Weekend in the worm-filled big apple
Typically, I hate New York. It's hot, and smelly, and unbelievably noisy. And that's just the people.
My roommate Harris and I bussed to Manhattan on Thursday to celebrate our friend Ashley's 21st *party poppers explode* birthday. Her parents had rented a hotel room for the three of us to crash in, so we got to play NYC gentry for a few days.
We didn't get in until late afternoon, so birthday celebrations began pretty promptly - or they would've done if we hadn't arrived over 30 minutes late to our dinner reservation. Turns out it takes a long time to get from one end of the city to the other during rush hour traffic. Who'd've thunk?
The night began with eye-wateringly expensive drinks and small plates at dinner, and then turned into barhopping for Harris and I's first proper legal night out together.
In Boston, the subway system closes at 12:30 a.m.. Granted, this is a municipal embarrassment, but it meant that on our first night out, we were neither prepared nor trained to roll back in the hotel's front door at 5:30 a.m.. The sun was coming up as we all crashed in the room's king sized cloud/bed. That's wrong.
So Friday was spent recovering, mooching around SoHo. And checking our phones as Harris obsessively looked to see if Frank Ocean had released his album as rumoured. Even the New York Times had reported it was dropping Friday, so it had to come out then, right? Nope. I bet there were some red faces in that newsroom.
We tried to get a recovery brunch at Jack's Wife Freda, but their hour wait was too long for our hungover bodies to handle. So I looked at the menu of a neighbouring restaurant, and they could accommodate all five of us and serve us some mean Vietnamese inspired food. I had an amazing egg bahn mi sandwich, but ate it too quickly, so no pictures.
The restaurant was fairly new, so the manager even came over to check everything was going swimmingly for us. There were neon lights on the ceiling and Kanye West playing over the speakers, so it was.
Substantially recovered by Saturday, we decided real New York pizza was in order before we hit the Frick Collection - a museum curated by the same man responsible for the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, one of my favourite spots in Boston.
We strolled through Central Park to cross to the Upper East Side, and I snapped some pictures while Harris caught Pokemon and Ashley humoured both of us.
I spent most of my Sunday waiting for my friend Najah. I consider myself very lucky to have a friend who exudes as much positivity and good vibes as Najah, and to not have broken her yet with my general Britishness. She is effervescence personified. But boy, I came close to breaking her on Sunday.
We'd agreed to meet at 1:30pm, but on Sunday morning, she pushed that back to 2:45pm. As a punctual person with a limited amount of time in NYC and now nothing to do for about an hour, I was disappointed, but understanding. She texted me to say she was on her way to Times Square, where we'd agreed to meet for convenience's sake, so I headed over, parked myself on the red stairs, and waited.
And waited. And waited. I texted, I called, no answer. I got past worried and just to annoyed. Then pissed. I did laps of Times Square waiting, and eventually gave up around the hour-thirty mark. I was furious when I got on the subway to try and meet up with Ashley and Harris at the Natural History Museum, but felt pretty smug after nailing the line and the track. Or, I felt pretty smug until I watched the train blow past 81st street, and not stop until 125th street. I hadn't accounted for express trains. Shit.
I arrived at the museum thirty minutes and a trip to Harlem later, thunderous. I was also blaming Najah for my train mishap, because that seemed fair. I'd arrived just in time for the last free hour of museum entry, but was even more upset to find Harris lecturing how literally every thing in the museum was actually the result of ancient aliens, and that the big blue whale was made of plastic.
Najah eventually showed up, full of apologies (though not with a Friends with Benefits-style flashmob. To be clear, Najah and I are not friends with benefits, I just wanted an apology flashmob on the stairs of the museum because I felt I was owed a sweeping gesture of apology).
We left the museum after we were kicked out at closing time, and headed down to SoHo for dinner. We were going to Black Tap, one of those Instagram phenom places famous for ridiculous milkshakes. It usually has a few hours wait to get a seat at the counter of the tiny restaurant, but luckily, Ashley's best friend worked there. We showed up and walked right past the line. My cool streak continued.
The rest of Sunday was obviously spent in a food coma. Monday was out last day, so while Harris and Ash headed to the Met, presumably for more alien lectures, I successfully took the subway downtown to the World Trade Center to meet a recent Emerson alumnus, who is now employed by Bon Appetit.
He let me embarrass him by taking photos out the 36th floor windows of the building's view and the test kitchens, before we went to find some grub at an all day cafe around the corner. Of course it was good. He takes beautiful photos of food for a living.
It was awesome to chat to someone who's walked down the path you're attempting to go down, and to see how well they've done for themselves with hard work. Chatting with him really capped the weekend off on a great note for me, and I left feeling so invigorated and motivated.
He dropped me off at the recently completed New York Space Station (I think it was a subway station but I'm not sure) so I could gawk, and make my way back uptown to catch our bus. We arrived early only to pick the shittiest seats on the shitty bus when we finally got to board, but none of it mattered. Paul Pogba officially signed for Manchester United. What a weekend.