My first solo trip…I decided to go big. I thought I would take on New York City. I thought a few years of living in Chicago was the preparation I needed and I was ready. I was going to have my Carrie Bradshaw and Holly Golightly moments mixed in with a little of my own style. And I was right, it was sensational!
I decided to use my Delta miles to upgrade to first class. For some reason it seemed appropriate to arrive in a glamours, high powered city like NYC this way. I arrived early in the morning to what was Pride Day in New York. What an awesome way to be welcomed to such a vibrant city. The parade was wrapping up but the streets and sidewalks were packed with supporters and very few protestors. The people watching was fantastic! There was music, dancing, celebration, and laughter every where. Traffic was a hot mess, which my cab driver was very upset about, but the energy of the city was good. It was too early to check into my hotel so I dropped off the luggage and started to walk.
Not far into my walk, I found myself a little Irish pub. I am Irish and friendly so I figured this place would be too. Most of the time when I travel, I don’t necessarily have a “pre-plan itinerary”, I like to wander around a bit, talk to the locals and get a feel for things. What I didn’t realize was that I was walking into a legendary bar, PJ’s Carney’s http://www.pjcarneys.com. Sitting at the bar, I was informed by regulars that this was a place that New York legends would hang out in “back in the day”. I am sure I seemed like Dorthy from Kansas with some of my questions but what I learned about New Yorkers is that they LOVE to tell you what they know and they are proud of their city. After a quick bit to eat and my briefing on the city…I headed out.
Another thing you should know about me…I lack the ability to read a map, I still try sometimes but I usually get it wrong. So when I stepped out of the doors of PJ’s, I just decided to go straight. And yes, I know New York is on ” a grid” but honestly that doesn’t mean much to me. I know I was on 57th, because my hotel was at 57th and Lexington which I felt like was an important fact to remember. It wasn’t long before I was upon 5th Ave. There I spotted… The Plaza http://www.theplazahotel.grandluxuryhotels.com which immediately made me thing of the book “Eloise at the Plaza” so I has to stop in. After exploring this fabulous hotel and grabbing a cappuccino, I headed towards Central Park. It was a beautiful summer day so the park was active. I am sure I stood out as a tourist…with a big smile on my face and pep in my step..I could have broke out in song at any moment. Still didn’t have a destination in mind but kept walking until I emerge and saw this…the MET. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art!
My first thought, I bet they have an amazing gift shop!http://www.storemet.museum.org I bought a ticket and began to explore the beautiful halls of art, sculptures, and displays. I was also intrigued by the number of artists that were there actively drawing. I listened in on a few conversations they were having and was fascinated by their observations, their theories, and knowledge. I saw beautiful works of art from Rembrandt, Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh and so many others. I was feeling quiet cultured now. I didn’t take in any of the traveling exhibits but I was right about the gift shop…it was pretty amazing. I even found a book about the “Things to do in New York” that I purchased to help me navigate the rest of my weekend.
The afternoon was wrapping up and I had dinner reservations at a place that was listed on the “Sex in the City” guide to NY. The restaurant is located in the village and was featured in an episode of the HBO series, Il Cantorini http://www.ilcantinori.com. Wow, did I make the right pick! I was seated out side by a handsome Italian waiter. It was a perfect warm summer night and there was a lot of activity on the street. Inside was even more interesting with birthday and anniversary celebrations. The restaurant was filled with large bouquets of fresh flowers, you could hear beautiful Italian music playing in the background and the sound of laughter coming from tables of families, couples, and friends, all there to enjoy the evening. The service was top notch. I expected to be overlooked as a solo diner but the manager came over at one point to chat as well as the sommelier, who picked out a delicious Nebbiolo for me to enjoy. People say New Yorker’s aren’t friendly but I haven’t found that to be the case. They can be direct, but I appreciate that. They can be sarcastic but I find that to be entertaining. That evening I met some wonderful ladies from Long Island that were in the city for a play, a couple from the Netherlands , and a family from somewhere in Ohio. After a wonderful dinner of a summer pasta with chicken, I said good-bye to my new friends and headed back to the hotel.
My first day alone in the big city had been even better than I expected. I was excited for the next morning as I had some great plans in store for the day. Stayed tuned for the adventures of day 2. Hint: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Bono, and the Berlin Wall.