Surprise! I Went to New York

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I’ve stopped announcing my visits to New York City in advance. The problem with having lived somewhere—plus, working primarily for New York-based companies—is that it’s impossible to see everyone when you’re in town, particularly when your visits are limited to 72 hours over a holiday weekend. I’d much rather get to spend quality time with small groups of friends than just inviting everyone I know to one big, chaotic happy hour, so these days I keep my visits on the DL until I’ve arrived.

The sole purpose of my visit was to see my best friend (and wedding officiant) Lemon. We lived together in college and then briefly in New York and typically see each other a couple of times a year, whether in California, Austin, New Orleans or beyond. So the fact that it had been 19 months since our last reunion was just ludicrous. I needed to change that.

I flew into La Guardia on Thursday—how much do I love just having an hour-and-40-minutes direct flight from Nashville, versus a six-hour cross-country one that hops three time zones?—and took a cab straight to Brooklyn for midday martinis in Park Slope with Aly. Then I hopped the subway, rolling suitcase in tow, and headed to Midtown for happy hour at the Smith with Lemon and our pals Kendyl, Laney, Meg and Julia. Happy hour turned into six-hours-later-and-we-were-finally-heading-to-Lemon’s-Upper-West-Side-pad. It was a good night, and my GOD the Smith’s mac and cheese. The bar/restaurant may have been a little bit too scene-y for my usual taste, but the food and cocktails trumped any douchery of the bar patrons.

As luck would have it, nearly my entire Semester at Sea office happened to be in New York for the weekend, as well, so there was more than one reunion that took place. Paula had hopped the bus over from Boston, so we had a leisurely Good Friday brunch at Good Enough to Eat (which, yes, it was), then moseyed on down to Midtown where I met Lemon and former roomie Katy for a little tax-free shopping. What I love about New York is that you don’t even realize how much you’re walking until—BAM!—you’ve just traveled 61 blocks and six avenues by foot. It combats all the eating to be had the rest of the time you’re there.

That night, Lemon and I met her Boy, SASers Trina and Josh, Katy, and my wedding ushers Ryan and Anthony at the very hip Beauty & Essex in the Lower East Side where they serve you champagne in the ladies’ room (something we failed to enjoy because none of us thought to take our IDs to the bathroom…silly us). You enter the massive restaurant through a pawn shop, and the food was fantastic (the restaurant was opened a year and a half ago by the same people who do Stanton Social, which is my all-time favorite NYC brunch). One thing I didn’t take into account was how crazy the city can be with tourists during Easter weekend, so when we couldn’t find a bar with actual seats anywhere nearby, we wound up at the Hotel on Rivington instead (not recommended for those on a budget given the $16-for-a-beer price tags).

(Disclosure: I turn into a vampire at night, as evidenced by my glaring red eyes in all these photos that Lightroom wouldn’t recognize. You have been warned should ever we meet in a dark alley after the sun has set. During the day, I keep the glow to a minimum with heavily-tinted sunglasses.)

The following morning, Lemon, her Boy and I had brunch at Recipe on a whim in an attempt to find both a place with a good health grade (harder than you’d think) and one without a line (surprisingly not that hard for a Saturday morning at 11am on a holiday weekend).

Then it was time to venture all the way up to 218th Street to see my Semester at Sea work study student Kacie’s lacrosse game. Confession: In the time I lived in NYC, I never went above 100th Street, let alone all the way up into the heart of Harlem! I wasn’t even sure how you got there, but the subway was quick and easy from the UWS.

It was not just my first trip that far north on the island, but also my first lacrosse game! In the South, we opt for less preppy sports like football and basketball. I sort of loved my first lacrosse experience, especially when the girls would whack their opponents in the face with the sticks (only kidding…not really). It was a fun sport to watch live, though.

Evan, another of my favorite SAS students who goes to NYU, also came up and joined Paula, Trina and me for the afternoon. After Kacie scored almost all the goals for Columbia and made the rest of the assists, we got to see her and her parents up in the press box for a post-game tailgate.

That night, Lemon, her Boy and I decided to take it easy. We had a delicious (and pretty cheap by New York standards) Italian dinner at Cotta in their neighborhood, then retreated to their 19th-floor apartment for an evening in of watching The Muppets (so good!).

Sunday was Easter, so Lemon and I met Josh and his partner Kurt down in their new home, the West Village, for brunch at one of my old haunts, Cornelia Street Cafe. It was a beautiful day, if not still a tad bit chilly, so we moseyed on through Washington Square Park, through Greenwich Village and down into SoHo for a bit of shopping.

And then, it was time to go home! And I’d be lying if I said were it not for Ella and SVV waiting for me back in Tennessee, I’d have been a tiny bit sad I’m no longer a New Yorker. At least, I’m still able to play the part on occasion.

COMMENTS
  • April 9, 2012

    I missed you buy 1 weekend!!!! 🙁

    • April 9, 2012
      Kristin

      Bummer! But at least I left behind some really gorgeous weather for you. (You’re welcome.) =)

      Are you just stopping through before your big Stockholm move?

  • April 9, 2012
    mona johnson

    Kristin,
    Thanks again for coming to see your first lacrosse game in Harlem of all places. Enjoyed your company and am enjoying your website. Have fun and be safe in all your travels. You have the best job!

    • April 9, 2012
      Kristin

      Thank you, Mona! Your daughter is the best. I miss her every day and will have to come visit you all up in Connecticut sometime!

  • April 9, 2012

    Ooo, I do the same thing when visiting Nashville. I can never see everyone in one weekend, and I hate saying no to social events.

    Looks like you had a great weekend! I’ve been craving a NYC trip lately.

    • April 9, 2012
      Kristin

      ME TOO. Growing up Southern, as you well know, “no” is not something we know how to say. “Where’s the party?” on the other hand, is. 😉

  • April 9, 2012
    Lindy

    I miss you already! So honored to be squeezed into your itinerary. 🙂

    • April 9, 2012
      Kristin

      I’m making you keep your promise of coming to see me this summer, just so you know. How’s June? 😉

  • April 9, 2012

    Yay! We loved having you. And thanks for introducing me to all your fab friends and foodie haunts – I will definitely be calling a few of them my own 🙂

    • April 9, 2012
      Kristin

      I hope you claim the foodie haunts–and the friends–for your own! That would make me happy. Already looking forward to hosting you and Kurt for your inaugural visit down South…

  • April 9, 2012

    Wow – you can sure pack a lot into a weekend!! I didn’t realize that lacrosse was played in the U.S. Did you know that it’s Canada’s national summer sport?

    • April 9, 2012
      Kristin

      No, I had no idea! I’m pretty sure if I’d grown up in the Northeast, I would have played it, too…it’s just the kind of aggressive, hard-hitting sport I like. And you get to wear skirts while playing it! Perfect. =)

  • April 9, 2012

    And I thought WE moved fast when visiting NYC. My god. I’m tired just reading this. Smith’s mac and cheese is already on the list for our next visit. Thanks for the tip!

    • April 10, 2012
      Kristin

      SO GOOD. I also love P.J. Clarke’s mac and cheese, which is just around the corner from the Smith. So in theory, you could hit up both in one fell swoop. 😉

  • April 9, 2012

    Looks like you had a blast, your strategy worked!

  • April 9, 2012

    I feel that way about going to NYC also! So many people to see and things to do– it’s always hard to fit everything in. Looks like you had a fabulous trip! 🙂 PS are you going to PODCAMP on Saturday here in Nashville? Hope to see ya sometime soon!

    • April 10, 2012
      Kristin

      I saw that invite, but I don’t think I’m going to make it…it’s my only weekend here at home from now through mid-June, so I need some time to chill out (and see Scott!).

  • April 9, 2012

    Did you see my message on FB that I was in NYC as well? Looks like you had SO much fun!

    • April 10, 2012
      Kristin

      I saw that! So crazy. Were you just there in transit between Hong Kong and Charlotte?

  • April 9, 2012

    One day I’d like tour NYC with you. I don’t think I could go there any other way.

    Great to meet up with so many people on a long weekend.

    • April 10, 2012
      Kristin

      It’s a date!

  • April 9, 2012

    It looks like you had such a good time – it makes me miss New York!

  • April 9, 2012
    Brandy

    I’m glad you had a good time! It’s been too long since I’ve been to New York – I’ve got to make it up there this summer.

  • April 9, 2012

    Looks like such a fun trip! I can definitely relate to not having the time to see absolutely everyone, but I’m glad you got to catch up with some of the most important people.

    • April 10, 2012
      Kristin

      Oh, I know you of all people know how that goes considering you live on ANOTHER CONTINENT.

  • April 9, 2012

    First off, I love the first photo with your cowboy boots! It sounds like your weekend was jam-packed and that you made the most of it! And, in a random it’s a small world way, I believe Trina used to work at the firm in SF where I interned because I recognize her.

    • April 10, 2012
      Kristin

      That’s so crazy! And definitely her, too, as she was in SF at a firm through 2010. Funny, Trina and I actually overlapped in SF by two years but didn’t know each other until the ship, though I’m sure we passed in the streets of San Francisco on multiple occasions!

  • April 10, 2012

    Glad you had a great trip! I’m a Tennessee girl living in New York, and I actually live above W. 100th. 😉 It’s cool up here! My husband goes to Columbia, so we decided to move near the school. I really like it!

    • April 10, 2012
      Kristin

      I loved it up there! After the game, I caught a ride back to the Columbia campus and then walked back to my friend’s place in the West 90s. It’s so beautiful in that area, and there’s SO much there now, especially around 97th and 98th. We really had no need to leave the neighborhood were it not for going to see friends in other ‘hoods.

  • April 10, 2012

    I kept seeing all of your smiling pictures on Instagram and smiling myself – nothing beats reuniting with great friends. 🙂

    • April 10, 2012
      Kristin

      The best! My favorite kind of traveling involves seeing friends and NOT having to write reviews, ha 😉

  • April 10, 2012
    Lauren

    Ok, so when I responded on Twitter last night, I only took a micro-quick glance and missed two very important details.

    First – I somehow buzzed right by the fact that you went to The Smith. I live two blocks from there and it’s my department’s go to for the we-don’t-call-it-what-it-really-is-Christmas-happy-hour-celebration. Holy strong drinks, Batman. They mean serious business with the pours.

    Second – EVAN! Crazy small world (ok, not that small since I work at NYU), but Evan interned for the same casting director that my partner worked for and they still keep in touch. Crazy.

    • April 10, 2012
      Kristin

      Ahhh how funny! Yes, Evan is our budding little director/producer. I have no doubt he’ll make big things happen post-Tisch, too =)

      Also, I used to live close-ish to the Smith (58th and 3rd, then 60th and 1st), but I don’t think it was there when I was a Midtown resident. The food was awesome–so were the drinks–but it was SO LOUD in there. My voice was super sore the next day after having to yell to be heard!

      • April 10, 2012
        Lauren

        I totally forgot there’s a Smith in Midtown now. I live right by the one in the East Village.

  • April 10, 2012

    I thought I felt something fabulous in the region. Looks like you had a lovely Easter!

    • April 10, 2012
      Kristin

      You need to live closer to NYC so we can have fabulous adventures together in the city next time I’m up that way! 😉

  • April 10, 2012

    How could you bear such a week-end packed with all the stuff you did! To be honest I barely did the same when I was in London a couple of weks ago just for 72 hours! I had such a crazy time tring to meet all my friends, relatives athta i was completely drained but so happy!

    • April 10, 2012
      Kristin

      The funny thing is that it felt laid back and mellow compared to my last few visits up there! There was still leisurely downtime and plenty of opportunity to wander and take photos.

  • April 10, 2012

    I feel like you packed in an incredible amount of adventures and visiting in such a short visit! I’m mighty impressed!

  • April 10, 2012

    Ah, you make me miss New York so much! Ironically, I am saving for San Francisco and Book Passage and then Portland (about a $2000 trip out of pocket. NBD).

    • April 11, 2012
      Kristin

      That’s a lot of money! I’m sure it will be totally worth it, though =)

      • April 11, 2012

        Indeed and yes! Hopefully, I can prove my ROI with a byline in a travel magazine. I’ll keep you posted or send you the mag when I’m in it. 🙂

  • April 12, 2012

    Aw looks like fun! I should maybe try not announcing when I’m getting home so I can have some alone time lol

    • April 12, 2012
      Kristin

      That’s an excellent idea! I’ve been home full time for months now and still haven’t announced it (or rarely left the house for that matter), ha 😉

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