Throughout this month long trip I am having a lot of reunions with people I haven’t seen in years – people I’ve kept up with via social media, mostly. I’d already met up with several people I hadn’t seen in eight or nine years but my New York reunions were the most impressive. Jenna and Jane – with whom I went to primary, middle, and high school – currently live in New York City. I hadn’t seen them in person for 15-16 years! Having a chance to catch up with them where they live was amazing.
I took a bus from Boston, travelling through Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York states along the way. Services included an outlet for charging electronics and wifi, which I made good use of! Jenna and her husband met me and we made our way to their home on the subway. Next we met up for dinner with Jenna’s sister and Jane. We ate somewhere uptown at a place that coincidentally happened to be on Broome Street – Broome being the town my sister lives in. Later I went along to a lovely little bar with Jenna her husband for delicious lychee martinis. It was a fun place with pretty red lanterns in the back, and salsa dancing getting started as we left.
Jenna lives in a beautiful apartment in Harlem. In the morning we took a walk around her local neighbourhood before heading into the city – she had a day off to show me around, which was wonderful. I enjoyed the architecture of the area, and the trees still holding onto some colourful autumn leaves.
We made our way on subway and foot to the New York High Line. In 1934 the High Line opened as a train track that went through blocks rather than over the avenue, running from 34th street to St John’s Parl at Spring Street. Trains used the Highline from then through to 1980. Despite lobbying efforts to demolish the High Line, a local activist challenged these efforts in court and it was saved. In 1999 an organisation called “Friends of the High Line” was founded by two local residents, and advocated for the High Line to be preserved and turned into a public space. A design team was selected in 2004, and a groundbreaking was held in 2006. Section 1 (from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street) opened to the public in 2009; section two, extending from West 20th to West 30th Street, opened in 2011. The third, northernmost section, only opened last year. It is a lovely public park which includes lots of plants, various seats and places to stop, great city views, and spaces for art displays, while retaining some of the original train tracks. I really enjoyed the walk, and finding railway lines through the plants. The High Line had become overgrown with self-seeded plants during the years it lay unused, and the planting on the refurbished High Line was designed to use some of the same sort of local plants and to have a wild-ish feel to it. It’s a really great space and a lovely way to see part of the city.
As we left the Highline I saw a street vendor selling hot soft pretzels – I couldn’t resist! They were a favourite snack for me when I lived in Connecticut. Next up was Chelsea Markets, an indoor food hall in the meatpacking district. We ate piping hot soup from a seafood store – Lobster Bisque for Jenna, Scallop&Bacon Chowder for me. We wandered through a few stores with all sorts of interesting wares – sweet, salty, and spicy. Then we walked along the Hudson river toward a Jacques Torres chocolate shop, where we had velvety-rich hot chocolates – Jenna’s had a scoop of ice cream, mine had candied orange syrup. So good!
Next was Time Square – so full of light and verticals. We went up to the lounge of the Marriott hotel where there was a lovely eight-floors-up view of the area. We had planned to have a drink up there, but the kitchen was closed for a private event. Still, the staff kindly allowed us to sit and enjoy the view. Next we walked to Rockefeller Centre to see the famous Christmas tree above the ice skating rink. Along the way we admired Christmas lights and stopped for bubble tea.
That night Jane and Jenna’s sister came over to Jenna’s house for awesome pulled pork tacos. A friend from China joined us, bringing yummy cupcakes with her. It was a lovely evening. It seemed like it should be strange to be hanging out with friends from so long ago, despite our recent facebook interactions, but it felt so normal. I am so glad I put New York on my itinerary.
After a lazy morning, I headed to the airport and the next leg of my trip: Minneapolis, Minnesota.