NYC Neighborhoods Visited: Midtown West, Lower East Side, East Village, Theater District, Flatiron
Today was our last full day in New York City and it started early. very early. How early? 5 am early. Now you might be wondering what would compel two people already lacking in much needed sleep to wake up to 5 am. The answer: Foursquare. I was determined to earn my Today Show Newbie badge and the only way to do that was to be at Studio 1A in Rockefeller Center before 6 am. Possible? Absolutely! Out hotel is situated about a 5 minute walk away from Studio 1A and so quickly getting there was not an issue. The alarm went off at 5 am sharp, but we both hit the snooze the button. It went off again at 5:30 am, we jumped out of bed, quickly got ready and was out of the door by 5:35 am. By 5:40 we were at Studio 1A and I was able to score my Foursquare Today Show Newbie Badge! I was excited and tired as hell. And so instead of standing in line with the crazy Today Show fans, we decided to head back to the hotel to snooze off again. Hah!
After a slight blog disaster (it lasted a good 30 minutes before the problems were resolved), we decided to head back to the Lower East Side to experience the one and only Katz’s Delicatessen. Located on East Houston St., Katz is famous for their popular Pastrami on Rye Sandwich.
If you’ve seen When Harry Met Sally then you’re already familiar with Katz’s Delicatessen. It’s the place where Sally had the greatest orgasm ever. They even have a sign situated right above the table in which the infamous scene took place. Part of the Katz experience is simply getting your food. They have a weird system of ordering, but if it works for them, why change it? When you first enter Katz, you are given a ticket. You are then directed to one of 4 different areas of the counter. Depending on what you want, that is the area of the counter that you go to. We wanted our Pastrami Sandwich, and after initially go to the wrong line (the breakfast line), we headed to the sandwich line. Now, there was literally no one there when we went since we stopped by shortly after opening, but apparently, it gets super busy at peak lunch times. Our sandwich server was a little grumpy, but he did offer us samples of the meats while he made our sandwiches. The samples were so delicious and was a great prelude to the real deal. I ordered the classic Pastrami on Rye and Michelle had the Reuben on Rye. After you get your sandwich, you then go to one of the drink lines to grab your beverage. There’s one section for canned sodas, and another line for everything else. At each counter station, you give the helper your ticket and they serially tally your total charges. Interestingly, you don’t pay until after you finish eating. You bring your ticket to the front of the restaurant and pay the cashier before heading out the door full and satisfied.
The pastrami for me was the best I have ever had. I’m used to wet pastrami sandwiches, this was hardly that. The meat was tender, but it was not dripping like crazy with oil as I ate it. Also, the serving was huge (for me at least). I asked the server if the sandwich was big (we considered sharing one). Then, he flashed me the piece of bread he was using and then said “no, it’s not.” And that is why we ordered two separate sandwiches. But when we received our sandwiches (it took about 5 minutes for him to cut the meat and prep it) we noticed that they really do pack on the meat. If it’s a big and succulent pastrami that you’re looking for, then be sure to check out Katz’s Delicatessen. Meg Ryan would approve.
Though we couldn’t even finish our sandwiches from Katz’s, we headed down to Butter Lane for cupcakes, as suggested by Carlos of Oven Fresh Dreams. We arrived there right before they opened. Upon entering, we were greeted by trays of mouthwatering cupcakes. I decided on the Elvis (banana cupcake with a peanut butter frosting, topped with marshmallows) and Michelle had the Marco (chocolate cupcake with a maple pecan frosting). The cupcakes was so light and moist and the frosting was not overly sweet. One of the best cupcakes we’ve ever had!
Hey, that’s me sporting Origami Pigeon in front of Butter Lane! Be on the look out for this shirt to be featured in an upcoming episode of Co-Tee TV (I should know, because it’s already been filmed).
We then caught the subway back up to 5th avenue to check out the NBA Store. I’m a big basketball fan, but the prices were just a little too outrageous for me. Once we did our walk through, we headed back to Hotel Mela for some much needed rest and some shut eye. After 5 days in New York City, we were both very exhausted.
Feeling rejuvenated, we caught the subway back to the Lower East Side to pay a visit to Brian Shevlin of Year of the T-Shirt fame. He’s the guy that’s been wearing a different T-Shirt ever day in 2010 and posting his tees on his site on a daily basis. Brian runs a little art collective called Con Artist, with Con standing for Connected. It’s a place where artists can congregate, socialize, design and sell their goods and artwork. Con Artist is a little hole in the ground, literally. Two black doors are swung open from the sidewalk of Ludlow Street, inviting guests to come and take a peek at the artwork, as well as the vintage and new tees. Brian gave me a tour of his little art abode and I was thoroughly impressed and blown away by their quality of work. If you’re in the Lower East Side and you want to be inspired, then be sure to stop by Con Artist – tell Brian that Coty sent you!
Brian let me take a TON of photos of his gallery and workshop, and I will be posting those in the coming days in a separate post, so be sure to be on the lookout for that.
A few blocks away from Con Artist was our dinner destination. Boca Chica was highly recommended by Carlos of Oven Fresh Dreams (remember, we stopped by and visited him the day before) and so we just had to check it out. Tired of Italian, we were excited to tingle out tongues with Latin American cuisine. Carlos was right, Boca Chica was an awesome food experience – it was so good! We started off with plantain chips and bean dip (on the house) and Alitas De Pollo (grilled spicy, honeyed wings). The honeywings were so tender and spiced just right. For the entrees, Michelle had the Arroz Con Camarones (shrimp and yellow rice) and I had the Pollo Havanero (grilled chicken with almond, parsley, garlic sauce). The Pollo Havanero was delicious, and the sauce that was smothered over the chicken was perfect.
After dinner we made a pit stop at Trader Joe’s to pick up a few more goodies to bring back home and then we made one last ditch effort to taste the famous sticky buns from Amy’s Bread. When we visited Carlos at the Amy’s Bread on Bleaker St., they were unfortunately out of sticky buns. Lucky for us, they had one sticky bun left at Amy’s Bread in the Hell’s Kitchen area.
With our sticky bun curiosity put aside, we headed back to our hotel to pack up our things for our flight back to Honolulu, Hawaii. We made one last trip to the Shake Shack on 44th for a midnight snack. The Shack Burger hit the spot and was the perfect ending to a delightful and food-filled NYC experience.
In 5 days we did so much, experienced so much and tasted so much. The only thing left to wonder about New York is when we will be back. I Heart New York, that’s for sure.