And I really do feel like that: my vacation starts NOW. Everything about the conference felt like work to me, although not in a bad way at all. That’s kind of the point, right? It’s definitely a “you get out of it what you put into it” situation and I put in a lot. With extraordinary returns. Much processing still going on. It was great to have an unstructured day to use to transition my head out of that space and into vacation mode.
I woke up about 7am, thrilled that I had nowhere to be at any certain time, except checkout by Noon. I got the blog up about 10am, which was kindofa miracle given the quantity and scope of content, but was pretty happy with it.
I was ready for food and on a whim looked at the room service menu but the prices were Outrageous. ($28 for a continental breakfast) I’d seen a place on 7th Ave when I first got here that I’d been meaning to check out and now was the perfect time.
Note to Elizabeth: be sure to tell your husband about this one 🙂
I got back to my room about 11am. Just enough time to finish packing and checkout. I couldn’t check into my Airbnb in Jersey City until 3pm, so what to do until then? I checked my bags at the bellhop and decided to wander Midtown outside of the Times Square area.
My first time to New York was in 2011 when I came with Jon Scott (who I know many of you know; if nothing else from prior Puerto Vallarta blogs). It was his first trip, too. I wasn’t blogging then so hadn’t had a chance to capture that experience, which was magical in many ways. For reasons I can’t explain, New York City has always felt like home to me. From that first evening we sat down for dinner somewhere in Midtown (we were staying at 1st Ave in the low 50’s somewhere) and mapped out what we were going to do when (can you believe I had no plan??), everything felt so natural. I took to the subways like a duck to water even though I’d never ridden anything like them outside of BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) which isn’t nearly as rich. Maybe it’s just from paying attention to books, movies, TV, etc., where stories are so often set here and I just pay attention.
Whatever it is, walking through this section of Midtown brought it all back because much of this area I haven’t been in since 2011.
The sidewalk of 49th Street at 6th Ave was lined with street food. I’d promised myself that I would eat more street food on this trip and, despite having eaten just 2 hours prior, I was oddly hungry again. And I love hot dogs.
I was intentionally headed to Rockefeller Center because I knew I’d never seen that before.
If you’ve followed any of my Europe blogs, you know it’s nearly impossible for me to walk by a church without going in. Why should this country be any different? And, outside of perhaps Washington National Cathedral, this is arguably one of the most famous churches in the US. Services have been held here for folks like Robert Kennedy, Ed Sullivan, Andy Warhol, Joe DiMaggio, and William F Buckley.
Up until about 3 years ago, I’d worn a watch since I was 10 years old or so. In the age of smart phones, some people gave me a hard time for that. When the battery went dead coming home from my 2016 trip to Europe, I decided to go without for awhile. I adjusted pretty quickly, but fairly recently decided I just like wearing watches. I went in search of that watch to finally replace the battery and it’s nowhere to be found. I thought: I know, I’ll buy one in New York!
Why not? I told the guy I was in the market for a new watch and wanted to see how far out of my price range these were. He played along.
This building was initially built in the late 1800’s as a residence. Cartier from Paris bought it around 1910.
So just how far outside of my price range was it? For me, spending $100 on a watch would be a lot. The first one I tried on was two toned, elegant, simple. And only $9000 over my price range! I pointed to a gold one that was of a tone I hadn’t quite seen before and said “that’s unique and pretty.” He says “it’s European gold; you have good taste”. Well, of course I do. That one was only $32,900 over my price range.
I didn’t buy anything. Shocking, I know.
Any “All About Eve” fans out there? I was so excited to see this the first time in 2011 because I’d never understood the reference until then. Lloyd: “You have Margo mixed up with a five-and-ten-cent store!” Margo: “Make it Bergdorf Goodman.”
I remember coming across this in 2011 and stopping dead in my tracks and staring. I said to Jon: It’s The Plaza. Jon: What plaza? Me: THE Plaza.
I don’t know how I knew then what it was – a world famous hotel built in 1907 – but I did, just like so many other things in New York. The Beatles stayed here in 1964. Donald Trump married Marla Maples here in 1993. And has been used in many movies including Barefoot in the Park, Funny Girl, Arthur (probably where I knew it from), Scent of a Woman, and most recently The Post.
The Plaza is essentially across the street from Central Park.
Central Park was the perfect antidote for 4 days spent largely in a hotel and grungy Times Square.
When I was planning this trip I had an intention to have lunch at Tavern on the Green, a famous landmark restaurant used in movies, etc. I’d never even seen it on prior trips. While it used to be considered “the place” to dine, the reviews were mixed-to-don’t-waste-your-money. It has apparently fallen into the “passed it’s prime” category. While I wasn’t hungry, I thought I’d see about coffee and dessert. There was no seating outside of reservations, and the bar wasn’t fully operating because they’d just had a health inspection and were still putting things back together. Hmmm. Oh well. They had restrooms available to the public to the left of this so it wasn’t a complete waste. No need to come back.
I’d made my way all across the park to the west side. I took a left and made my way down 8th Ave back to the hotel, getting there about 2:20pm. Got my bags and went over to the Port Authority bus terminal at 41st and 8th Ave, where I bought a ticket to go to Jersey City.
This is my first time in Jersey. The bus ride was about 30 minutes, and some of the town at least looked quaint and interesting. The little neighborhood I’m in is pretty cute.
I unpacked and made my way out again a little before 4pm. I decided I’d check out Liberty State Park, since I will need to get there in the morning. Google had it as a 52 minute walk. Fine. And it took at least that long. But was one of the weirdest walks ever. I decided early on I wouldn’t do it again and would be Lyfting it back in the morning when I go to the Statue of Liberty. And I’ll just leave it at that.
These were taken about midway into Liberty State Park. It took forever it seemed to get to the end.
But the payoffs were rich views of New York City.
There was also a 9/11 Memorial.
By this time it’s after 6pm. I’m beyond hungry and thirsty and no way was I walking back. I found a place on Yelp where I wanted to eat dinner that was close to where I’m staying and called for a Lyft.
This was on Central Ave, maybe 6 blocks from my unit.
Honestly, that onion salad was the best thing I’d eaten all day for sure, maybe in several. Very simple: red onion, diced tomatoes, a little bit of cilantro and a ton of lime juice. I’m going to have to remember to do that at home. The chicken skin was wonderfully crisp in many places with great spices but not too hot. The vegetables were a boring choice but I felt necessary after what seemed like days of nothing but pizza! And they were good.
I stopped at a grocery store between this and my unit and picked up coffee, water, juice, diet coke. The essentials for an almost 2 week stay, and got back around 8 or 8:30 I guess. I was in bed before 10pm and that was much needed.