King of New York

Due to my work schedule I found myself having to spend a week in New York, including a weekend.  It was definitely hard to be away from Lynne and the kids that long, but I tried to maximize my time in the city.  Given all I was able to do, including full days of meetings at work, I think that may be an understatement.  Here’s a brief* rundown of my days, including some photos (some with the DSLR, but unfortunately some with just my phone).

*Yeh, this isn’t brief at all, sorry!

Thursday morning I took the train to New Jersey for a small staff retreat, my first time in the state in many years.  That night I headed to Coney Island in Brooklyn with some coworkers.  I had never been, and they had tickets to see the Class A Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets) minor league team play.  We enjoyed the game, where I also got see Purdue Boilermaker Kevin Plawecki play.  He was drafted in the first round by the Mets (quite a big deal for Purdue), but I didn’t remember until I saw his name and picture on the scoreboard.  After the game I ate a ton of food at the original Nathan’s Famous, rode the Cyclone rollercoaster, walked the boardwalk, and kicked some sand on the beach.  We then walked down a ways to Brighton Beach, the old Russian-populated area of Brooklyn, for some herring, oysters, caviar, potatoes, and vodka on waterfront.  It was a lot of fun and well worth the hour-plus on the subway

Nathan’s Famous

    Brooklyn Cyclones park


Purdue’s Kevin Plawecki


The Cyclone.  We were the last ride of the night at 10:30pm, which made it even more fun.


The Wonder Wheel


On Friday we had a special team lunch at Eataly’s beer garden Birreria. I’ve written about my great trips to Eataly before, but I had never been to the rooftop beer garden due to the long waits in the evening.  Fortunately there was no wait for an early lunch, and we had lots of time to enjoy some amazing small plates and beer.  Through a partnership with Dogfish Head and two Italian breweries, they brew three beers on site and serve them on cask.  Per the waiter’s recommendation, I had a pint of the Gina, a thyme pale ale that was perfectly balanced and delicious.  For our food, we enjoyed the following, all incredibly excellent:

  • A cheese plate featuring parmigiano, asiago, taleggio, gorgonzola, and robiola, served with their warm bread and honey to dip
  • Probusto pork and beef sausage served with potatoes and mustard greens
  • Maitake mushrooms in a cream sauce
  • An heirloom tomato salad with some of the best tomatoes I’ve had (outside my own garden of course!)
  • A chicken dish I can’t find on their menu right now (must have been a special), but it was juicy, slightly crispy, and perfect

That evening I had a mojito with some coworkers and then walked to the theater district to see a show.  When Lynne came with me to NYC in June, we had a list of shows we were interested in seeing.  One I really wanted to see, One Man Two Guvnors, she wasn’t as keen on, so I figured it would be good to see solo.  It also only had one week left in its Broadway run, so I was thrilled to have the chance to see it before it disappears, likely forever since it centers around one star British actor.  The play is hilarious and won numerous awards when it premiered in London before heading across the pond.  The lead actor, James Corden, even won the Tony this year for best actor in a play. The play is so unique, incorporating music, breaking the fourth wall, and planting humorous things in the audience. (Yes, I realize I quote a song from Newsies in my title, so some of you are wondering why I didn’t see that musical on Broadway. Honestly, I didn’t want to potentially taint my memories of that great film and all the childhood memories it generates, and it’s always more fun to see something you haven’t already watched 50 times before).


On Saturday, I knew it would be a little lonely, so I made sure to have plenty of new activities to do around the city.  I decided to spend some time in Brooklyn, since I usually only get there a couple times a year on weekday evenings.  Also, I decided it would be fun to walk across the Williamsburg Bridge from the East Village.  That was a lot of fun, but it took about 90 minutes, and after an entire day of walking, by Saturday night my feet were in bad shape.

Once I got into Brooklyn, I headed to Williamsburg for Smorgasburg, a fun mini-food fest gathering that happens every Saturday.  It’s right on the waterfront, and the eclectic food selection from many Brooklyn restaurants and food truck staples was a little overwhelming, especially at 11am.  I was met by one of m Brooklyn-ite coworkers who showed me around, and I enjoyed the best doughnut I’ve ever eaten from Dough, fried anchovies from Bon Chovie, and ramp vinaigrette from Right Tasty.

After that, I headed to a special saison tasting at a local bar, a tour of Brooklyn Brewery, and then I hopped the subway to Prospect Park.  This large park in Brooklyn had a completely different feel than Central Park, with more families of all ethnicities grilling out and playing.  I was able to find a quiet spot on the lake to read, and then another local coworker met me for a walk around the park (yep, lots of walking).  We then met up with another colleague for dinner at Brooklyn Fish Camp, where I enjoyed some fried green tomatoes, mussels, and hush puppies.

Even with a fun day in Brooklyn, I had more plans and took a very long subway ride up to south Harlem (Morningside Heights) where a coworker was having an apartment warming party.  I had fun there, but maybe most importantly learned about a fun event I needed to check out the following day.

The view of Manhattan from Smorgasburg


Brooklyn Brewery was packed, but they had some great beer you can’t get in Indiana


Beautiful Prospect Park


A quiet spot near the ducks


On Sunday I wanted to start the day by heading downtown to Battery Park and taking the ferry to Governors Island, basically a large park set up where the army used to be stationed to protect the waterways of New York.  There are still old buildings and barracks there, along with a fort and battery.  Part of the fun in visiting is getting out on the water and getting a good spot to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  After walking around the island (and taking lots of photos), I headed up to Central Park to see my friends Erik and Amanda, who were in town for a wedding.  Yes, Erik and I had just spent some quality time together at a tennis tournament in Cincinnati, but I swear we don’t always plan our travel together.  Erik and Amanda were also celebrating their one-year anniversary, which was apropos because he originally proposed in NYC.  We chatted while they had a caricature drawn, and then we had a late lunch before they headed back to Cleveland.  It was nice to add a trip to Central Park to my itinerary, since I hadn’t planned for that.  Thank goodness for the speedy subway.

Originally I didn’t have any plans for Sunday night, although I knew of a few options for free plays and such.  On Saturday night, thanks to a coworker, I learned about a free music festival in downtown Brooklyn I should attend.  I had never been to that part of Brooklyn, so to make my “all over Brooklyn” weekend complete, I decided to go.  The music festival was called Afro Punk Fest, and it was a blast.  It featured a BMX/skateboarding park where guys were doing stunts, lots of food trucks, and two stages with popular urban artists. I got to see Janelle Monae, who I’m now a big an of, and a band I already liked a lot, TV on the Radio, perform.  Both put on fantastic live shows, and I was glad I made the trip.

A view from the ferry


Downtown Manhattan


Ellis Island


Statue of Liberty


I ran into a couple goats on Governors Island.  Not expecting to see that in NYC.


People enjoying a picnic on the island


The battery


Fort Jay


The Brooklyn Bridge in front and Manhattan Bridge behind


The skate park at Afro Punk


The Empire State Building, as seen from downtown Brooklyn (DUMBO – Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass)



On Monday night, I was lucky enough to win an online lottery for tickets to Shakespeare in the Park, a summer ritual of putting on world-class plays in an outdoor theater in Central Park.  The only way to get tickets is to wait in line for seven hours or enter the daily online lottery.  I tried every day I was in the city, and it was so exciting to win on Monday.  It was even better, because it was the final week of the show, Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, which featured Amy Adams.  I went with a work colleague who was also a musical theater buff, so I learned a lot including some unique things they did in this production.  The cast was phenomenal, and the show was superb.  The Broadway veteran playing the witch sounded quite familiar, and I realized afterwards that she voiced Mother Gothel in the Disney Rapunzel film Tangled.  These are the things you notice when you have a three-year-old.  We enjoyed an evening on the Upper West Side with a fantastic dinner at Vai (some of the best ravioli of my life, and fried artichokes are always a good thing) and drinks at a few local pubs.

Tuesday was my day at the US Open, but I’ll post about that separately.  It was amazing, and I spent the entire day and evening there watching tennis and crossing Grand Slam number two off the list.  If I had to be away from the family for so long, at least I was able to do a lot of fun things to maximize my time away, but I couldn’t wait to get home. The work meetings also went really well, for what it’s worth.

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