Back to my NYC
I could honestly go back to NYC a bajillion times a year and wouldn’t get sick of it. If plan ‘A’ goes down the drain, no worries, there’s something else around the corner. Now, I’m sure this is true for most places and spaces but I can say from experience, that this place has nailed it for activities.
In the past, I’ve never really looked in to doing things like the Statue of Liberty, going to a show or checking out tourist sites but I gave an honest shot this time around. Saying that, basically none if it worked out but like I said, the plan B’s were better. 🙂 New York as whole is home to some of the greatest humans I know in the world, so my focus has always been to get out and see them. Since this was a quick trip though, I said I’d stay put in the city and hang tight with the slickers.
So I’m just not a shopper. I don’t know what looks nice. I wear yoga pants or jumpers everyday with my hair thrown up in a bun. So ‘put together’ isn’t exactly how one would describe my style. Unfortunately, (keeping this in mind), a poor Italian woman picked the wrong person to dress when I stumbled in to a sample sale down in Soho. Off the bat she wanted me try on leather jackets and fur coats straight from Italy. Minimum $300 price tag –
“Great deal” – says she.
“Oh ya can’t be coming near me with animal hide, I’m straight up vegan! I can’t be wearing anything that used to be on something alive.” – says I.
“But isn’t this just lovely, real fox tail, gorgeous on you and brings out the beauty in your eyes.” – says she.
“What did I tell ya about the animals!” – says I.
Well, you get the drift.
Anyhow, I walked out of there with a gorgeous sweater, something I nearly have the exact same as at home but x4 the price and x4 the comfort. Good deal says I.
After leaving this lovely little lady (I mean it though, she was fab and took my many push-backs like a champ!), I decided it was time to take advantage of New York’s finest rich peoples donations to thrift stores. My first hit was Cure Thrift Shop. Oh I absolutely loved it here! Immediately walking in, you’re greeted by a million different items, textiles, lighting and colors. It was like entering the circus but so much better. I spent a good hour and a half in here going through all of their clothes, trinkets and jewelry. It’s a good job they haven’t one in Portland or I’d be broke as F*ck! But, I’ll definitely be back here again to find some other gems people have passed on. Also, just to add to the awesomeness, all proceeds go to Type 1 diabetes research.
From here, I moseyed on over to Housing Works Thrift Shop. This company has a number of locations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn but the one I visited was in Soho. It was really organized, great selection, awesome prices and friendly staff. It’s on the smaller side, so you don’t need to spend a ton of time here but like Cure Thrift Shop, I’d visit again. On my last day, I took a quick walk up to their one on 2nd and 64th but couldn’t quite find anything right. Saying that, they had a brilliant bag selection and enough dvd’s and books to keep you occupied for months!
Feed the vegan
I’ve been on the vegan train for about 2 and a half years and something that that makes me super nervous when traveling is ‘will there be food?’. Of course there will be but I don’t plan to spend my days eating spinach and tomatoes. Especially when I’m out adventuring somewhere. Portland has me turned in to a spoilt brat though with it’s endless supply of black bean burgers, tofu scramble burritos and spaghetti ‘meatballs’. Oh and the cheesecake.
God don’t forget the cheesecake.
Anyhow, my first chow down was in this tiny, hole in the wall, Middle Eastern joint called Baba Ghanouge. 5 flippin’ stars to this crowd. They gave me the most delicious falafel wrap I’ve had in the longest time. I didn’t feel crappy afterwards, just satisfied and the guy taking my order was the sweetest man in the world. He charged up my phone and all! From the half hour I spent in there, I could tell they have a loyal following with all of the regulars coming in, knowing them by name, asking how the kids were. It was so nice to see in such a crazy, busy city like New York that folks do actually give the time of day to check in with you. Ugh, love love love!
Next on the POA was this INSANE vegan spot Urban Vegan Kitchen. My sister from another mister Maggie, booked a table for 4 and it was such a great time. The food couldn’t have been tastier (it actually inspired me to change my lasagne recipe to something far more healthy and tasty), drinks were flowing and the vibe was electric. All four of us left happy, full and a bit on the tipsy side. 🙂 It’s a really cool place to meet and catch up with friends but defo book a table ahead of time because it was pretty busy and it would be an absolute shame to miss out on one of their dishes.
Ok so this one was a plesant surprise. My partner in crime is a fiend for German beer and food so we went to check out Reichenbach Hall. This is a place where ya head with a bunch of friends to go on the beer, stuff your faces with food and hang tight for a game on the big screen. It’s so large and open, you’d never think you were only a few blocks from Times Square!The menu is fairly authentic (and surprisingly had a few vegan options!) and the beer was ok. I’m more of an IPA girl myself so I only had the one but they offer their beer in liter size so it’s kind of novelty putting one of those away. If you’re in to German stuff, this is a place to put on the list!
You can’t leave NYC without having some Italian. So of course we went to one on our first night. Cellini was only a couple of blocks from the hotel and what an adorable places tucked away in to the midtown east side. I’m pretty much limited to pasta and red sauce when I go out for Italian but the lads here hooked me up with a bunch of veg and garlic thrown in. Korey’s, well he’s still raving about his dinner over a week later so that’ll tell you how that went down haha! I loved it here and we hung out for a few hours drinking and chowing down. Such a lovely way to spend a night where you want to have fun but not get too wild.
The last few times I’ve been to this magical city, I’ve missed out on the pizza scene. Something that tears my soul up quite a bit every time. So one night, on a mission, I set off for a pizza place that sells vegan pies and found Two Boots in Hell’s Kitchen. Soooooo delicious! If I wasn’t so full up with rum I would have 100% finished off my ‘Larry Tate’ lol! This crowd are scattered all over the city and in different states too. Now, it’s not going to be as tasty as the real NYC pizza but if you’re looking for an alternative (like myself) then these would be a good option.
I didn’t give breakfast much of a shot, other than a few deli’s where there was a massive salad bar and peanut butter bagels but the grub I did have outside of this was fantastic. There are soooo many places to go and Hell’s Kitchen seems to be a hot spot so I’ll have a solid wish list for next time!
Quench the thirst
Any shmuck will know that NYC has an abundance of bars to choose from. If you’re looking for a sneaky speakeasy, it’s got you covered. Roof top bar? Sure. Irish pub? Every corner. But one of my favorites that I’ve visited so far is The Rum House, a hidden away bar tucked right off of Times Square. We stumbled across this one as a plan B (Broadway may have skrewed us on our Phantom of the Opera tickets but this blog isn’t here to bitch and moan about the negatives) and couldn’t have been happier that we did. In we went to sit down for some fancy cocktails but we ended up getting so much more out of the night! Not long after settling in to some Manhattans and olives, out comes a chick that looks like she fell straight out of the 50’s. The band was Kate Curran & The Rogues’ Gallery.’ and omg they were just so good! What could have been a disappointing night, turned into an unforgettable one. I can’t recommend this place enough with their superb drinks menu, tasty snacks and old house, piano bar feel.
After dinner and drinks at Urban Vegan Kitchen, we went down the street to Daddy-O’s. Ugh another fun place! The beer was good, a great drinks menu and some pub grub to go with it. The highlight for me from this place was definitely the music they had playing. The tunes set the atmosphere and the classic rock bands playing in the background would make you want to stay there and rage madly while at the same time gently sipping your whiskey on the rocks.
All on the side
So again, no major touristy things achieved this time around but I love nothing more than finding nooks and crannies to come back to. I had planned on checking out some other recommended places but decided to save that for when the weather was warmer and the vegetation not so frozen and dead. I definitely did a whole bunch of walking from having a quick peak at the One World Trade Center, then hoofing it down to Battery Park for a far away view of Lady Liberty followed by a trek up to Soho to go shopping.
I’ve mentioned it past posts, but there’s only one way to get around the city. Walking allows you to feel the pulse of the place and discover spots you may not have if you’d hailed a cab. A strong example being our coming upon Astro Gallery of Gems. This place is a MUST SEE with gorgeous items on display. We may have had an unbelievable table shipped back to Portland before leaving. 😉
Having stayed in the Renaissance New York Hotel 57, it gave us the opportunity to trek to nearly all places. Although the hotel was beautifully rustic and soooo comfortable, I’d probably aim to be closer to Hell’s Kitchen to be nearer a wider variety of restaurants and activities. It was a huge plus though only being a few blocks from my favorite spot in NYC though, Central Park. 🙂
I already can’t wait to go back and if it’s the last thing I do, I WILL get to see a broadway show! So until next time New York… you never disappoint.