This week, my best friend from college has been visiting New York and staying with me. It’s been such a treat to host her, showing her a city I’ve only barely come to know myself and also letting her show me the many things she has found that I’ve never seen. When I moved to New York earlier this year, I was so concentrated on finding a job that I didn’t do much sightseeing. There are a lot of essential tourist attractions and beautiful neighborhoods and famous restaurants in NYC that I haven’t gone to. I keep thinking there’s plenty of time, but having a friend to show the city has reminded me how lovely it is to remember New York isn’t just a place I live, it’s an amazing place that people travel all around the world just to see.
Ten ways we explored New York these past two weekends:
1. We walked the Brooklyn Bridge on a beautiful morning after eating breakfast bagels (We burned those calories by dodging and weaving in and out of selfie-takers, joggers, and bicyclists.)
2. We went to the pencil store mentioned in that Freakonomics episode. I bought an awesome double-sided blue-red colored pencil and a set of neon colored pencils and was so excited by the way they packaged the purchase.
3. We ate some delicious Italian pastries at Veniero’s. (Pastries not pictured because they were gobbled up before the thought of a camera passed through the mind.)
4. We walked the High Line , a park built over a previously abandoned elevated rail line.
5. Mo and I visited Books Kinokuniya, a Japanese bookstore near Bryant Park, and I got to show her some of my favorite parts about Japan’s stationery. There were so many things I hadn’t seen since I’d left Japan. It was really nostalgic. I also bought this NYC Walks Card set so we could research our walk in Greenwich Village.
6. We also visited MUJI and made our own postcards using their stamp station. (As long as you purchase the paper or notebook there, you can use any of their in-store stamps to decorate it.) It was so much fun getting to experiment and see how they turned out. I love the concept and feel of their stores.
7. We walked around the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and marveled at the bonsai there.
8. We visited Coney Island and walked the boardwalk.
Mo got some epic pictures of S and I. We also ate at this ridiculously amazing Russian restaurant. We got sweet cottage cheese, cherry, and mushroom and potato vareniki. While all of them were amazing, the cherry ones were a surprise and absolute treat!
9. On Saturday night, we went to the Brooklyn Museum’s First Saturday (a free!) event. We saw the documentary Sign Painters as well as an exhibit on Coney Island. It was my second time seeing the exhibit, but it made an even stronger impression having just visited Coney Island in person.
10. On our last day together we walked around Greenwich Village, visited the MoMA, and ate ramen together.
I am going to miss hosting my dear friend so much this upcoming week. Getting home from work and getting to hear her daily adventures (of Liberty Island, Ellis Island, Central Park, the Met, a Broadway show, Tribeca and SoHo shops, and more) has really opened my eyes to the great places and experiences I pass by every day without thinking much of. Seeing how excited she was to take pictures of the New York City skyline at night for the first time reminded me of those first glimpses of excitement I felt when I moved here. There are so many adventures worth going on, but sometimes it takes a traveller and a friend to show you that those adventures are there, waiting.
Until next time Mo, bon voyage.