Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter what you do for a career, pretty much everyone lives for the weekend. Even better if it’s a long one. The thought of having just one extra day makes Sunday so much more appealing. So what do you do with that extra 24 hours? Spend a day lounging and watching movies? Meet up with friends? Here’s a better option: road trip!
We’re pretty fortunate to be within driving distance of NYC and even more fortunate to have some great friends in the NYC area. Thankfully there is tons of stuff to do in New York, plenty of it is free, but having spent pretty much the last two years being tourists, we wanted to avoid anything that remotely resembled a museum/cultural attraction/exhibit, and instead cover some places we’ve missed and love about New York.
The New York Food Scene
Danny’s traveled the globe in search of yummy pizza, but to him there’s just nothing that compares to a good NY slice. Pretty much every trip to NY includes our favorite tradition- walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, standing in line for Grimaldi’s, and eating pizza and drinking wine until the red and white checkered table cloth appears pink. Sure we’ve broken with tradition a few times, checking out some other equally delicious and gourmet pizzerias in the city, but there’s just something about the surly man shouting outside the door that makes me smile. That and it’s hard to beat the Brooklyn Bridge for atmosphere.
Having lived in Florence, I was excited to stop by Eataly the last time we were in New York. It was incredibly crowded and the $93 cheese grater was a little ridiculous, but the place was still pretty impressive. Fortunately the food didn’t disappoint, and although the advertised $1 hot chocolate turned out to be a three ounce sample of melted milk chocolate, we left the building pleasantly groaning about how decadent it all was. I could definitely see myself parked in here for a few hours.
The To Do List
With museums, exhibits and anything resembling a tourist attraction crossed off the list, we were looking for some quirky things to do in New York this winter. Having dug ourselves out of a blizzard in Long Island, we ventured into the city hoping to be able to get out of town. As luck would have it, a taxi cab broke down in front of our friends place, blocking any possibility of being plowed out. So we did what any adventurous soul would do when faced with bitter cold and nearly two feet of soft, powdery snow. We grabbed cookie sheets and cardboard boxes and headed to Central Park.
That’s right, with a little ingenuity we hit the slopes. No, not skiing, sledding. Sure cardboard doesn’t make the best of toboggans, but we held our own and even made it over some jumps where we narrowly avoided several urban obstacles. New tradition? Maybe, but next time I’m opting for a real sled and some boots.
Having overlanded Africa without ever having ridden a zebra (trust me, Danny was dying to do that, it’s #32 on the bucket list!), I knew the best place to cross that off the list was in New York City, FAO Schwarz. When we were first dating Danny took me up to NYC for a birthday weekend and I remembered the ridiculous variety of stuffed animals. Walking into the store we were greeted by safari animals and yup, you guessed it, a zebra. Although a bit small, Danny did his best to ride it long enough to snap a photo.
With another thing crossed off the bucket list, we went looking for that famous $250,000 “Big” piano. Yup, you saw it 20 years ago in Big with Tom Hanks, and yes, it’s still alive and well on the second floor. You can actually stash your shoes and play a tune if you want. Considering neither of us has ever taken a piano lesson nor played a 20 foot piano before, it is no surprise that our attempt at a musical masterpiece came out something like howling monkeys. Fortunately the pros do it a little better:
If You Go: I won’t pretend to tell you how to get to NY. But, if you’re coming from DC to Boston don’t be shy, check out Bolt Bus (our favorite) and Mega Bus. For a great slice, stop at Grimaldi’s. Take the subway to the Brooklyn Bridge stop and walk across like we did or take it to Brooklyn and walk from there. Be prepared to wait, but its worth it. Eataly is in the flatiron district, easily accessible by subway from anywhere in New York. Check the boards outside for meal and grocery specials, you might score $1 chocolate like we did! For that big piano head to FAO Schwartz (58th & 5th Avenue).