East Coast Field Guide pt 1: NYC

Here are my feelings about New York; it’s crowded and loud, it’s smelly and the subway turnstiles are the #1 worst design element in all of human creation – why the hell go in and out of the same turnstile?! It’s expensive and hard to find craft beer anywhere, and the old buildings have crap AC.

Still, something about NYC makes me love it, once you understand the rhythm of the turnstiles, you learn to dress appropriately for the balmy spring, and you give into paying lots of money for drinks because you’re getting to enjoy them on the rooftop bar of your hotel with a cozy fireplace and the magnificent skyline framing you. The crowds become a comfort and the noise becomes a soft brown noise in the background, lulling you into a relaxed state.  You see a father and son playing catch together in a quite tree shaded street in Gramercy park.

All of my impressions of NYC comes mainly from the TV show 30 Rock, and I am fine with that. Liz too seems to have the divided opinion that NYC is at once the worst and best city on earth.

Robbie is from New Jersey which means we will have an abundance of opportunities to go to the East Coast in our lifetime, this gives me the freedom to know I don’t have to see and do it all when I am in Manhattan. I get to enjoy the trip and explore the niche and mundane elements of whatever neighborhood I find myself in — for this trip that was Murray Hill and Gramercy Park.

Where we stayed

We stayed at Park South, located on a (relatively) quite avenue tucked in-between the Flatiron building and the Empire State Building, it’s a boutique hotel in a beautiful historic building. As well as being a hotel the venue has a full service bar and restaurant called Covina, Covina cafe, a small cozy nook offering pastries and all sorts of caffeinated drinks, and o ya a contemporary Japanese restaurant.

But the best thing Park South has to offer is Roof — it’s newly opened sensational rooftop bar. A little pricy, but come on, you’re enjoying cocktails on a roof in Manhattan with a fireplace keeping you warm. This place has all the stars in my book of recs.

Robbie had two fingers of Woodford, I had the Loose Seal, a house specialty cocktail

Possibly slightly tipsy at this point in the evening
What we ate
We took a red-eye in Laguardia and by the time we were in Manhattan and had dropped our bags off at Park South it was 11 am and we were hungry! We knew exactly where we wanted to eat after having seen it on Anthony Bourdain’s NYC episode – the rooftop beer garden at the Flatiron Eataly. We’d been to Eataly before but the notion that there was a secret rooftop bar was astonishing, we had know idea! I’d venture to say that other than some of the food we had at Mockingbird, or the lamb Robbie’s grandad made, Sabbia provided us with our best meal.  Sabbia — the Italian word for sand — is this summer’s La Birreria pop-up, inspired and drawing heavily from the Italian seaside. Eating seafood and light summer fare under bright umbrellas and surrounded by nautical decor made me feel as if I had taken a wrong subway line and ended up in Capri. 

We had every variety of bruschetta in the rainbow plus some tender juicy quail and a flatbread panini. Robbie enjoyed the East Coast local craft beer – Dogfish Head – 90 min IPA, I kept it simple with ice tea. If you find yourself in Eataly, in the back corner you’ll find an elevator, take it to the top floor and enjoy — you’re in Italian heaven. 

What we did
Our reason for the trip back east was two-fold, attending the 10th anniversary of the Mockingbird Conference plus getting to celebrate our wedding with a reception in New Jersey.  The conference took up a large swath of our day so we had to par down what was important for us to see and do. This time that meant no trip to tourist sights, no museums, no time spent in Brooklyn 😦 We each chose one thing we really wanted to do: Comic book shop for Robbie + a yarn shop for me, plus our usual pilgrimage to The Strand. 

If you’ve ever been in Time Square you’ve probably noticed ads for Midtown Comics, or if you read comics you regularly see their ad (or so I’m told by Robbie.) Up a small flight of stairs just a block from Time Square is this large, clean, and very organized comic and apparel shop. Robbie perused the shop and purchased a few comics and a magazine before we set off. 

Purl Soho was a heavenly dream. As a long time fan and frequent user of their patterns it was surreal to be in the shop that inspires me so often! I wanted to buy everything, yarn, patterns, notions, fabric…. I left dearly hugging two skeins of small batch dyed Mulberry Merino but now I am too nervous to cast on! What should I make?!


That about sums up our short excursion in Manhattan, but because I love you so much here are a few more snapshots of what we saw and did, plus some links below to my favorite talks at Mockingbird.

Tablescape at Mockingbird, they use caterer Pixie and the Scout and it never disappoints.  Drool worthy photos: @Thepixieandthescout

Our pilgrimage to Strand Books in Union Square (my favorite square.) 18 miles of books to ogle. Ogle from your home here: @Strandbookstore

Perfect place for a quick pick me up — I had the iced lavender agave latte. @cityofsaintscoffee
Even more angelic than it sounds 

While in NYC I got to see my brother Joey! This was us right before we parted ways in Penn Station, him to Long Island and us to Nothern Jersey. 

Up Next-  pt 2: Jersey

Up soon on the blog will be pt 2 of our trip: The Bruce Springsteen tour of NJ. 

xo Jenoa 

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