May 16, 2015 in 101 Things To Do List, Life (General)

NYC Adventures: So much to do, so little time…

One World Trade Center

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I was very busy this weekend. Because of work, I was able to take a trip out east to visit a friend in NJ while also taking a training course. So that’s 1 out of 2 for #7, the visiting two friends that live outside of WA list item. Technically I did also visit/meet my Ari Hest friend, Shannon but I feel like it needs to be two separate trips to really count. I may change my mind but for now that’s what I am going with.

I arrived around midnight in Newark, and caught a “Taxi”. My friend told me about Union Taxi and said they may seem a little sketchy but were legit and she had taken them before. Plus it would save me money. So I decided to give it a try. I called them and they said they would be there in a bit, they took all the info for where I was. Terminal and door number. I didn’t know what the car would look like so I had to call back just so I would be prepared. I walked outside and it was freezing! I told my friend it felt like it was 30 degrees and it turned out that it was, well it was 39 but still! Thats in the 30s!!! So cold.

It took a bit of time, but the Union taxi guy finally showed up and got my stuff. It cost me $30 to get to Jenny’s and surprisingly I remembered that their apartment was closer to the back entrance so I led the taxi guy to the back entrance. Unfortunately, Jenny thought I was in the front so after that little miscommunication was taken care of we hugged and went to her apartment to bring my stuff up and to say hi to her fiancé Ron. They are my favorite couple. Every time I go to NJ they take me out and show me around. Best hosts ever. Anyways, we talked for a couple of hours and then finally went to sleep because we were going to start he day out early…which ended up being around 10 or 11. I mean, that’s kind of early, right?

We got to NYC and were famished so instead of heading straight to the 9/11 Memorial we stopped to get a quick bite. I usually stay away from anything flour based as well as dairy but options were low and I didn’t want to be a pain. I figured as long as my stomach held out we were okay, so one piece of pizza later we were on out way.

A random guy paid for Ron’s subway ride when we ran out of money on the metro cards. He saw us trying to figure out the situation since we were already on the other side of the turnstile. The guy just turned around and walked to the turnstile that Ron was at and handed him is card to use. Ron tried to give him some cash but he wouldn’t take it. What a nice guy, right? We didn’t get his name but he was carrying a video camera bag and a tripod. We said thank you and continued on to our train.

We got a little lost when we got out because the map that we had picked up was confusing and I think Ron’s phone was also giving weird directions (Jenny was our navigator and she forgot her phone so we were relying on a real, honest to goodness paper map as well as Ron’s iPhone). I think because of all the buildings downtown we were getting interference. While Ron and Jenny were figuring it out I saw this red shiny thing in a plaza. I walked towards it and it turned out it was a sculpture. It looked like a balloon sculpture. This began the start of my random street art findings.

Balloon Art Sculpture

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Near the 9/11 Memorial and One World Trade Center

After I snapped a quick pic we followed the signs (yeah, there were signs…oops hahaha) to the 9/11 Memorial. The North reflecting pool didn’t have the cascading waterfalls turned on due to wind but we spent some time there just taking in the moment. We took a few pictures then went to see the South pool. This one had the waterfalls turned on. It was peaceful hearing the water rush over the side and down to the bottom. There were a few names with roses placed inside them at both pools.

Jenny took a picture of me in front of the south pool with the One World Trade Center in the background. It was a weird moment. I’m used to smiling for photos, but it seemed inappropriate to smile in a picture here so I kept a straight face. I never realized how odd that was for me to do. I’m so used to smiling in photos and in general. Smiling through the pain and sadness. I keep a mask of happiness on my face at all times for the most part. It’s difficult for others to tell when I’m having a bad day, or they may see if for a bit but as soon as I realize it then I put on my happy face. So, like I said. This was weird and difficult. But I digress. We moved on shortly after we walked around the full pool touching names and looking down into the water.

We were supposed to meet Ron’s cousin for lunch at Cafe Cabana but her and her friend went back to the hotel so we went to Cafe Habana alone. The wait was about a half hour, they said that was actually short. I guess usually its over an hour. The place is really small, most people get take out and just eat at home or one the sidewalk. I know this, because I asked. In the mean time, we noticed this fantastic mural across the street. We went over to it and took some pictures. Jenny did a yoga pose as Ron and I took her picture. I just took a normal “standing in front a rad mural” photo (I took a couple yoga pose pictures before we left. One in warrior post and one in tree pose). We took a selfie on Ron’s phone and then just hung out for a bit.

It turns out that the location setting on my phone tells the neighborhood name as well as city, so we found out we were in the NoLita neighborhood. Ron and Jenny didn’t know that it was called that so we all learned something that day.  During the wait I also had a guy ride past me, eating a sandwhich on his skateboard. Multitasking. Its a thing here in NYC. Took pics of the neighborhood including a few more selfies and then Jenny went to find out about the wait and as the magic of going in to check on something took place, they called our name.

Cafe Habana ( is this great little cuban-mexican restaurant. They had eaten there a few times, but this was my first time. Jenny asked if I liked corn because they had a corn dish that had cheese and a little spice on it. I assumed it was a corn cake or something similar, turns out it is corn on the cob with this crumbly cheese and spicy spice mix.  I was not disappointed, it was so tasty. We also ordered Chilaquiles Verdes con Pollo, Baja Style Fish Tacos, and a round of drinks. We shared everything, well…almost everything.  We drank our own drinks but we gave sips so everyone could try.

After lunch Ron kept trying to sort out a plan to meet up with his cousin. We decided to meet at Central Park but we had some time before meeting them so we took a little detour to stop and check out shoes for Ron and then to buy me some fancy pants for the training thing I was going to (you know, the work thing…the official reason I was actually there.) After we left the shoe store (Premium Laces) on Spring Street, we were passing what looked like a beauty story. You know, soaps and lotions and etc. This guy tried to give me a sample and said it came with a high-five. As we walked away I heard him say “No high-five?” and sounded so disappointed that I went back for the high-five, but left the sample. Can’t leave a guy hanging, right?…

So…Central Park. I always wanted to go there. I had been to NYC so many time but it just hadn’t worked out. It was going to work out today, it was most definitely on the list for the day. Central Park is beautiful. B-E-A-U-tiful. Everything smelled so fresh and was very green. Spring was definitely there. We only had an hour or so until the sun would go down so we meandered towards one of the fields. Of course we made a couple of stops to take pictures and people watch but ultimately we ended up at the first field. Don’t ask me what it was called, I couldn’t tell you and it was not important. What is important was that it was warm and the sun was shining and a guy selling mojitos came around. That’s right…MOJITOS. You don’t see that in Seattle. At least I haven’t.

When we heard him calling out Ron said “Did that guy just say mojitos?”. I told him he was imagining it. We all listened and Jenny and I tried to justify his wares saying he probably said burritos or churritos or.. well…anything else. Anything but mojitos. But it turned out it was mojitos. He came closer to us and I think he saw Ron and I look. I’m sure we had different looks though, mine probably a look of confusion and Ron’s a look of “give me those mojitos”.

In any case, he stopped by. We turned him down initially because…well…that just seemed weird but then he started to leave and Ron asked how much they cost. They were $7 each or 4 for $20 and looked like kids fruit drinks from the days of old. We must have looked hesitant because he told us he was having a good day so he would give us them for $5 instead of $7. 3 for $15. Basically the same as the 4 for $20 rate without having to buy 4. He also kept telling us to could Google him.  Google “Central Park mojito man”. So I did and he has a Facebook. The dude selling liquor in mojito form in the park has a Facebook page. I mean, that makes him totally legit… except not. Still, we bought the mojitos and they were fantastic! And strong. haha There was definitely liquor in those drinks, along with fresh mint.

A group of people (maybe 5 people, mix of boys and girls) came up to us telling us about a project/scavenger hunt where they were taking pictures with strangers and they needed someone wearing sunglasses, which of course I was (this should not be a surprise). I stole a look at their paper and it said “100 strangers” or something like that. Like, “100 strangers project. At first they said it needed to be strangers from New York and I said that took me out because I wasn’t from there and then we realized Jenny and Ron weren’t either so we were about to give them a hard pass. I think they realized they were losing us so they asked where I was from and I said Seattle, to which one of them replied that he didn’t like Seattle. Not helping your cause buddy. We joked that he shouldnt have said that and then we all laughed a bit. Then they asked if they could take the pic so  Jenny and Ron put on their sunglasses and we took a pic with them. We talked with them a bit more, another complaint about Seattle was brought up. “It always rains..blah blah I never got to see Mount Rainier because of the rain and clouds”. I told her to try August. Thats usually when the clouds aren’t hating on that view.

They left and we sat around waiting for Ron’s cousin to meet us again…and then again, it didn’t happen. So we said we would just meet them. So we left the park to head to Momofuku Milk Bar where they were grabbing some sweet treats. On the way though I stopped to pet a horse from one of the carriages. I think he liked me, he let me pet him and then tried to get closer. He had gentle eyes. Jenny was a little scared, and to be honest, I was a little too but it was so beautiful. I wish I knew how to ride a horse. We made it to Momofuku and they were there! FINALLY! hahaha Ron’s cousin’s name is Apple and her friend was Richard. They were in line to grab some soft serve ice cream that tastes like milk and cereal or something like that as well as something called “Crack Pie” and other desserts. I ended up getting a Compost Cookie. It was not as good as the Compost Cupcake at Cupcake Royale in Seattle but it was alright.

Apple and Richard (I got the feeling it was Richard mostly) wanted to watch the Warriors basketball game so we went for drinks and food at Three Monkeys Bar. They asked the waitress if she could switch one of the TVs to the game and they obliged. Everyone ordered a round of drinks and a lot of bar food. Nachos, fries, sliders…I don’t remember anything else except later we took shots of Jameson. At least two. I drank a lot of water though so it was okay. Then Apple broke out the Crack Pie and some Birthday Cake truffles from Momofuku. Crack Pie is so good. I get why they call it Crack Pie. One taste and you are addicted. Super noms. The Birthday Cake truffles were good too. I forget what Ron said they tasted like, but I’m sure it was probably inappropriate so we’ll just let it go haha. With all the food and drinks that day I was pretty sure I was going to gain 10 lbs (turns out I gained over 5 but thats at least not as bad…right?)

There were talks of halal and soju for later but since Richard was leaving early the next day there was more sight seeing that needed to be accomplished. Such as, a visit to Times Square.

For anyone that hasn’t been there, Times Square is the ultimate shiny thing. There are TVs and large monitors everywhere showing you ads and commercials. There are so many lights, its semi blinding. Its also a tourist hot spot, so the later it got the more people seemed to show up. We looked around, group selfies and then off for Halal.

We went to 53rd and 7th where we found the Halal guys. It happened to be right next to a HOPE sculpture. I thought it was very fitting. Once the food was dispersed everyone stopped talking. Everyone was eating. Everyone but me. It was just too much food. There was so much food. I took mine to go. I could not eat anymore or drink anymore. Plus I ate so much bread/flour filled items. My stomach was already starting to hate me.

After halal, we decided to call it a day and we went to catch the train back to Jenny and Ron’s. No soju…this time.



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