Welcome to New York!
Our trip could not have come at a better time. After being unemployed for 4 months, I had finally landed a job and would be starting in a little over a week. Mere had also just received a new opportunity at work, so you can say our spirits were high while boarding the plane to NYC. Mere had never been before so this was another high priority trip for us. I was excited too, because it had been about 12 years since my first visit and I was ready for more exploring. We took an early flight on a Thursday morning to get there with plenty of time to hit the ground running. The weather was not looking too promising for Friday and Saturday, so we wanted to quickly cover as much as possible.
So many good noms
After checking in to the hotel, we were starving. Guess what…there was a Shake Shack connected to our building!! Happy dance time! We had to try it and it was well worth the wait. My God, so tasty and amazing on an empty stomach. First item crossed off our list and on to the next, biking around Central Park.
Word of warning. We rented bikes from Central Park Bike Rentals, which has one confusing process. There are some dudes that do not look like they even work there, but get commission to set you up with bikes. They seemed to all be pissed at one another for stealing customers, or cutting in line. At least everything worked out, but it just seemed shady. Oh, and by the way, some of the bikes are just plain crap. Central Park is not flat, so it would be nice to have a bike that could actually change gears when shifting. I’m not asking for a race bike here, but some semi-frequent maintenance would have made my experience much much better. The park was amazing. Renting the bikes for one hour would be enough for most people to do the full loop and get an idea of the layout. If I did it again, I would probably rent them for two hours or more, to give enough time to check out some of the spots in further detail.
After returning the bike, we headed down 5th Avenue on foot towards the Empire State Building. Being a Thursday afternoon, I was hopeful that the line would not take the typical 3 hour, and luckily I was right. Mere was not thrilled to check it out, due to the horror stories she heard about the adventure taking up a good chunk of the day. It might have taken us all of 45 minutes of constant moving to make it to the 86th floor observation deck. I would recommend this to anyone to do at least once. It is magical to be outside looking down on such a magnificent city. The scale is just amazing, and almost impossible to comprehend through just pictures. We also got tickets to go up to the tiny enclosed observation deck up in the spire on the 102nd floor. While it was cool, I’m not sure we would have done it again. The windows were pretty dirty from people pressing their face up against it, and it didn’t add much from the 82nd floor.
St. Patrick's Cathedral
82nd floor of the Empire State Building
After that experience, it was time for a break and a beer. There was a Gingerman nearby, so we figured that would be a safe place to go park it for a bit. We had already walked and ridden countless miles and we didn’t want to completely kill our feet on the first day. It’s too bad we picked probably the worst time to hit the bars, being early Thursday evening just when everyone is out for happy hour. We got drinks, but had no place to sit. Since that got old real quick, we decided to head for dinner. Mere picked Vezzo in the nearby Kipp’s Bay neighborhood. It promised good pizza, and did not disappoint. We were seated pretty quickly, the service was good, and the Parma pizza was really tasty. Spoiler alert, it ended up being our favorite pizza of the trip.
After dinner, we walked the two miles back to our hotel, but made a quick stop in Times Square to see it all lit up. As touristy as it is, it is still fun to see the colors and the energy. It had been one amazing day, but my God we were happy to get to the hotel room. It was one long day (with three more to come), and we both slept like babies.