9:45 am Outside of Jack’s Wife Freda
I’m faced with it again. To fall on old habits, or to make new ones. It’s easy, show up, order the same thing, sit in my usual seat, and talk to anyone who seems to be doing just what I’ve been doing every time I’ve been in New York City: dining alone.
10:00 am In Jack’s Wife Freda.
Yup, it happened again. I didn’t think twice about ordering the eggplant sandwich, a double shot of espresso, and, of course, a necessary splurge on a glass of rose — we are only a hop away from Paris anyways. Finish up my plate and stroll through Instagram to pass the time; the waitresses never seem to be in a rush to take my money (something all restaurants should practice.) Don’t rush people out.
11:15 am Somewhere in SoHo.
I never got why people loved SoHo until I saw the light. Sure, great cafes (guilty), plenty of shopping, and great hotel lobbies to hang out in. It wasn’t until I saw the evening light one afternoon when this perfect glow lit up the brick buildings. I sat down to watch people hurry through their day — I felt like I had gone back in time, imagining the streets of New York City when my dad would hang out here in high school with my aunt. Speaking of my aunt, she told me this morning before going out for my usual business, that I shouldn’t worry about being home in time for dinner. I get why my dad loved hanging out with her, she’s really cool.
12:00 pm Zara SoHo
I told myself I’d pass on the madness that is Zara at lunch hour, but it happened again. The service on my cellphone goes out when I walk into the store (every freaking time), both a blessing and a curse. No one to bother me, yet when I need directions to catch the train uptown, I have to brave the cold. This sweater looked like it would fit, pass on the line for the fitting rooms and just buy it without trying it on — this seems to be a thing here.
12:45 pm Spring St Station
If I hurry, the 6 is a straight shot uptown, which, if I could figure out where I am on this map, I would make the next train. Boom. See you in 24 minutes, Laduree.
1:20 pm Laduree on Madison Ave
I make this mistake every time I come up here, there is legitimately no public bathroom in this neighborhood. You’d think these shiny stores would have one, but then again I wouldn’t dare walk in under dressed. Laduree, I have arrived for my old ways. I’ll take 3, because I’m too cheap to get the pretty, designed box which requires (i think) 6 macaroons and that would be the price of my meals for the day. Two raspberry and one cassis, please.
2:00 pm Central Park
The best of both of my origins — French macaroons to honor my mom’s French heritage, and a trip to Balto to honor my grandmother on my dad’s side. Balto. Every time. Freezing, raining, piping hot, no matter what time of year, I always stop by — some kind of ritual. A favorited movie between my passed grandmother and I, I suppose this is my way of acknowledging how important she was in my life. I never did make it to her funeral, I was far too young then, so this is my way of giving my respects.
2:45 pm Central Park
I’m still here. I stopped to take a peak at the seals in the zoo, because you can see them if you walk through the middle on the east side. It’s a funny thing to keep such beautiful creatures in a swimming pool, but then again I will smile as they gracefully swim in a synchronized manner. Up to the hill, to look over “The Pond” and enjoy these macaroons which are almost always crushed by the time I get to eating them. I begrudgingly regret not getting six — you’d think I’d learn by now.
3:15 pm 57th St Metro
I know if I hurry I’ll make it back to Brooklyn in time for dinner. I know my aunt said not to worry, but my uncle is cooking his famous Korean ribs, and sitting around the table talking about the past and present is one my favorite things to do with them. But who am I kidding, I’ll be back out again on the town in a few hours.
5:30 pm Aunt and Uncle’s House, Brooklyn
Still waiting on the ribs, the longer they cook the better they taste. Plus, my uncle has a great bottle of wine to fuel the discussion in the interim. I could listen to my aunt and uncle talk all night.
7:00 pm Aunt and Uncle’s House, Brooklyn
9:30 pm Brooklyn
There’s a strategy. I can take the train to get into the city by myself to meet friends, but will most definitely be taking a cab back to Brooklyn. I wouldn’t dare that journey so late in the night on my own, so I carry my heels wearing foldable flats as I make my way to the train station.
10:30 pm Waldorf Astoria
Call it nostalgia, or perhaps the love of the old chandelier that once hung in the foyer, but the night always starts here. I never understand why I come up this far to the UES, but can’t stop, won’t stop. Part of me wishes one day I’ll walk in and that old chandelier will be hanging like it once did before, so I’ll break a buck and try my luck.
Lobby bars for the win, again.
11:30 pm Standard High Line
Yeah, weird bar. But let’s be honest, their throwbacks and 360 views of the city make the 25-minute cab back downtown completely worth it. Dance until I consider wearing foldable flats once again.
12:30 pm Somewhere?
It’s a thing. If you’re with a local, hop from one spot to another, and see where it takes you. The bars stay open until 4 am here, so there’s plenty of time to get lost.
1:30 The Standard Grill
Last minute stop for some late night eats. One of the few spots still open for good food, plus they have “a good pickle” on the menu — I chuckle every time I read the menu.
3:30 am Meatpacking district
Hailing a cab is one thing, getting them to take you to Brooklyn at this hour is a nightmare. My cousin says just get in, and then tell them. Never answer from out the window. Clever, clever.
4:00 am Aunt and Uncle’s House, Brooklyn
Three flights of stairs, quite noisy, and somehow they never hear me come in. It’s a true miracle, because I’d feel bad if I woke them up. Settle in, plug phone in, lights out.
10:00 am Aunt and Uncle’s House, Brooklyn
Jetlag is a thing, then again it smells like my uncle picked up Bialys.
New York, it’s great to be back.