Sunday, September 29, 2013

25 Things To Do When Traveling to NYC

1. Book a flight on Virgin America into JFK. Because it's the best and if your future husband is seated in 5A and you're all the way back in 22C, you can send him a drink or the snack pack with spreadable cheese so he knows that he's your future husband. And that you like cheese.

2. Upon arrival at JFK, proceed directly to the taxi line for a flat rate of $52 (plus tolls) into Manhattan. Do not pass go. And do not let the smarmy guy with the slicked back hair lead you to his towncar with his smooth talk about his special all-inclusive rate. Even if you do feel like he singled you out because you're pretty. You're not pretty. You just got off a five-hour flight and have spreadable cheese in your hair.

3. Stay in a friend's apartment to get the true NYC experience. Of a bedroom that is also a living room/kitchen/foyer/dining room.

4. Eat dinner at the bar at Danny Meyers' Maialino (pronounced "my-yah-lee-no"). Order a glass of wine and the cacio e pepe (pronounced "get in my-yah belly").

5. Wake up at a reasonable hour (ie. when you can no longer stand the beeping truck that's been backing up for the last hour) and take the 6-train to 86th Street to run the six-mile loop around Central Park.

6. Celebrate not getting lost or ending up in the Bronx by going the wrong way on the subway with Intelligentsia coffee and creme brûlée and dulce de leche doughnuts at Doughnut Plant. Immediately get back in line to order the carrot cake and oatmeal doughnuts "for a friend."

7. Gawk at all the people standing around drinking wine and eating prosciutto at Eataly at 11 am in the morning like it's no big thing and there aren't pigeons starving in Central Park. Find something to buy even if it's a pepper mill that you can get at Surfas in LA for half the price, plus a sandwich for the road because it's New York City and if you don't eat now you might never eat again. For like another five minutes.

8. Check into a hotel (preferably somewhere Midtown-ish, but not in Times Square) because you're an adult now and sleeping on your friend's couch is only kosher for a day, two days, max, and only then if you buy her Payard macarons. Pro-tip: If you're one of Kimpton Hotels' InTouch Loyalty Program members and stay at the 70 Park Avenue on your birthday, they may surprise you with Baked by Melissa mini cupcakes. Because, again, you're in New York City and you might starve like a Central Park pigeon if you aren't constantly eating.

7. Spend Saturday night in the Nolita district because it's where all the cool kids go, and whenever you say Nolita it makes you think of Lolita. (Technically, it translates to North of Little Italy.)

8. Eat dinner at Pearl & Ash on Bowery (one of Bon Appétit magazine's 50 Best New Restaurants of 2013). Get the octopus. Get the potatoes. Order a bottle of wine that pushes you out of your comfort zone. And do not leave without slathering at least one piece of smoked bread with chicken butter.

9. Break your (nonexistent) fast at Russ & Daughters with a bagel lavished with caviar cream cheese and the best smoked salmon (or sable) in the City. Get a number and listen for it to be called because they will skip over you if you don't respond. Repeat, they will skip over you, #99. Also, they hate you.

10. Walk to Dominique Ansel to take pictures of the line of people waiting for cronuts. Cackle maniacally as you walk past them directly into the shop to order from the non-cronut line. Get the magic soufflé (an orange scented brioche pastry that conceals a deep dark brooding chocolate soufflé within) and the frozen s'more (a bruleed marshmallow that conceals a frozen chocolate-cookie-crumb-coated vanilla custard) for funsies, and the canelé and DKA (Dominique Kouign Amann) because they are beautiful executions of classics.

11. Haggle with a street vendor selling art in the Village. Maybe buy something. Maybe not. It's not like you need a canvas painting of the New York City skyline to remember your trip. Except you kinda do.

12. Cop-a-squat in the grass at Washington Square Park next to a couple practicing tree-pose and spend two hours talking about how you'd totally do this every weekend if you lived in New York. Aside from when it's winter. Or summer. Or there's a marathon of Real Housewives on Bravo. So basically once a year.

13. Buy candied cashews from one of the Nuts 4 Nuts vendors. Decide they smell better than they taste. But still finish the whole bag. Cuz you nuts 4 nuts, yo.

14. Go to MoMA… to have a drink at the bar at The Modern

15. Eat at EMP. And take lots of pictures to prove you were actually there.

16. Go huntin' for silver foxes at Le Bernadin whilst enjoying the $75 three-course lunch prix-fixe (the dinner tastings run from $140-195 without wine pairings). Be cool and don't ask the suave French server how to use the fish knife. And definitely don't ask him if you can get a box to take the mignardises home with you. 

 Salmon Rillette with Toast

 Charred Octopus "a la plancha"
Green Olive and Black Garlic Emulsion, Sundried Tomato Sauce Vierge

 Crispy Black Bass; Roasted Shishitos and Kabocha Squash “Ceviche," Peruvian Chicha Sauce

 Chocolate Popcorn - Madagascan Chocolate Ganache, Candied Peanuts, Popcorn Ice Cream

 Complimentary Birthday Dessert

 Mignardises (Not pictured: The box we took them home in.)

17. Let yourself be a tourist for 2.5 seconds to stop and smell the wet garbage drifting up from the subway station near Columbus Circle. Ah, New York. 

18. Meander your way up to the Upper West Side and accidentally on purpose wind up at Levain Bakery. Order the chocolate chip walnut cookie to eat immediately on the bench outside, and the dark chocolate peanut butter chip for later (ie. five minutes from now), and then spend the entire time it takes you to walk back to your hotel wondering why all cookies aren't the size and thickness of your fist.

19. Hail a cab, because you can't stomach walking through all the hordes of people in Times Square again. Also, you feel like a badass every time you successfully hail one and say the cross-streets of your destination all fast and New Yorker-like without having to look at the map on your iPhone.

20. Find an excuse to say "Houston" (pronounced "House-ton") so you can prove to people that you belong even if you're wearing bright pink capris and a Birthday Princess tiara and are scared to get on the subway again in case you do actually end up in the Bronx this time.

21. Sit outside at a French cafe drinking wine and eating macarons because life is always better with Rosé-filled glasses and birthday cake macarons. And you think you may have a stress fracture in your foot from all the damn walking.

22. Stay up till 1 a.m. playing the "remember when" game with your H.S. friend until you're tired enough that you really could sleep anywhere - the floor, the bathtub, a drawer.

23. Buy snacks for the airplane from the Whole Foods at Union Square, because if you wait for your future husband to send you a snack pack on your flight home you really will starve.

24. While there, scoop up some oatmeal from the hot bar even though you have a Whole Foods in LA and it's wasting a meal and you should be ashamed of yourself. It's okay - even oatmeal tastes better in NYC. (It's the water.)

25. Plan ahead and take the bus from Grand Central Station (or Penn Station or Port Authority) to JFK for $16. Bring cash for a tip because the bus driver will remind you how much he/she likes tips 33 times before you arrive at your terminal. 


Esi said...

Hmmm, I was just in NYC a few days ago and I did none of these things. Guess, I need to go back soon (and probably will) Also, Eataly is opening in Chicago in November. Don't be jealz. (yes, I said "jealz")

Esi said...

Also, glad you had a super awesome time!

Diana said...

My friend Ali told me about that (Eataly in Chicago) when I saw her in NYC!!! She was trying to make me jealz. And it worked a lil bit. ;) I'm already thinking about when I can get back to NYC. And Chicago.

Melissa Bobbitt said...

Awesome post. Glad you had quite the adventure!

Lynn @ said...

welcome back!

Gastronomer said...

This post was all kinds of amazing. Thank you for the awesome read.

Diana said...

Thanks so much, Melissa, Lynn and Cathy! :) NYC FTW.

yutjangsah said...

This is best post ever. LOL hungry pigeons. Or maybe wah wah but LOL. You ARE pretty after a 5 hour flight and that is why the cabbie got you. Splish splash. I say every decade bday gets the NYC treatment. With orthopedic shoes next time. And buy me some snack packs and a bloody mary if we're ever on the same flight. Even if we're next to each other. Ill pretend I have secret admirer who likes to feed me and get me drunk from afar. Yay grande manzana

Chase Howard said...

Thanks for sharing this! This summer, I am going to New York city for the first time, and I have been looking at a list of places and sites that I should see. I just set up a bus tour in NYC so that I am able to see as much of the city as I can. I am really looking forward to the trip as I am ready to take as much in as I can!

Grady Mann said...

Thanks for sharing your travel guide, Diana! And the way I read it, you definitely had a lot of fun in your vacation. Well who wouldn’t, right? You were able to experience the life of a true New Yorker – riding the subway without getting lost, tasting delicious food, hanging out at Washington Square park, and so much more. You even hailed a cab easily on one of the busiest places in the state. Sweet! I hope you will have more exciting trips like this this year. Cheers!

Grady Mann @ Downtown Yellow Taxi