All the Fun Things I Did in NYC - & the Stuff I Didn't Get To (This Time)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


It's now been a couple of weeks since I returned from my second April trip to NYC, & I was feeling like it was too late to blog about it - until I remembered that I'm still working on a blog post about Mike's & my one-year wedding anniversary trip to Ann Arbor, which we took in November. Guess this one is pretty timely, comparatively.

I spent nearly two full weeks in New York in April. Here's some of the best of the stuff I did while I was there - & some of the things I didn't get to.

Explored the Color Factory

I already told you all about my very fun day in SoHo with two of my coworkers, but if you missed that post, it bears repeating: This was really awesome, & if you're headed to NYC soon (or live there), I can't recommend it highly enough.



Checked out the Glossier store

Everyone's favorite cult makeup brand has a flagship store in SoHo, & what a delight it is! At various stations throughout the crowded shop, you can try all of the brands various makeup & skincare products, guided by pink-jumpsuit-clad employee who can tell you about each of them, make recommendations, & glam you up.

You place on-the-spot orders with those employees, then head over to a waiting area where your order is delivered to you via a strange system or levers & pulleys reminiscent of old-school ATM vacuum tubes. Remember those? They're out of the Super Bounce Serum, so I just ordered a Mango Balm Dot Com - mostly because I wanted to see my order come down the pike. I'm a sucker, I know.




Took a trampoline class

This is another one I wrote about already, meeting my friend Sam for a 50-minute class at TrampoLEAN in the Flatiron District. Now that I'm back home, I've been on the lookout for anything similar in my area, but I've yet to find anything like it here in the CLE. We get things late but eventually, so perhaps there's hope for us yet? I'd love to take one of these classes again.


Had a Mister Softee cone

I first learned about the Mister Softee ice cream truck from reading the blog The Only Living Girl in New York, & I'd forgotten all about it until I spotted the legendary truck parked outside the Brooklyn Museum during my first visit.

I was visiting my friend Rachel, & not that you ever need an excuse to get ice cream, but we were with her toddler, AJ, & if anyone loves ice cream, it's toddlers. I ordered a cherry dip cone with vanilla ice cream, took this one terrible photo, & proceeded to enjoy the smoothest dairy delicacy I've ever consumed. Mister Softee is no joke, y'all.


Shopped at the MoMa Design store

I didn't go to the Museum of Modern Art itself, but while in SoHo, I spotted the MoMa Design Store & couldn't resist. This two-story shop sells all kinds of artsy yet functional items, from jewelry & reading glasses to lamps & other home decor goods. There is so much to look at, & nearly all of it is beautiful and/or colorful and/or expensive.

I bought a pair of IZIPIZI reading glasses & the guided journal 99 Things That Bring Me Joy. I did not buy this $300 banana lamp, much as I wanted it, or any of these lovely, quirky clocks. Ugh, so responsible of me, I know.



Made my own Birchbox

Birchbox recently closed its flagship store in the city, instead opting to open a few partnership locations within Walgreens stores. Those stores sell Birchbox-featured beauty items & include a staffer who can help you with those items. Luckily, they still offer the opportunity to build your own Birchbox, though in a significantly limited-from-the-flagship-store way.

I chose five items from the 14 offered (love those tube displays), including a full-sized Laura Geller lipstick that's quickly become one of my faves. Though I wished I could've visited the Birchbox store itself when it was open, this smaller DIY version was still quirky & fun, the kind of thing you can't get in the CLE - & thus worthwhile.




Took my first Peloton ride

For the first time in my life, I brought workout clothes with me on a trip - sneakers & all, despite how annoying they are to pack! I wanted to take a SoulCycle class but didn't get to it, so one night, I hopped on the Peloton bike in the fitness center at my hotel, Hotel Boutique at Grand Central, & took a 25-minute on-demand class.

Truth? I hated it. The bike felt uncomfortable & unintuitive; I felt like I was sliding off of it as I rode, & one of the adjustment handles kept hitting me in the shin. The instructor was good enough, but I didn't find her particularly compelling, maybe because it was via video - & I did not do well at all in the class itself, which is weird because I'm pretty darn good at my cycling classes IRL.

Hey, at least I didn't drop three grand on a home bike (lol) to learn that Peloton isn't my jam.


Spent time in Brooklyn

I visited Brooklyn twice: the first time to see my old D.C. friend Rachel, who lives there with her husband & daughter, & the second to see Mike's (now our) friends Adam & Kristina, who are getting married in August. I hadn't yet gotten to know them well, so it was great to spend some one-on-one (err, one-on-two?) time with them, though I wish Mike had been able to join us!

Rachel & I mostly just hung out at her place, because her kiddo had to go to bed, but Adam & Kristina took me on a little Gowanus/Park Slope adventure day. We started with brunch at Sweet Chick, where I had the seitan chicken & waffles, then explored Prospect Park, checked out the Brooklyn Public Library, & hit up a few bars until it was time to part ways. I refrained from quoting Newsies all day long.



Visited my fam

My mom's first cousin, Michael, lives with his wife, Samantha, & their two young sons on the Upper West Side. They invited me over for dinner at their apartment, where we just hung out in the kitchen, catching up & drinking Svedka Rosé Vodka while Michael cooked salmon, rice & beans, & green beans almondine.

As we ate, the boys told me about their recent vacation to New Orleans, the instruments they pay, their new schools, & their feelings about Avengers: End Game, of course. It was so nice to catch up with them - & truly, it always feels like we've picked up right where we left off.



Braved Times Square

I wouldn't usually willingly go to Times Square in adulthood, but I don't love switching trains, & on my way to the UWS, I was supposed to have a switch-over that I didn't want to bother with. Instead, I walked to Times Square to catch the train there, instead - but it was so bonkers that I kept walking until I got to a quieter stop!

I was actually glad to have walked through, because it had been years - 2012, I think? - since I'd been. It's crowded & sort of horrible, but it also retains, for me, some of that childhood magic that made me fall in love with New York in the first place, all those years ago. As I fought my way through the crowds, I reminisced about my junior year of high school trip to NYC with showchoir, & how obsessed we were with all things Times Square. Those memories were worth the wander - & I hit up Strand Book Store's kiosk!


Tried cookies from Levain Bakery

For years, I've been hearing about the joy of cookies from Levain Bakery, which is known for its chocolate chip walnut cookies. I don't really like chocolate chips or walnuts, so I was a little skeptical, but when I passed Levain on my way to my cousin's place, I knew I had to stop in.

I got one of each cookie, except the gluten-free kind, plus an extra chocolate chip walnut, & I was not disappointed. I brought most of them home for Mike to try, but not before I slowwwwly ate a chocolate chip walnut cookie, savoring every warm, delicious bite. Those cookies are the stuff dreams are made of.


There were, of course, plenty of things I'd hoped to do but didn't get around to, including:
  • Seeing a show: I was supposed to see Book of Mormon but didn't make it to the show. I don't wanna talk about itttt.
  • Shopping for books at The Strand's main store: This has always been on my to-do list, but it's not in a convenient location to any of the places I typically visit in New York. Next time! 
  • Walking the High LineI did finally get to see it from below, at least, & would love to explore it in nice weather. Hello, Ariana Grande?
  • Exploring The Vessel: This wacky-looking new structure at Hudson Yards is, well, wacky-looking. It features 154 flights of interconnected stairways, a la Hogwarts - but I don't think they move. Fortunately.
  • Visiting the 9/11 Memorial: I can't believe I've still never been, but I guess that when I visit New York, I don't typically make a lot of time for touristy stops. I should! I think this would be nice to do if I go back with my mom, who has been asking to visit NYC with me. 
  • Take a SoulCycle class: A former Harness Cycle staffer works at a SoulCycle location, & though I'd messaged him about taking a class there, I didn't make it. Again: next time! 
All told, I had two great trips, saw lots of friends & coworkers, & ate a ton of delicious food (I miss you, VIV Thai). I feel so lucky to be able to visit New York at least once a year, & even though twice in one month felt like a lot for me, it was a lot in the best possible way/

See you again soon, New York.

What are your favorite things to do in the city or, if you haven't been, what's on your would-visit list? I hope to head back soonish - so I'm keeping a list of my own!

1 comment:

Crystal @EatDrinkCLE said...

This trip sounds AMAZING!!!!!! If you ever need a travel buddy, just let me know :)

The 9/11 Memorial is something you should see for sure. We went to the museum as well and that is, well, rough. Honestly I would skip that unless you just want to be super sad and cry. It was too much for Mark and me.

I absolutely love the idea of a trampoline class - that's my kind of work out!!

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