I had to let a week go by to reflect on the incredible visit I had with Dan and Steve over Memorial Day Weekend. As we planned, it was extremely action-packed, but still left time for aimless wandering and spontaneity. For anyone visiting NYC in the near future, I would recommend this strategy: plan to visit a few sights/restaurants/bars per day, but leave plenty of time in your schedule. This allows for ridiculous travel delays, time to navigate the subway system without feelings stressed, or you can choose to walk over a bridge instead of taking an Uber.
Danielle and Steve arrived on Friday morning so I worked from home to greet them. This worked out extra well because I didn't arrive back home from Denver until 1am the night before so I was able to sleep in a bit, clean the house, and get ready for the weekend. They were heroes and acted like local pros - taking the NJ transit from Newark into Penn Station, then hopping on the subway to the East Village and walking from the 2nd Ave stop to my house.
I took a quick lunch break to show them my favourite local bodega where we picked up delicious sandwiches and iced coffees before they headed out to a few stores Dan had ear-marked in the Lower East Side. While they were gone, my new couch arrived (huge win) and I was able to finish work just as they arrived back at my place - we were on to the weekend!
We had a dinner reservation in a couple hours so we popped over to D.B.A. in the East Village which Nik and I had discovered the prior weekend. It was a beautiful evening so we picked this dingy bar for it's delightful backyard patio to enjoy a couple pre-dinner pints.
Dinner was 10/10 on Friday. Whether you enjoy plant-based food or not, everyone loves pizza so I would highly recommend Double Zero Pizza on 2nd Ave in the East Village. I first heard of the restaurant when I listened to a podcast featuring it's famous owner and chef Matthew Kenney, who's built a plant-based empire out of California. The pizzas are fresh, creative, delicious, and affordable. We also ordered the "winter lettuce" salad appetizer which was a personal favourite of Steve's.
After a long week of work and travel, we were pretty exhausted so we walked back to my apartment; Dan went up to bed and Steve and I popped around the corner to my local pub, The Hairy Lemon, for a night cap. We had a classic New York realization - when we told the bartender we were there for a night cap, he looked at his watch and exclaimed "it's 10:30!" I guess we're old.
Day two brought more sunshine and adventure. Like all of my visitors, there was a mandatory stop at Tomkins Square Bagels, then a couple mile walk through the Lower East Side. Dan took us to a few stores, and we picked up a succulent (I named him Mitchell) for my apartment at a rad plant store called The Sill.
A quick stop at Trader Joe's and then back to the apartment to rest the feet and have a fresh Corona. We wanted to check-out Brooklyn so we decided the 2-mile walk over the bridge would keep our step count up and provide tasty views of the city, so we strolled over the Williamsburg bridge to browse some stores and relax on a patio in the ever-hip area of Williamsburg, BKN.
A month prior to the visit, we booked tickets at the famous Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village to see stand-up. To get the full experience we booked the 12:15am show which essentially required a mandatory team nap which we executed after Brooklyn. Before the show, we walked across town to Chelsea to another plant-based gem called Blossom - great pick by Dan!
After dinner we still had a couple hours before the show so we walked to the Village and popped into a random bar filled with college students to watch the Raptors clinch a spot in the NBA Finals - awesome timing!
The comedy show was fantastic. We were sat right up front - Steve was essentially on the stage, and the host even picked on us (and Canadians in general) which was fun. We spent most of the next day recapping and quoting all of the jokes.
Sunday was another full day that started with another bagel and the purchase of an air conditioner - thanks to Steve for helping me haul it into an Uber. Unfortunately I didn't get the unit installed (by two Russian men named Vlad and Dmitri) until right after Dan and Steve left. Cudos to them for being heros sleeping in New York heat each night. We took the subway up to midtown where I showed them views from the 42nd floor of 30 Rock, then we took a little picnic up to Central Park and relaxed for a couple hours.
Back down to the East Village, a burrito dinner at a hole-in-the-wall authentic Mexican place (thanks for the find, Steve) and we were completely stuffed. We walked off dinner by strolling along the East River and chatting about life.
I feel like we certainly made the most of the trip with 25,000 steps per day, tons of great spots, multiple boroughs and countless laughs, but I already can't wait to have them visit again, maybe with Finn next time as I think the little guy would flourish in this city!
Thanks for reading the recap!