I stayed in my hotel room until midday. My feet hurt. I needed to paint my nails, sort out my luggage, get myself re-centered. And to be honest, I just needed a sleep in. New York is so ever-bustling and busy, it was nice to sit 13 floors above it all in the quiet and recharge. There is a lot to do here, but I am not sure I could live here. Those that do seem busy, unhappy, and often stuck.
I am used to dancing in the street, smiles and laughter, and singing tram conductors. Today I was walking along Broadway, listening to Daylight by Matt and Kim, smiling and dancing a little when I stopped at the traffic lights. People actually looked at me grumpily. Why are you happy? They seemed to be thinking. I don’t know, maybe I just have a too pessimistic view of this city.
At noon I checked out, turned over my bags to luggage storage and set out to SoHo. I had four destinations today, first was the High Line Urban Park. Last time I was in New York this park was in planning stage, and I had always wanted to visit New York again so I could go here. The city turned an abandoned high rise train line into an urban park high above street level, spanning 1 mile (1.6 kms). It was a super sunny day, and the sunlight reflected off the piles of snow to blind those walking the paths. I can imagine this would be beautiful in summer, but in winter it was still nice to walk so high above the city – the air almost seemed cleaner there.
For my first of many meals today, I head over to Soho. I had a 40 minute wait for my brunch restaurant, so I walked up Big Gay Ice Cream to try one of their famous soft serve cones while I was waiting.
I went for the Salty Pimp as featured on The Best Thing I Ever Ate: soft serve piped with dulce de leche, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt.
A little after I got my ice cream, I got a text that my table at Clinton St Baking Company was ready – so I proceeded to devour the cone at high speed. With a rumoured five hour wait on weekends to sample Clinton St’s pancakes, which many claim to be the ‘best in the world’, I had high expectations. And let me tell you, they lived up to it. The pancakes were so fluffy, the maple butter perfectly sweet, and the wild Maine blueberries a great textural contrast. They were, if not the best pancakes I have ever had, the best that I remember.
Next up was a wander over to Rice and Riches, a specialty rice pudding store, decked out with ridiculous slogans, but filled with delicious flavours like banana coconut, french toast, cheesecake…
I went for the coconut, and all are served in plastic lunch box style bowls with leak proof lids that can be reused. Now I have a souvenir lunch box! Though the spoon isn’t much use for anything but rice pudding… I am ok with rice pudding for every meal though..
Finally it was time to go pick up my luggage and leave Manhattan – I am spending the next two days in Brooklyn, which I have heard is a little more hip and nicer to be in. Goodbye tourist scene! It’s been nice, but I am glad to leave. On the way walking back uptown, I stumbled across this – look familiar?? The famous Katz’s.
I took the subway out to southern Brooklyn, the chinatown area. I am couchsurfing with a lovely guy called Leon from SUNY who is another creative type. We went out to dinner to a local place, a Malaysian restaurant called Nyonya. It ended up being a Zagat rated place – and after a few months devoid of Malaysian food I was so glad to be getting back to my roti canai and curry laksa.
When we sat down Leon said ‘Are you seeing what I am seeing?’
White girl gets a fork. Sigh.