I’ve never been a huge fan of New York prior to this trip. New York is a fantastic city, but it’s overwhelming. Manhattan is massive. Chicago is also large, but Manhattan is like someone took Chicago and replicated it a ton of times across a large island. There are always people on the street. There’s always a cacophony of noises. Don’t get me started on the smells. One breeze carries grilled meats from a corner food stand. The next wifts are of sour garbage.
This is the first trip to NYC where I had influence into the agenda. The first trip was when I was a kid visiting my aunt and uncle. The second was visiting a friend while she finished law school. Leann cobbled together the recommendations from friends and must-visit museums, much like she would for our other adventures.
We spent our first day like we do in nearly every new city: on foot. We wander the streets and get a sense of direction. The logic is two-fold: absorb the city’s vibe AND we are cheap and don’t tend to pay for cabs or public transit. No point in getting a cab in a post-Cash Cab world.
While wandering north on 5th Avenue from our hotel in Korea town, we arrived at the New York public library. Leann is like Bette Midler’s character in Hocus Pocus — always in search of her booooooks.
Other visited spots were Empire State Building, 30 Rock, St. Patrick’s cathedral, Central Park, John Lennon’s memorial, Zabar’s for lunch, Times Square.
People watching is unrivaled in New York. I wondered if it was Halloween, then recalled that was still a month away. You simply can’t pick a favorite. It’ll be replaced on the next block. Each person is a bit more unique than the previous, which highlights the struggles of creating Humans of New York.
I am a huge eaves dropper. I claim it’s from my time as a journalist, but really I’m just nosey. Eating at Zabar’s was like being in a Woody Allen movie. There’s a small deli connected to the larger grocery store. At the long communal table, a man was discussing women from the silent film era and their transition to the talkies.
Food, Glorious food
At Zabar’s we grabbed a panini and a knish before walking down Broadway towards Times Square.
The grand feast was dinner at Her Name is Han, a Korean soul food spot a few blocks from our hotel. This was my first foray into Korean BBQ. It doubled as the realization that I’ve been missing out for way too long on Korean BBQ. We had a beef bone broth soup and spicy bbq pork. They also brought out little bowls of kimchi, fish cakes, veggies and seaweed salad. Everything was phenomenal. The BBQ pork was just spicy enough to make your lips tingle. So good.
What discoveries await us for Sunday in New York!