… continuation from Day 2
Day 3 : Saturday
The guide on the shuttle picking us up from the airport had recommended an Italian bakery right next to our hotel, so we thought we’d give it a go in lieu of the bland hotel breakfast. Eataly is a super fun place to go to for an Italian experience in New York and far from just a bakery. It’s a café, a restaurant and a grocery store. You can also shop online if you’re craving Italian fare everything from olive oil, fresh truffles or meat. It was founded in Torino, Italy in 2007 and now has many locations around the world. Heads up French subbies, the Paris Eataly should open in 2018!
We ordered some yummy pastries and coffee and cappuccinos. We were lucky to grab a table while waiting in line, because the place was pretty busy around 8:30 am/ 9 am.
Shopping in NYC
This morning was dedicated to shopping : one can’t go to NYC and not partake in one of the four life sustaining activities : eat, drink , sleep and SHOP ! After filling our cultural needs with as many museums as we could take yesterday afternoon, it was high time for retail therapy. We took the subway to Herald Square to what used to be the largest department store in the world : I’m talking about Macy’s of course.
I checked out the make up counters, here is the Inglot one, that you unfortunately don’t have in France. We also went to the shoe floor and had some fun there, especially in the sale side sections. I’ll be posting on this shortly. I wasn’t able to find any Tory Burch shoes there and was surprised. I think they told me Tory Burch is carried in Bloomingdales instead.
After Macy’s, we went to my favorite store in the world : Yes, Sephora! I couldn’t pass up the VIB sale and I’ll be posting my haul soon as well, so please stay tuned for it. From there we went on to Victoria’s Secret flagship store. The post for the VS haul is already up. We also stopped at a few other shops such as Footlocker. All the shops were decorated for Xmas and had Xmas music playing even though, Thanksgiving isn’t passed yet. We had a really fun time, well some more than others, haha, but then I can shop all day long !
Our stomachs reminded us then that shopping really is an actual calorie burning sport so we set about finding a place to eat.
5 Boro Burger
We were just walking on when we passed this burger joint and thought let’s try this one out. We already had the trademark New York pizza, now it was high time for a taste of a New York Burger ! This restaurant is easy going with multiple screens showing sports. We had the option of dining near the street and we went with a little window shopping along with our lunch. Who doesn’t love to people watch especially when traveling ? We tried a variety of offerings from the menu from Bronx burgers, steak and cheese sandwiches to the Vegetarian Burger. They also served local beers, but I had to go for the Root beer which is impossible to find in Europe. Only downside, they didn’t have the diet kind. The toppings are elaborate and the sides selection impressive. The portions are what you expect in the USA : huge compared to European sizes haha!
All in all, it was quite good if a little on the pricey side for a hamburger place, but after all this is NYC!
We headed back the hotel to drop our purchases off, then headed out to visit the High Line.
The High Line was on the list of things I really wanted to do, because last time I was in NYC it hadn’t opened yet (it was built in 2009). I was also recommended to go by fellow travel Instagramer Rainer from Endlessxjourney. He had tweeted about it and his pics really made me want to go. You should check out his Instagram account, his photos are stunning !
It is a 1.45-mile-long (2.33 km) New York City linear park built in Manhattan on an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line. Inspired by the 3-mile (4.8-kilometer) Promenade Plantée (tree-lined walkway), a similar project in Paris completed in 1993, the High Line has been redesigned and planted as an aerial greenway and rails-to-trails park. I’ve been to and enjoyed the French Promenade Plantée and will be posting about it some time. So I was really curious to see how the NYC version would compare.
The High Line starts in Chelsea and goes all the way to the Meatpacking district. This was perfect for us. We went on foot as it was near our hotel and found it quite easily. But had to ask some kids, who were skate boarding, how to get on it. They were quite helpful and walked with us to the closest entrance which was a staircase under a bridge. The park is open from 7 am to 7 pm in the winter and till 10 pm in the summer.
This walkway is quite beautiful and gives a wonderful impression of floating above ground. You are essentially walking with skyscrapers around you so it’s very different from the Paris one where the buildings aren’t higher than 7 stories. It’s very peaceful even though you are in the heart of the city. You walk above the bustling traffic. The walkway swells and constricts following the trail tracks which have been kept most of the way. At times you follow them right through buildings! Temporary stores have popped up selling souvenirs and art in those buildings.
There are many street art sculptures along the way, some that resemble tags. Many temporary exhibits are featured during the year. A variety of plants, more than 210 species to be precise, have been placed along the walkway with signs to let strollers learn their names.
The walkway is also a lot wider than the Parisian one and at times has been designed to include terraces with lounge chairs, and even an amphitheater crossing over a busy street with a window letting people soak in the unusual views and perspectives.
I loved taking a stroll down the High Line and admiring the unique views of Manhattan.
We got down at the Meat packing district because low and behold I had spotted a Tory Burch store ! Yes, I was finally going to get my Tory Burch Caroline flats after all J! After this shopping interlude, we wandered the busy streets of this district. It actually was built on a Native American trading station called “Sapohanikan” that was on the riverbank in pre-colonial times. It’s current name though stems from the many slaughterhouses and packing plants that were housed there starting from 1900s. The Gansevoort market place was located there along with many other market places. Originally it was just an open air market but since then a building has been erected.
After walking around all afternoon the burgers had worn off and we were ready for a little snack. We walked in the Gansevoort market place, a 8000 square foot market dedicated to gourmet food and filled with small stands, food produce and eateries.
A seating and table area is off to the side and let people sit together after purchasing their food in a very laid back and cozy atmosphere. We followed Oprah’s recommendation and went with The Bruffin for our snack. It’s a hybrid between a brioche and a muffin and among Oprah’s Favorites Things in 2015 ! The concept is to be a “Meal in a Muffin” with 450 calories a pop (hum.. yes), and a variety of international influences. The French Bruffin for example has bacon, gruyere cheese and brie. We went for the sweet Bruffin and let me tell you Oprah had it right !
From the Meatpacking district we headed over to Greenwhich village. Its name comes from the Dutch Groenwijck meaning green village and was “anglicized” into Greenwhich. This neighborhood has been known as an artists’ haven but has undergone a great deal of commercialization and is now ranked among the most expensive housing. It is also the cradle of the LGBT movement.
We just walked along the streets taking in the views. This village has a quiet charm lent by the fact the streets tend to curve unexpectedly and don’t seem to conform to the NYC grid as the rest of the neighborhoods do. We admired the Jefferson Market Library which was once a court house and now houses a branch of the New York Public Library.
This restaurant / bar’s name just cracked me up ! I had to capture it on film !
A friend of mine wanted to see the famous NYU that has a campus there since the 1830s. We stopped and admired the university.
Afterwards we headed over to Washington Square Park which is the center and heart of the neighborhood. We saw chess players and families in the park. We admired the Washington Square Arch.
I left my friends in the village, as I was spending the evening with my cousins from Connecticut. I went to meet them at Grand Central Station and after yet another stop at Sephora, I know I know ! We went for an all American restaurant if not from New York : Dallas BBQ ! Our Grandfather is from Texas so it was fine by me. After pizza, a steakhouse and burgers, BBQ ribs was next on the menu!
This restaurant is about casual dining and nice atmosphere. There are screens as well for the sports fans out there with a bar. We went directly to our table we had made a reservation for. It had a been several years since I hadn’t seen my family so we were in a celebrating frame of mind ! It was cocktails for everyone ! And what crazy cocktails too ! I think I never drank such a huge cocktail : it definitely is Texas sized ! I chose a frozen apple martini since frozen drinks are hard to come by in Paris, even if you can timidly start finding some at chains like the Hard Rock Café. They are served with a shot glass in the Cocktail glass and a champagne half bottle on the side ! To even pour the champagne into the cocktail, you have to drink some of it down first. Adding the champagne causes fizzing kind of like a Bath Bomb ! You need to chug it fast or it overflows ! I decided not to pour the champagne in all at once, or I would have been drunk right off the bat !
We decided to order an appetizer for everyone and ended up sharing a mountain of fried onions : the Full sized Onion Loaf ($6.99) which Dallas BBQ claims to be the best in NYC ! Well it sure seemed the biggest at least J. We were seven and failed to finish it up.
We all enjoyed the delicious soul food. I ordered the combo : Crispy Shrimp, half rotisserie chicken and back ribs served with cornbread and French fried Idaho potatoes, and a side of fresh garden salad. Yes I needed some greenery in there ! Needless to say it was way too much and I only sampled a couple bites of each dish.
After stuffing ourselves, I went back with my cousins to Grand Central Station to let them get on the last train to Connecticut. We had such a good time laughing and catching up, it was hard saying goodbye. Thanks again for the great memories ! Come and see me soon in Paris !
Once they safely boarded their train, I cabbed it to the Airbnb rental my sister had with some girlfriends. She had landed a couple hours ago and come all the way from Las Vegas just to see me for the weekend. Needless to say I was delighted as we don’t see each other as often as we’d like. Those are the drawbacks to an international family. We chatted until it was time to go out. What else can you do on a Saturday night, right? From there we met up with a friend who drove us to Queens to go clubbing. You can’t come to New York and not explore the night scene !
Queens is the easternmost and largest in area of the five boroughs of New York City, geographically adjacent to the borough of Brooklyn at the western end of Long Island. We drove down the Queensboro bridge and I admired the night time view of the city. I was glad to drive through it since this is a part of NYC we weren’t planning on visiting with my French friends.
I hadn’t had time to change into appropriate club attire since I had been off doing touristy things all day. The friend we were with told me not to worry as he knew the people and place we were going to.
There was a huge line already in front of the club by the time we arrived. But we walked right up to the front and got in before anyone else. I wasn’t even allowed to pay anything ! The club has two main rooms, one with a rounded bar at the center with dance music, and another bigger room with the DJ on one end ,the VIP section on the other and a long bar in between alongside the wall. Once inside we headed straight off to the VIP section. It was a couple steps higher and let you have a nice view of the club and crowd. The music on this side of the club was hip hop. There were hookahs for which you could choose different flavors and even the prerequisite dancing girls on the bar top. I had a great time between dancing, drinking and goofing around.
All in all it was a blast and a really fun night. However all good things must come to an end. I knew my French friends would be off early the next morning as it would be our last day in NYC, so even though I wanted to stay with my sister the whole night long, I had to head home around 3 am, or there would be no getting out of bed for me !
To be continued…
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