my sad sad life now. Juuuussttt kidding. I had a wonderful weekend in Holland with lots of amazing gifts, good food, sunshine, sweet family, and a great girls night in on Monday. I just need a day on the couch, though, because my back kind of hurts from dragging all of my gifts back to Brussels. So - Cheerio, kids!