Friday, October 21, 2011

Vacation part IV - lower Manhattan

I spent my first two nights in Manhattan, sleeping on my college friend Reid's couch - most comfortable counch ever. I slept so well. Reid and his roommates were great hosts, and I got an awesome view of Manhattan to boot! (midtown? downtown? Not sure which it technically is.)

the view from Reid's room
same view, looking up
I spent my first full day in New York walking a lot. Fortunately it was a really nice day, so it was great to get a bit of exercise and see a lot of neighborhoods all in one go.

My walk:

View Larger Map

I started off at the Highline - old raised railroad tracks which have been converted into a garden walk that is several miles long. I loved the contrast between the city below and the plants around me. It was noticeably cooler up on the highline.

Looking down - old framework, new glass railing.

This is what most of it looked like.

Looking down at a lower level pathway.

Some pretty windows underneath a building that the highline cut through.

A bit of fall!

The highline ended around the Meatpacking District, where I happened to see Law & Order SVU being shot.

You can see a bloody-faced actress and the medical examiner from the show.

I cheated and knew what was being filmed based on this.

I was getting hungry, so I looked for bakeries in the area and discovered Magnolia, which is apparently famous. I stopped by and got a great iced coffee and the best caramel cupcake ever - little crispy bits of caramelized sugar were baked into the cupcake, and it had my favorite frosting - swiss meringue buttercream. Looks like I have something to aspire to! I probably should have gotten a cute tshirt, but I left before tasting the cupcake and knowing that it was worth getting a souvenir for.

Turns out a cupcake isn't really "lunch", so I found a Greek restaurant on my way to SoHo, Snack Taverna. A Yelp review recommended the lamb sandwich, so that's what I got - and oh my goodness. The lamb had the consistency of great pulled pork - super moist and falling apart. It was topped with arugula and sweet roasted tomatoes, and the whole sandwich was just amazing.

As a side note: eating alone in restaurants is something I never do at home - I either get takeout or cook at home. Somehow, though, it has been a lot easier to do this here, even in nicer places. Maybe this is something I can take home with me - the courage to treat myself to a nice dinner out even if no one is around to join me.

I wandered around SoHo for a bit, but I didn't buy anything, as it's mostly pretty pricey and I am, of course, between jobs. I did stop into the cute Purl SoHo and gaze at the lovely yarns and fabrics. Bonus points for SF though - my local favorite, Imagiknit, has a much larger selection of yarns, so I resisted buying anything only to have to lug it home to Cali.

Lots of reflection - the perils of a nice day!

I walked up towards "home" again, grabbing some roasted nuts in Union Square, and I stopped by some thrift stores recommended by my friend Alex, particularly City Opera Thrift. It was a nice shop, but aside from a large china cabinet that I wished I could bring home and paint, nothing really grabbed me.

I got back at around 3 and spent the rest of the day in, recovering from my walk and people-overload, until dinner. Reid, his roomies Sophie and Dan, and I went to Rare, a fantastic gourmet burger restaurant near their home. It definitely continued the "amazing food" trend that NYC has shown me. No photos, but I totally recommend stopping by if you are in Manhattan!

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