I know, this is “Why CLE?,” but I spent a fabulous weekend in NYC and I just have to tell you about it. It’s not a far flight from CLE, so this makes a great weekend getaway destination.
CLEguy and I decided that, as our birthday gifts to each other, we would go on a little vacation. After much debate, we settled on NYC. CLEguy had never been and I had only been once, so we knew there would be a lot we wanted to do and see. Rather than tell you chronologically, I’ll fill you in on my two favorite parts in turn: the sights and the food.
Aside from just gawking at everything as we went by, there were some specific sights we knew we wanted to see. We started at the Empire State Building and went all the way up to the 102nd floor observation deck (there are two observation decks: one on the 102nd floor and one on the 86th floor).
The views were breathtaking, to say the least. Plus, I totally had “Sleepless in Seattle” flashbacks on the 86th floor observation deck.
We also stopped in to the beautiful St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
When we were walking past St. Patrick’s on Saturday, we happened to see firefighters from all over the country lining the street around the cathedral. There was a memorial service at the cathedral to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11. We were able to see the flag procession entering the cathedral and it was incredibly moving. I had not purposely planned our trip around the anniversary of 9/11, but I have to say that being in New York for this particular weekend gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation of 9/11’s real, human impact.
Along those lines, CLEguy and I did head over to Ground Zero on Saturday. It is so eerie to see this empty space among all the buildings and to recall what happened there.
On Sunday morning, we hopped on the Statue Cruise line and headed over to the Statue of Liberty. This was a great way to spend a morning: the boat ride provided beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline and we got to visit this incredible landmark. We climbed to the top of the pedestal to get some more wonderful views.
More sights that we saw over the weekend: Grand Central Station, the United Nations, the New York Stock Exchange, the Charging Bull statue, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Central Park, the Plaza Hotel, Times Square, and the Naked Cowboy (seriously, CLEguy has pictures of me with him!). I have so many pictures and there is so much more that we didn’t get to see. NYC is a treasure trove of historic and culturally significant sights and we had a blast packing in as many as we could.
Of course, NYC is a foodie wonderland. We did some great eating over the weekend (which I’m hoping was counteracted by all the walking to the see the sights). Friday evening, we headed to Greenwich Village for dinner at The Spotted Pig.
While waiting for our table, we got to chatting with some folks in the bar and received recommendations for other great spots in the neighborhood. So, we decided to make it a progressive dinner instead. Our appetizers at Spotted Pig were fantastic.
We shared deviled eggs, devils on horseback, and flake crudo. CLEguy said these were the best deviled eggs he’s ever had and I concur – creamy, slightly spicy, with a great mustard kick. The devils on horseback (dates wrapped in bacon with a spicy glaze) were fantastic. And the flaze crudo was light and fresh. This fun, funky spot is a must-go in NYC.
Moving on to our dinner course, we headed a few blocks over to Corner Bistro. In a city of fancy restaurants, Corner Bistro serves its food on plastic plates for incredibly reasonable prices – and that’s how they like it. The menu has only a handful of items, but all you need is the Bistro Burger: a thick juicy burger with cheese and bacon. We shared the Bistro Burger and the grilled cheese with bacon, along with french fries and draft Yuengling. A pretty perfect meal, if you ask me…
Our Saturday evening went to the fancier side of things with dinner at Buddakan. Located in the Meatpacking District, Buddakan occupies an old Nabisco factory and is a huge, interesting, dramatic space.
I selected the roasted duck noodles for my entree. The duck was seared and served over rice noodles with a delicious broth and duck wontons. CLEguy chose the shrimp and lobster chow fun, which was packed with seafood, egg noodles, veggies, and a spicy sauce. We also split sugar snap peas with mushrooms and water chestnuts. I can’t recommend Buddakan enough for a fabulous dining experience!
After Buddakan, we wandered a few blocks down to the Hotel Gansevoort’s rooftop bar: Plunge. With amazing views, a chic crowd, and insanely expensive martinis, this was a fun way to cap off a truly NYC evening.
Other not-to-be-missed eating experiences: John’s Pizzeria (we had the margherita pizza), Sprinkles Cupcakes (try the vanilla chocolate hazelnut), Dylan’s Candy Bar (the strawberry Nerds mojito is awesome), and Serendipity 3 (I had the sand pie sundae, with homemade pecan sandies, coffee ice cream, and hot fudge).
Much thanks to all who recommended food stops for our trip – we tried to hit a lot and find some of our own. I was also very fortunate to get to brunch with at Fig and Olive with a lovely NYC friend and fellow blogger, Single Gal in the City.
So, next time you’re thinking about a weekend getaway, remember all these sights and eats are just a short plane ride away from CLE. We loved our NYC weekend, but are also glad to be back home in the CLE!