After a week of the go-go-go NYC lifestyle we were ready to slow it down before our international take-off. So we did what every other New Yorker who wants to slow down does… move uptown. Well, to be more exact, we made our nomadic journey north of downtown to settle in Harlem for the last three days in New York (and the last three days stateside for a while).
Our stay in Harlem marked our very first time as actual surfers through Couchsurfing.org. While we hosted many awesome surfers when living in San Francisco, we had not yet been the couch-ees. We had two wonderful hosts in Anna and Mallory who shared their apartment with us (big thank you to both of them!). After a nice night in and good night of sleep on Sunday, we awoke refreshed Monday. We decided to take the opportunity to strap on our sneakers, throw some dirty remixed disco in our ears (with our ear-warmers on top of course), and hit the streets of Harlem for a run. Since we had all the time in the world and a pretty good idea of the lay of the land now we let ourselves explore and make our course up a bit as we went along. The highlight was running along the reservoir in Central Park with amazing skyline views.
It was a great way to start our week (and celebrate President’s Day) with the fresh air and sunshine. We took the rest of our day easy before heading down to Greenwich and West Village where we explored the streets and watched everyone take turns getting a picture next to “Gay St.” (no… we didn’t get ours taken… much more fun to watch everyone else). As the sun began to set we found another hole in the wall pub with wifi, Johnny’s Bar, to grab a happy hour beers and do some work. This it turns out is the lucky location that got Sparkled On! Ladies, you’ll have a better chance at finding it in the future than any gents will.
(You can get more specific details on the location of the sticker at the
Sparkle On Page and by clicking on the photo on the map).
While we were hoping to meet-up with everyone at Small’s Jazz Club that night, we were discouraged by the $20 cover and instead opted to grab some food and head elsewhere. We shared a small bite and brew at The Highlands Restaurant and Scotch Bar with Kitty and then headed to Fat Cat to meet-up with our Couchsurfing hosts (Anna and Mallory). Another hidden gem in New York – for only $3 this underground spot is the size of an entire block and offers live jazz, shuffleboard tables, pool, ping-pong, board games, and $3 PBRs. You can even bring your own game if you want (we observed a table of Magic, a couple playing backgammon, and many other gamers to be had). It was a great night out where we ironically spent time with all of our hosts throughout the week and got to say our last thank yous and good-byes to Ray and Kitty (our first two host spots).
The rain and drizzle finally arrived on Tuesday. It was very fitting that our last official day had weather similar to our first. For the first time since being in New York we took a bus down the west side of the city to take more in and experience the change of pace between the subway and the bus. From there we strolled across the lower part of Central Park and grabbed an all-time favorite of Amanda’s (that we almost completely forgot about), the signature “frozen hot-chocolate” from Serendipity 3. We were able to walk up to the MET in time to admire some of the art before it closed. Somehow we immediately got lost (which isn’t hard to do in the Met) and found ourselves in the Rodin exhibit. Ben has long been a fan of his work, and getting to see a more complete collection and learning more about THE GATES OF HELL and his work inspired by Dante Aligheri made his day. At that point the Guggenheim was closed, but we got to check out the famous architecture from the exterior.
We stuck with the low key pace and decided to walk to a Harlem favorite, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, for dinner before calling it a night. The ‘swag platter’ (a mix of wings, deviled eggs, fried green tomatoes and spiced/grilled shrimp) was pretty good. And no surprise here — Amanda had to order a side of fries just so she had a vessel eat all the great bbq and hot sauces they had. Come Wednesday, we worked a bit, organized ourselves to go, and then before the trek to Newark Airport we managed to make it to the post office in Harlem (where absolutely everything is done through two glass walls) to mail out some love.
And with that, “The Trip” begins en serio! First stop out of country, first stop without guaranteed internet and phone in our pockets, first stop where we don’t know the language. This is written from an overnight flight to Lisbon, Portugal: we arrive at Lisboa at 6am.
It’s been awesome New York… but you should really look into recycling. ;o)