I adore having family and friends visit me in New York City. After a long week, it’s tempting to fall into a weekend rutt of cocktails, naps, and apartment-cleaning. BUT, when someone’s in town? It’s a strong reminder of how special this city is and how we should take advantage of everything it has to offer.
My recently-retired Aunt Denise is visiting my mom in Pennsylvania, and the two of them decided to come to New York for the weekend. Friday evening, I met them at the Eventi Hotel for happy hour. They were lounging outside and giggling like little girls with white sangria in hand. Afterwards, we headed over to Donatella for an unbelievable amount of food: calamari, sausage and broccoli rabe pizza, artichokes and truffle oil pizza, eggplant parmigiano, arancini, chicken milanese and mixed green salads. And then… Gay-Pride themed rainbow cookie ice cream sandwiches, chocolate cake, coconut cake, pignoli nut cookies, and zeppole. Oh em gee, I’m stuffed again just thinking about it.
Saturday we started off the day with a long stroll on the Chelsea Highline. It was quite necessary after Friday’s binge and the perfect day to do so. The sun was shining and the weather was sweet. The Chelsea Highline is an old train track that’s been converted into a lush walking trail. It stretches from 30th & 10th all the way down to Gansevoort St. on the western side of Manhattan. It’s a spectacular sight with views of the Hudson River, graffiti art, and the genral hustle and bustle of the city. Around 14th St., you even catch a glimpse of something very special:
As we descended onto 14th Street, we made our way to The Standard Grill for brunch. This highly-acclaimed hotel boasts a charming restaurant with tons of out-door seating as well as a biergarten. We sat inside to cool off from our walk and indulged in mimosas, bloody maries, bellinis and a lovely meal.
After brunch, we made a brief pit-stop in DVF to try on some dresses (poor Phil) and sauntered over to the Chelsea market. We walked through Chelsea Market and stopped by Fat Witch Bakery for one of my favorite brownies. You HAVE to try these brownies. They are perfectly cooked- a nice crusty outside and soft inside. Not to sweet… just full of flavor! I love the original chocolate Fat Witch, the caramel witch, and the Blondie brownies best. They are to die for!
In the afternoon, the Roy sisters, Phil and I went to the 9/11 Memorial. It’s something that Phil and I have always talked about doing, but never found the time. I would recommend going online and reserving tickets before hand, which we failed to do. You won’t have to stand in line nearly as long, and it’s all free with a suggest donation of $5-$10/person.
I couldn’t help but feel emotional at the memorial. The actual site is beautiful- impeccably clean and littered only with trees and grass. It’s incredibly serene with only the rush of the waterfalls to be heard. Seeing all the names around the memorials brought tears to my eyes. On one– “It makes me think of all the families without their husbands and daddies.” My mom proclaimed. We also noticed several women’s names “with unborn child” etched in the memorial beside them. The memorial is a truly peaceful site and honors the departed in a beautiful way.
9/11 was such a devastating event and like many Americans, I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news: 10am chemistry class with Dr. Trout. Goofing off as usual, as opposed to learning the periodic table. Our headmaster came on the intercom to inform us of the news, and class was followed by an all-school assembly to discuss terrorism and the event. We all left early that day.
After the 9/11 memorial (and a much-needed nap) we finished up the day with an outrageous meal at one of my favorite restaurants: Toloache. Toloache is part of the Yerba Buena Restaurant Group, and serves upscale Mexican cuisine in a trendy, New York atmosphere. Every bite of the meal is more enjoyable than the last, and the service is always on-pointe.