Travel Check : Portland, Maine

Almost three months have passed since my trip to Portland, Maine and while I still can picture the delicious food we ate (yep and yep) and beautiful views we had (Instagram again for the win), most of the details are slowly slipping away.  To be honest, I think I’m drafting this simply so I can it to my travel list.

My friend Lauren is much better at the details and will probably have a must-see and do post published in no time, even though it took us 3 months to do so. (I’m pretty sure I had drafted an email to myself with all the bucket list restaurants and then the draft disappeared…maybe it was meant to be)

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Last October, a few friends and I decided to take a trip up to Portland, Maine to explore the outdoors and eat our hearts out.  Lindsay and I are on a “need-to-do” east coast bucket list and Portland just so happened to be one of our destinations!  Sadly we didn’t make it to Acadia National Park, so I guess that’ll have to be another trip down the road.  For now, enjoy the Top Things to Eat & See in Portland, Maine!

Explorations

  • Back Cove Running Loop (sunrise photo above): A 3.6mi loop perfect for a morning stroll or jog.  Since this trip was a week before the New York Marathon, I had about 8-10 miles scheduled and wanted to build up an appetite before our day of eats.  Lauren and I rambled around Portland, around this quasi-inlet, and back through a small farmer’s market.  Our friend Abby located a local spin studio to sweat it out, which was also an excellent find.
    • As mentioned above, we didn’t get a chance to explore the Acadia National Park and subsequently missed out on all the excellent hiking Maine has to offer.  Of course, we did walk our fair share along the streets and local shops, so we’ll call this trip a Portland-dense adventure.

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  • HOLY DONUT – A VERY popular donut shop that is centered around the Maine Potato.  Open daily 8 am and features top-notch fried confections, making millions per year! {Maine Potato, Dark Chocolate, Sweet Potato, Vegan, etc}

As you can see, we went for the full sampling selection and yes, using the bottom right picture for scale, the donut is THAT BIG.

  • Silly’s – Eclectic hole-in-the-wall place that is very vegetarian-friendly and excellent for brunch carbo-loading.  The prices are prime and the portions are even better!  Highly recommend the Berry Me In It + Eganator for a sweet and salty combination.
  • The Standard Baking Co – Breads and goods make from scratch.  There should be no other way.
  • Blake Orchard Juicery – When you are in the need of a detox from brews and baked goods.

I highly recommend taking a picnic or picking up a top-notch lobster roll {Bite Into Maine}, walking/running along the water, or just sitting and staring out into the distance.  Maybe live a little and do all of the above.

  • Where there’s a brewery (or two…or three…or four), there’s a way.  We visited three different breweries for tours and tastings and had a blast!  I’m not usually the one to booze throughout the day let alone the weekend but it was fun to uber around and sample some local (and not to mention popular) hops.

Last but not least, the Maine feature – lobster rolls or as Lauren likes to say LOBSTAH.  Here at Eventide you can find one of the top lobster rolls in town (and on Eater’s 38 Essential American Restaurants).  This place is usually packed, especially on the weekends so expect to wait.  Always smart if you decide to go at 3pm like we did or are willing to stick around or even go for a walk.  They take down your cell # and give you a text when a spot is about to open up.

Do note that these rolls are different from Long Island lobster because they are served chilled and chunky.  I personally would stick to something out of NYC but that’s just my city snobbery.

With that, another travel recap in the books.  Anything you think we missed in Maine?

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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain

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Life of Late ~ 12.23.15

So because I really like posting these little life of late posts, I’m setting mine up a couple days early.   I have been in a quasi-active posting mode, publishing posts on M/W/F and obviously a tad bit inactive the last few weeks.  Excuses, excuses, excuses.  Anyways, I figured not many people would be browsing the internet and checking on emails come Friday, so here we go.

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^^ Second annual NP_NYC Carols with double the turnout from last year!  We met at Columbus Circle, divided into teams, and then went on a scavenger hunt through midtown.

IMG_3947One of the main reasons I love the New York workouts is that every Friday locations takes you to a new part of the city.  Oh, and 9 times out of 10 you’ll be somewhere totally iconic.  Brooklyn Bridge?  Been there.  Columbus Circle? Done that.  Plus, waking up early to hang out with some of your friends?  How else would you want to start the weekend?

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Oh the joy of client events…meet the “Sleigh Belles”

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What in the world are we doing?  Well, completing a mega stair and deck-a-day workout in the WARM December night.  That’s right, New York may have just hit below the 40’s this week but in the last couple weeks, we had highs in the 60’s!  There were some days where it was warmer than Southern California in December.

IMG_3968Meet the NP_NYC Race crew.  This was from our last NYRR race of the year, the Ted Corbitt 15K in Central Park.  I signed up relatively last minute and was happy with how it went.

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Yes, I race with music.  Lately it has just been a necessity and if I could play a few of Bieber’s songs and “Lean On” on repeat, it would be a good day.  Overall, I’d say the 6.5 miles weren’t half bad.  The last few were a different story.  I still finished strong but need these next few weeks off from racing.

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With a cheer squad like this, you are bound to have a strong finish.  Just knowing you will have people waiting there screaming for you makes a WORLD of difference.  Also note that we are all in shorts and tank tops.  It was that warm in mid-December.  Hello Global Warming.

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With the last couple weeks in New York came lots of good times.  I scored four tickets to Jimmy Fallon and managed to see Tina Fey and Channing Tatum all in one day!

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Apparently they are SUPER strict on the no cell phone rule inside the waiting room.  Strict as in they mentioned it at every opportunity they could over the course of two hours.

IMG_4036IMG_4019 It may not have been your typical New York December with temperatures in the 60’s but seeing things like this on my way to the gym definitely makes up for that.  After all, we need some decoration to make the season merry and bright, right?

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^^ Another look at our mega turnout from NP Carols.  So many people were fascinated by us and were taking pictures and videos.  With our luck we will not only be in the Snapchat story but in someone’s scrapbooks. If people make those any more…

Business Insider ~ “Brothers who cofounded a $100 million company say this question their mom asked every night at dinner is what inspired their business” ~ Ask others about the good in their day rather than focusing on the bad.

I’m Begging My Mother To Not Read This Blog ~ “Fifteen Things for When the World is Shitty and Terrifying.” ~ Sorry about the language, but sometimes you have to keep things in perspective. I like the way she ends the post.  Do what you can.

Bananas for Balance ~ “An Honest Look at Body Image & Self-Talk” – Currently in the same boat and I love what she writes at the end “While I can make some exercise and nutrition changes to feel better, I also know that part of that process is loving my body for how it is today and all that it can do. End of story.

IMG_4140 ^^ When in doubt, explore what’s out there.  This was from Pho Show out in Brentwood/Los Angeles area.  So.darn.delicious.

New Yorker ~ “The Spiritual Life of the Long Distance Runner

Ideas.ted.com ~ “Why Rejection Hurts So Much – And What to Do About It” ~ I’m debating about whether to dedicate an entire post about this.  For now, here are my two cents.  Rejection hurts.  We’ve all experienced it in one form or another.  But here’s the thing – it makes us stronger and pushes us to be better.  Sure, things don’t always go your way, but as my yoga teacher said last week, that’s the point of life.  If things were always easy, life would be boring.

Great Big Story ~ “Fighting for the Starting Line: Chris Mosier’s Quest to Compete” ~ This is amazing because not only is it a part of the new CNN news platform (something my company created), but I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know Chris through November Project.  Chris is the first transgender man to make one of the male national teams and he is by far one of the toughest athletes and pushes himself and others to their best.  Please take the time – it’s 2:22 minutes – to watch.

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Meghan and I went to an ugly sweater party at a friend’s place last weekend and yes, they had a puzzle.  My sister is the queen of puzzles and so when one girl said “I don’t know if we are going to be able to finish this tonight, it’s just too complicated”, Meghan responded with “do not underestimate my powers” (points for whoever guesses where this line is from).  As you can see, it was a glorious success.  Although, there was some butthead who thought he was hot $hit and said “wow, what losers are doing a puzzle?”.  I glared at him in a nice fashion and said, my friends, and promptly went to help with the puzzle.  #rude

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With that, MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS, and see you on the other side (aka next week)

Living that Running Life ~ NYC Marathon 2015

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon,” – Kathrine Switzer (the 1st woman to run the Boston Marathon)

That quote may be used in pretty much any marathon story and running scenario, but I swear, it’s spot on.  This past Sunday was the third time I have watched a marathon, the New York City Marathon nonetheless, and it has left me inspired and often speechless.  There are people who have been runners for years and others just started.  Some people are trying to outrun their past or present and are training for a brighter future.  There are some who sign up on a whim and others who have had this as a bucket list item for years and years.  Whatever it may be, the time and effort that thousands of people put into training and the accumulation of all of this on race day is truly amazing.

This fun little article explains How New York City Made the Modern Marathon, which was started back in 1970 by Fred Lebow and travels through all five of New York’s boroughs.  Starting down in Staten Island (one of the few times you really need to go to Staten Island), the course heads over the grueling Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, passes through Brooklyn and Queens before hitting Manhattan at the sixteen-mile mark.  Once in Manhattan, runners travel up 5th ave, into the Bronx before heading back into Manhattan, down 5th ave, into Central Park and swinging up to the Tavern on the Green.

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But let’s start at the begining of the weekend.  When we left off last week, I was heading into the weekend, enjoying the sunshine, and prepping to volunteer at Sunday’s race.  On Saturday my friend Sam and I decided to check out the marathon expo at the Javitt’s Center and I’m so glad that we did.  It was stuffed to the brim with runners, families, tourists, and so.much.running gear.  There were GUs, and shoes, and backpacks, and all sorts of swag to purchase.  I was eyeing the jackets and backpacks but have a superstition about wearing something from a race that I didn’t run or haven’t raced yet.   I did end up splurging on a New Balance jacket that said “RUN NYC 2015” but it wasn’t exactly marathon connected, so I didn’t feel too bad.  After all, I have “run” in NYC during 2015.

On Saturday night, I stayed with some friends over in Brooklyn, right around mile 8 and have decided if there were to ever be another place to live (outside of Manhattan) that might be the place.  It’s so cute and quaint, and definitely emerging as a trendy part of Brooklyn – just not hipster, which I don’t exactly jive with.  We walked around and watched the trick-or-treaters, we grabbed dinner at a local German beer garden (those egg noodles…absurdly delicious), and called it a night.

Sunday morning, we were up bright and early at 5am (thank you daylight savings for that extra hour), grabbed some coffee and were off to the mile 7 water station.

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^^ Aren’t we impressive?  Gatorade and Poland Springs water cups for dayyyyyyys.  All with logos facing out of course.  

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^^ Hanging with a couple NP buddies, all dressed in glorious green ponchos.  So attractive, I know. 

Our section was extremely efficient and so we happened to have a good hour between setting up and when the elites were planning to run through.  The various waves start around 8:30am and go off in increments until the last wave at 11am.  To think that you may have gotten to Staten Island around 6:30/7 and not start running until 11! Oh I know the feeling oh too well as it happened to us in Sweden…

Anyways, watching the wheelchairs fly by and elites glide through was something else.  They don’t generally grab anything from our stations since they have their own personal hydration crews, but it’s 100% time to focus when the rest of the runners start to stampede through.  Now I have never run a marathon, but I do believe that volunteering at a race drains your energy just as much as running a race or at least a half marathon.  You are standing on your legs for hours on end, cheering people on (tip – put your name on your shirt), making sure all the runners know which beverage you are handing out (most were confused with Gatorade vs. water and so this resulted in us yelling “water” for three hours straight), and clearing the way so runners don’t trip on fallen cups.

Many of us were using the New York Marathon phone app that enables you to track up to 10 runners, see their splits, and even follow them along the route in real-time!  Having all the November Project people run through was an absolute blast and I’m so glad we got to spot a few amongst the masses.  I seriously am in such awe of all the runners and what they do and things they sacrifice to be there.  There are tears and struggles along the way, but the end result and accomplishment is beyond amazing.

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^^ Managed to see my friend Zara as she completed her first marathon! Way to go Zara!!! Goodness, the energy she had at mile 7 was amazing!  Can I smile like that in more of my races?  I always have too much of a serious look (#RBF)

Since we were towards the beginning of the race, we were able to start cleaning up relatively early in the afternoon.  This really wasn’t the most enjoyable party, but we plugged along, listening to music and checking in on our friends through the NYCM app.  Seriously – the live route tracker was SO COOL.  Creepy in a way how technology has evolved, but cool.

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^^ Energy levels through the roof (at 8am) Photo creds to Ben Gross of NP_NYC

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Once we finished, we were all pretty much famished and split off in different directions (most people heading back to lovely Manhattan) to rest, recover, inhale food, and then meet up for a celebration later that night.  Our group decided on a Whole Foods restaurant nearby, with this lovely array of items as my balanced selection.

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I am somewhat at a loss of what else to say about the marathon.  Having never run one, I don’t know the physical, mental, and emotional hurdles that you put yourself through during training and during the race.  I do know that I am so impressed by those who ran yesterday or have ever ran one and that I have a goal of running New York and proving to myself that I can do it.  For me, it’s about having a goal, living in the moment, enjoying this city that I have grown to love, as well as earning that sense of accomplishment.  I know it’s a ways away, but I’m excited to train smart, put in the miles, and join the club.  Now just remind me that I said all of this when I start to complain about aches and pains 😉

Game Set Match ~ The U.S. Open

Ah, the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, an annual summer affair for Queens New York City.  While I only played tennis recreationally as a kid (note, tennis camp, rallying with the family, and occasional matches on vacation), I didn’t know much more about the sport.  Sure, everyone knows Wimbeldon, but who knew that there were hard courts, grass courts, and even dirt courts?  Starting around 1987, the U.S. Open has been set as the fourth and last tennis match to accumulate in the Grand Slam.  Players set out to obtain this glorious title, first with the Australian Open, French Open, and then Wimbledon.

IMG_7759This glorious event is held out in one of the five New York boroughs – Queens – and right off the 7 train.  If you are lucky enough to own a car and don’t have to navigate the packed, sweaty public transport, I recommend that you do in fact drive to the event.  Sure, there’s parking to think about but since this is usually held around the last week of August and first week of September, the heat and humidity is well in full-swing.  From my perspective A/C car is looking mighty fine.

IMG_7758Like I said, the entire tournament is hosted out in Queens in Flushing Meadows, which is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Big Apple island thanks to the 7 train. The entire event lasts a couple of weeks, but prices are generally better earlier on in the tournament.  Also keep you eyes out for Groupon or other discount sites that help make the event affordable and family friendly.

IMG_7765IMG_7775IMG_7773This particular arena is packed with eating and shopping options galore.  The good ‘ol Ralph Lauren has you covered in terms of wardrobe, something particularly important with the level of humidity out there.  We were just arriving to the venue at 7pm but I’m sure if I had been there all day, I would have needed a new pair of clothes or at least a fresh shirt.

IMG_7769IMG_7770^^ Collecting t-shirts and hats has become a family hobby and makes for the perfect souvenir.  Long gone are the days where I stocked up on keychains or frivolous stuffed animals, (Not bashing on the toys, I’ve just learned that my tiny New York apartment can only handle so much love) and so onto baseball caps I go!  It’s a fun way for me to connect with my dad because the man can be quite particular about clothes and styles.  However, I know that a baseball cap (and this style in particular) is a winner!

Actually funny story about purchasing swag.  We were walking back to the 7 train after the event had ended and one friend commented “I just don’t understand why someone would spend $26-30 on a shirt or hat”.  Well, you just met one. Me.

IMG_7774As mentioned, we decided to attend the night session, which started around 7pm.  We also decided to select tickets for the opening session which meant we saw the opening ceremonies (not nearly as much of a production as the Olympics but still decent) as well as Serena and Nadal!

IMG_7778IMG_7776^^ First up, FOOD.  I was impressed by the selection of options in the food court – from shredded pork nachos to salads, salmon sandwiches to cold-pressed juice by Juice Press.  The more time you have to wander the better but we were cutting it close to show time.

The main events are housed in the 22,547-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium – named after the African American tennis player who won the men’s final of the first US Open in 1968.   Next up is the the Louis Armstrong Stadium, and Grandstand.

IMG_7779IMG_7783^^ Opening words from Mr. Mayor (hm, do you think he will ever show up to our November Project workout RIGHT OUTSIDE HIS HOUSE??) and Ms. Billie Jean King.

IMG_7786^^ Somewhat odd serenade/opening by Josh Groban and then it was time for some tennis!

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Short and easy win for Serena when her opponent Diatchenko was forced to retire due to a running injury.  It would have been nice to see her play a bit longer but we still had a couple hours left in the night to watch the men’s first round.

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IMG_7810 IMG_7811IMG_7814 IMG_7815There have been a number of awesome matches thus far, including Monday’s Murray vs. Isner match, which lasted 4 hours and 18 minutes!! I can’t even imagine playing that long or actually sitting that long! Not sure which is tougher 😉

Then, there was last night’s match with Venus vs. Serena.  Tonight we move onto more quarterfinals with Federer and Gasquet at 8pm EST.   For those sans cable, you can watch right along with ESPN3 or download the TuneIn App for your smartphone and listen as you work or maybe go to bed!  All notes and recommendations are my own finds, no endorsements…unfortunately.

IMG_2121“Champions keep playing until they get it right” – Billie Jean King

welcome to 24

another day and another year older.  it’s safe to say this could be the best birthday to date or at least that i remember.  i will have spent my morning at two november project workouts — doing what i love with people who make me smile.  i will be celebrating with friends all week and am off to explore scandinavia in just under two weeks.  i have learned to live in the moment and deal with stress and disappointment.  i have been fortunate to have such a close and supportive family and am finally learning what it means to have confidence in myself.  my favorite phrase of late — “you do you”.

with that, here’s my list of things to do and focus on in the year to come

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1. start the day with something that i’m grateful for
2. invest in the relationships that matter
3. take a solo trip
4. ride a segway
5. get involved with a charity
6. travel somewhere that i have never been
7. learn to ask for help
8.  wear sunscreen and moisturizer every day
9. enjoy being single
10. meditate (mindfulness) for 10 min/day for 1 month
11. spend more time living in the moment and less time worrying
12. learn to poach an egg
13. run a speedy half marathon…push for sub 1:40
14. send one piece of snail mail a month
15. try a month of the whole 30 eating plan
16. go an entire weekend without technology (at least phone/computer)
17. sign up for my first marathon
18. be genuine and happy for others
19. take a vacation with my best friends (or two)
20. complete 20 acts of kindness
21. learn to make a souffle
22. run 2 more half marathons (continue my goal of 1 in every state…CA and NY check!)
23. make my blog self hosted
24. do what i love and love what i do

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“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” – Dr. Seuss

NYC Summer Discoveries Part 1

When you live in a city, it’s not uncommon to wander the streets and stumble across shops and eateries you have never heard of.  Of course there are also places you seek out just because everyone else is talking about them.   I’ve made it my goal to merge my identity as a tourist with becoming a full-fledged NYC local.  Let’s give it a whirl.

~ Summer 2014 ~

Happy Bones
394 Broome St, New York, NY 10013
Mon – Fri / 7:30am – 7pm. Sat – Sun / 8am – 7pm

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Certainly worth the splurge for a strong latte (iced latte in the warmer months).  Since I did indeed visit on a summer morning, it was not ideal temperature to order a Flat White.  I’ll just have to make my way back when the leaves start to change.

IMG_5683A walk through Central Park.  This could be done all day every day.  You have the SE corner by the Fairmont Plaza and the Central Park Zoo, a corner that is inhabited by countless tourists.  The farther you edge into the park is where all the action and beauty really is at. From the Boathouse to the Alice in Wonderland Statue and every trail, baseball field, and playground in between.

The Highline
Around 23rd and 10th Avenue
~ Walking ~ Running ~ Eating ~ People Watching ~ Relaxing ~

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My friend Laura and I usually hit this spot around 7am when there is practically no one around.  I actually prefer the peace and quiet of the place during this time over the hustle and bustle of tourists.  Not only is it quiet, but it’s quite difficult to run when there are that many people around.  However, the benefit to arriving later in the day is that there are pop-up eateries such as Blue Bottle Coffee and People’s Pop’s.

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Once finished with your shaved ice or gourmet fresh fruit popsicle, head out to the west side highway and walk along the Hudson.  There’s one pier, closer to Battery Park, that offers a free half hour of kayaking in the Hudson!

IMG_5717 On a warm afternoon, this is the perfect place to run, walk, bike, and even sunbathe. (Can you tell I’m really into the running and walking?) There are patches of grass to sit on, tennis courts to use, jungle gyms, and even a golf driving range.

IMG_5715Within an hour we have seen the Freedom Tower and dropped into the 9/11 Memorial to pay our respects.   This must have been the 3rd or 4th time since I have seen the memorials and I still am in awe every time.  This time however, the surrounding barriers had been lowered and we were able to enter the grounds without the long lines or obtaining tickets ahead of time.  I have yet to see the museum itself, but need a solid 3-4 hours to do so.

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Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

Ready for a snack or maybe even dinner?  Momofuku Noodle Bar is one of my favorite touristy places in the East Village.  I’ve bounced between the momofuku ramen {pork belly, pork shoulder, poached egg} and chilled spicy noodles {sichuan sausage, spinach, cashews}.  No joke, you better be ready for your mouth to light on fire.

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Take a walk or subway ride up to Bryant Park for some Thursday night yoga, a movie in the park on Monday, or simply a casual game with your friends.

IMG_5730The game section is located on the south end of the park (closer to Le Pain) and they have pretty much every childhood game you could imagine!  We found ourselves thoroughly entertained by Scattergories for almost 2 hours!

By then, it is probably late afternoon or early evening.  If you are interested in gelato, check out the Talenti pop-up shop at Bryant Park.  However, for a more authentic New York experience, take a trip back down to SOHO and check out Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream.

Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream
2 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

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It’s almost like a mini-trip down memory lane (if I lived during the time of soda shops and creameries).  I’ll certainly have to invest in a large sundae, maybe even the “Good Morning Vietnam” in honor of the wonderful Robin Williams.  But really, the name of a product is often the most crucial selling point (right behind the ingredients) and they seem to have it all figured out.

With that, it’s time for bed or another walk about town to check out the night life 🙂

“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” ― Tom Wolfe