This year I spent Memorial Day weekend in New York City with my cousins. Weekend getaways are always fun, and New York is typically an exciting destination with lots to do. That weekend was no exception. I haven’t traveled to New York on my own in a couple of years, but in the past I usually took the Amtrak. This time I jumped on the discount bus bandwagon, finding it extremely convenient that the Vamoose Bus departs for Penn Station within walking distance of my apartment. I boarded a 7am bus on Saturday morning and was in the city before 11. Not bad for a holiday weekend! Plus I was even able to read without getting car sick for a good portion of the trip!
I packed light, only bringing my purse and a backpack. My cousins met and we went out for lunch before heading to a matinee on Broadway. In all of my 25 years that I’ve been traveling to New York to visit relatives, I’ve actually only seen two shows on Broadway. Both were during my 8th grade class trip. So when my mom was in town a few weeks earlier and saw a show with some family, I knew I wanted to do the same. We saw Sister Act. Raven Symone played the lead, she wasn’t Whoopi Goldberg, but she was great. She’s come along way since the Cosby Show and ABC Family Channel movies… I guess we all grow up. After the show we met up with more family for dinner and spent the rest of the night hanging out and catching up.
Sunday was quite the to-do. I joined a group of 10 ladies to celebrate with one of my cousins in bachelorette party fashion. We met for brunch at The Smith. After donning my hot pink “Team Bride” pin, I ordered an omelet with wild mushrooms and fontina. It came with a side of home fries. I’m always a sucker for potatoes at brunch. The omelet was quite tasty – better than most, but the large pool of oil on my plate made it slightly less appetizing. The brunch special came with a choice of drinks. I ordered the freshly squeezed blood orange mimosa, which was bitterer than I had hoped. One of my cousins ordered the passion punch – it was heavy on the rum but a more refreshing choice.
After brunch we took the bus to the East End to complete our bachelorette scavenger hunt. Although we were all one team, so it was more like a bucket list. We visited candy stores, clothing stores, vintage boutiques and so forth, forcing the bride to pose with cute and sometimes crazy things. I think the best pictures were of her in neon pink leggings, a neon yellow tank top, a neon green fanny pack, and of course a side pony tail. Equally entertaining was the flamboyant thrift store owner eager to teach us all the trick to wearing any hat. (According to him, even the most ridiculous shower cap looking thing is high fashion when tilted to the side of your head). This scavenger hunt of course included a caffeine/bathroom break at Starbucks, and ended with frozen yogurt. It was super hot that weekend, so both were needed.
Following the scavenger hunt, we took the Subway to Williamsburg and surprised the bride with a jewelry making class at Brooklyn Charm. Their patient staff taught us how to make wire wrap bracelets with the beads of our choice. Half of the group took a basic assembly course instead, making necklaces with dangling charms. Although learning to wire-wrap was a bit of a challenge for me, I usually have a hard time finding bracelets small enough that they won’t fall off my teeny tiny wrists. My do-it-yourself project fits snuggly. We finished our jewelry class by popping open two bottles of champagne and toasting the bride.
Since it was so hot out and already 8pm, most of us started to feel the champagne and were eager to head to dinner. We went to baci & abbraci (Italian for hugs and kisses… appropriate, I suppose) and shared a variety of vegetarian pizzas as an appetizer. Their vegetariana with eggplant, zucchini, and peppers was my favorite, but their focaccia tartufata is also worth mentioning; a thin layer of dough with creamy robiola cheese, topped with another layer of crust and truffle oil on top. My main course was exceptional gnocchi violette, made with red beets and goat cheese in a cream sauce with wild arugula. It actually deserves to be said again – it was exceptional. I even found a restaurant review with the recipe for it here. I don’t generally make cream sauces at home, but if I ever feel ambitious and like making an exception… The dish was even better when paired with a nice malbec. I cleaned my plate, and didn’t even leave room for the enormous tiramisu cake the restaurant prepared for us. I did enjoy the waiters singing “Happy Birthday” to the bride. Somehow the theme of the party had escaped them, despite all of our fanfare. I don’t think the point of a bachelorette party has ever been to blend!
Despite our bridesmaid planners’ best efforts to pick out a bar for post-dinner cocktails; no one had the energy for another stop after a full day of festivities. We left the restaurant after 11pm and my cousins and I splurged for a cab to return to their apartment building in Washington Heights. I was glad to sleep in a bit the next morning!
Monday morning I packed up and hung out with my cousin a little. I used some of the super fun glitter nail polish she had on all weekend. Then I met up with a good friend of mine who previously lived in DC for a year for sushi and catch up time. Only my friend had trouble deciding if he wanted sushi or pizza. I chose sushi, since I had several Italian style pizzas over the weekend already. But I was sad not to have real New York pizza. Luckily for me, my friend decided to grab a slice before having sushi, and he was eating it when I met him. I had one delicious bite and felt more satisfied with my trip. After lunch, we stopped at a small bakery and I bought a cookie that looked as much like the colorful sprinkle cookies my Zaydie used to buy at Lord’s Bakery, and I saved it for later. As a kid, we used to take a whole box of them back home with us following a trip to Brooklyn. I headed back to Penn Station to catch my bus in the afternoon. It was my first solo trip on the subway, which seems silly to acknowledge as someone who’s been riding the DC metro everywhere for 7 years now, but let’s be honest; the subway is WAY more confusing. I picked up a New York bagel to eat for dinner on the bus, and in just a few more hours I was home.