OY VEY: My Fave Five Spots in NYC
One of my favorite bloggers Natalie Holbrook, who writes Hey Natalie Jean, recently became an author of a book of the same name. A couple of weeks ago, I met her at the Apple store on Fifth Avenue. She was giving a presentation on how to not only survive but to thrive during summer in the city. Afterwards, I was even so fortunate as to chat with her for a bit. Not only is she an angel (who knows her way around the city like Barney Stinson knows the Bro Code), but she also signed my book. (Yay!) Five minutes prior to writing this post, I finished reading her book. (It took about three hours, cover to cover. I’m obsessed.)
There is a passage Natalie read aloud during that presentation that was equally as striking when heard as it was once I physically came across it in its natural habitat:
“When you first move to a place like New York City, it is huge and you are small, but you find these little pockets that somehow, accidentally, become undeniably yours. You shrink the giants to fit in your palm. You take ownership of the street corners and restaurants and park benches where you’ve been. You create a dent in the air. The next time you pass by, there’s a sense of familiarity there. You’ve made it a pocket of you.”
Since that day, I have been thinking about the places I’ve made my own, the pockets I’ve created. New York City may be a huge place that harbors many people, many thoughts, many goings-on, and many lives, but I am one of them. I am here, even if it forgets me, even if the people on the sidewalks change. As I walk the streets of New York, I leave my mark. Maybe no one else will ever know I was here unless I do something drastic like, I don’t know, graffiti my name and social security number on the columns of the Williamsburg bridge. That might be slightly too drastic…
I digress. Rereading the passage reminded me of my mental file of my personal pockets. I’ve decided I want to share a few of them with you:
Eataly is a fantastic mecca of Italian food located across the street from the Flat Iron building. The Flat Iron District is quickly becoming one of my favorite areas of Manhattan, as that is where my office is and is my most-traveled area so far. I have only heard (but haven’t yet tried) the gelato in Eataly is incomparable and I haven’t yet visited its newly-opened Nutella bar, but here is what I can tell you from my several visits: The red, saucy, basil-y number pictured above is a calzone. Part 1: Have you ever SEEN a calzone that beautiful? Part 2: Have you ever SEEN a calzone covered in sauce instead of said sauce served as a side for dipping? NO. NEITHER HAVE I. But this is apparently how we do calzones in Eataly. For a review on the prosciutto/arugula salad pie, you’ll have to defer your questions to my mother, Joannathan. However, I can give you the condensed review, which is she left her fist visit to Eataly very impressed and very full. I’ve also yet to experience Eataly’s rooftop restaurant but rest assured it is very much on my radar, adjacent to ordering gelato and chowing down on a Nutella something.
2. The Empire State Building
This might seem boring, but it’s incredibly important that I list the Empire State Building here as it has been an integral and huge part of my New York experience since my office moved from New Jersey to Madison Avenue. The ESB is a journalist’s dream, as there are always celebrities visiting for press and photo opportunities while doing a promotional tour in New York City. I’ve conducted many a celebrity interview atop this building, with a spectacular and matchless view of the city and all its neighboring rivers as my backdrop. Pictured above you’ll see me chatting with David Henrie all about Wizards of Waverly Place and of course, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, but I’ve also attended a JK Rowling press event as well as interviewed All Time Low, Tyler Oakley, and more on the 86th floor.
3. Chelsea Market
I happened upon the Chelsea Market completely by accident, but unfortunately, it’s a benign story. I needed a new Macbook and so I took the Path to 14th street and bee-lined to the Apple. Afterwards, I realized it was a gorgeous day and with my official business all sorted out, I decided to wander. What ensued after me discovering the words “Chelsea Market” on a black and white sign can only be described as a very high-energy Snapchat story, the enthusiasm of which most likely irked all of my Snap friends who felt obligated to watch it, in all of its 10-slide glory. There are many amazing nooks and crannies and hidden gems tucked away inside this eclectic market, but one of my favorites has to be the wine cellar, Chelsea Wine Vault, because not only do they offer wine tastings, but they also have a surprising amount of free events! Who doesn’t love free events? Especially those that include wine?! Also, I bought like three books in Posman, the bookstore located inside.
Thanks for the heads up, Natalie Jean. Dough first made itself known to me at Natalie’s event, when a couple of seasoned Manhattanites commandeered the chat to discuss the glorious bakery that is Dough. Now, there are several Dough locations including Brooklyn and also Chelsea, but the one located on 19th street in the Flat Iron District is understandably my fave. In the morning, I take the Path to 23rd st and it’s a short walk to Dough. (You have to get there early though and definitely not on National Donut Day. That was a nightmare. The lines! The horror!) Just like everybody and their mother, I’m a huge proprietor of the hibiscus donut and it’s my personal belief that a hibiscus donut from Dough is always a good idea. I’m also partial to the Passionfruit and next on my checklist is the Lemon Poppyseed. Like, come on, how delicious does it look?!
Low and behold: Smorgasburg! My father hails from Brooklyn and I only live 35 minutes away and yet, this past weekend was only my second time in New York’s most populous borough. (Side note: It was super easy to get to.) We took the Path to 14th and then hopped on the L. (Mostly I’m writing this for my own sake. In a couple of weeks I’ll be racking my brain: How did we get to Brooklyn the last time??? #WorstMemoryEver.) Anyway, we made it to Smorgasburg, which is a lovely, self-described “Flea Food Market” that is quite literally a foodie’s dream. There are booths from every popular NYC eatery imaginable. People were drinking at 12:30! People were rocking man buns! There were s’mores bars and shrimp skewers, hand-cut fries with delicious-looking dipping sauces and vegan places that boasted zucchini noodles and I don’t eat lobster but apparently the lobster roll is the best $20 you will ever spend. (Thank you, Foursquare/Swarm.) As you can see, we chose to get freshly-hacked coconuts. I’ve NEVER been a fan of coconut water but tasting this stuff, I could see this was the real deal. It was delicious and so unbelievably refreshing. We sipped our coconuts while perched on the beach, overlooking the skyline and the East River. #PerfectSaturday. I can’t wait to go back and who knows? I’m one five-star Yelp review away from throwing in the towel and just buying the damn lobster roll. Because apparently that’s how good it is.
I want to know: What are some of your NYC pockets?