A Banner New York City [Food] Day

Last Friday, after E’s graduation ceremony, the celebration began. We were lucky to have E’s parents and brother in town for the event, and we wanted to show them a good time, which in my mind means good food.

Once E had turned in his robes and taken some photos, we wandered towards Central Park and the New York Historical Society. Our destination was Caffé Storico, tucked into the first floor of the museum. I am not super familiar with the area around the theater, so thank you Google for this recommendation. From their website:

The restaurant features dishes inspired by classic cicchetti, or small plates, as well as handmade artisanal pastas. Award-winning chef, Jim Burke, brings an approachable, refined style to the menu with a deep sense of authentic Italian cuisine developed during his time in Italy. An all-Italian wine list with over fifty labels, twenty of which are available by the glass, accompanies a full bar.

Our meal, from the chicken liver crostini to the warm strawberry rhubarb crostata, was amazing. The food was delectable, the service impeccable, and the setting just right for an afternoon meal. We shared a bottle of prosecco in a lovely setting surrounded by Ladies Who Lunch.

Image from their website.

Because the kitchen is completely open, it got a little noisy, but our 1:30 arrival was well-timed to miss the bulk of the lunchtime din. After we ate, we were tempted by the trinkets in the Historical Society’s gift shop. It was a bit over our normal price point, but the occasion called for something special, and we definitely felt like we got our money’s worth. I hope to sneak back some week for their special Sunday evening prix fixe menu.

We were lucky to have perfect weather (about 72 degrees, sunny, light breeze) to stroll through Central Park and digest for a while before meeting the rest of our party for dinner at the Bryant Park Grill (warning: autoplay!). E and I lovelovelove Bryant Park, and while we’ve gotten drinks at the cafe a few times, we hadn’t made it to the restaurant yet. The food was great, but the real draw was the setting. I let our out-of-towners take the seats facing the park and chose to examine a door into the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwartzman Building instead. I was still pretty pleased. Service here was spotty, but, I mean…

Image from Wikipedia.

… I’ll take it.

We made one last stop after dinner at the Campbell Apartment, a former office-turned-bar tucked away in a corner of Grand Central Terminal. We had been meaning to head there for a long time, but never seemed to be properly attired when we were in the area and thought of it. So that night, we marched our graduation-bedecked selves over to GCT, up the stairs from the main concourse, out the door, around the corner, back inside, up another set of stairs (you with me?) and into the Campbell Apartment. The room was lavishly decorated, dimly lit, and packed with just the right amount of people for a Friday evening happy hour. We were able to get a table after a short wait, and ended the evening sipping well-made cocktails in what felt like a secret club. Full of commuters. And tourists.

But no matter! I am glad to be able to check a visit to the Campbell Apartment off my New York City bucket list.

Thus ended a jam-packed day of fun and good eats at several New York City landmarks, from the Upper West Side to Midtown. Later that evening, after E had recovered from the whirlwind day, we went on one last adventure to cap out the day…

Oh, hey, I took this photo!

A ride up the elevators to the top of the Empire State Building! E’s mom and brother were staying at a hotel around the corner from the ESB, so while we were escorting them to their hotel, we were all inspired to make the trip. I haven’t been up there in years, and the view was more incredible than I remember. I’ve always been skeptical of the observation deck at the ESB as a tourist’s stop, but not anymore.

Getting a view of the city E loves from above was a perfect nightcap on a day full of celebrations. We said good-bye, gathered our belongings, and treated ourselves to a rare (but much-deserved) cab ride back to Queens, and to sleep.

Connecticut By Commuter Rail

Sunday, I headed up to Connecticut to attend E’s little cousin’s 4th birthday party. E had gone up the night before to go to the UConn basketball game at his alma mater, so I got to train up by myself. There’s something lovely about train travel, even just the commuter rail (on the weekend, when there are no commuters, of course). Things around here have been crazy, both in our apartment and in my head, and I was happy to have two and a half hours to myself to listen to music, read a book rather lazily, and mostly just watch the backs of abandoned riverside factories pass by. Oh, New England.

One of the things I love most about MetroNorth is my departure point from NYC: Grand Central Terminal.

It’s a beautiful train station, with a ceiling to die for, and it’s always bustling with people on their way to or from not-so-distant places.

And, if you’re ever lucky to be there with my darling husband, he’ll spend the entire visit talking your ear off about what a shame it is that they tore down the old Penn Station. And, I mean, he’s right, but I prefer to just appreciate GCT for the jewel it is.

When I got on the train (where I was one of 3 people in my car — ahhhh, Sunday morning commuter rail trips!), I realized my nails matched the ceiling at GCT — teal with gold flecks, and I had to document the serendipity. I decided to try out the combo the night before after thinking about it for a couple of days, and it’s one of my favorite manicures of recent date!

Once I got off the train, I wandered around the abandoned station house for a little while before hopping in the car to visit with E’s family.

It was a lovely day, and in the evening we drove (which, as a gal who takes mass transit everywhere, was its own transportation-glee) home in time to watch the Oscars. This weekend ahead, I get to take the train twice more, and I’m excited to sit back and let someone else do the… driving? Conducting? Whatever, I just know I won’t have to think about it.