As you know, I did a whirlwind tour of New York City recently, and while the main goal was to visit graduate programs, I also snuck in a few good eats and neighborhood tours.
Let’s preface this with I am a very tactile person and in terms of graduate programs I want to know I will vibe with the city, the people, the cultures that surrounds me. I’ve been to NYC as a child, and I remember the sights and smell of the Big Apple, the City That Never Sleeps, New York, New York; but that was as a tourist, this time I went with the prospect of finding a place I could call home.
Day One: Manhattan Exploring
Let me tell you, red eye flights are effective, but not my first choice. However, walking through the Chelsea flower market as it opened was the best sight my tired eyes could see. I think if I lived in NYC I would visit the flower market and gather as many as I could fit in my arms to liven up my place. From branches covered in buds and leaves, to the smallest of daisies and mums, it was a cacophony of colors and smells that welcomed me. Now, when I chose a hotel it was proximity to a subway and the nearness to the program I was looking at, but The Moxy in Chelsea was beyond my wildest dreams. Outside the front lobby is the flower market in all of its glory, and inside is a hip and trendy hotel that feels like a home away from home. Dubbed a millennial-oriented hotel, I have to say I can see why. The rooms are smaller than normal with fold up tables and chairs to make the most of the space, but for a single traveler, it was more than enough. Did I tell you about the view? Because the moment I walked in I could hear “Welcome to New York” playing on loop in my head. To say it was jaw dropping is an understatement. The rooftop bar also has spectacular views of the Empire State Building and NYC skyline.
I could bore you with how I spent my day visiting the program, but that’s not what you’re here for. I had the most amazing ramen of my life at Momofuku Noodle Bar. For the record, I love ramen and this was a Must Stop on my list— I was not disappointed. The smoked pork ramen and the pork belly bun were to die for. I have never had such silky ramen in my life, and the egg was barely cooked, sitting there like a yellow bit of sunshine in a bowl of smoky happiness. After that I just wandered through NoHo and Stuyvesant Town until I made a stop in the East Village at Lovers of Today, by recommendation of a friend. The Waterloo Sunset is a chamomile infused bourbon and something that I have never seen the likes of elsewhere. After a day like that, I was more than ready to sleep and dream of what tomorrow held in store.
Day Two: a Girl in Brooklyn
Day two was spent wandering Brooklyn in all of it boroughs and neighborhoods. Starting in Williamsburg with breakfast I set out to explore the neighborhoods everyone said I would enjoy. While I walked through the streets, and had a few more lattes, I found myself gazing over my shoulder at the city, the high rises, the dreams that splash in vibrant orange, red and blue. From Williamsburg to East Williamsburg to Green Pointe I found myself feeling more as if I were back in Los Angeles and less like I was in New York, so it was time to change things up. Catching a subway, I went to the next stop on my list: Carroll Gardens. You know me and coffee are a thing, right? Well the first stop was an uber cute coffee shop called Smith Canteen, and once fueled up, I set out. The thing about walking is you get to see it all: the feel of the city, of the neighborhood, the people, the vibe; and that was what I was there for. I had my first Milk cookie (YUM) and explored Brooklyn Heights quickly before making my way back to a school event (the main reason I was there).
Day Three: From Mid-town to Hobbiton
The final day was somber, and cold. This California girl came as prepared as she could but there’s nothing quite like brisk weather to tell you otherwise. A quick stroll through Murray Hill and I found myself in need of some warmth and what better than coffee? Luck would have it I found Felix Roasters a block up, and had the most extravagant latte I’ve set eyes on. Now, when they said a s’more latte, I hadn’t counted on Belgium chocolate, a handcrafted marshmallow, oh and a cloche full of hickory smoke that infused the milk and marshmallow with all the campfire taste I love. If I didn’t feel like a child then I sure did as I entered the Tolkien exhibit at The Morgan Library and Museum. For the sake of length I will do a full post on the exhibit later, but I can say it was everything I ever dreamed of. To finish of my foodie adventure of NYC I couldn’t leave without hitting one Iron Chef, Morimoto’s Momosan Ramen and Sake. This ramen was everything I need on a rainy day with a long flight ahead of me; it was like having a bowl of home goodness that left you warmed to your bones for hours.
While I never did get to have Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I did come and leave without regrets. As for if this could be my home for the next few years, you’ll have to wait and see.
Until next time, Cheers!