Following Greigs first weekend tending the entrance gates of the Distillery District / Toronto Christmas Market and after a few warm apple ciders by a fire pit at the beer hall within the Mill Street Brew Pub, the seed was planted to head to The Big Apple…
Greig couldn’t sleep that night so had a very early morning browse for flights and when Lynsey woke up on Monday morning – the trip was booked! – Leaving from Pearson that evening and returning on Thursday night… giving us three days to see the sights.
Before we knew it we were in a cab heading to a well known pizza place called Grimaldis… situated underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. After a pizza and shared astonishment that we were actually in New York the night after the thought had entered our heads we went for a late night peak at Manhattan. The view was pretty surreal as we seemed to have it to ourselves, we walked to an area know as: DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass). Here we found an amazing beach, the only sounds were the Hudson, the trains crossing the river and Lynseys camera! Once we had had enough we flagged a cab to take us to our digs in Bushwick, Brooklyn… an ‘up and coming’ area of the borough.
Rise and shine from our loft apartment, probably the first time AirBnb has produced a place that is well and truly unique to the city we are in. The building was a converted curtain factory, high-ceilinged with innovative use of space. From our bed we had distant view of the Empire State Building et al. A perfect nights sleep but not so perfect weather for our first day of exploring, but not to worry! We changed our intended boat trip for a stroll down round lower Manhattan…*.
(*The day included: Broadway, Wall Street, Battery Park and Ground Zero before stopping for some lunch in SoHo then onto the Flat Iron Building, Madison Square Park, NY Public Library, Grand Central Station and finally the 9/11 Memorial Museum!)
The day ended in an unassuming bar – ‘The Bad Old Days’ – nestled in a Brooklyn neighbourhood between Ridgewood and Bushwick, where we met Lynseys friend Becky and her husband Cal. Good few rounds of Narragansett Draft beer, a name which proved challenging at the bar, as well as some good chat on the differences between the US and Scotland.
Day 2. was another bleak one – not really a problem however didn’t allow us to head to one of the rooftop lookouts we had jotted down – never the less began our day at Chelsea Market on the west of Manhattan followed by a lovely walk along the High Line, an elevated landscaped walkway – great way to escape the hustle and bustle of street level, the old railway line finished up at Hudson Yards from which we continued up to Times Square then onto Central Park south hoping to ice skate, sadly the rink was closed due to the rain so we headed to a little gem by the name of McSorley’s. The Old Ale House – est 1854 is NYC’s oldest pub, all you need to say is ‘light’ or ‘dark’ and the elderly bar tender will throw two beers in front of you; they only serve beer and only in twos, threes when it’s busy! Despite a desire to stay here all afternoon we left and walked to Little Italy in the Lower East Side, keen to pack as much as we could into our limited time, the rain was relentless, we dried off in a few of the bars along Mulberry Street while grabbing some food and some wine.
We were keen to check out 230 Fifth, a roof top bar recommended to us by an American couple we met in McSorley’s… the view on arrival was a tad underwhelming… couldn’t see a thing due to the rain and fog! Oh well off to Bryant Park Ice Rink we went, great fun trying to stay on our feet, laughing at how bad we were, before checking out the famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting which signifies the start of the Christmas period in the city. Naively thought we could just show up… turned out all street within a five block radius were closed, which led to a very crowded march up Fifth Ave to catch a glimpse of the tree before escaping as quickly as we could (not very quickly) to Greenwich Village for a wee pub crawl stumbling upon the FRIENDS building in the process, the busy day finished with an overpriced McDonalds then trundle on home to Brooky!
Day 3. Blue skies, finally! Feeling like we had seen the sights we could tackle our day a bit more locally with a brekkie stop in a welcoming Bushwick Coffee shop. With our luggage – one 40L rucksack – in tow we were keen to make up for the drizzly first couple of days and headed straight to The Top of the Rock – after much debate over ‘good’ rooftops we opted for the main event… hard to dispute it, view was incredible.
Feeling ‘Manhattanedout’ the rest of the day was spent in Williamsburg, Brooklyn grabbing some lunch and drinks before our evening flight back to Toronto. Satisfied we had made the most of our festive NYC jaunt, certainly kept ourselves busy!
Posted by: Greig.