A jet lagged Sunday in NYC
Jet lag. It gets worse as I get older and no matter how much I try to deny it, I don't bounce back as quickly as I did when I was in my early twenties.
If there's one place that welcomes the sleepless with open arms, it's New York City. In an effort to savour every moment of sticky summer sunshine, I took the red eye flight from Los Angeles that landed in the empire state at around 8am on a Sunday morning. I did everything I could to get some in-flight sleep, but you could have guessed it was completely pointless. I was too excited. All I could think about was the fact that I was about to spend the next 2 weeks walking the streets of a city that seems to stretch for days - plus I couldn't wait to get a bagel in my belly.
I was traveling solo for the first week which is why I decided to stay right by Columbus Circle at The Hudson Hotel. I've booked this hotel over the years for one simple reason - location. The rooms are very small making it ideal for lone travellers who plan to spend minimal time in their rooms. Beware couples and shoppers. In the past, Kev and I stayed here together and we found storage a nightmare as the rooms have minimal floor space (that shit is expensive in the big apple.) Considering I was about to spend this whole week roaming the city, I dumped my bags with concierge and set off for the most important meal of the day, breakfast. I had about 6 hours before I could check into my room so I hit up the closest Whole Foods for a big cup of tea and a shameless carb heavy meal. Cinnamon oatmeal, a handful of cherries and the all important bagel fix. Whole Foods is definitely not the first place I'd recommend for trying your first NY bagel, but I personally love the sesame bagels there, especially early in the morning when they're incredibly fresh. Outside of the States, bagels have always seemed to be a tough bread roll with a hole in the middle. But it's no lie when they say there's something in the water in NYC that makes them so awesome. Crusty on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, smothered with scallion cream cheese - and that my friends, makes for one happy traveller.
Despite how tired I was, breakfast did me some good. I Knew I had an entire day ahead of me with nowhere to rest my head. So I decided I'd take my restless legs to the streets, stay off the subway, and just walk. The first destination, Chelsea.
The walk from the Hudson Hotel to Chelsea Market generally takes about 50 minutes. But I took my time, walked in and out of boutiques, and zigzagged my way toward the meatpacking district. By the time I hit Chelsea Market, I was ready for a coffee. I picked up my signature soy flat white at Ninth Street Espresso and continued my aimless browse in this industrial-cool market place. This building used to be the National Biscuit Company factory and is famous as the birthplace and manufacturing location of America's favourite cookie, Oreo. I spent a while walking in and out of shops, reading cook books in Anthropologie, browsing the fruit market, all the while imagining myself living there. I was so happy to stumble upon Eleni's - a gorgeous boutique that sells sweets in cupcake and cookie form. I made a mental note to come back and purchase some New York themed cookies for my lovely friend Sarah who swore she developed cookie cravings after seeing one picture.
I wondered what it would have been like to walk through this space with the scent of freshly baked Oreos filling the walk ways.
More than a few hours had passed since having my oatmeal and bagel and I didn't think I felt like eating anything at this point.
Then it happened.
I saw the sign, and I knew I needed to try them...plus, I had just picked up a coffee so it was a match made in New York junk food heaven. Doughnuttery donuts were bitesized and sold in lots of 5. I tried 2 types and they were delicious - the sprinkles and classic cinnamon. I put the last 3 back in the brown paper bag they came in and went along my merry way.
Next destination, the High Line.
NOON: WALK THE HIGH LINE
Just a minute walk down the street from Chelsea Market is New York City's famous High Line. What was once a freight train track that ran through the west side of the city has become a beautifully preserved parkland. The High Line runs for 2.33 kilometres and makes for an awesome walk. The track sits in a unique elevated position and it's great for people watching, relaxing and lazy mid-afternoon snacking. At this point in time, it was late in the summer months. Along the High Line walk, you'll find scattered market places where local artisans and craftspeople are selling their goods. From tacos and popsicles to t-shirts and trinkets, the seasonal High Line markets are always something that get my full attention. I've always been a sucker for Blue Bottle, my favourite coffee in the US. I picked up my second coffee of the day and found myself a vantage point were I stretched out in a deck chair and watched New York City pass me by. After about an hour of sipping coffee and snacking on the morning's donuts, my eyelids started to get heavy. I fought the urge to fall asleep.
When you're jet lagged, a little snooze can become the worst decision you've ever made in your life.
So I started to walk again.
EVENING: ROOFTOP DRINKS AT TWILIGHT
In the later hours of the afternoon, the day started to cool down. I began making headway back toward Columbus Circle. That was when my gorgeous friend and Australian native Cassie Harwood sent me a text inviting me to meet up with a small group of friends for drinks atop Pod 39 Hotel. I couldn't think of a better way to kick back and enjoy a Summer afternoon in the city. The space was decked out with overhead lightbulb bunting, black and white striped awnings and vibrantly decorated seating. We made plans to have dinner at a Mexican joint located on the lower floor of the same hotel.
DINNER: SALVATION TACO
With the quirkiest of interiors, Salvation Taco is a popular eatery with ping pong rooms, book shelves loaded with statues and figurines, moody lighting and communal tables - it reminded me of a crazy cool common room that you might find at a progressive workplace like Google, only somewhere in Mexico. Being on the ground level of a popular hotel, it was easy to pick that lots of the patrons were travellers. I always thought this meant that the food would be average - but I was wrong. Joined by another fellow Aussie friend Lauren McCowan who is also living in the big apple, Cassie took the reigns and ordered away. Within 15 minutes we were chatting over corn chips and guacamole, slow cooked pulled lamb in soft warm tacos served with sauces and toppings that packed a fresh flavour punch. It was just the ticket after a long day of city wandering.
At about 11pm, I jumped in a cab that took me back to The Hudson Hotel where I treated myself to an extra long shower. By midnight I took my throbbing feet to bed and slept like a baby straight through the night.
Jet lag: sorted.