My little sister, Kristen, and her friend, Caitlin, came to New York for a week over the Fourth of July and my birthday. The stipulation was that if they were coming for my birthday, they had to make me a cake. My sister is 10 years younger than me. She just graduated high school in May. This made me think of two things, I am old and what am I going to do with two 18 year olds in New York? I mean, normally when friends visit, they go do the stuff they want and we meet for dinner and drinks later, typically hopping from bar to bar. It’s a bit difficult to do that with someone who can’t get into a bar. It was stressing me out a bit. Maybe more than I realized. In the end though, it wasn’t much different than having anyone else stay with me. They did whatever during the day when I was at work and we meet after work for dinner and whatever else was planned out for the evening. Since I had the Fourth off and and we have half day Fridays for the summer, I actually spent quite a bit of time with them and got to check a few things off my to do in New York list. I’ll be posting more about some of the things we did later, but I wanted to give you the run down on what they did because it worked out pretty well and they saw a lot of New York in five full days.
They arrived on the evening of July 3rd, so all of my friends were treating it like a Saturday night and once they arrived, I put them on bikes and lead them down to Red Hook to Rocky Sullivan’s. When you bike on Tuesdays, you get half off your pizza. We spend the evening there hanging out on the roof deck, playing some flip cup and getting the verdict that perhaps it is a bit obvious sometimes that we are sisters from a friend or two. Knowing they were on Mountain Time, we didn’t rush out the door the next morning, but took it easy. We had tickets to go in to the World Trade Center Memorial at 3PM, so I took them to Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park and we walked all the way down to Pier 1 and DUMBO. This is my favorite part of the city. Manhattan or Brooklyn. I love DUMBO and the existing park between the two bridges. This is the place I always make sure to take people. And then walk them across the Brooklyn Bridge, which is exactly what we did.
We wandered around the Downtown area and over to the Stock Market Bull in Bowling Green for a picture op before heading to the World Trade Center Memorial. More on it later, for now you can check out Melissa’s recap. We were all hot and hungry so my friend Christine, who meet us at the memorial with Kurt and Melissa, lead us to a hidden beer garden in Battery Park. We intended to take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry before heading to Hillary’s for the fireworks. The one we wanted was cancelled, and it would have made us late so we skipped it and headed to New Jersey.
The next day the girls went up to the Bronx Zoo. And only got turned around on the train once, ending up in one of the worst parts of Brooklyn, one of my big worries. Even though Kristen claimed she remembered the subway system being pretty easy, she can be a bit blond sometimes… After that they spent some time in Time Square, a place I avoid at all costs. Then they met me at Brooklyn Bridge Park again to watch E.T. via Movies with a View, one of my favorite things to do in the city. They saved a spot and I picked up food from Rice on my way after work. The park was packed and they found it pretty funny that people would clap at certain scenes in the movie. I hadn’t seen it since I was little because I remember finding E.T. very gross. Still find him gross, totally did not remember the movie at all.
Friday morning I sent them up to Central Park to wander around and to the Plaza Hotel Food Hall for lunch before meeting me for manicures and pedicures at a spa near my office. Thanks to Groupon we got a sweet deal and pretty nails. They each bought extra foot massages because they were already in pain. After that we did some shopping and grabbed dinner at another one of my favorite spots, Grey Dog. That evening we headed to Pier 40 for our trapeze class, which I will fill you in more on later. It’s safe to say it was awesome and two days later I couldn’t laugh without major pain or raise my arms above my head. Totally worth it though!
Saturday was my birthday and also one of the hottest days on record. The girls were sent on the train to Rockaway Beach while Kurt, Melissa and I took our bikes. It was Melissa’s first bike ride to Rockaway! We are so proud of her, you can read her recap here. We’ll have her riding to Montauk in no time! We lazed around on the beach, enjoyed some Rockaway Taco and maybe had a beer after Kristen and Caitlin were on the way back to the train. This just gave them the time needed to make my cake. Or more accurately decorate a chocolate cake they found at the grocery store. It was really good, so we won’t complain. They are just glad they didn’t buy number candles because Kristen wanted to make me 29, but they were a bit unsure so they stuck with regular ones. Thanks for making me even older. We celebrated at the newly opened Greenwood Park. Melissa made me an adorable sign with paper bags and neon paint. I love it. The night ended when it started to rain and hopefully kill a bit of the heat we had been suffering through.
Sunday morning we woke up late and had breakfast at a local café/bakery called La Lopez before doing some shopping in Park Slope. We stopped in at salon and each got a henna tattoo, posted them to facebook and waited for our mother to call in a huff. It took awhile but the call finally came. In the meantime, we went to IKEA. They had to experience it, lunch and all. We didn’t buy anything though because we wanted to catch the New York Water Taxi since we never got on the Staten Island Ferry. I hadn’t been on it before and on the weekends it is free. It was a great ride over to lower Manhattan. While the ferry has a closer view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, The water taxi is good too, it’s a good way to go if your guests don’t want to actually go to either of them. Kristen had been to them last time she was here, so they didn’t care to go. After that we went home to rest a bit before the girls went to the Top of the Rock. Something I’ve already done and didn’t feel like doing again. Kristen went the top of the Empire State Building the first time she was here and they wanted to go up at night. I think the view from The Rock is better at night. Before the left Kristen was feeling a bit sick to her stomach. After awhile she took some Pepto-Bismol, figuring one way or another she would feel better. They already had tickets for the Top of the Rock, so they needed to leave or miss it. She felt a bit better and then apparently got into the subway station to the platform and puked all over the tracks just before the train arrived. Opps. She felt a bit better than worse, than better, but ultimately made it to Rockefeller Center and back to Time Square for the night view before coming home. She probably had a bit of heat exhaustion, the previous days had been really hot and humid, which they are not used to, and they were going all over the place. By the time they arrived back home, she was fine and I forced water and Gatorade on her.
Monday was their last full day in New York and the spent most of it at Coney Island, another great place to take or send people when they are visiting. There are Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs, views of the city from the Ferris wheel, and the boardwalk. The plan was to go to a Broadway Show that evening, getting cheaper tickets through TKTS, but I didn’t know that most of Broadway shut down on Mondays. I thought this place never shut down!?!? The week of the Fourth’s schedule had many shows playing because they moved their schedules around for the holiday. Dang it. Of the shows playing, they were not interested. I tried to get tickets for Cirque du Soleil, but that random Monday, one of two during the New York run, was dark. In the end I found tickets for Traces, a show that is a mash up of Broadway and Cirque du Soleil. Most of the performers had been in Cirque de Soleil at one point in time or another and it was really impressive. I found the tickets for about half off, I don’t think I would have paid full price for it, even though it was really good. I’m just cheap. Before the show we grabbed some BBQ for dinner at Wildwood Barbeque. It was a bit expensive, but it was good. I figured I would take them somewhere I know they will have no trouble finding something to eat on the menu. Even though they surprised themselves by liking what was suggested at all the other locations we went to.
That finished their time in New York. I woke them up in the morning to say good bye and double check they knew how to get to the airport via public transportation. After a week in the city, they had it down.