Years ago, I planned to use this space primarily to write posts about each of our 50 in 5 travels. Maybe I’d build a big audience. Maybe I’d become a travel influencer! I made it through a few posts, but had trouble finding motivation to commit to my vision for the blog while I was all-consumed by my full-time job. I know I’m not alone in this. Before long, the blog became a place for me to share seasonal recaps… mostly for my own benefit. Even that became a challenge to keep up with, and it only required four posts per year: spring, summer, winter, and fall.
Now, I’m in a different stage of life where I have time, energy, and interest in writing again. To pick back up from where I left off means going all the way back to the beginning of 2020. In some ways it doesn’t seem worth it to write about things that have certainly changed over time, but I am looking forward to what perspectives I uncover now.
And this is an interesting place to start, because our January 2020 trip to New York City was the last travel we did before the COVID-19 pandemic. For that reason, I’m titling this post “New York City, before.”
It was a work trip for me and since my plane ticket and the hotel room were paid for, it seemed like a good opportunity for Brandon to tag along. We had an early flight, and arrived to the city mid-morning. Our hotel room at The Pearl wasn’t ready yet, so we dropped our luggage and walked to brunch at my favorite restaurant, Boqueria. We were seated in the back of the restaurant with the best view overlooking the kitchen, but we couldn’t see outside. When we walked out of the restaurant we were shocked to discover that it was snowing! It was light, but steady, and continued all afternoon.
We didn’t have set plans, so walked up to Central Park to explore. The snow made for quite the idyllic setting. After thawing out at the hotel, we headed back out to dinner at Nizza before seeing “Dear Evan Hansen” on Broadway. It was at the top of my Broadway bucket list at the time, and it didn’t disappoint! The story and songs were moving, and Brandon and I both cried. “Dear Evan Hansen” has since closed on Broadway, and the tour performed for the last time just a few weeks ago. I hope it will be revived someday so that younger generations can hear the important message it shares. In the meantime, I’ll continue singing along to the soundtrack more often than I’d like to admit.
Sunday was my work day. Brandon set off to explore Brooklyn on his own while I assisted a photo shoot and covered social media for a fundraising campaign event. After the party, we met up for a late night slice of pizza before crashing after a long day.
We started our day with a visit to the Oculus (specifically to visit Sugarfina) before walking back toward midtown, where we stumbled upon a seesaw installation in the middle of Broadway. I convinced Brandon to go for a spin, but it didn’t last long because it was *so cold* outside. We set our sights on Hudson Yards and spent the next few hours warm and indoors, sampling small plates from Mercado Little Spain. The paella was not a favorite, but pan con tomate never disappoints!
I entered several lotteries for Broadway tickets, and we were ecstatic to be selected for the “Aladdin” lottery. We thoroughly enjoyed our $30 box seats for the Monday evening performance (picture of B above!).
On our last day in the city, we finally grabbed bagels for breakfast. Our hotel offered free breakfast each morning, but I found myself regretting the fact that we didn’t go out for bagels every day. They really are better than anywhere else in the world. We walked over to Rockefeller Center and strolled through a nearly-empty FAO Schwarz. We could have played the infamous Big Piano with no wait, but were both too lazy to take our winter boots off. We spent the rest of the morning at the MoMA. When I was younger, I dreamed of seeing Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” in person, but Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans” was far more exciting to me as an adult.
After a pub lunch, we returned to the hotel to gather our things and head to the airport.
As we left, we were already discussing plans to return to New York City soon. Little did we know that a global pandemic was around the corner! We’re finally returning to the city this fall, and I’m looking forward to exploring more neighborhoods, catching another Broadway show, and eating at some of the (many) restaurants on my NYC list.