New York

As we handed over what felt like our hundredth toll for the morning, we finally crossed the state border into New York city, almost instantly joining an unavoidable long line of traffic. We continued our drive through neighbourhoods, under tunnels and over bridges, finally reaching our friend Marlee (aka Molly) and boyfriend Daniel’s apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

We volunteered with Molly at a guesthouse in Morocco a year earlier and when mentioning we’d be coming through she very kindly offered us a couch. We met Molly in her week-old loft apartment and spent a little time catching up on lost time before deciding to check out the neighbourhood as she headed off to work.

We walked up and down Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, the supposed birthplace of today’s hipster and visibly so. After some people watching, window shopping and an obligatory New York slice from legendary Joe’s Pizza, we headed back to the apartment where we met Daniel and enjoyed a delicious dinner cooked by the man himself, as well as a supersized bottle of Cinta Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

The next day we rose bright and early to take on the city. We started our big day off by catching the subway to Tom’s Restaurant, the famous diner that featured in many a Seinfeld episode. After an obligatory photo we walked across and through Central Park, popping out at Gray’s Papaya Hotdogs for apparently one of the city’s best, albeit against a pretty low bar. We then bounced around mid-town visiting places like Time Square, Empire State and Rockefeller Centre, with some short stops at Nintendo and M&Ms to cater to our inner-child. After a big morning of walking we stopped at Best Bagel & Coffee for one of the city’s best bagels, the line out the door only confirming this. I had the biggest and best smoked salmon and cream cheese, while Anita went for only garlic cream cheese. They tasted exactly how you’d imagine the perfect bagel to taste.

After filling our stomachs we continued south down 5th Avenue, all the way to Chelsea Market where we spent a good hour drooling over the smorgasbord of food and drinks and inspecting all the products we couldn’t afford, then made our way to meet Molly at one of Daniel’s restaurants The Meatball Shop, where as Executive Chef he oversees operations and well and truly looked after us. We stuffed ourselves yet again before attempting to walk everything off along The High Line, stopping at Samsung for some virtual reality fun before catching the subway back to rest our weary legs.

That night we walked around the corner to Brooklyn Brewery. They had an event on where you could test developers’ arcade games while throwing back a few local brews. After wetting our whistles we continued on to another packed bar where we met some more friends of the guys’, then finished up with one last bar before heading home for a night cap and crashing like a sack of bricks.

On our last day in New York we wanted to cover off what we missed on Day 1 – Lower Manhattan. We started by walking all the way across Williamsburg Bridge and down to the Staten Island Ferry terminal. The ferry is completely free, and gives you one of the best views of the Statue of Liberty without even needing to actually visit. After the ferry there and back we walked up through the financial district to Ground Zero, then through Little Italy to Chinatown where we had a steaming hot bowl of noodle soup and basket of dumplings. We then spent the rest of the afternoon ducking in and out of shops before returning back to the apartment to flop.

Anita managed to rustle up enough strength to turn around and go out again, meeting an old friend for dinner. I on the other hand relished the comfort of the couch, breaking relax time up with yet another sensational meal cooked by Daniel.

And so then our action-packed visit to NYC had come to an end. We managed to experience so much in the little time we had there and it was all because of Molly and Daniel’s hospitality. We had the very best of New York and we owe it all to you guys, so thank you!

Next stop on our way up the east coast; Boston.

– Dek

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