After the wedding, Koen and I had a couple of days to explore NYC. Last year we didn’t have time for Coney Island because it was too far from where we were staying, so we wanted to make sure to go this trip. I am so happy we planned it in. Coney Island is unbelievably beautiful and iconic. It was like walking onto a movie set. The sunny weather also helped! Because we were staying in Park Slope in Brooklyn, traveling to the bottom of the borough didn’t take too long. We started our day at the NYC Aquarium. Then we walked along the boardwalk until we found the original Nathan’s Famous that opened in 1916. If you don’t know, the hotdog was invented in Coney Island in 1870, so of course we wanted to have hotdogs for lunch! After lunch we went back to the boardwalk for a cocktail to-go, which we enjoyed on the pier. In the photos you will see the amusement park, but it is only open on the weekends after the summer holiday. Because it wasn’t so busy, we had a nice, relaxing day!
As I mentioned in my last post – Christina got married last! And you can’t get married without a big party to celebrate the last days as a bachelorette. We started out at Di Palo’s to pick out delicious cheeses, meats, antipasti, etc. for a picnic in Central Park. After lunch we headed to the Central Park Loeb Boathouse for a coffee and then rented boats. Luckily we had two guys and two boats 🙂 After rowing, we visited the American Museum of Natural History, exploring Christina’s favorite sections – seeing meteorites, dinosaurs, etc. Before leaving the Upper West Side, we went for a drink at Dive 75. At dinner our number of people doubled! Because I don’t live in NYC, I turned to Christina’s now-husband Rafaël for advice. We needed a restaurant Christina loves that can hold 14 people – Nyonya, a Malaysian restaurant in Chinatown, could not have been a better choice! Christina’s colleagues were working during the day and were able to get to the restaurant before us to set up something embarassing for Christina. It couldn’t have been better. Christina always makes funny faces in photos, and her colleagues made masks of all of her different faces haha. After our dinner, we headed to Asia Roma on Mulberry Street for karaoke!
Heading into our last days in NYC, we knew we had to try a bagel from Russ and Daughters. Christina and I left to pick up bagels to bring back to the apartment but we hadn’t realized our trip coincided with Yom Kippur. There is always a long wait but we arrived the day before the holiest day of the year for Jewish people. So it was packed! But luckily a kind stranger gave us his tickets and we didn’t have to wait more than half an hour – but some people were waiting more than an hour to place orders! But I have to say it was worth the wait (plus I had good company)! After lunch we headed to Little Italy for the grand opening of San Gennaro – the oldest and biggest religious street festival in NYC. We heard there was a cannoli eating contest and we had to check it out. We’ll never be able to unsee the contest, but at least I can check off attending an eating event from my bucket list. I lost my craving for cannolis so we headed to The Butcher’s Daughter for kale chips and fresh juice. We were invited over to Queens for dinner at my friend Greg’s place, but of course I forgot to take photos!
On Sunday, I had dim sum for the first time! To take advantage of Christina being off from work, we started the day with Dim Sum, followed by a visit to The Frick Collection, where on Sundays from 11 – 1PM you can pay what you wish to visit, and then a beautiful ferry ride from Battery Park to Staten Island (which passes Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and also happens to be free). When we arrived back in Battery Park, we went to Nathan’s for hotdogs and corndogs. Christina had to go back to work, but Koen and I enjoyed the view of the Statue of Liberty and the nice weather. My birthday was the following day, so we stopped by Di Palo for delicious Italian treats and wine. And of course, a birthday dinner isn’t complete without dessert, and we went for a walk to the Little Cupcake Bakeshop in Nolita for cupcakes.
This was my parents’ last day in New York. We had to part after breakfast, because they had tickets for the afternoon matches at the US Open. So we grabbed breakfast sandwiches from a street vendor to eat in Bryant Park. Afterwards we visited the New York Public Library, then met up with Christine and had lunch at the first pizzeria in America. Day 4 is also the day we transitioned from staying in Midtown with my parents to Chinatown with Christina!