Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It's Christmas time in the city

City sidewalks | Busy sidewalks | Dressed in holiday style
In the air there's a feeling of Christmas
– from Silver Bells by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.

We are just back from Christmas time in the city – New York City, that is. You may remember that Mary moved to Brooklyn in September and we had yet to visit her. So very (very) early on Friday morning, Ed and I flew to NYC, along with Maggie and Nate. 

This trip was so different from others we have taken to NYC. For one thing, we stayed in an airbnb apartment in Williamsburg, a neighborhood in Brooklyn which has a much different vibe than midtown Manhattan. For another, it was fun to have Mary show us around – to explore Brooklyn, Chinatown, Chelsea, Little Italy, and Lower Manhattan. And it was especially lovely to have Maggie and Nate with us. The only thing that could have made the weekend better was if Jack could have magically appeared from half way across the globe. We did connect up with Matthew, one of Jack's old roommates from McGill, meeting him and his parents for dinner on Sunday night. We also shared a meal with Katie Beth, Mary's good friend from high school days who has helped Mary in so many ways get settled. 

Other than a quick walk up to Rockefeller Center to see the tree and skaters, we avoided midtown, spending time instead browsing the aisles at The Strand Bookstore, checking out the vendors at the Holiday Market at Union Square, the Brooklyn Winter Flea + Holiday Market, the Chelsea Market, the Bedford Cheese Shop and the Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory, pausing at the 9/11 Memorial Plaza, walking in the rain across the Brooklyn Bridge, taking the East River Ferry from Brooklyn over to lower Manhattan and, of most importance to Galloways: eating. 

Holiday Market @ Union Square
Bedford Cheese Shop
Spoonbill & Sugartown Bookstore in Williamsburg
9/11 Memorial Fountains
Brooklyn Bridge
So that I don't forget the many great places we dined, here's a look at our favorites.

La Nonna Pizzeria237 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn. Our first night in town and we hadn't done our homework to figure out where we wanted to eat dinner. We remembered seeing a tiny pizzeria just down the street. Maggie called to see if we could get a table. We could, and were told we could also BYOB, so we stopped at the wine shop for a bottle of Chianti before walking the block from our apartment to the tiny restaurant. We ordered a large thin-crusted pizza and a small gluten-free crusted one for me. Both were delicious. Mary took home the leftovers for lunch this week. 

BeeHive Oven, 182 South 2nd St, Brooklyn. The next morning, we headed out of our apartment the opposite direction on Bedford and turned on 2nd St. We were headed for brunch at the BeeHive Oven touted as having the best biscuits in NYC. Run by a couple of Texans, they went out of their way to make us feel welcomed and feed us with care and craft. 

Vinegar Hill House, 72 Hudson Avenue, Brooklyn. The epitome of cozy, with seats for only about 40, I had made a reservation for Saturday night after Mary sent me a link as a possible good spot to eat. It was wonderful. Katie Beth joined us and we all were so happy to be together in this warm, tiny, beautiful restaurant.  We each had a different entree along with sides of corn bread with hot honey, parsnips, and brussels sprouts. I'm going back, for sure.

Sevilla, 62 Charles Street, West Village.  Matthew (Jack's college roommate and staff writer for the New York Observer) and his parents, Lewis and Doreen, picked this restaurant for us. We met them there. Doreen, who grew up in New York City, had been coming to Sevilla since she was a young girl. Paella was ordered all around. It was one of those quintessential New York experiences. Plus, it was fun to catch up with Matthew and, after all these years, to meet his parents. 

Ferrara Bakery & Cafe, 195 Grand Street, Little Italy. Sunday afternoon found us exploring around Chinatown and Little Italy in the rain. We stopped in Ferrara's for a coffee and dessert. (Okay, Mary had a glass of sparkling Prosecco with her cannoli.) Founded in 1892, it offers cannoli, gelati and other pastries. What a gem of a place. 

Some more notes for future visits...

Mary downloaded the HopStop app to my i-phone. Simply by keying in my current location and where I wanted to go, I could get step-by-step directions to anywhere in NYC. If I chose the subway/rail option, it provided details on which line to take, directions to the closest stop, time of the next train, and walking directions to my destination once I got off the train. What a lifesaver for someone as directionally-challenged as me!

More than once this weekend, we turned to Mary to order us an UBER ride. I can see why she likes it. She can request an urber taxi just by keying in her location and where she wants to go. She can then track where her requested ride is on its route and she pays directly from her phone. No worrying about cab fare or calculating a tip. 

Airbnb. It may not be for everyone, but I really like staying in a real person's apartment rather than a hotel. We've had great luck in Paris, Santa Fe and now Brooklyn. Our 2 BR apartment this week was located on a main street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The front door and entraceway were a bit sketchy, but once inside the apartment it was just right for us. I'm not sure I'd stay in this exact apartment again as the street noise was loud, but I'd definately find one in another neighborhood that I'd like to explore in NYC. Maybe Greenwich Village or Chelsea next time. 

The dining area of our airbnb apartment
The living area.
They even had a turntable and stack of old (but good) albums.

So thank you Mary for a great Christmas time in the city. Can't wait to get you home in 12 days for Christmas time in the country. We miss you.

No comments:

Post a Comment