Wednesday, April 11, 2012

thoughts on new york

on the train
On the train - watching the world go by.

I'm back! I spent a long weekend in New York City and returned to DC on Monday night with an SD card full of photos, a belly full of Indian food, feet full of blisters, and a purse full of Dylan's candy bars. I got to catch up with an old friend and attend an amazing wedding...
nyc instagram
I'll share much more later, but first some thoughts upon returning home:

+ I took almost 600 photos in the 50 hours I was there. I have no idea how to begin even sorting through these. I will share some point.

+ I love train travel. I knew this, yet every time I am on the train I remind myself I need to do this more often. Also, I am now a fan of the Quiet Car. Me, a book, my cell phone on mute, and the scenery of the east coast outside my window. Ahhh.

+ I am tired. Drained. I am not used to a jam-packed weekend full of activity. Also, New York is exhausting. Returning to DC felt like a vacation from Manhattan. Also, my poor, poor feets. We walked an estimated 12+ miles from Saturday to Monday. Ouch.

+ I am clueless when it comes to New York City. I've been a handful of times in my lifetime, yet I never seem to have the types of experiences that the people who claim "I love New York!" seem to have. I don't dislike New York, but I haven't yet discovered what makes people love it. The main problem seems to be that I always end up in the touristy areas (Midtown). Wandering the streets looking for a decent restaurant (that wasn't either neon, a chain, or a cheesy Irish pub) proved nearly impossible. (Also, why do all roads seem to lead to Times Square?! Argh!) After wandering until our feet were bloody stumps, we finally made it to Chelsea, which seemed to be a much better area for what we were looking for. Clearly, I'm hanging out in wrong places in Manhattan, this I know. But what neighborhoods have what I'm looking for? Soho? The East Village? (Help, I'm clueless!) Or perhaps I'm hanging out in the wrong borough? Is Brooklyn more fun? I need some insider secrets. Where can I find a cute little restaurant? A fun brunch spot, a delicious bakery? A funky and non-touristy bar? Next time I go, I need a seasoned New Yorker to show me the ropes.

+ That being said, Central Park is freaking amazing! I don't know why I hadn't been there during my other trips to New York, but it exceeded my expectations by a million. We spent Easter afternoon in the park having a picnic on a big rock - perhaps the most beautiful day of the year. Next time I go to NYC, I may spend my entire visit in Central Park. It's gorgeous, it's huge, it's so GREEN, and it's such a nice retreat from the busy city. Dear Washington, DC - why is the National Mall brown, dead, and gross? Get a clue from Central Park - cities need lush green spaces! (Photos coming soon!)
bryant park
A beautiful day in Bryant Park.

+ I live in a highly populated area of the DC suburbs, two houses from a major road and it feels like I've returned to a secluded retreat. When I woke up on Tuesday morning, my yard felt huge to me, my grass literally seemed greener. And the quiet. Despite the sound of traffic on Lee Highway outside my window, my neighborhood seems positively silent in comparison to the constant honking, the taxis and buses, the traffic jams, pedestrians, tourists, and frenetic energy of Manhattan. I didn't realize I'd miss home so much. Thanks, New York, for making me appreciate my quieter (and sometimes boring) lifestyle!

+ Indian weddings are amazing! I didn't know the bride or the groom, but this was still the most fun wedding I've attended. The colors, the traditions, the celebratory atmosphere, and my favorite: the dhol drummer. (Many photos coming soon!)

Great trip, great to be back!
dylan's candy bars
Yummy souvenirs!


Karin said...

Glad you had a good time! You should have told me you were looking for some cool restaurants and bars...I could have steered you in the right direction. I spend most of my time in Williamsburg, Brooklyn now, but my best friend used to live on the Upper Eastside. My all-time favorite low-key bars and restaurants are in the Brooklyn area, but I know of some great spots in Manhattan too. The last time I was in NYC we went to a place called Hundred Acres, it's in the SoHo/Tribeca bloody-mary I have ever had! :)

Karin said...

p.s. The next time I'm in NYC I want to try Doughnut Plant...looks so yummy!

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Thanks, Karin! I didn't do any research before the trip because I knew we'd only have limited free time due to a full schedule of wedding activities! But next time, I'll definitely seek out your advice!

Also, we had a really disappointing donut experience on Sunday, so I'd love to try Doughnut Plant sometime! (I've actually heard of that one, too!)

Becky said...

Sounds like you had a fabulous time! I can't wait to see pictures (but good luck sorting them!) I didn't even know the "quiet car" existed - sounds lovely!

Lauren McKenna said...

Yay for trips to New York City! Instead of typing a really long comment, I'm just going to say that next time we hang out we'll have a lot to talk about! I lived in New York for a long time and I can definitely tell you some of the awesome places to go. In fact, we could go together - take the Northeast Regional up, hang out in the Quiet Car, wander around Central Park (really, there's this spot on the North end that's magical), and go to all the cool bars and restaurants. And there I went writing an unnecessarily long comment :)

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Thanks, Lauren - would love a girls' trip with a seasoned New Yorker! :)