What a wonderful, emotional, nostalgic, much-needed week in NYC. I saw and did so much more (and so much less) than I planned. It felt like home again and it felt like a foreign place, all at the same time. I laughed, ate, cried, ran, drank, walked (and walked and walked), reminisced and explored. The city also happened to have the craziest weather patterns while I was there – one day it was pouring rain, the next it was nearly 70 degrees and sunny, followed by a blizzard that shut the city down. It was like experiencing all seasons at once.
On Monday when I got into the city, I met my friend Jenny for a late lunch at the vegan restaurant Peace Food. It was filling and delicious and just right after traveling.
We wandered about the Upper West Side for a little while, which brought back so many memories. I lived in that neighborhood when I was in my early 20’s, working at MoMA, and then again after I was first married. We walked past old apartments and cafes and bars that were old haunts. New York is notorious for having new businesses and buildings on every corner as soon as you blink, so it’s special to see places you remember loving from 15 years ago still thriving.
That night, Jenny and I hung out with our hosts in Brooklyn for the week – my lovely friends and former clients Martha and Alison – ate takeout Thai and drank too much wine. The next morning Jenny made me a bowl of the best oatmeal I’ve ever had – with turmeric and apples and berries and almond milk and I think some magic. We enjoyed the amazing view from the apartment with some delicious, delicious Stumptown coffee.
Then I headed into the city on the subway, got off downtown and walked around Greenwich Village and the West Village for an hour or so. It was raining, but I had an umbrella and I was just enjoying soaking in the pace and sounds and energy of the city.
I met my lovely friend and fellow blogger Nellie for lunch, at The Grey Dog in Chelsea. That’s an old favorite cafe of mine from back when I worked at Equinox on Greenwich Ave and I had a delicious rice and beans bowl while we caught up.
I love talking with Nellie because she’s honest and open and real. We discussed what life was like for each of us, motherhood, careers and life in general. She supported me, I supported her and we left each other so happy we were able to connect while I was in the city!
That night was my old book club, filled with fierce, fabulous women, delicious NYC pizza from Patsy’s, wine and passionate discussion. The book we read was political (Dark Money – The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right) so as well as discussing the book, we talked about ALL of what’s going on in our world right now. I took no photos – such a bad blogger – but I enjoyed every moment.
On Wednesday, New York surprised us with bright, sunshiny skies, and temperatures rising to almost 70 degrees by early afternoon. Jenny and I walked to Prospect Park, then went for a run. This was the number one thing I wanted to do when I was back in Brooklyn and I was so grateful to Mother Nature for giving me literally the most spectacular running weather for early February.
But ten minutes into the run, I burst into tears. I was so overwhelmed with all the feelings being back in the city was dredging up and being in what is one of my favorite places on earth made them all come to the surface. Like all the best running buddies, Jenny just let me cry and get it all out, then talked me through what I was feeling.
After our run Jenny went to meet a friend and I took a walk through the park, then checked out my old neighborhood. I walked down my old block, saw our old apartment, was shocked to see my favorite restaurant was closed, window shopped in my old favorite stores.
Then I went and met Christine for coffee in our old spot – I miss her and our coffee dates and long conversations!
More walking, then dinner that night with my dear friend (and past client) Maggie, one of my smartest and most uplifting friends. We met up in Prospect Heights, at a restaurant called The Vanderbilt. The service was great and the food was delicious – I think Maggie was happy her former trainer ordered a burger, ha ha.
Also, this cocktail list – I was so tempted to get the one called Leonardo DiCaprio Fighting a Bear.
As is totally normal after summery weather, the next day brought a blizzard. I still traipsed in to the city to meet my friend Emma for lunch at a cute cafe called Mulberry and Vine, in TriBeCa. Lots of super healthy and delicious foods, where you choose your protein and vegetables from a huge selection. It was so good I had finished it all when I realized I’d forgotten to take a photo again, oops!
My last night in the city was up in the air for a while…my best girlfriend Maggie has just moved out of the city and was stuck in the snowstorm. Somehow, by sheer willpower I suspect, she managed to get in and we met our friend Jeff at the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Terminal for a drink. We wandered the Terminal and Jeff told us about the history of the building. Something you may not know is that the spectacular ceiling artwork of the constellations was accidentally painted as a “God’s-eye view” – as if you were looking at the sky from above.
I never get tired of this place, it’s truly one of the most beautiful buildings and interiors in the city. And we tried out a New York secret…there’s a spot in the building where there is a small vestibule with four corners. When you stand in one, facing the corner and there is someone in the corner diagonal from you, you can whisper and the other person will hear you as if you’re speaking into their ear.
We ate burgers and dogs at Shake Shack downstairs, then went up to one of the balconies to grab an after-dinner cocktail at Michael Jordan’s The Steakhouse. Maggie and Jeff are two of my oldest New York friends – I’m so grateful I had the chance to spend some time with them, crying laughing at old stories and old times.
Jenny came to meet us for a last drink, then she and I traipsed home on the subway, during which trip I texted Christine to tell her I was pretty sure taking her sunrise yoga class in the morning was going to be a no-show for me. No one was more surprised than me when I dragged my butt out of bed at 6:30 the next morning and spent a glorious hour at Bend and Bloom studio in Brooklyn, taking Christine’s fantastic class, followed by coffee at Konditori.
The rest of my morning was coffee and the New York Times and relaxing until it was time for me to farewell my friends and the city. I couldn’t wait to see my two littles again, I missed their snuggles and love.
It’s been nearly a year and a half since I moved from New York to Burlington, VT. I think I definitely needed a good chunk of time before going back to visit – I was removed just long enough that I could enjoy the city and catching up with my friends without feeling as if I needed to move back. It was still nostalgic. Anyone who has lived in NYC for an extended period knows it gets under your skin and into your blood. Once you’re a New Yorker, it never really goes away.
Goodbye New York! See you again soon! 🙂