By Rebecca Borman
I love my state of Arizona and the wide open spaces of the west in general. But, sometimes I long for two East Coast cities, New York and Washington, D.C. When I learned that I was invited to the wedding of a friend’s son in one of the DC suburbs, it seemed the perfect opportunity to spend a week or so visiting some old haunts. So I booked airline and train tickets, reserved hotel rooms and, in early July, set off for what I thought of as my East Coast Swing.
I arrived in New York on a Saturday evening, so the taxi ride into the city was fairly quick. I checked into what looked to be a fabulous hotel, unpacked a couple of things, and set off from the Renaissance Midtown Hotel on 35th St. to Times Square. Traditionally, my first evening in the Big Apple includes a martini in the awesome 8th floor bar in the Renaissance Marquis, which overlooks the madness of Times Square. I love sipping a martini, munching on an app, and watching the crowds of people down below. I took my time on the way back to my hotel, even stopping to do a little shopping for something I’d forgotten. For some reason, it feels decadent to be able to shop at 10:00 at night! After all, it’s the city that never sleeps.
The next morning, I took time to enjoy the view from my 29th floor room…truly amazing. I didn’t linger long, however, because I had plans for the day. I ran (well, walked) a quick errand, then set off to walk to a church I love, St. Francis Xavier, near Union Square. The church itself is beautiful, like something you’d see in Europe. And, the Mass there, as always, was uplifting. After Mass, I stopped in a bakery I’d discovered a couple of years ago. I didn’t want to carry around their specialty, a chocolate/Nutella babka all day, so I settled for a tasty rugelach to eat on my way to lunch. (Yes, dessert before lunch. Don’t judge!)
And where to have lunch was a no-brainer. I was less than a mile from NY’s Eataly, one of my favorite places in Manhattan. Just walking in the door makes me smile, as you are immediately hit with the sight of beautiful produce and the smell of every kind of good food. I chose to have a charcuterie and cheese plate and, of course, a glass of wine. After checking out the display cases of fresh pasta, meats, and seafood, I stopped for a shot of espresso on my way out the door.
I walked a few blocks to catch a subway down to the Brooklyn Bridge, which was my next destination. One of the few things I try to do every time I’m in NYC is a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s such a beautiful and awesome structure! The walkway was crowded and I took my time, simply enjoying the activity and the views. Once on the other side, I walked just a few blocks north to the Manhattan Bridge. Now, the Manhattan Bridge is not particularly beautiful, and it’s very noisy because of the vehicle and train traffic, which is on the same level as the walkway. But, it has a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge. And, as you get to the Manhattan side, you are looking across and down into some interesting neighborhoods, and, eventually, into China Town. Once off the bridge, I walked through China Town to get to another favorite place in NY, Little Italy.
Little Italy is…well little. But, the Italian spirit is definitely there. I walked in and out of a few shops, bought some souvenirs for my grandkids, and checked out some menus. I found a restaurant that looked good and stepped up to ask for a table outside. The host, an elderly gentleman, spoke to me in Italian until my blank face no doubt made it clear that I didn’t understand a thing he was saying! He gave me a primo table right by the street, and I could tell he was instructing the server to take care of me. I lingered over a glass of wine and a salad before ordering a bowl of pasta that was, of course, fabulous. I bought a small gelato for dessert and enjoyed it as I walked out of Little Italy and toward the subway station, just a few blocks away.
By the time I got back to my room, I was bushed! So, I relaxed on the sofa by my window, read, and enjoyed watching the lights come on in the buildings around me. Day One in the Big Apple was a success.