Wednesday (29th) after taking our first flight of the trip (and reminded why we are only taking 2) we touched down in NY and made our way to Tri's place in Williamsburg, a suburb of Brooklyn about 10 minutes from Manhattan on the subway. After meeting up we had a quick dinner close by with Tri and Andrea, who was also staying. Now, unfortunately Tri had recently broken his leg and so was on crutches, which meant he was not able to join us on some of our planned outings.
Thursday (30th) we headed to Manhattan for our first taste of NYC and wandered around Soho and Chinatown, where we found the shopping a little irresistible...surprising considering neither of us could be described as shopaholics!
Friday (1st) another day exploring Manhattan, this time around the very touristy mid town, including Times Square, Broadway, Rockefeller and the Waldorf.
Lunch was also worth a mention - we had a fantastic sandwich from Num Pang. Joss had a veal meatball and Paul a pork belly and they were, in a word, impressive! The pork belly was listed in the grubstreet top 101 sandwiches in NY. Now we have to clarify here, a sandwich in NY is not the same as a sandwich in Australia. The ones we tried were served on sub-style rolls with fantastic warm toppings like pork belly, beef brisket, meatballs, marinated prawns, crab.. the list goes on. On Friday night we had more gastronomical delights in store. Tri had booked us into a great restaurant called Blue Hill for an early birthday celebration for Paul. The meal was great, with a lot of the ingredients coming from their own farm and others close by.
The wall of m&ms in the m&ms 'world'
Tri and Joss in Blue Hill
Saturday (2nd) morning, all 4 of us went to the growers market in Union Square in Manhattan. As well as an abundance of fresh food they also had some art and general wares stores. After that we headed up through more market stalls which occupied closed off streets (in Manhattan!) up to the original Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, a very popular place for burgers and shakes. (Incidentally the shakes were $5, although that doesn't seem as big a deal these days as it was to John Travolta a while back in Pulp Fiction!) We waited in line for about 45 minutes for our burgers and shakes, which really were quite impressive. In the afternoon we headed back to Brooklyn, where Joss, Paul and Andrea headed out to the Brooklyn Brewery (Tri does not drink beer, and his injury made it difficult to have a whole day of walking). However we quickly abandoned the overcrowded and not terribly nice brewery for a quieter bar, where we had a few drinks then moved on to meet Tri for some more drinks and dinner.
The Shake Shack in Madison Square Park
Hanging in Brooklyn
Sunday (3rd) we were greeted with a nice sunny day so decided to walk across Brookyn Bridge and then up to China town for lunch and another sandwich/sub! After getting a taste for them we had to try another from the the top 101 list, this time from Banh Mi, a Vietnamese spicy chicken sandwich, and a worthy nominee! After lunch we made a quicker than intended visit to the Highline, a park that has been built on what was an old, raised railway track. Unfortunately we were running on a tight schedule so had to leave before we had enough time to explore it all. We then headed to Broadway to meet Andrea to see a show; Avenue Q, which is a musical with actors using muppets, a little confusing at first but quite funny.
The Brooklyn Bridge
Great Jazzy buskers at the Highline
Monday (4th) Paul's Birthday! Although an overcast and drizzly day, we decided to go ahead with our plans anyway and go up to the viewing deck of the Empire State building. Although visibility was low, the lines were short, and still seeing the city under cloud cover was very impressive! For a late lunch we headed over to Chelsea (where we had been the previous day for the Highline) to a 1 Michelin star bar/restaurant called The Spotted Pig. We had nice leisurely late lunch. By the time we finished it was already getting late so we headed back to Brooklyn, but not before grabbing a couple of cup cakes from the nearby Magnolia's bakery (PM: Sarah we felt we had to make a trip on your behalf to give them a taste). Back in Brooklyn we headed out to Brooklyn Bowl with Tri and Andrea for some dinner, drinks and a game of Ten Pin!
Empire State building - this shot was taken on a different day to when we went to the top
From the top
The Spotted Pig
Proof we went to Magnolia
Tuesday (5th) on a similar line to the sandwiches we headed to Soho to have a proper street cart burrito New York style from Calexico, which is regarded as the best street vendor in NY. They have even expanded and opened a restaurant! With very satisfied and full bellies (and a taste for more burritos) we headed south to take the Staten Island Ferry for a view of the famous Statue. Although to be honest, it wasn't as impressive as we thought, perhaps because the waters surrounding NY are busy with docks and freight ships. Afterwards we took another trip to Midtown to hang around, and much to our surprise a little more shopping (we are worried and seeking medical attention fo the sudden onset of this condition). For dinner we got Pizza from Fornino in Brooklyn which had previously been voted best pizza in NY, and it was pretty good. Not like the horror stories of USA pizzza we had heard!
The statue and on the ferry
Around Times Square
Wednesday (6th) morning Joss went to the Guggenheim museum whilst Paul hung about in Brooklyn in the morning. We met in midtown and had a diner lunch, which felt very authentic. During the evening all four of us went out to see a band called !!! (pron. chk chk chk) at a venue nearby in Brooklyn. Afterwards we both discovered that the local deli also made great sandwiches (although sadly none made the top 101)!
Thursday (7th) our last full day, and a fantastically sunny one, Paul was unfortunately sick, so had to stay home! Joss and Andrea took advantage of the great weather and went to Central Park, 5th Avenue and the Strand, a massive second hand bookshop. For out last night we all headed out (Paul had recovered) for dinner at a local tapas place for once again some great food.
The Guggenheim museum
Andrea and Joss at Tapas
Friday (8th) morning before saying goodbye to NY we went to a local cafe called Egg for breakfast, where Paul was able to try another of the sandwiches from the top 101 list (PM: however I had reservations about his one, it was a biscuit with ham and fig jam and a side of grits.... and was disappoiting, perhaps an aquired taste)