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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

NYC in 3 Days: Day 2

It's Saturday! You know what that means, we get to sleep in! But do we? Of course not. When does anyone go out partying until 4:00am and actually get to sleep in? If you happen to be one of those lucky few, please teach me your ways! 

We were up bright and early at 8am. We managed to pull on some appropriate clothing, leashed up the dog and headed back out for some much needed sustenance. There is no place I would rather take my best friend visiting NYC for the first time than Murray's Bagel.

*Note: Because Kimi is very interested in the history of everything we saw, which I couldn't tell her at the time because I myself never cared to learn, I will now add an about or history section to each place we visited for her benefit.  

First Time Visiting NYC Rule #2: Never ask for your bagel toasted. Unlike other places in the US, the bagels in NYC are real and fresh!

More than ten years ago, when he was putting in long hours as a vice president at Merrill Lynch, Adam Pomerantz had a dream.  A dream of someday running his own business – not a business on Wall Street, but something much closer to his heart, and his stomach.  

As a child, every Thursday dinner was Adam’s favorite meal.  Adam’s father, Murray, would bring home traditional NYC Jewish “appetizing”: bagels, lox, sable, whitefish and the like, from the Lower East Side, where he owned a women’s clothing store on Rivington Street.  At school other kids had turkey sandwiches or peanut butter and jelly for lunch, Adam had a bagel and lox with a schmear of cream cheese.  This was Adam’s soulfood.  

Bagels and smoked fish, or “appetizing,” was something he knew and loved, and Adam’s dream was to make the best bagel in NYC – to create a shop that introduced his soulfood to a whole new generation of New Yorkers, while also catering to the old-timers who remembered the familiar crunch and aroma of a hot, freshly baked bagel. 

Having resolved to quit the financial markets for the kitchen…

Adam’s first step toward realizing his dream was to go to work for a traditional wholesale bagel baker in New Jersey.  He worked as an apprentice from 2am to 11am, learning every step of the bagel making process.  Adam knew that to create the best bagel he had to learn the traditional techniques, and use only the finest ingredients – there could be no cutting corners.  

Next he searched for the best qualities of different bagels throughout New York.  
He ate bagels in Manhattan, in Brooklyn, downtown, uptown.  Finally, Adam tried different recipes until he found the precise proportions and quantities of each ingredient.

He followed his heart and his stomach, and when it was right he just knew it.  He found a small storefront in Greenwich Village, which he renovated on a shoestring budget, opening Murray’s Bagels in November 1996.  Adam named Murray’s Bagels for his father, from whom he learned his love of bagels and appetizing.  And Murray encouraged and advised Adam at each stage of the process.  The store on 6th Avenue near 13th Street soon became an integral part of the community, and its reputation for delicious, fresh, traditional NYC bagels began to spread.  Regulars came everyday for a quick nosh and sometimes, a not so quick chat with Adam or Murray.  The original shop has expanded to accommodate its growth in popularity, but it still retains the same attention to detail, to quality and freshness, and to producing the best, most mouthwatering Murray’s bagels!

Unlike the amazing weather we had on Friday, Saturday was the complete opposite. We went from fun cute little spring dresses to full on winter attire. What I really needed was a wind suit! Windy City Chicago WHAT! More like Windy New York City! 

We were already out and about, dreaming of the warmth my bed had to offer, but decided we needed to stay out and see a few things no matter what hungover freezing state we were in. We only had one full day left to sight see and we couldn't waste a day napping. Even though that is probably what we should have been doing. 

Because our poor little fingers were turning blue, we decided something hot to hold was in our best interest. We headed to The Grey Dog's Cafe on University. Home of my favorite Chai Tea Latte, skim milk of course. So, we stuffed Oliver into his mini LL Bean Oliver embroidered tote and went inside to thaw out. I tried to beg Kimi to share a ginormous (made up word) cookie with me however, she was being good and saving room for later.

First Time Visiting NYC Rule #3: Check out cute local joints! If you don't know where to go here's a hint, stay away from the tourist spots! 



In 1996 the Grey Dog coffeehouse was created. She was named after Moose and Goose, our two labrador retrievers, one white the other black. The goal was to build a small coffeehouse in the world's great city. We wanted to concentrate on little things that often get lost in big city life, like getting to know the names of our patrons and serving wonderful fresh foods at very reasonable prices.

We hoped the neighborhood would grow to trust us and make our dining room an extension of their homes. Most importantly, we would forever devote ourselves to being present and available to our staff and customers at all times.

Years later, it's hard to tell whether we are popular or it's the same hundred or so people coming into the Grey Dog two or three times a day. Regardless, this much is true: Today there is a little coffeehouse in the heart of Greenwich Village and she loves her neighborhood very much. Everyday the neighbors come to the coffeehouse to drink her brew, sit in her shade and fill their bellies with her fare, and the dog is happy.

After removing poor Oliver, who was having a really bad hair day after being stuffed in the bag, and headed up to Union Square to visit the Greenmarket

Typically the Greenmarket is a great place to bring friends with its array of fresh vegetables, cheeses, sea food, baked goods, jams, flowers and art. But in 20 degrees, it's not as fun. 

The only great part was the fact that everyone else seemed to be home in bed keeping warm. It was empty so we made our way through the green maze quickly only to stop and chat with Macaroni, an adorable chocolate and tan long haired doxie, and her humans.

It was time for a mini treat. And by mini, I mean Baked By Melissa mini...

We didn't indulge ourselves too much but we did enjoy our bite size goodies. We were slowly fading and decided it was time to start heading home by way of Washington Square Park and SoHo.

First Time Visiting NYC Rule #4: Hang with the college kids! They're very interesting and you'll definitely learn something cool!  If not, you're at least leave with a unique experience!

Washington Square Park is named for George Washington (1732-1799), who served as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and presided over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. On April 30, 1789, six years after the victory of the colonists, Washington was inaugurated in New York City as the first President of the United States. He served for two four-year terms.
The parkland was once a marsh fed by Minetta Brook. It was located near an Indian village known as Sapokanikan or “Tobacco Field.” In 1797 the Common Council acquired the land for use as a Potter's Field or common burial ground. The field was also used for public executions, giving rise to the tale of the Hangman’s Elm which stands in the northwest corner of the park.
The site was used as the Washington Military Parade Ground in 1826, and became a public park in 1827. Following this designation, a number of wealthy and prominent families, escaping the disease and congestion of downtown Manhattan, moved into the area and built the distinguished Greek Revival mansions that still line the square’s north side. One of these provided the setting for Henry James’ 1880 novel, Washington Square. In 1835, the park also hosted the first public demonstration of the telegraph by Samuel F.B. Morse, a professor at New York University, which is adjacent to the park.
Soon after the creation of the Department of Public Parks in 1870, the square was redesigned and improved by M.A. Kellogg, Engineer-in-Chief, and I.A. Pilat, Chief Landscape Gardener. The marble Washington Arch was built between the years 1890 and 1892 to replace the popular wooden arch erected in 1889 to commemorate the centennial of Washington’s inauguration. The architect Stanford White modeled both structures on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Two statues of Washington were installed on the north face of the arch in 1918, Washington as Commander-in-Chief, Accompanied by Fame and Valor by Hermon MacNeil, and Washington as President, Accompanied by Wisdom and Justice by Alexander Stirling Calder.
Other monuments in this park are J.Q.A. Ward’s bust of steel manufacturer Alexander Lyman Holley (1890), Giovanni Turini’s statue of Italian nationalist leader Giuseppe Garibaldi (1888), a World War I flagpole, and the central fountain which was moved here from Fifth Avenue and 59th Street in the mid 1870s.
Use of public space in Washington Square Park has also been redefined throughout the 20th century. Fifth Avenue ran through the arch until 1964 when the park was redesigned and closed to traffic at the insistence of Village residents. With the addition of bocce courts, game tables, and playgrounds, the park has become an internationally known meeting ground for students, local residents, tourists, chess players, and performers. A $900,000 renovation was completed in 1995.
9.75 Acres

Of course Kimi loved WSP, as did Oliver. We walked quickly through SoHo only stopping in some very important, including Elie Tahari, Wink and Theory where I got some fabulous J. Brand Jeggins for half price, stores to warm up. I think we both passed out ten minutes upon hitting the sack. In the end, we did have a well deserved nap. 

We had made early dinner plans with Emma and Raymond at Bianca. Kimi went to OU with both Emma and Raymond. Oh how I love Tulsa friends in NYC! We headed to Bianca early so we didn't have to wait too long at Von for a table. Unlike most nights, we were exhausted and didn't want to hang out at Von for an hour. 

Obviously it was Kimi's first time to fall in love with Bianca but, it was also Raymonds. Emma and I love taking new people to Bianca because it is our go to place. By that I mean, I know everything is always going to be amazing and everyone will leave happy and full with money still to spend. 

Of course we had all of my favorites! For starters we had the Gnocco Fritto (Sex in your mouth) which is fried puffy dough rectangles with imported cold cuts or Stracchino Cheese served in Truffle Oil. I always get both the meat and cheese! I know I am a little dramatic when it comes to food but this is seriously To. Die. For. 

It looks something along the lines of this.. but imagine it with cold cuts and cheese!

We also shared the Carciofini which is a thin artichoke slice salad with parmigiano in a lemon dressing.

Of course I had the Bianca favorite, Lasagna. The traditional one from Emilia-Romagna with bechamel and meat sauce! Did I mention it was only $13.00? I mean look at that piece of heaven. Kimi also indulged in the lasagna while Emma had the special mushroom Tagliatelle and Raymond the Gramigna con Salciccia e Peperoni with crumbled sausage and red bell pepper. 

We passed on desert and decided to head to The Little Cupcake Bakeshop on Prince Street. As it was still freezing and windy outside, Kimi went for the peppermint hot chocolate. My sweet tooth wasn't satasified with liquid chocolate and had to have my new all time favorite dessert, oreo cheesecake.

First Time Visiting NYC Rule #5: Make sure you take full advantage of all the sweet treats! Splurge, you're walking and burning calories everywhere you go!

See the oreo cheesecake down below on the left? Yep, a little piece of heaven. 

After warming up and bundling back up, we headed up to our last and final stop for the day...

Times Square Baby! You can't come to NYC and not see Times Square, no matter how much your tour guide detests it! We walked around popping in and out of stores to keep warm. I had to show her Toys R Us and the real life size ferris wheel!

First Time Visiting NYC Rule #6: Don't visit Times Square. New Yorkers avoid at all costs. But if it's a must, definitely see it at night.

I believe we both slept very well that night. What an enjoyable fun day! If you thought this was a busy crazy day, I can't wait to share Sunday with you! Still to come, Day 3.

First Time Visiting NYC Rule #7: Make sure you find time to sleep. You're gonna need it! 

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