This weekend, my mother and I decided to take a quick trip to NYC.
We drove up from Washington DC Saturday afternoon, and arrived in the city late that evening.
I haven’t been for years, and forgot the enormity of it all. Don’t get me wrong, London is massive, but this is a different kind of big. Every block is packed with vertical buildings reaching towards the sky. I have this feeling of insignificance in New York, of anonymity, that differs from that felt in London.
Anyways, we arrived at the Marriott Time Square to find a miniature city inside. Stationed in the centre of the hotel is a giant pillar surrounded by 4 tube-like elevators on each side. When the button is pressed, the elevator shoots towards the ceiling, like the tubes used for check deposits at drive through banks. It’s very futuristic-movie looking.
As we were checking in, we asked the darling concierge if the room had a good view. It somehow slipped out that it was my birthday and wheels were set in motion. A call was made to her manager for authorisation on our upgrade to the 40th floor. Whatever guilt left hanging over the birthday fib instantly disappeared as we arrived at our room. Out of the window, 40 storeys below, was Time Square.
The next morning began with Operation Bagel.
You can’t come to New York without having a bagel. We left the hotel early Sunday morning into an eerily silent city. Most stores don’t open until around 11am-noon on a Sunday, and it was a strangely peaceful walk to breakfast. Ess-a-bagel is a local favourite in East Midtown. We arrived to a line packed to the door, but as most people are returning customers with a favourite order, the line moved quickly. We were lucky to get a table and sat down to enjoy our bagels and cawfey. After breakfast, we walked over to the Museum of Modern Art. The city was slowly beginning to wake up, and the streets began to bustle. On the way to the museum, we discovered this most amazing waterfall. It was incredible to see that tucked between buildings, lies this pristine sanctuary.
I absolutely love MoMA. The exhibitions are very unique, and although the museum is huge, you can choose the floors that interest you most before lounging in the sculpture garden.
The architecture in New York is fascinating. Isn’t this building amazing with tress built into platforms at the base?
My beloved Milk Bar.
After the museum, we walked several blocks to Momofuku Milk Bar. I’ve been waiting desperately to try this place since it opened and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait. The Birthday Truffles are little balls of magic in the form of a dense, moist, birthday cake bite. If you follow me on instagram @alessandra_ldn you’ll have seen an up close and personal shot of this magical bite. Crack Pie is just that. A chewy, buttery centre with a candy bar-like crust that is completely addictive. I am a sucker for a good chocolate chip cookie, but the Compost Cookie takes this love to an entirely different level. A mad scientist combination of potato chips, pretzels, coffee, oats, chocolate, and butterscotch all mixed to form the perfect cookie with a decadent, chewy texture. Most amazing of them all, the Cereal Milk Soft Serve. This ice cream tastes exactly like the milk left over in your cereal bowl after crunch through a mountain of Frosted Flakes. It’s the most bizarre thing to taste notes of cornflake, sugar, salt, and milk all in one bite of ice cream, sparking memories of your childhood breakfast.
If you’re ever in New York, promise me you’ll hunt down one of the Momofuku Milk Bars and indulge in these amazing treats. If you check out their menu, they have an extensive list of goodies that I would happily sit and sample all day long. They sell a Frankenpie made up of their different pie slices pieced together – isn’t that cool? We also sampled the Pineapple Upside Down Cake, equally fascinating and delicious. Before leaving, we loaded up on goodies to take back with us.
We then wandered around the city, as I attempted to capture it all through my lens. It was really difficult narrowing down the pictures from the 300+ that I took, but I thought any more than this may be a little overkill. There was the most magnificent church in the middle of all these modern, glass skyscrapers. And how beautiful is that Sephora store front?Over on Fifth in the Flatiron District is Eataly New York. As we pushed through the doors into the market, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Rows of Italian treats, glass cases filled with fresh pasta, wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano, a long line at the Gelateria counter, and a cart of fresh vegetables instantly greeted us as we entered the building. We took a seat at the counter and ordered what I can only describe as the perfect snack. A plank of meats and cheese served with fresh bread and three beautiful spreads.
Here’s what we had:
Salumi: Prosciutto di Parma, Prosciutto San Daniele, Mortadella Prosciutto Cotto, Speck, Salami
Formaggi: Ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano, Marzolino, Taleggio, Gorgonzola
Spreads: Fig Mostrada with white wine, mustard seeds, chili flakes, and dried figs
Apricot Mostrada with white wine, chili flakes, and dried apricot
Almond Honey with amaretto and chopped almondAfter our beautiful, Italian snack, we headed to our next Museum. On the way, we stumbled upon this strange hotel. Isn’t that exterior interesting?
The Museum of Sex. Three levels of fun facts, pictures, statues, artefacts, graffiti, art, toys, and videos all about sex. At points it was interesting, comical, educational, but not once did I find it erotic. I’d suggest taking a look if you have time, but it’s a tad overpriced.
We went back to the hotel to relax, shower, and get ready for the “birthday” dinner. My mother decided to go along with this little fib, as it proved to be quite rewarding throughout the trip. It was all a very pre-birthday celebration.
Dinner was at Colicchio & Sons, one of the Craft Restaurants founded by Tom Colicchio. As it was my “birthday,” we decided to do their tasting menu. The hours that followed were filled with incredible, innovative dishes and I can honestly say there wasn’t a single thing I didn’t enjoy. Before the bread even arrived, we had already had three pre-starters. That’s definitely my kind of tasting menu.
Are you ready for some food porn?
Fresh, hot rolls with sea salt and butter
This was utterly irresponsible. I’m three pre-starters deep and i’m served half a dozen warm, luscious rolls? What a terrible, delicious idea…
Potato Bavarois, Hackleback Caviar, and Vodka Cream with Homemade Potato ChipsWhite Asparagus Salad with Wild Greens and Ramp Vinaigrette Black Bass, Byaldi, Heirloom Grains, and Red Wine JusShaved Fois Grad with Rhubarb Sauce Crispy Orange
Sweetbreads, Baby Bok Choy, and Fresno Chili
Do you need a breather? Here comes dessert…
Chilled Tangerine Soup, Candied Fennel, and Sweet Milk Sorbet
Happy Not-Birthday to me!
Birthday Red Velvet cupcake
Little Shortbreads and a White Chocolate and Cherry Truffle
Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta, Rhubarb & Ginger Napoleon, and Pistachio Ice Cream
I was given a Birthday card and a complimentary Coffee Cake to take home for breakfast.
In the morning, we took a taxi down to Brooklyn for…pause for dramatic affect… the best pancakes ever.
Clinton St. Baking Company have been voted Best Breakfast, Best Brunch, and most importantly, Best Pancakes. When we arrived, there was about a 2 and a half hour wait. As we had to make our time slot at Ground Zero, we decided to take our pancakes to go.
We were dropped off a couple blocks away from the site, and walked over to the Hudson river. We sat on a bench, with The Statue of Liberty to our left, the Hudson in front of us, and a stack each of warm pancakes. As if the pancakes weren’t decadent enough, a serving of sweet buttery syrup accompanies the fluffy stack. Like I said, best pancakes ever.
To visit Ground Zero, you must make a reservation. Entry is free, but for security reasons you must fill out your information online in advance, and pick the tickets up at an office nearby. With our tickets in hand, we joined the long, but fast moving queue outside the gates. The line snakes through fences and through a room identical to that of airport security, trays and x-ray machines included. After leaving the security room, and having our tickets checked for the fifth time, we were let into Ground Zero.
Trees and new grass surround the massive pools. It’s incredibly sad but moving to see the names etched into the railing that guards the magnificent waterfalls. Behind the pools, the Freedom Tower stands with the American Flag draped along its base. The day we were there happened to be the last day of the Empire State building being the tallest in New York as the Freedom Tower had officially passed it.
As an only child, I have designated brothers and sisters throughout my life, and Erica is one of them. She showed us around the hotel, then took us up to the residential part of the building. The apartment she showed us is on the market for $16m and has the most incredible view of New York City, including the Empire State building right outside the window.
Overall, we had the perfect 2-day trip to New York City.
Thanks for the not-birthday celebration NYC xx