In October of 2013, I was registered to run a marathon in Washington DC. I felt we would be remiss to fly to the East Coast and not visit at least one major city other than DC. Boyfriend and I settled on New York City: he had never been and I was excited to visit with my old college friends who live there now.
When I lived in Texas, I would travel to NYC frequently since it was an easy non-stop flight. I hadn’t been back since moving to the West Coast and I how I have missed it! New York City is a special place: not one that I’d ever like to live in, but certainly one that I enjoy vacationing in. From amazing food, to fun character filled bars, to gorgeous museums and parks, NYC has something to offer everyone.
When we first started planning the vacation, I firmly told Boyfriend that at least one musical would have to be seen. He complained about everything from the unforeseen price to the unknown forthcoming experience until the show started. On a tip from my friend Darbi, we bought tickets at TKTS for Once. It was the BEST musical I’ve ever seen.
Once is the musical adaptation of the movie from Glen Hansard by the same name. When it debuted, the musical received eleven Tony Award nominations and won 8 of those awards. Less than ten minutes into the show, we could see why. The cast, which also serves as the orchestra, was absolutely outstanding on their minimalist bar-themed set. During intermission, the audience can walk up onstage and order drinks from the stage bar!
In addition to Once, we also went to see an Off-Broadway production of Avenue Q, which I knew would appeal to Boyfriend’s love of non-PC humor.
There is an unbelievably long laundry list of things to do while visiting New York City that I won’t even begin to attempt to start. Instead, here were the highlights of this particular trip for us:
STAY: We have the good fortune of staying with friends for free, but if we didn’t, I’d totally utilize Airbnb to book an adorable room in an East Village Apartment or book a totally affordable
room pod at The Pod Hotel, where a room will set you back as little as $95 on a weeknight. EAT BREAKFAST:
- At any New York City Bodega, where the cream cheese is plentiful, the bagels delicious and the breakfast sandos are made to order for less than the cost of a Venti Drip at Starbucks.
- Swine - A gastropub with killer cocktails and an extensive and mouthwatering menu peppered with delights like bacon mac’n’cheese, chicken and waffles, and bacon wrapped dates.
- Joe’s Pizza - I was tipped off to Joe’s thanks to Jimmy Fallon, who likes to support businesses he loves on Twitter. The pizza was everything you want in a New York pie: hot, messy, and sold by the slice. Established in 1975 by Joe Pozzuoli, who is originally from Naples, Italy (the birthplace of pizza), Joe’s Pizza is a “Greenwich Village institution” offering the classic New York slice for over 37 years.
- Upright Brew House in the West Village serves craft beers on tap and in the bottle from New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx.
- Jimmy’s Corner was an unbelievable find. In a town of $14 beers, we managed to order two and a shot of whiskey in this dive bar and our total bill was less than $10. Found oddly tucked away in the middle of tourist chaos in Times Square, as soon as you duck inside everything is quiet and calm. There long narrow bar is covered in photos from Jimmy’s days as a boxing guru and the jukebox has nothing but jazz albums. Other than myself, Jimmy’s wife Swannie was the only woman in the bar.
- TKTS - Do not do TKTS as the tourists do, which is to wait in line for hours trying to buy tickets. Either mosey on down to the South Street Seaport late in the afternoon and buy tickets for whatever strikes your fancy OR mosey on up to the window in Times Square after 6:00 PM, which is long after the rush. Sometimes theater’s will release additional seats to shows not available earlier in the day.
- The High Line - The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It is maintained as a public space for residents and visitors to enjoy by a non-profit group that works with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and is open every day from 7 AM to 7 PM.