As many of you know, Neil and I took advantage of Canada’s Victoria Day long weekend to take a quick trip to New York. You know it was my birthday birthmonth after all, right? Our plans? Eating, drinking, lots of walking, meeting old and new friends and trying to fit as much into 2 1/2 days as we could! We had some wonderful food and wine experiences that I will spread out over a number of posts but thought I would kick off the NYC recap with a few random and not necessarily food and wine-related events and destinations.
One of our “must-see” places is always Union Square Greenmarket. This trip did not disappoint – it’s so great to see big city farmers’ markets emerge from the cold winter months in the spring and this trip we were thrilled to see the wonderful heirloom radishes (above), eclectic sprouts, plump pink strawberries, aromatic flowers, pale pink stalks of rhubarb, lots of fresh greens, edible flowers and a huge variety of potatoes. Oh and a pretzel or two!!
I was fascinated by the different types of eggs available also – green eggs from Araucana hens, turkey and pheasant eggs.
We are always so sad that we are not able to bring back any of the fresh produce (or wonderful preserves) but it certainly does not stop us from coveting many, many things!
and the American Woman exhibit.
Of course we know that Saturday afternoons are not the most optimal time to visit the Met and this was no exception – the Picasso exhibit is still fairly recent and throngs of people were there – sometimes 5-deep. The paintings and pieces on show were wonderful – it was quite eye opening to see his style change so dramatically over the years – but the sheer volume of people did not really make for a pleasant viewing experience. Highly recommended – just make sure you go first thing or during a weekday!
The same went for the American Woman – but again, very well done and worthwhile. Neil was impressed that Debbie Harry was included in the final collage of women who all make up the typical American Woman. he was less impressed with the cashiers in the store who did not know who she was!! Young people today, I tell you!
We also made it for the first time to MoMA where we saw a retrospective of Henri Cartier-Bresson‘s work. It was very humbling as an aspiring photographer to see what he was able to achieve with a simple film camera and no Photoshop. And wow – the places he’s been – much more well travelled that I ever imagined.
We also took in The Artist is Present – another retrospective of Maria Abranovic‘s work. This show featured sound pieces, video works, installations, photographs, solo performances, and collaborative performances and confirmed my suspicions that modern performance art is not my thing, I mean really, a film of a woman screaming until she has no voice left, a film of a woman dancing until she can dance no more? Certainly not my type of art but hugely popular, judging by the amount of people who were there at 10.30 on a Monday morning!
More weirdness ensued as we found ourselves at another favourite haunt, the Jazz Standard, on Sunday night.
The “world famous Cuban drummer” (!) Dafnis Prieto was performing and we wandered in about half-way through the act. We love the venue – it’s so intimate and atmospheric. The show – weeeellll…. Again not so much our thing – a quartet of extremely talented musicians who individually would have sounded wonderful, yet all together, it didn’t quite work (for us – again, a small crowd of obvious fans might just be the proof that my musical ear is definitely not properly trained!)
Somewhere we have been dying to visit and which is finally open is the High Line Park. I was anxious to check it out, given how much I love the Promenade Plantée in Paris, scene of many a lazy Sunday afternoon stroll when I lived there.
According to the website, The High Line was built in the 1930s, as part of a massive public-private infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement. It lifted freight traffic 30 feet in the air, removing dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan’s largest industrial district. No trains have run on the High Line since 1980. Section 1 of the High Line is open as a public park, owned by the City of New York and runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues. Section 1 of the High Line, which opened to the public on June 9, 2009, runs from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street.
Well the High Line is definitely still in its infancy but they have done a lovely job at creating a green space where you would least expect it. Over the next few years, they will be expanding this considerably and I expect that by the time it is completed, it will have that “always been there” feel that the Promenade Plantée does. I will be interested to watch its progress over the next little while!
Whilst we did enjoy some fine meals, they weren’t all at big-name places. One of our favourite cafés to eat a quick breakfast is the Guy and Gallard location at Park and 30th, just around the corner from The Murray Hill Inn, a wonderful, small, reasonably priced hotel we discovered this trip (hotel room under $150/night anyone?) My “go to” breakfast there is the yoghurt granola parfait with fresh berries for $2.95! Who said New York was expensive?
Finally, what birthday celebration is complete without a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery? More specifically, the “Carrie cupcake” to celebrate the premier of Sex and the City 2 next week.
Neil proved what an excellent blogging companion he is by this improvised photo shoot of the cake on a fire hydrant just around the corner from Magnolia. Isn’t it cute?? Initially I thought there was way too much icing (frosting) for my liking but the cupcake itself was not overly sweet and could actually cope with it! (but I still scraped most of it off anyway…) Happy Birthday to me. Yay!
Stay tuned later this week for recaps of two fabulous blogger brunches and three very different dinners!