Part 1: Spring in NYC

So this past weekend, I took a lovely trip to New York City. For the next couple of days, I’ll be talking about the fantastic (and much needed) trip during the end of Easter week.

We arrived early afternoon on Thursday. We stayed near Union Square, which I have come to really like. I love the small neighborhoods of NYC. I’ve decided that I’m not very fond of Midtown; it’s too big and flashy for me. Anyway, I threw my stuff in the hotel room and started to wander the neighborhood.

The Strand bookstore was nearby so naturally, I went. I usually have about twenty minutes there when I’m in town. It was nice to have about an hour to wander the store. It’s known for its used books but unless you really feel like digging, the deals aren’t too great. But it’s always got an interesting selection of books. I found a book about the history of cooking utensils and books by newly translated Scandinavian writers. Also it has funky socks. Yeah, books and socks. My dream place.

Afterwards, we decided to go the High Line Park. Basically, there was an elevated track on the west side of Manhattan that was no longer used for trains. They decided to turn it into a giant elevated narrow park. It’s more of a boardwalk than park but it’s quite impressive. Buildings have been built around it; trees and art emerge from the planks of wood. People were out and about. One man was selling “Poems while you wait” and another woman brought out her grey parrot to enjoy the sun. It’s fairly long; I think they keep extending it. We walked most of it, from Gansevoort Street to 30th. It even has elevators at various points so that it remains accessible. It’s a wonderful place. I look forward to when we get our own version here in Chicago in the form of the 606 in Wicker Park/Buck Town.

High Line

Then we wandered to the Macy’s flagship. Last week, I talked about the magnificent flower show at the Chicago Macy’s on State Street. The Macy’s flower show was in full bloom (hah!) when we were there. The shows had the same theme but it was interesting to see how they were done differently. This Macy’s had these flowering displays on lintels overhead; each was a nod to a different artist. There were displays in the middle of aisles with orchids and Chihuly glass sticking out. Outside, the windows were magnificent. Ballerinas spun amidst pink flowers. But they didn’t have a secret garden like Macy’s in Chicago. I actually prefer that since the 9th floor space feels tucked away and unknown. It makes it feel more magical. But Macy’s NY had a nice show too.

Then we walked up to Time Square. I’ve come to realize that I’m really not a fan of it. Normally, I love places of great spectacle but it comes off as bland. Like it’s trying to be Vegas and missing the mark. Or Vegas learned how to improve upon it. Also, it’s filled with tourists and the most generic shops and restaurants. I was glad to get out of there. However, there are some amazing old hotels nearby including the Algonquin Hotel where Dorothy Parker and her fellow sharp tongued compatriots met. This is the NY I love. That history.

We ended up back near Union square. Near our hotel, there are a lot of farm to table places. We ended up at one called County, which was tasty but expensive. (They advertised a happy hour deal for $10 Margaritas. Only NY!). They had very good multi-grained bread and some tasty bass fish. It’s not my favorite of those style restaurants in the area but it was interesting to try another one. (Friend of Farmer is nearby; we had dinner there almost a year ago and I still remember it!)

What a first lovely day in NYC!

That’s all for now!

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