Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Routine, New York.

Okay, so I have a confession. Too often, I am way too much a creature of habit. I order the same things from my favorite restaurants and don't branch out, I have the same morning (and evening) routine that never changes, and even when I do something fun, like going into the city, I tend to do the same things as always.

Typically, my time in New York consists of multiple Starbucks trips, laying out in Sheep's Meadow in the spring and summer with a Steinbeck novel, dinner at somewhere like Delmonico's or Bar Americain if I'm with my parents, or somewhere super cheap like Joe's Shanghai in Chinatown if I'm with friends, and finished up with a trip to Magnolia Bakery, depending on the neighborhood that I'm in. Wash, rinse, repeat, with few exceptions.

When J told me that my Christmas present was going to be a day in the city, a part of me was excited, while a part just kind of felt like I was out of control of the whole thing - it was liberating to know that I could experience something that wasn't typical for me, especially in my beloved city.

I think part of the beauty of New York is that even if you're like moi, and go in at least two or three times a month, there is always something new. A new restaurant, a new club, a new martini that has everyone by crazy, or a new dessert sensation that you have to try - New York has it all. For me, the new thing that I saw, for the first time in 22 (almost 23) years was snow in Central Park, which greeted J and I as we walked from 42nd Street to the East Side.


We headed on New Years Day, and the city was still jam packed in all the tourist spots, with them lined up and down the block, speaking a variety of languages with various accents, eyes glittering as they looked at Central Park for the first time as they waited for their horse and carriage rides. The carriage drivers were clearly ecstatic about the tourists who were clueless to the fact that typically a carriage ride is $35/half hour, as they were now charging $65/half hour for a trip around the park.


(Side note: When walking in New York City, please, please, please don't stop short in the middle of a sidewalk for any reason -- you will get trampled, and most likely the finger).

In true Allison fashion, our very first stop was Starbucks, where I loaded up on not one, but two coffees (enlisting the help of J - such a doll), before venturing back out onto the streets covered with slush and the remnants of the blizzard that happened a week prior.



The sky was gray with the looming promise of either rain or snow, and when my hopes were just beginning to sink (because there is nothing this girl hates more than walking around the city in the rain), a van pulled up next to the road, stuck at a red light, blasting this song, which always makes me feel happy, maybe just because of the irony of it all (I can't explain it - it's one of those things).


We continued up Fifth Avenue, which was lined with brownstones and apartment buildings (and foreign consulate housing) that was still decorated for the holidays. Wreaths hung on almost every wrought-iron window, and no two were alike.


We walked and walked, passing The Met and heading up Museum Ave, until we arrived at the Guggenheim. Now, the Guggenheim is one of those New York things that I feel like I should have done by now but never have - and, it combines two of my favorite things -- art and Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture.


For those of you who have never been, the art and sculptures in the museum are all on different levels, and you have to walk up a spiral type layout (six floors worth, all uphill!). There are no photos allowed after you wall up to the first level of art though, so this is as much as I can show you of it.


It was beautiful though - tons of Picasso (who is one of my all-time favorites) lined the walls along with L├ęger (Fernand, not Herve!), Brague, and a few Degas and Manet's, the Guggenheim is truly a gorgeous place, filled with amazing and lesser known pieces by renowned artists.


Upon leaving the Guggenheim, we then began the arduous task of hiking from Fifth Avenue and Central Park East (where I was asked for help with directions from four different tourists, which always makes me feel good, especially when I can actually help them out), all the way to West Broadway. I cannot even begin to tell you how many miles that is, but let me tell you - it took us an hour to do this, and I am a FAST walker.

Though it was a painfully long walk, we were able to walk through the snow covered Central Park (for like, miles), where it seemed like everyone in New York was out making snowmen (and dogs apparently), having snowball fights - it was nice to see a place that can be so scary (at night), also be such a family place, where people can act like children again.




Also, it was a personal triumph for me, because I successfully navigated us through the park, and to Broadway without using my BlackBerry for directions! I'm finally getting the hang of figuring out my way around the city (at least within Manhattan!).

By the time we arrived at the restaurant that J had picked, called Accademia di Vino, I promise you with no exaggeration that I was afraid my legs were going to fall off.

We were immediately seated, and had the most wonderful server I've ever had a restaurant. He was friendly and sweet, but not overbearing, and seemed to genuinely enjoy his job, which is always fun. After all that walking, I was star-ving, and when the waiter rattled off the list of specials (that probably had about fifteen things on it - my head kept tilting closer to my shoulder as I struggled to pay attention to everything he was saying), my stomach growled louder and louder.

After ordering, our appetizers came out within minutes (which was good, because I was about to run the train on the homemade focaccia bread sitting in the basket in front of us), with the entrees shortly after that.

Radicchio salad with candied walnuts, goat cheese, and an orange vinagrette dressing. SO GOOD.


J got the mahi mahi with Israeli couscous. I can't tell you how it was, because he did not share (I probably wouldn't share with him either!).


I got pumpkin, caramelized onion, and pancetta pizza. Nothing has ever tasted more perfect to me. (Seriously, make a trip to New York and go to Accademia JUST for this pizza).


It was such a perfect meal, and I was excited that I broke out of my routine and ordered something super unique for dinner.

And, the night ended the way all nights in New York City should end - because you can't always break the routine.

(I break off the bottom and eat it first, and save the yummy frosting for last).


I apologize again for not visiting your blogs more - it was a crazy week between moi having an awful stomach virus (the day after this trip actually, yuck!), and then my mom having crazy back problems. I'll definitely be better about it (it is my resolution after all!).

Currently listening to: Mumford & Sons - Awake My Soul.


Lindsay said...

Oh my gosh! You have me itching to go to NYC so bad!! I'm so jealous that you are so close. If only Cleveland were the same...You look gorgeous as always. I'm loving the winter ensemble! Months later I still crank up the radio whenever Empire State of Mind comes on.

la petite fashionista said...

what a perfect and thoughtful day! i love rediscovering a place that seems so familiar to me. how exciting to experience NYC in a different light, but hold on to your traditions too :)

Anait said...

Beautiful photos! I spent four hours in NYC and loved it, though we hardly saw anything. I love coming back to cities and getting to know different areas.

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

Gorgeous pics! I can only imagine how beautiful it really is. Cold, but pretty lol!I love the snowdogs too!

You look way cute as well! What kind of boots are those? They kind of look like mine :)

Glad you had a great time - good company, scenery, and food. It doesn't get better, right?

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

p.s. I LOOOOOVE Magnolia! They just opened one in LA!

▲my• said...

Good looking food! :D

I love New York. Maybe it's silly for me to say so since I've never been, but all of my thoughts on the subject are pleasant ones so it's true.

SNOW. Oddly enough it snowed here just after Christmas. In PHOENIX, but of course it didn't snow in my neighborhood. It snowed practically everywhere BUT my neighborhood. Someday...

Looks like you had a lovely trip!

MizzJ said...

Sounds like an amazing trip! What a romantic and awesome day, though all the walking must have been quite tiring! haha I don't know if I'd have the patience to listen to that server rattle on, I'd just be like "GIVE ME STEAK. NOW." :)

Giovanna&Roberta said...

I dear! Check out/FOLLOW our blog to see lovely handmade italian creation!

Couture Carrie said...

Gorgeous photos, darling!
I miss NYC so much!


amy b.s. said...

love that you had such a great new experience in such a great city! i too am devouring mumford & sons right now. i can't get enough!

HiFashion said...

Don't worry: I'm a creature of habit as well.

New York looks so beautiful. I've always wanted to visit. It looks like a great city. And Central Park in the snow looks so beautiful.

You look great as well. I love your white coat.

P.S. Clever to save te frosting for last. I usually lick it all (making a mess) and then get bored of the actual cake.

Jessica said...

love love love accademia di vino!! my mom and I stopped there one afternoon after a long day of walking when we were there in June. and get this - I had the radicchio salad, too!

crazy how great minds think alike ;)


Croatian_Latina said...

I love all your photos of New York Allison! my very favorite was the one with the snowman and the dog in the park! it's classic Allison, you should consider framing that!

What a fun trip. I haven't been in NY in a while. I'm hoping (after all the crazy snowstorms) I can plan a trip to visit my good friend who lives in Brooklyn.

p.s. sorry to hear you got sick after the trip, that is never fun.

Style, She Wrote said...

Great NY pictures! I went to school on the Upper East Side and these beautiful definitely make me miss the area! Hope you had fun! xo style, she wrote

Olive said...

Ahh! I'm so happy for you :), it's great that you were able to hand the reigns over to J and let him worry about the planning, and in the process you were able to break out of routine and experience new things. I do think it's nice that you ended it with your cupcake routine though :), my friend Amanda and I ALWAYS have to go to this one cupcake place if we're in the area.
You definitely know your city much better than I do ;), it's awesome how often you're able to go. Kudos to you for being able to help people figure out where they're going, that place is HUGE.. Hah, I can't believe the whole carriage scam, people are crazy :P.
I absolutely love the picture, and you look gorgeous! That's a great scarf too, you've got the city look down, girl ;). Oh my god, I heard Empire State of Mind while I was in NYC too! It didn't happen as perfectly as the van incident, but I think it came on the radio while we were in someone's car, and we all just started singing right along haha.
The Guggenheim sounds really interesting, I'll have to add that to my list for when I go back down there. It's overwhelming how much there is to see down there.
As for my photos--thank you!! :) I'm really loving the Nikon, I just need to learn more about manually changing the settings, I'm still doing just the basic stuff with it. Yours turned out awesome, the food is practically popping off of the page, and I wish it would pop right off into my mouth because it looks so good! And I'll definitely remember Joe's Shanghai, soup dumplings sound like something I need to try :).
Okay, my comment was obnoxiously long, I don't know what you were talking about with yours, this has to be 3x longer, I ramble so much, and I just keep on going.. hahah. I'm cutting myself off now ;) have a fabulous weekend!

Olive said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Olive said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Olive said...

My already super-long comment somehow got posted 3 times, so that's why you have deleted comments. Sorry about that :P

Kristin said...

This fabulous post got me so excited for my trip next month! Love that gorgeous coat lady!

Nicole Linette said...

Hi Allison!
I remember you hinted with excitement about your NYC trip, and that really sounds amazing! I bet Central Park with snow is absolutely gorgeous :) Although, we're all being hammered with snow, aren't we? Haha. The painfully long walk sounds worth it to treat yourself to a pumpkin pizza (♥!) and Magnolia cupcakes. The Guggenheim Museum looked wonderful as well! I'm so glad you and Jay enjoyed yourselves. I can't wait to go to the city one day.

nicole :).

daisymay aka Chantele said...

It's all so beautiful and festive!

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Holly said...

Amazing photos - especially the horse and carriage!

OceanDreams said...

wow, i love all of your photos! the pizza, the cupcakes - oh boy! i've been to NY and i fell in love, this makes me want to go back!

Jenni said...

Oh my GOSH. This post just made my heart SOAR!! Can I come live with you so we can go to NYC two or three times a MONTH together?!?! I can? Ok, be right there. ;)

And those Magnolia cupcakes at the end there almost made me cry. I can literally TASTE THEM!! :)

Carol {Everyday Delights} said...

Beautiful pictures! I bet NYC with the snow was just extra fun!