Our flight was 8am, we look more awake here than we actually were.
Flew to Newark, a fair bit cheaper than JFK or LaGuardia, but you do have a little further to go once you land.
This pic is the AirTrain, a monorail that takes you from Newark Airport to the Amtrak Station nearby where you catch a regular train to Penn Station, from which you take subway to hotel.
Regular Amtrak train, 30 mins to Penn Station in Manhattan
First stop, a NYC tradition, hot dogs and papaya juice, not sure why it started but it’s traditional in New York to drink papaya juice with your hot dog.
Near our hotel in Queens, three levels of subway, a bit loud but did give us many options for trains to and from the hotel each day.
Dropped our stuff at hotel and headed for late dinner, with the time difference and the 6 hour flight by the time we got to hotel and back to Manhattan it was about 9pm.
Katz’s Deli, on this location since 1888, yes, the one from When Harry Met Sally.
The cutter was really friendly, once I told him it was Samira’s first Jewish Deli experience he chatted with us and gave a bunch of different samples while making our order.
After dinner I had made a reservation for a cocktail at a secret bar. Walk down a dark alley (unusual as Manhattan doesn’t really have alleys) to the end…
…go through an unmarked blue door…
…you’re in an old house, now a restaurant, walk through to the back of the house, go up two staircases, walk down the hall until you see an unmarked green door, slide this door open and…
Banzarbar…. tiny bar, holds about ten people, themed after the British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Reconnaissance expeditions to the South Pole of 1905…yup…. it’s relentlessly and hilariously New York…but really cool at the same time.
Back to our hotel and in bed around 2am.
On nearly every corner in New York is an independent corner store or “bodega”, they have the usual convenience store items and also almost always have some sort of hot food counter. The standard breakfast in the city is a BEC, a bacon, egg and cheese on a roll. We stopped into the bodega near our hotel early Friday morning and shared a BEC, Samira wasn’t sure she believed me that this was classic New York food until dozens of workmen started coming in, ALL of them ordering bacon egg and cheese.
We did a History of Pizza Walking Tour, really really fun. Our guide in the pic below, Miriam, was really fun and knew a crazy amount of stuff about pizza.
First stop, Lombardi’s, the first pizza place in North America, opened in 1905, the coal-fired oven has never been shut down since.
Our second pizza stop, this one fully Italian, all ingredients and all employees from Italy, I liked but not nearly as much as the traditional New York pizzas.
Last stop, Fiore’s, traditional New York pizza, my favourite of the tour, Samira found the sauce too sweet (just from the tomatoes, no sugar added)
Walked down to Washington Square Park and stopped in at Chess Forum, the world’s only chess-only store, open 24/7 for all your chess needs.
“The Triangle”, the smallest parcel of land in New York, owned by the same family for a hundred years, it was a mapping mistake 150 years ago, Samira is trespassing on private property here.
Did a little shopping.
Fruit with your Mexican chili seasoning, sold on every street corner.
Macy’s on 34th, the largest store in the world, here I am riding the last wooden escalator in the world.
Grand Central, I know it well enough that I gave Samira a tour myself, no need for a guide.
A very Mad Men dinner in the Grand Central Oyster Bar, 113 years old.
After dinner we went to take part in Sleep No More, you will have to Google it, you have to wear masks….
Home and in bed by around 3:30am.
Breakfast at Ess-A-Bagel, old Jewish deli. Amazing, amazing lox and cream cheese bagels. Waited an hour in the rain though.
Took Samira to the NYC Public Library, it’s an amazing place, in the gift shop she found a bunch of the paper products her company makes, I’ve never seen them before so it was funny to find them there.
Winnie the Pooh and friends, the originals!, in the Library. Christopher Robin donated them.
Went to the MoMA, saw Starry Night, sort of…
On Saturday night we went to see 5-6 comedians at Comedy Cellar, the greatest comedy club anywhere ever, the show runs 12:30am to 3am. This picture was taken by Joe Machi, a comedian I love and a guy nice enough to offer to take our pic for us.
Home around 4am… ugh….
Breakfast around noon, La Bonniebeire, old diner on the Lower East Side.
The Whitney Gallery of American Art
Edward Hopper, a favourite of mine.
A Broadway show! Adam Driver and Keri Russel in Burn This, at the Hudson Theatre. The show was very good, dramatic, interesting.
In 2017 the NoMad Bar in the Nomad Hotel was named the best cocktail bar in the world, we decided we had to stop in. It was amazing, a level of service and attention to detail that I am not used to at all, so classy and warm and fun. We were planning on just having one drink and moving on but the bartenders in the picture below were so engaging and friendly that we ended up staying for hours and talking with them, they were having us try tastings of exotic ingredients and ended up making us several cocktails on the house.
Our bartender at NoMad insisted we head to another bar, a secret place called Ataboy, he told us there is no sign and no door handle, just bang on the door and give them his card, we did so and found another amazing place, very different from NoMad but just as fun.
We decided an early night was needed and were back in our hotel room by 11pm.
Breakfast at Tompkin’s Square Bagels, wonderful and filling.
Lots of walking, this is the Woolworth Building, tallest building in the world from 1913 – 1930, now private residences. The Woolworth empire now consists of only Foot Locker, I told Samira the entire building used to be Woolworth’s and now the small Foot Locker on the lower level is the only piece of Woolworth Co left on the premises.
Samira’s friends Farnoush and Avi. Avi is the organist and choir master for St. Paul’s Cathedral, we attended a performance of some of Bach’s religious pieces, was very interesting, there was also hymn singing, the image of holding a hymnal with Samira and explaining how the hymn singing works was…. not something I thought I would be doing in New York.
After the concert Avi took us to the part of the cathedral that is being renovated and showed us a ton of stuff there.
Our view from lunch in the World Trade Center.
Waiting for my train….
Took Samira to see Electric Lady Studio, it was about midnight by this time and it was all locked up but I showed her about 30 songs she loves by various artist over the past 50 years that were all recorded behind this door.
We had a fancy Italian dinner at Babbo and then back to the hotel.
Breakfast at Barney Greengrass, we sat in the seat the Anthony Bourdain sat at each morning and ordered his usual order. Barney’s has been there 130 years, it’s wonderful.
The Guggenheim. The main exhibit was a Mapplethorpe photo exhibition… eye opening for Samira.
Time to head to the airport.