Monday, June 23, 2014

Back to NYC

I took a trip back to NYC for the first time since I moved back to AZ in March of 2012. Technically I was there for about 12 hours in the summer of 2012 for Summer Streets and again in October 2012 for apple picking, however, both of those were extremely quick trips. 

I flew out on Wednesday night, June 18th and arrived at JFK at about 5:30am. My friend Dina was nice enough to let me stay with her, so by the time I got to her apartment on the UES it was about 7:45am. Dina headed off to work, and my original plan was to immediately go to Central Park for a run, however, I decided to take a nap since I had been flying all night - and since it was 4:45am PHX time.

After my nap, I did go to Central Park and ran 3 miles around the reservoir. It was so nice to be running in Central Park again - so much better than any Phoenix running. I then headed to Astoria to Athena Nails (where I always went when I lived in NYC) for a manicure and pedicure. Their prices and the amount of time they spend with you are definitely worth the commute.

After getting a manicure/pedicure, I planned to meet Dina in midtown after she got off of work. As I was on the train, I remembered my pastor from church posting a picture of a coffee shop the last time he was in NYC. I knew it was near Grand Central, and I was needing a coffee, so decided to go one stop further on the train. Once I got out of the subway, I texted Dina and she met me there.
Good find Brian and Gina!
After our coffee, we headed to Brooklyn for a film festival Dina was invited to by one of her co-workers. We went to Thistle Hill Tavern - shared some lobster sliders as an appetizer and both ordered a kale salad.
Friday morning, I headed back to Central Park to run the loop. I only did 5 miles - cut out the big hill at the north end of the park. It was still a great run, and the weather couldn't have been better. This was my view as I headed south towards midtown on the west side of the park.
After running I had plans to meet up with Jessica Joy for a while. She just recently moved to midtown (Columbus Circle area) to help plant TGC Midtown. We had a good visit and got to catch up on the last 2 years.
I then stopped at Whole Foods in Columbus Circle to pick up lunch and took it to Central Park to eat it. After lunch I walked to Times Square to the TKTS booth to get tickets for Dina and I to see a Broadway Show. We ended up seeing Violet - it was a great show - although I have never been disappointed by Broadway.

Saturday morning we slept in and headed to Central Park to run the reservoir (2 laps = 3.2 miles). Again, it was another perfect day.
On Saturday afternoon, I had made plans to see the Nelson's, Corpus's and Jennifer Brenneman in Central Park. I had a great time seeing everyone and hanging out for a while.

Noah, Joah, John and Jace
Me, Micah and Joah - I lived in NYC when both of these kids were born. 

Micah eating seaweed snack from Trader Joe's. I will always remember Noah walking around church with his spinach and chickpeas as a snack.
Love this candid shot of Jillian and Jace.
The group - thanks everyone for coming from your different boroughs to Central Park. Such a perfect afternoon and I couldn't have imagined better NYC friends.
Saturday night I met up with my cousin Tyler and his girlfriend, Lindsay. Tyler moved to NYC about 5 months ago. We had dinner in NoHo at Bareburger.
After dinner we tried to get a cronut at this bakery just off of Spring Street and the 6 train, however it was closed. Since we were close to Little Italy, we went to get some Italian treats at Bella Ferrara. I had a cannoli (what I always get from that bakery). It was good to see Tyler and meet his girlfriend.
Sunday morning I met the Midkiff's for breakfast at H&H Bagels, went to Trinity Grace for church, and then went to a TGC picnic at Carl Schurz Park. After the picnic, I had a couple hours to spare so I did a walk through memory lane of some of my favorite places from when I lived there.

This is The Hummus Kitchen and it is located at 84th and 2nd. I ate here multiple times, and I specifically remember walking here in the middle of a snowstorm one Saturday night so I could pick up dinner (I could never meet their minimum delivery order amount).
H&H Bagels at 81st and 2nd. These bagels are the best!
Hi Life. Also one of my dad's favorites.

NYSC at 76th and 1st. This is where I worked out for the years I lived in NYC.
And finally, 81st Street. Love all the trees, and the quietness of this street.
The entrance to my apartment. I still had an extra key to my building, so had it with me. It still worked to get into the building, so went up to apartment 1A. It is currently occupied, as there is a welcome mat in front of the door.
I then stopped at the Starbucks on my corner for a chai latte and to do a little reading before heading back to JFK for my 8pm flight back to Phoenix.

It was such a great weekend there, and I got right back into the swing of things. I knew exactly which side of the subway platform I needed to be on depending where I was going, I knew whether or not I needed to be at the front or back of the train depending on where I was getting off, and I knew which way to walk out of the subway station. I got into the fast walking mode pretty quickly, and I did a lot of walking without my feet getting too sore. Finally, it was great catching up with all my friends who still live in the city - friendships can really last a lifetime even after 2 years of keeping in touch via social media. 

I do miss the "magic" of NYC, however, when I moved back to AZ in March 2012 both of my grandma's were still living. I am so thankful I got back to AZ when I did, as I would not trade taking Grandma Lois to get manicures, going over to Grandma Hazel's to make dinner and play Rummikub, seeing Grandma Lois in the hospital and having her tell me she couldn't wait to have Jesus chauffeur her home and holding her hand when she took her last breath, and finally being able to frequently see my Grandma Hazel in the last year of her life after she was diagnosed with cancer. Those are all memories and moments that I will cherish and remember forever.

I don't know if I will ever live in NYC again, but it was fun living in another city. San Francisco and San Diego both seem like they would be fun places to live, but for now I am enjoying my new nephew Uriah in Phoenix.

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