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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NYC in 3 Days: Day 1

Kimi, one of my best friends from high school, came to visit me for my birthday. This was not only a three day weekend and my birthday celebration, it was also Kimi's first time in NYC! This was big people. I had a first timer on my hands. There was so much to do, see, and eat in so little time I almost didn't know what to do with myself. I thought long and hard on how I was going to accomplish everything I thought Kimi needed to see. 
This had to be an A-mazing trip! First things first, I made your traditional Alexis itinerary. You were first introduced to my itinerary making skillz last year while I was in the middle of planning my Europe trip. That itinerary saved my life. 

Since I wasn't in a foreign country, state of even city, my itinerary was a little more relaxed than usual. It pretty much consisted of places she HAD to see. Once the itinerary was Kimi approved, we started in our on 3 day weekend in NYC! 

Kimi arrived at Laguardia Airport on the most beautiful and perfect Friday afternoon. It was 60 degrees in the middle of February! I had already made a reservation for her on the New York Airport Service bus from LGA to Grand Central Terminal in advance so she didn't have to worry or stress about getting into the city from the airport. I feel that is always the most stressful part of traveling to a city you've never been before. Especially one like NYC where your friend, family or foe don't have a car to pick you up! Once you're in the city with your guide, all you have to do is follow! New York Airport Service has buses to and from all airports or train stations in NYC. It is quick, easy and convenient. 

Oliver and I met Kimi outside Grand Central. I was so excited I jumped for joy! Our first stop in NYC, of course the one and only beautiful Grand Central Station

There Once Was a Grand Central StationReborn as "Grand Central Station," the reconfigured depot’s most prominent feature was undoubtedly its enormous train shed.  Constructed of glass and steel, the 100-foot wide by 650-foot long structure rivaled the Eiffel Tower and Crystal Palace for primacy as the most dramatic engineering achievement of the 19th century.  The updated station also featured a "classical" fa├žade, a unified 16,000 square foot waiting room, and distinctive ornamentation, including monumental cast-iron eagles with wingspans of 13-feet (In fact, one of these eagles was recently salvaged and will rise again above Grand Central Terminal’s new entrance at 43rd Street and Lexington Avenue and the other one can be found on the corner of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue).

All the while, the age of the steam locomotive was drawing to a close.  Earlier efforts to increase safety and reduce congestion, including the Fourth Avenue Improvement Scheme which lowered tracks below grade from Grand Central Depot to 56th Street and created a tunnel from 56th Street to 96th Street, had proved insufficient.  Noise and air pollution were chronic, and public concern about safety was on the rise.  A catastrophic train collision on January 8, 1902 in the smoke-filled Park Avenue Tunnel killed seventeen and injured thirty-eight, causing a public outcry and increasing demand for electric trains.  One week later the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad announced plans to improve the Park Avenue Tunnel and expand Grand Central.  By the end of the year, plans were in development -- spearheaded by the New York Central’s chief engineer William J. Wilgus -- to demolish the existing station and create a new double level terminal for electric trains.

Grand Central Station Address

Grand Central Station

After a mini photo shoot, and a quick tour through the market we hopped on the subway towards Little Italy! I didn't mention we were headed to the fifth floor up until we were in the middle of our hike up, it usually scares people. When we finally regained our breath, organized her belongings, we sat down and talked for hours. We were so deep into our conversations we completely forgot to eat! Not to mention we had to run out of the house so the birthday girl wasn't late to her own party! 

It took me forever, by forever I mean a ten minute G-Chat with Kristen, to figure out where I should have my birthday party this year.  Kristen is the perfect person to ask, she's always on top of the hot, trendy, cool new places.  A few weeks before, Kristen and I were discussing a list of "Bars we need to go to" that I had emailed the girls. Apotheke was one of the bars Kristen and I both agreed we need to visit. There it was, my 27th Birthday party place! 

First Time Visiting NYC Rule #1: Make sure you have a NYC night out! You better not come home before 4:00am!

Kimi got to meet all of my favorite and best NYC friends. And I do mean all! Well, except for a few no shows but I won't name any names!

I would like to thank my following people for coming:
Kimi (duh), Dave, Tess, Mel, Dan, Liz, Jerra, Eric, Lauren, Sara, Michelle, Kristen, Mike, Courtney, Matt, Craig, Zach, Tina, Jen, Fred, Chelsea, Silvia, Juncal, Kimberly, Laura, Noe, Jonny, Bea, Alex, Xavi, Tai, Lenora,and Andy! 

Apotheke was adorable and perfect. Kimi and I arrived early to steak out a table! We ordered our first cocktails of the evening, which were ever so creatively made by cute men in lab coats, and we headed to the front of the lounge sit and wait for my friends to arrive.

I loved the first cocktail I had so much, I drank the same cocktail the entire evening while at Apotheke. It was part of the V. Aphrodisiacs section (which now helps the rest of the evening make sense), called Dr. Ruth. The Dr. Ruth is rosemary infused vodka, fresh strawberries, lime, topped with rose champagne, and it was one tasty drink! 
It was tasty! Kimi even had one too!


After a few rounds of drinks, the doorman wouldn't let anymore of my friends into the bar. Did I mention the bar was EMPTY? No? Well it was EMPTY and I was upset that he wouldn't let my friends in. So, we left. 

The majority of the group was ready to dance so we headed down to my all time favorite basement bar in NYC, Home Sweet Home. I always get in some sort of trouble at HSW, from the first time (The Pearls NYC trip) I stepped foot into the bar to the last, it just keeps happening! I don't know if it's because of the deep dark feeling you get of being in a basement bar but I just lose control, in a good way! 

A few drinks, some dancing and definitely some sweating, and we were on to the next spot of the evening, The Box. Wow. Yep, that pretty much sums it up. The Box is well, let's take a quote off of Yelp for this one....

"I decided that this is the only place I have ever not written or will ever not write explicitly about.

I will say it is an amazing party in every way. But not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.

When you go, keep your mind open and your legs closed. (unless you don't want to of course)." 

- Beth H. 

If that didn't sum it up, this will...

I don't know exactly what time we crawled to the fifth floor up but all in all, I can 100% completely confirm that Rule #1 was a complete and utter success. I have bruises and less brain cells to prove it. But, it was worth it! Day #1 over and out! 


  1. I love your "adventure" blogs -- especially when they consist of multiple parts! :)

    Apotheke sounds like a pretty cool place (except for the idiot doorman, of course). Interesting that they have drinks to help cure ailments.

    The Box seems skeery. No cameras, no phones, no blackberries...what are they hiding? I probably don't want to know. haha

  2. so funny - i've been reading your blog for a couple weeks now, and i was at apotheke on saturday for the first time. i loved that place! i had the dr. ruth and then the fig and oak (OMG so good). and you can't beat the bartenders in the lab coats... um, adorable. i can't wait to go back. happy belated birthday!