I Left My Heart
In San Francisco – New York
I recently came back from a five-day retreat to the most amazing city I’ve ever set foot in – New York. Everything you’ve heard about it is, most likely, true:
- It IS the city that never sleeps (“New York, New York,” by Frank Sinatra)
- The streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you (“Empire State of Mind,” by Jay-Z, featuring Alicia Keys.
- You’ll never have a bored day, ‘cause you’re a New York City boy, where 7th Avenue meets Broadway.” (“New York City Boy,” by the Pet Shop Boys)
Here are some highlights from my trip:
I had East Coast corn, East Coast lobster, East Coast everything! The corn was so sweet, I nearly sang hallelujah; the lobster so tender it melted in my mouth.
While in Chinatown, I had the most delectable culinary experience of my life. It was a feast for my mouth, a party to my senses. I had the most succulent, tender roasted duck!
I also had some dim sum (Cantonese term for a type of Chinese dish that involves small portions of food, usually served in a small steamer basket or on a small plate – Wikipedia) The dim sum made my tummy want sum dim sum sum more! Gimmie sum dim sum! I ate like never in my life for only $13 (each item is priced at about 2-3 dollars each). What a bargain!
I ate at the Brooklyn Diner (pricey but exquisite), ate New York hot dogs, New York Pizza and New York Cheesecake. I also had fresh coconut water out of a coconut in Chinatown, and heaven-sent coffee in Little Italy.
- Celebrity Spottings
Before proceeding, please hold on tight to something – and don’t hit me. I saw Testament (yes, the heavy metal rock band!!) unloading their gear right in front of me into the hotel where I was celebrating my birthday. They were in New York to start the American Carnage Tour with Slayer and Megadeth. I could have easily taken a picture with them, but I was a bit star-struck and ended up not taking a picture. Fail, major fail!
I ran into the Team USA Olympic basketball team (hello Kobe & LeBron!) as I was casually walking by the Ritz-Carlton where they were staying at. They were literally 6 inches away from me, but since I’m not a huge sports connoisseur, they walked right passed me by the time I figured out who they were. Double major fail!
The next day, I saw Team USA again signing autographs at Tiffany’s on 5th Avenue. This time there was a huge crowd going ballistic over them. All I could think to myself as I walked by chuckling was, “boy, if these people knew I had them right in my face and didn’t ask them for an autograph, they’d viciously slap me silly.” Ha!
- Everything else
I got a 2 hour, 20 minute pedi-cab tour of Central Park valued at $105 for FREE! I told the driver it was my birthday, and I was shocked to hear the words “it’s your birthday?! It’s for free!” come out of his mouth. As if a free tour of a park spanning 843 acres through the heart of Manhattan isn’t enough, the pedi-guy, who was sweating profusely under the 96 degree heat, even ventured off into Times Square. Sounds too good to be true, but it really did happen.
I visited Times Square, Little Italy, Chinatown, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Modern Art, The Plaza Hotel, F.A.O. Schwarz, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Bryant Park and Central Park.
I took multiple strolls down Fifth Avenue and Central Park, and nearly forgot I was in the middle of such a busy city (busy in an understatement). While in Central Park, I visited The Mall, Bethesda Terrace, Strawberry Fields, Sheep Meadow, etc.
I visited the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square and witnessed THE MOST AMAZING Beatles memorabilia! Sadly, I also witnessed the most sorrowful corner in the whole cafe – a little room where they have John Lennon’s official police report of his death, along with some candles and Lennon pictures.
They also have an awesome, awesome guitar wall right when you walk down into the cafe. Imagine having a wall like this in your house! Wait, it’s like wasting a ton of guitars… nevermind 🙂
I rode the Staten Island Ferry and a ton of subways! Public transportation there makes any other city look like a joke (alright, except for Boston).
I visited Colony Record Store and Sam Ash Music. Goodness gracious! Why can’t Sam Ash move to San Diego?
I had a tweet-up with the marvelous @musicgirlnyc on my birthday! After a great lunch and lovely conversation amid Bryant Park’s beauty, we ventured off into Times Square. What a treat!
I also met up with two other great friends, Erin & Aurelien. Erin is a sweet, sweet, sweetheart whom I’ve known for many years. She relocated from the boring suburbs of Murrieta, to the downright thrilling city of New York! Aurelien Budynek is a globe-trotting, world-renowned touring guitarist based in New York City. He’s currently part of many projects, one of them being the DareDevil Squadron. Check them out live right here!
- Some tips while you’re in NYC and some things I learned while I was there
- WAIT till your last day to shop for souvenirs at Chinatown. Do NOT buy anything in Times Square. You’ll be broke on the first day 🙂
- If there ain’t no cars comin’, cross the street! New York is a bustling city – who has time to wait at pedestrian stop light?! Besides, you’ll look cool and like “one of them” if you cross while it’s red. Do it (um, check if there’s a car coming, though)!
- New York tap water is like the Acqua Panna of tap waters. Chug, chug, chug away! It’s delicious and safe! San Diego tap water? Not so much.
- In certain parts of the city, it’s impossible to find a public restroom. Starbucks is like home base, so make sure to spot some!
- Take a subway and city map with you, because you WILL get lost. I got lost even with two maps!
Throughout my entire stay, this song was the theme of my trip (soooo glamourous!):
None of this would have been possible without my lovely friends! A special thanks to Julie Gates (my best friend and my airline fairy), and to Ariel Hyatt. I’m forever indebted with Ariel for her tremendous friendship and generosity. Check her and her book out right here! She’s an angel – oh, and did I mention she’s a heck of an amazing PR woman, too? So, thanks again to them and to the amazing Jason Shadrick (mystery boy, check him out)!
If this isn’t enough to convince you to visit the city, then I don’t know what is. I believe it takes a lifetime to truly get to know New York, but it only took me a few days to become captivated by its supernatural beauty. Now, pack up your bags and go to New York. Oh yeah, and take me with you!