Fall is my favorite time of year. If you know me, you know this because I voice it often. I love everything about fall…the cool air, the changing leaves, and anything that has to do with pumpkins! Combine all of this into one of the greatest cities in the world with a soul mate of a friend and it makes for a pretty spectacular trip.
I recently visited my friend Mary Kate in her new home of Manhattan. Mary Kate is one of the many people I met while studying abroad in Oxford, England 7 1/2 years ago. We instantly connected and have been friends ever since. Her move last year to NYC had me chomping at the bit to see her and to visit a city I haven’t been to since I was 18.
I flew in late on a Thursday and after a couple flights that consisted of a man offering me southwest coupons and a conversation a with body painter from New York, I was greeted by Mary Kate. We took the bus/subway to her Upper Eastside apartment and got some rest for the next day.
On Friday, we got bagels and walked to the river to eat breakfast with a view. We walked along the neighborhood towards Central Park until Mary Kate left for work. I spent the afternoon running in Central Park, going to the Central Park Zoo, and meeting another Oxford friend, Jeremy, for a trip through the MET. Later that night Mary Kate took me to Meatball, a delicious place known not only for the obvious meatball subs, but also for their homemade ice cream cookie sandwiches.Saturday started with a trip to Brooklyn and a walk across the Brooklyn bridge to check out Smorgasburg and the Brooklyn Flea. We browsed all the food options and decided to try a gourmet grilled cheese with carmelized apples, some sort of pink cactus drink, a pulled pork sandwhich with a broccoli mix and a hatch pepper on top, and a chocolate sea salt doughnut from Dough. We split all of this but I still felt incredibly full after. Worth it. We walked through the flea market part after. Keep in mind this isn’t your run of the mill flea market. It was much more trendy and fairly pricey. Still absolutely worth the trip to Brooklyn. I left Brooklyn with a new love for this borough. We headed back into the city to explore Washington Square and the Village. Mary Kate pointed out the the building used in Friends, Carrie Bradshaw’s doorstep, and other notable places. We had treats from the iconic Magnolia Bakery and pizza from Bleeker Street Pizza (both delicious). We then ventured across High Line park to the Chelsea market. The market us lined with clothing and jewelry vendors as well as some tastey looking eateries. Had I not been so stuffed from the day’s previous eating adventures, I would have been tempted to taste some things there as well. That night, Mary Kate and I attended Finding Neverland with the incredibly talented Matthew Morrison starring as J.M. Barrie. The show was purely magical! I was in awe of the whole thing. We left the show and spent a few brief moments in Times Square before heading to Lincoln Square to enjoy a nice evening on the Upper Westside.Saint John of the Divine was our first stop on Sunday morning. The church is considered the largest Cathedral in the world. It is gorgeous on the inside as well as the outside. We stopped at a Hungarian Bakery nearby for a breakfast pastry and then made our way out to the Cloisters. The Cloisters is a gothic castle in upper Manhattan. When you step into the area and the surrounding Fort Tryon Park, it seems odd that you are still on the island. The beautiful trees and open spaces reminded me of being in England so many years ago. After the Cloisters, we made our way to The Shake Shack to partake in some burgers and fries. We then ventured back into the Village area to check out the Strand bookstore and Obscura (the shop on the television show Oddities). After both shops, we spent the evening riding bikes in Central Park and watching floating pumpkins on Harlem Meer. We then had a dinner of wine and bread (sounds simple but so good) and walked around Rockefeller Plaza. A last stop at the Sweet Shop for a late night snack ended my last full day in NYC.Monday morning, Mary Kate and I walked and rode to the New York public library, street vendor donut in hand. The building is incredible inside, full of light and and stunning architecture. That was my last landmark before saying goodbye to Mary Kate and making the trip out to LaGuardia on my own.