This is Part II of my tales visiting friends in The Big Apple. To read Part I, click here.
The next two days of my trip continued on much like the first two – eventful and exhausting, but so much fun. After temporarily parting ways with Julia, I spent a few hours relaxing at a coffee shop and doing some people watching while waiting for Stephanie to get off work (by the way, if you’ve never people-watched in New York City, that is a must next time you’re in the area).
Once Stephanie got off work for the day, I met up with her at her apartment to drop off my luggage, and we immediately started exploring the Lower East Side – Stephanie’ s stopping grounds. She took me to The Meatball Shop – one of her favorite places to eat – for some seriously out-of-this-world meatballs (you may laugh, but these meatballs were delicious) and melt-in-your-mouth ice cream sandwiches.
What followed for the rest of the night is what I would imagine to be the typical young, Manhattan nightlife experience – drinks at a friend’s apartment, followed by a night filled with dancing (and another drink, or three) at a few of Manhattan’s many clubs. It was a blast, but let me tell y’all something – when they say New York is expensive, they are not kidding! A round of shots cost $100 and a single well drink? $15! Maybe Austin’s nightlife has spoiled me, but those prices are insane if you ask me!
The next morning, Steph and I groggily ordered some breakfast for delivery while we rehashed the previous night’s festivities. We started the day with a visit to Bloomingdale’s for some shopping because, really, what is a trip to New York without a few new wardrobe pieces to accompany you home? Plus, Bloomingdale’s was right in the middle of their bi-annual Friends & Family Sale (20% off everything), and I knew I’d be kicking myself had I passed up the opportunity to at least browse their selection. I walked away with a great pair of Hudson Jeans that I had seen one of Stephanie’s friends wearing out the night before. Guys, these pants are great and I am so excited to show them off to all my Austin friends. We hit up a few more stores, then dropped our bags back at Stephanie’s apartment before making our way to Washington Square Park for what we thought would be a relaxing afternoon soaking up the beautiful New York weather.
What we got instead was a crowd of hundreds all holding pillows that were soon to become weapons – apparently Saturday was International Pillow Fight Day, and we just happened upon the location of New York’s biggest pillow fight. Pillows being thrown and feathers flying, it was definitely something you’d have to see to believe, but boy was it a sight. When we left 30 minutes later, the pillows were still being thrown in full force (and the fight was still going strong when we walked back to Stephanie’s 2 hours later!). Hungry from all the spectating, we bought some chips and guac and chowed down at Union Square Park where we spent a few hours actually enjoying the weather and doing some of the most entertaining people watching I’ve ever done.
Saturday night, Stephanie had a family dinner, so I met up with Julia for dinner at this delicious place called DBGB’s, then spent some time with Julia and her friends before meeting up with Stephanie again for a “casual night”. I put that in quotations, because New York’s (or Stephanie’s) version of casual night is much different than mine – it still involved going out, just going out to more low-key places. I’ll admit, the bars we went to were more low-key and I did have a lot of fun, but at that point, I was just so worn out from my whirlwind weekend.
Julia, Nora, Stephanie and I finished out the weekend with a Sunday morning brunch at Goat Town, a great little restaurant in the city. I really loved getting to spend time with each of my friends separately, but it was so special to finally have them all together, and it allowed for more quality time with each of them. After brunch I said my goodbyes and made my way to the airport to catch my flight back to Austin. In the process, I learned a very important lesson – getting to the airport on time in New York is much more of a to-do than in Austin. I allotted a little over three hours, but with getting lost and subway delays, I barely made it to the gate before boarding began.
Four days later, I’ve made it back it Austin…with no voice, a little less sleep and a lot less money, but also with some amazing memories that make each of those other things totally worth it. I can’t even begin to tell you what a special trip that was for me. Being able to celebrate Julia’s birthday with her and visiting Stephanie after months of not seeing her was so much fun. And you can’t beat going on vacation in a city as fun as New York – it’s a fabulous city…though I don’t plan to move there any time soon.
It’s trips like these that remind me how lucky I am to have such close and long-lasting friends, and how important it is to make sure that those relationships last for the long-haul. And if it means taking more vacation time to keep those relationships going strong, then I’ll take one for the team, because you guys, weekends like the one I just had are SO WORTH IT!