central park and the metropolitan museum of art

central park

For as long as I can remember, New York City has been a place of myth to me, long veiled in images of films I've seen that take place on busy Manhattan streets.. movies like Midnight Cowboy, Citizen Kane, Rear Window, Annie Hall. It was one of the last cities to hold mystery for me, despite all sorts of expectations and preconceived notions I had built up in my mind, and the place I wanted to visit most in the world.

So needless to say, Neil and I were eager to catch a glimpse of the real New York. And we loved it. We loved its similarities as much as we loved its startling differences to the images in our heads. It felt like the liveliest city I've ever been to, surprisingly friendly and not too difficult to navigate - just one big, booming, bright, sprawling metropolis.

We arrived late on a Friday night to take a train to Penn Station and a cab to our hotel on Times Square, so our first real glimpse of New York was a wall of neon advertisements and bright flashing signs. Even well after midnight, Times Square was very alive, and we dropped off our bags at our room and went right back out to experience it. We ended up grabbing a drink at Beer Authority and watching the mayhem from a comfortable spot at the bar before hitting a small sketchy diner for some late night pizza and chicken wings. Excited to get away from the pandemonium and visit calm-in-comparison Brooklyn the next day. But more on that later.

My birthday was that Sunday, so we took a train to Central Park to spend the afternoon. We ate at nearby No. 7 Sub in the Plaza Hotel (I had the broccoli sandwich with ricotta, Neil had the cold meatloaf with bacon mayo) and relaxed on some bedrock, visited the boathouse and watched the boats go by on the lake at Bethesda Fountain. Catching glimpses of the skyscrapers above the trees was the only way we knew we were still in the city. We strolled along the Literary Walk before making our way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

We spent a few hours in the Met - not nearly enough time for a first visit, but we still got around. The American wing was surprisingly good with a Frank Llloyd Wright exhibit and the Temple of Dendur in the Egyptian wing nearly took my breath away when we walked into its expansive space, with its background of the city skyline, but my absolute favorite gallery was Arms and Armor. Growing up, I always had a soft spot for medieval and renaissance history and secretly harbored a desire to become a knight and run off to some unexplored territory. Plus they have a full set of armor that belonged to Henry VIII, and that is awesome.

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Finishing my birthday festivities meant Momofuku Noodle Bar for dinner (worth visiting for the pork buns alone), Rattle and Hum beer break, and a midnight run to the Empire State Building.. the crowd-less halls made the abandoned art deco atmosphere a little creepy, but the lobby with its gilded images and marble floors was almost better than the view up top.

I wore a marble-dyed velvet drop waist dress I made, a Fossil small flap saddle bag and thrifted fringe loafers, Neil wore his Billy Reid linen shirt and red chinos. When we planned our trip I expected coat weather, but the weather was too warm and perfect to allow layers of any kind until well into the night.

More photos here, and many more photos to come of our Brooklyn and Midtown exploits.

And last but certainly not least.. you may have noticed some major changes around the blog! The new design has just launched and is getting completed today. Everything was put in the very capable hands of Natasha of Paper Crowns, who built it all herself and worked with every one of my quirks and demands with true professionalism and kindness, resulting in a wonderful layout. If you're looking to redesign your own site, I recommend her wholeheartedly - just visit her blog and click on the design tab for more info. Thanks Natasha!