Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fun NYC Weekend

One of the best things about break is the time and ability to run around New York City, discovering the amazing things that this city has to offer. It is especially fun to discover the city when one of your best friends comes to visit and discovers it with you! I was so excited when Jane and I made plans for her to come and stay with me this weekend. She was my first official visitor and we had a great weekend. Unfortunately she could only stay from late Friday night until Sunday afternoon, but we made the most of what NYC has to offer the entire time she was here (especially on Saturday!)

Friday night was a very relaxing night at my apartment. Her bus didn't arrive until after 8pm, so by the time she picked up her bags, we made it on the subway and back to my apartment, it was after 9 and we didn't want to hike back to the city. So...we had a lovely Shabbat and ordered food from the restaurant down the street that I love and sat and talked until almost 1am. That's one of my favorite things about old friends; I love the very first good talk after not seeing each other for awhile. It reminds me that no matter what's happened or how far apart we may be, good friendships will always remain strong.

Saturday, however, left us very little time for conversation! We left the apartment early to head to Canal Street in Chinatown to hit up the stands of knock-off purses and accessories. We were determined to each walk away with something, and spent many hours perusing the stands of "Goaches" (fake Coach bags) and "Puh-radas" (Pradas.) We each found our "Prada" bags, complete with real Prada labels the cute Chinese ladies sewed on for us. Mine is red pleather, and I ADORE it, even if there is a tag on the inside that says "Made in China." We also sprayed ourselves with perfume, played with the fake Chanel sunglasses on display, and found cute cashmere scarves. Mine is a Burberry, of course. OK, so it's not real Burberry, but it is 100% cashmere, and I kind of love it. But don't tell anyone else...

Welcome to Chinatown!

The vendors on Canal Street

Jane and I playing around with our gangsta sunglasses

The real Chinatown, a few blocks away from the madness that is Canal Street

Showing off my purchases: my pretty Puh-rada bag who I lovingly refer to as "Blanche", after the Golden Girl, and my Burberry scarf. I forgot to mention that I have rainboots that match the scarf, thus the reason I needed to have it. Love it!

After our shopping extravaganza, we were starving and looking for lunch. We thought about sampling the delicious Chinese goodies in Chinatown, but were slightly afraid of getting food poisoning and/or not being able to read the menus. So we decided to hop over to the next neighborhood, Little Italy, for one of their delicious lunch specials. We had lunch at a place called Caffe Napoli, smiling at the reminder of the restaurant in STL with the same name. It was a fantastic outdoor lunch, with good people watching and fantastic Italian bread. Afterwards, we strolled around the neighborhood and enjoyed delicious mini cannolis from "The Cannoli King." It was a tasty way to relax and enjoy the best Little Italy has to offer.

A not so great view of Little Italy, taken from my seat at our table. It really is cuter than the picture can describe.

After lunch, we wandered around a bit trying to find the nearest subway to take us to Union Square. While wandering, we realized we were in SoHo, a trendy, funky neighborhood full of young people and NYU students. We walked around a bit and stopped by some jewelery stands to buy handmade earrings which were on sale 4 for $10. I love all 4 pairs I bought, including a pair of shiny silver leaves that are "very chic" according to the woman who sold them to me. From SoHo we kept wandering, all the way to Union Square! There, we bought delicious honeycrisp apples (have you tried them yet? The BEST apples in the world, I swear...) and pears and Obama buttons. We stopped at Starbucks to rest our tired legs--I think we walked at least 3-4 miles that day--and plan out the rest of our day. We decided to see what was on sale at the TKTS booth in Times Square, which sells same-day tickets to Broadway shows for up to 60% off. We hopped on the subway and found TKTS, where we waited in line for about an hour only to land great seats to Spring Awakening, a new-ish show about young love in late 19th century Germany. I'd wanted to see the show for a LONNNNNNG time, and I was so excited!

And I was right to be excited. The show was OUT OF THIS WORLD good. Really, really fantastic. The show itself is dark and sad, though the music is incredibly beautiful and full of energy and spirit. The cast was also great, especially for not being the original. I think I might have a new musical obsession; I love musicals, as they tend to be my escape from Jewish music (I need one of those once in a while), and I've been waiting anxiously for my next favorite. I think I found it!

BTW--Spring Awakening is coming to the Fox in February---go see it! You won't be disappointed, I promise.

Jane and I waiting to get into the theatre, right before Spring Awakening.

After the show ended, Jane and I talked about it all the way back to Astoria, where we went to sleep after a very long and fantastic day.

The next morning, we woke up early and packed Jane's things for one last jaunt around New York City. We decided to hit up The Dakota, where John Lennon was killed. It's really not much to see, just an apartment building that tourists aren't allowed to go into, but it was cool nonetheless. A few feet away, in Central Park, is Strawberry Fields, a small monument dedicated to the life of John Lennon. Again, it's not much to see, but the idea of it is very cool. We walked around a bit and took some silly pictures before heading off to find a good brunch spot.

The Dakota, where John Lennon was shot and killed

Strawberry Fields. It's hard to tell from the picture, but the word 'Imagine' is written in the very center of the circle. It's supposed to be a very peaceful place and monument, but due to the huge number of tourists who want to see it, the peacefulness is somewhat disturbed.

Me and Jane in Central Park (I promise there are fresh clothes under the jacket and scarf.)

After wandering aimlessly for a good brunch spot, we decided on Whole Foods at Columbus Circle. I know, not very New York, but the good places around the area were too expensive for our tastes. So we ate a quick but yummy brunch before hopping the train to get Jane back to Herald Square, where the bus would take her back to Boston.

Overall, it was a great weekend, complete with fake designer handbags, tons of wandering the streets and getting lost on subways (we ended up in Harlem on Sunday morning--an adventure for sure) and tons of good food and friendship. I loved having Jane, and am equally excited to welcome Steph Clark and her mama at the end of this month, my dad in January, and Mike and Joey in April. I'd love to have YOU as well--my couch is always open and very comfy!

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