Weekending the NY Holiday Way

Welcome back to a lovely Monday morning.  Looks like this was my last full weekend in the city for 2014.  Hard to believe but by the time I fly back after the holidays, it’ll practically be the new year.   I actually lucked out this past weekend because I had a four days off thanks to my works awesome paid vacation schedule.  I had two more days to use or lose so Merry Christmas to me.  Sure, I could have jet-setted on a trip up or down the coast, but sometimes sitting back and soaking up your own city can be just as nice.

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On Friday, I woke up early to attend the special selection November Project location – Borough Hall – out in Brooklyn.  After a quick workout, breakfast with some NP folks, I decided to jog my way back into Manhattan.  Now, how’s this for a picturesque view?  There’s only one other time that I saw the bridge this empty and boy was it a treat to just glide over rather than elbowing my way through tourists.

IMG_7530I thought it would be nice to walk through the city and see all the festive decorations and lights.  Walking through Macy’s, Bryant Park, and 5th Avenue, may have made me regret this decision.  But, in the spirit of the holiday, it was fun to see all the shiny and sparkly decorations.

IMG_7543^^ How’s this for some patriotic cheer?  You go Bryant Park!

IMG_7546 Do not be fooled by this picture.  I swear everyone and their mother (no really, lots of families out there) was trying to get the most artsy angle. I also think that every tourist in the city had made their way to Rock Center because it was a gridlock from every direction.  In the 13-14 months that I have lived here, I don’t think I have ever seen that many people in one spot.  Ever.

IMG_7549 Lindsay’s family was in town this weekend and were kind enough to let me tag along to a few dinners and Sunday brunch. They are quite the foodies and love Mario Batali, so snagging a reservation at Babbo was practically a dream come true.  (Lindsay actually went in person to make the reservation a month ago!)

Babbo
110 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10011
212.777.0303

The meal itself was honestly divine.  I normally enjoy narrating through pictures, but sadly the lighting didn’t allow for a full meal recap.  So, we’ll go old-school with a little written narration with some help from the Babbo menu.

We each started out with a special cocktail (spiced rum for myself) and a hearty slice of sourdough bread.   For the main meal, I ordered the beef carpaccio with white truffle sauce and arugula.  Apparently this is more of an appetizer, so a side of brussels sprouts and pancetta helped fill me up.  All of the portions are relatively small (at least on the American standards), so while we were quite full, we were able to manage a tiny bit of dessert.

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^^ What a festive looking sight.  Only a few hours earlier, this park was filled with hundreds of people protesting.  Fascinating how the city can change in a blink of an eye (or maybe just a couple of hours and 10 degrees)

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On Sunday, I decided to wake up and go swimming at my local gym before meeting Lindsay and crew at the Boathouse for brunch.  This lovely shot above is how I like the streets to look.  None of that jam-packed tourist action.  Dream on Kaitlin, dream on.

IMG_7558 Doesn’t it just look darling?  We arrived around 9am on the dot for the 9:30 opening.  While there were quite a few dog owners sipping their coffee out front, there weren’t too many waiting in line for the dining room.  We practically waltzed right in when the doors opened and were seated right in front of the water.

IMG_7561 ^^ One can never go wrong with the eggs florentine.  I even asked for a side of jam (typical of me and my love for condiments) and was presented with a trio of sweet options.  Lesson – all you have to do is ask. 🙂

IMG_7564 From there, we walked north to visit the Guggenheim and the current Zero exhibit.  No real explanation here as I’m not quite sure how to interpret modern art.  While I don’t really enjoy abstract art fan (no offense or digs to those who are – it’s just not my cup of tea), I did thoroughly enjoy the architecture.  Actually, I happen to be reading a book about Frank Lloyd Wright (and his affairs  but besides the point), so it’s also a bit thematic, don’t you agree?

Back to the apartment for some rest and relaxation, food prep for the week, and packing for home; all while watching “White Christmas”. Hope everyone has a fabulous Monday and rest of the week.  Power on!

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NYC Summer Discoveries Part 2

After drafting and posting part 1 of my marvelous NYC Summer Adventures, I realized there was no turning back and a part 2 was absolutely necessary.  Goodness knows there is enough in the city to fill my time and the space on my camera.

Brunch  @ Freeman’s 

In New York, we like to brunch.  It’s not as much of a meal as it is an activity or an art form. When you ask people what their plans for the weekend are, they generally will be brunching on Saturday or Sunday or maybe even both days.  Having been here for almost a year, one would think I would know where to go around the city.  Well, it is true that I’ve walked pretty much every street in Manhattan, yet I don’t always go out to eat.  That being said, I’ve drafted a list of restaurants to hit up, hopefully over the span of my stay in NYC.

Freeman’s was a recommendation from my manager and oh such a goodie.  It’s hidden between Bowery and Chrystie and opens around 10.  I highly recommend getting there on the early side because once the clock strikes 11, be prepared to wait for your seat.

The interior is quite quaint, or rather on the hipster side of decorating.  As always, I wavered between savory and sweet for my breakfast (brunch) entree and ended up with the skillet eggs (eggs, bacon, spinach, and Gruyere).  Oh how absolutely delicious it was!  No regrets indeed.

Freemans BrunchFreemans
191 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002
(Off Rivington btwn Bowery & Chrystie)
www.freemansrestaurant.com/

If you have brunched properly, you will be absolutely stuffed and in dire need of a walk.  Take a stroll heading north and soon you will find yourself immersed in Washington Square Park.  From those soaking up the sun to dueling jazz bands, it’s quite a sight.

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Washington Square Park
(~Avenue of the Americas/4th & NYU’s main campus)

One of the 1,900 public parks in the city and located in Greenwich village.  It’s most known for the Washington Arch (1892), where people come to gather and celebrate nonconformity.

IMG_5722If it’s a rather warm day, you might be able to sit and rest as you soak your feet in the fountain.  No swimming allowed, although I did spot a few kids trying to break or twist the rules on that one. Not sure I would want to know what was in the water but that’s just me…

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Now I know this isn’t the most strategic of itineraries since I’ll have you take the subway up to the Upper East Side, so these are just ideas of places to visit 🙂 Also, if you happen to live in the city and have an unlimited pass, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Off to the Guggenheim Museum for a bit of art and cultural education.  If for nothing else, check out the amazing architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Guggenheim Museum 
1071 5th Ave (5th Ave btwn 88th and 89th)
Hours: 10am-5:45 (Sat until 7:45) & Thursday closed

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The Guggenheim ~ Home to some of the finest art around (next to the Met of course).  From Impressionist to Post-Impressionist, early Modern to contemporary art, the Guggenheim seems to have it all.

Of course, as I mentioned above, if you only see the exterior and interior of the building, you’ve been enlightened by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright’s talent.

IMG_5691So on to more food.  Pick a restaurant, any restaurant.  Maybe even arrive during one of the two Restaurant Weeks.  There you can indulge in a three course meal at some of the best spots in town without breaking the bank!

What marvelous things have you been up to?