Expedia, Travelocity, and other great booking sites greeted me this morning after I rolled out of bed ready to plan another trip this year. Last night Steve and I met up with some friends for dinner. Two years ago the four of us visited Manhattan together; to say we had great fun would be an understatement. As we ate our dinner and drank our pinot, we reminisced about our time there: watching Jason Moran’s performance at the Village Vanguard, eating dinner at The Odeon, having afternoon drinks in Soho, spotting Betsey Johnson, going to the rooftop bar the cabbie suggested and seeing great views of the Empire State building, getting blotto at a beautiful modern wood-paneled bar on Central Park South, having a bum yell at us after we ignored his request for money, “Don’t look at the sky, look in your wallets!”. Steve and I had been there twice before, so we really enjoyed showing the other two around to our favorite places.
The problem with Manhattan is that once you go, you can’t stop. It’s like Disneyland for adults; except, unlike Disneyland, everything is real. Instead of Frontierland and Tomorrowland, there is Central Park, Greenwich Village, Tribeca, Downtown, Midtown, Harlem, Upper West Side, Lower East Side. Then there are the restaurants, museums, shops, and parks. As one of our friends said last night, “The best of everything is in Manhattan.” A common refrain in both our households is “When are we going back?” or “I wish we were there.” Quickly, over appetizers, we mapped out our next trip this fall. Immediately, we all felt the giddiness that only Manhattan can elicit (or maybe it was the pinot). We each stated our preferences: mine include ice cream in Central Park, fried chicken and mac-n-cheese at Bubby’s, a visit to the Frick, and my customary visit to Cartier (I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, but I love going into that store). We built our to-do list of jazz shows, Central Park, Broadway, Central Park, dinners, Central Park, museums, Central Park, the Daily Show, and Central Park.
With all that the city has to offer, my favorite thing to do is walk around Central Park (I’m sure you didn’t see that coming) on a fall afternoon. The light has almost a magical glow and the trees just have a tinge of orange on their edges. Parents walk with their children, readers lie on the grass with their books, dog walkers walk by with their melange of pooches; there’s a lot of action, but it’s also very quiet and subdued. The geography changes from the flat, manicured topography in CP South and gradually becomes untamed in the rocky North end. To me, it’s the eighth wonder of the world.
Readers, where do you recommend to go to in Manhattan or Brooklyn to visit/eat/see? We have done all of the “touristy” stuff, and we’re looking for off-the-beaten path ideas or places that are overlooked.