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Day 12: Seeing Friends in NYC

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I got about 5 hours sleep on Thursday night, waking up Friday before 5am. I started working on the blog in my room and went down for coffee when the restaurant opened at 7am. I just had on cup and a croissant; I was only staying about 30 minutes and hoping to get the blog up by then. I had somewhere to be!

While at the show the night before, I’d gotten a text from Meher, a woman I’d hired at Nationwide in Columbus – I don’t remember when now exactly; 2012 I think. She’d moved to Columbus from New York and was now back in New York, a detail I’d completely forgotten. But I was thrilled when she reached out and suggested breakfast, so we met on Friday morning.

Times Square subway station

Times Square subway station

After a bit of an internet connection problem, I got the blog up about 7:30 and rushed out to catch the subway. I took the same line I’ve used most of this trip, E, and got off at Times Square. I was meeting her near Grand Central Station. I’d done this walk before in 2014 and remembered it’s longer than you think it will be for some reason, from 8th Ave to Park Ave along 42nd Street. The blocks are long in that direction so even though it’s only 5.5 or so, it seemed to take forever. When I crossed 7th I saw another subway entrance to Times Square and snapped the above – I love how many connections there are from there, I bet it’s the highest of any station in Manhattan. I came back after breakfast and took another line from this station.

Pershing Square

Pershing Square

We met at a breakfast spot on 42nd St literally under Park Ave.

The crowd as we left

The crowd as we left

We managed to get a seat right away but it was packed and there was a wait when we left.

Selfie with Meher

Selfie with Meher

Meher’s husband works in the investments arena and that’s taken them from London to New York to Columbus and now back to New York. She didn’t have much HR experience at the time I hired her but it was easy to tell she was really smart (graduated from the London School of Economics), a great communicator, and had a strong service orientation which are always the things I look for over experience. I can teach the rest. She did well for herself at Nationwide as I knew she would. She is now working in HR at a law firm not too far from Grand Central, living in Westchester. We had a great time catching up and visited for over an hour until she had to get to work. I’m so glad she reached out! It was wonderful to spend a little time with her.

New York Public Library

New York Public Library

I walked back along 42nd Street and stopped by the New York City Public Library, which is on the corner of 5th Ave. If it were open I would have gone in, but it was only 9:40 and didn’t open until 10am. I didn’t feel like hanging out for that so just kept going.

Bryant Park

Bryant Park

I’d heard good things about Bryant Park before but had never been there, so was glad to finally have the opportunity to check it out. It’s beautiful, with lots of little bodegas with different kinds of food, and a carousel, although little of that was open this morning. It was still nice to look around, and that didn’t stop people from just hanging out, as you can see. Since there aren’t any yards in Manhattan, it’s great that there is decent outdoor space.

There's a big lawn in the middle of it, with well kept gardens all around, and lots of tables and chairs available

There’s a big lawn in the middle of it, with well kept gardens all around, and lots of tables and chairs available

Statue of William Cullen Bryant

Statue of William Cullen Bryant

The park is named for William Cullen Bryant who was a poet and journalist, and long time editor of the New York Post.

Fountain

Fountain

I love the way the tall buildings in Midtown frame this photo and the one of the lawn above.

I’d planned to spend the rest of my day in the West Village, just generally hanging out but also wanted to start winding down. I took the subway back to my hotel and showered quickly before heading to a massage I’d arranged a few blocks away. It was only an hour but it was really good and exactly what I needed. I fell asleep which I love/hate: I love that I probably needed it if I could, but always feel like I’m missing out on just enjoying the massage!

Mexican restaurant

Mexican restaurant

I stopped here for lunch. It’s on the corner of Jane – where my hotel is – and Greenwich St and I pass it every time I’m walking to the subway.

Spicy pork quesadilla

Spicy pork quesadilla

The place was empty but the food was good and very filling. It was packed and lively when I walked by it again at 9:30pm on my way back.

Entrance to the High Line on Gansevoort St at Washington St

Entrance to the High Line on Gansevoort St at Washington St

I had been wanting to check out the High Line for awhile so was glad to finally be able to do so. It’s an elevated park, almost 1.5 miles long, made from an old railway line.

Beginning of the High Line from the first set of stairs

Beginning of the High Line from the first set of stairs

I was planning on spending some time here but shortly after I got here it started raining, which the forecast had been threatening all week. I wasn’t prepared – didn’t bring my raincoat or the hotel umbrella – and really wasn’t in the mood to deal with it. I was only 2 blocks from the hotel so I made it back quickly, and took a nap for about an hour. i got up and went out again, and got a pedicure which I really wanted to get done today, and there are a ton of salons in the West Village to choose from. I went to one close to my hotel. It was just what I needed; my feet were pretty gross from all the walking I did in open sandals: 108.6 miles in 12 days, average of 9 each. That’s actually pretty typical for these trips.

Farmers Market in Union Square

Farmers Market in Union Square

I was meeting another friend for dinner in Union Square. I had time to kill so slowly starting moving in that direction. It’s another popular park in NYC I’d never been to, running between 15th and 17th, bordered by Park Ave and Wooster Street, with Broadway stopping at one corner of it and picking up again at the opposite catty-corner (not the first time I’ve seen Broadway do that it seems…). There was a farmers market going on, apparently every Friday, and they had a lot of nice fresh produce.

Flagpole in Union Square

Flagpole in Union Square

I hung out in the park for a little while but it started raining again – at least this time i brought the hotel’s umbrella. I found a Panera nearby and stopped for some coffee and a rain and restroom break since I was still a little early, then made it back to the park around 5:30.

Bocce in Union Square

Bocce in Union Square

We met at Bocce, an indoor/outdoor place that’s only open like 6 months a year because it wouldn’t work in the winter. Its website says it’s “the backyard we never had but always wanted.” You can sort of see a bocce ball court there right of center; no one was playing because it was all wet, and there were less people sitting outside due to the weather as well.

Selfie with Del'Esa

Selfie with Del’Esa

Meet Del”Esa. We met in 2006 when I started working at Nationwide and she was my recruiter. She worked there a number of years as well but left before I did, putting contract recruiting jobs together as she continued to work on her passion, which was building a portfolio as a fashion stylist. In early 2017 she made a plan to move to NYC at the beginning of 2018, and she did it! We last met in Sacramento at Tower Cafe on New Year’s Day and I was so excited for this Sacramento native moving to a place she’d dreamed about just because she could, and it would facilitate her fashion passion. She is recruiting again for a firm not too far from here, and has her first fashion styling gig today! I’m so excited for her and we had a great time catching up.

Inside Bocce

Inside Bocce

See Del’Esa waving from our table left of center.

Bread for starters

Bread for starters

Neither of us were very hungry so we just got a couple of things to share. We started with this very interesting bread – it was puffy! – that as served with a whipped ricotta cheese and olive oil. It was pretty tasty.

Snap pea Caesar salad

Snap pea Caesar salad

This was really interesting but good: a Caesar salad made primarily from snap peas and white string beans. No lettuce in sight, and I love no-lettuce salads! Del’Esa said it was refreshing and she was right.

Downtown from Manhattan Bridge Subway

Downtown from Manhattan Bridge Subway

From there we took took the subway to her place in Brooklyn. We used a line that went over the Manhattan Bridge which was fun. I got a coupe of photos above and below but it’s hard to do in a moving subway!

Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan Bridge Subway

Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan Bridge Subway

Texas Fried Chicken and Pizza

Texas Fried Chicken and Pizza

We walked around her neighborhood in Brooklyn a little bit and this cracked me up. I have no idea what Texas Fried Chicken is and I grew up there. Texas folks reading – any idea? And Pizza?? I don’t get it 🙂

Foyer of Del'Esa's building

Foyer of Del’Esa’s building

Del’Esa lives in an old brownstone on Eastern Parkway, and it has one of the coolest hallways I’ve ever seen. I met her roommate, Josh, who she’d met in Sacramento and they moved out here together. We visited for a little while but I hit a wall and it was time to go. I was able to take a single subway line all the way back to my hotel and got here around 9:30pm.

And that, my friends, is a wrap for this trip.

It is 5:30am Saturday morning and I head home today. As is my custom, I’ll do one more entry with final thoughts on the trip overall and whatever photos I take between now and then. See you on the other side….

 

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2 thoughts on “Day 12: Seeing Friends in NYC”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I have loved every single detail of your post as I am sure you knew I would! Thank you for allowing me to share this journey with you!! Makes me want to travel! Glad you made it home safely!!

    1. Steve Haas says:

      Not home yet but close – just boarded in PHX. Thanks for coming along, so glad you enjoyed it!

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