I Love NYC…And My Husband

There are certain advantages to being in Northwest Connecticut. Like being able to enjoy a balance of rural and suburban life in my commute to work alone. Cows and convenience stores–we have ’em! Another is having (small) mountains and ocean within an hour’s drive (if not less). But one of my favorite pluses is being just a little over 2 hours from New York City.

street fair new york

I’ve often dreamed of living in The City, but I don’t know that I would adjust well to the crowds. It’s nice to visit, but I need personal space, clean air, and green to feel right. Still, in the last few years, I’ve found my visits increasing in frequency, made all the more enjoyable by my increasing knowledge of what I can find. I rarely use a mode of transport other than my own two feet once I leave the train behind at Grand Central Terminal, and I usually don’t have any time constraints, affording me the opportunity to play explorer and map it out the old-fashioned way–by discovering with my own eyes, ears, and nose what gems await me. Sure, there are neighborhoods that are less fortuitous finds, but there are treasure troves, too, just waiting to be found. Point your feet in any direction and see where they take you!

new york

On Saturday, my husband and I went into The City to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary (which is really on May 19th). Our plans almost were abandoned due to a train derailment on Friday night between Fairfield and Bridgeport. Service into NYC was suspended beyond South Norwalk and we had no idea what kind of mayhem awaited us with South Norwalk becoming the end of the line–so many towns and cities removed from the path, so much slack to be picked up. We checked the forecast, saw there was a 10% chance of rain, and decided to go ahead with our plans anyway. It would require driving 6 exits further down I95, but that was a small price to pay, considering what those on Friday went through.

my husband and me

You may not know that right now I am auditioning for a blog ambassadorship for Stonyfield Farms. Part of the audition involves participating in their daily #WakeUpWithStonyfield posts, sharing photos meeting their theme of the day. Saturday’s theme? Being spontaneous. The spirit of spontaneity ultimately guided our day, with excellent results.

NYC dance parade

NYC dance parade

We hit the subway first and got off at Union Square, as I wanted to share the greenmarket with my husband. We stepped out of the station and into drizzle–not what we expected at all. I also had no idea which part of Union Square we came out into. As we walked along, we happened upon a parade–the 7th Annual Dance Parade, as we learned later. The costumes were mesmerizing and we were treated to dance styles I had never even dreamed of before! We stopped so I could take some photos, but then we spotted the greenmarket and moved on.

Union Square greenmarket

irises at Union Square greenmarket

The greenmarket in Union Square amazes me. Such a plethora of fresh food at extremely reasonable prices. Seriously. I can’t get the same produce at our farmers’ market for such a bargain! City residents should rejoice–out here where the food is grown, it costs us more. So much variety, so much to see. I love just walking through it, watching what other people are sampling and buying, taking it all in. But then the rain began to fall a little harder.

Heartland Brewery

I spied across the street Heartland Brewery, so we ducked in there to get in out of the wet for a bit. I’m a sucker for breweries, and this one did not disappoint. We were seated in the upper level at a fantastic vantage point to check out the action below. We shared a voyage of beer, which included 5-ounce samples of 6 of their brews: Indian River Light Ale, Cornhusker Lager, Harvest Wheat Beer, Red Rooster Ale, Indiana Pale Ale, and Farmer Jon’s Oatmeal Stout. I paired my beer with fried pickles, a treat I haven’t enjoyed since my sister-in-law graduated from York College over a decade ago. The service was fast–the food was out in less than 15 minutes, and piping hot!–and attentive. We were impressed! I liked the Red Rooster Ale the best, though the chocolate notes in the Oatmeal Stout were definitely appreciated.

Heartland Brewery bar

fried pickles and beer

It was my intention to show my husband Pommes Frites in the East Village, a place I happened upon a few years ago when I attended some FringeNYC performances, but I got disoriented and discovered we were heading in the wrong direction. Instead of turning around, however, we found a street fair and decided to check that out. Go with the flow, after all. There wasn’t much to see–many of the booths repeated themselves–but it went on for many blocks, which I found fascinating. Walking down the middle of the street is a small joy rarely indulged in, but I love the change of vantage point.

Mexicue Mad. Sq. Eats

Mad. Sq. Eats

Eventually, we turned off from the street fair and decided to try to get ourselves into a recognizable area. That’s the great thing about midtown–the grid makes it easy to get back on track. That’s not what happened this time, but we did have another fun discovery–Mad. Sq. Eats. Mad. Sq. Eats is a month-long food truck celebration, providing a pop-up of foodie pleasures contained in Worth Square. We hit it at the wrong time–we were both still full–but we did grab a margarita from Mexicue and a box of assorted chocolates from Nunu Chocolates (I’ll admit–I was sucked in by the idea of absynthe and mezcal-chili ganaches–I haven’t opened them yet, for I fear I will eat all 12 in one sitting!). I will return when I go back to NYC on Wednesday!!

Anchorman 2 extras

We headed North from there only to make it about a block away before we got stuck in a congregation of people. Those who visit Northern New England know about moose jams–places on the road where cars come to a halt to check out moose as they wander out of their natural habitat. In NYC, you get movie jams. I had seen one before, but there weren’t any big names and I didn’t hang around to watch it. This time, following the spirit of the day, we halted, wondering what the fuss was about. Across the street we could see old Checker cabs and cars from before I was born lining the street. A giant scrim was set up in the northwest corner of Madison Square Park, facing them. Extras in costume queued up next to 24-Hour Fitness, standing out like a sore thumb.

Anchorman 2

It was difficult to make out who was there across the street, but I heard murmurs of Steve Carell and my husband heard Paul Rudd. Then Will Ferrell crossed–I could tell, it was him!!–and I really got excited. This wasn’t just a random TV show or commercial–this was the real deal. A movie filming! It didn’t last long. In fact, I think they were only getting promotional shots at that point, as the stars posed in the crosswalk Beatles-style and disbanded shortly thereafter. Equipment breakdown began immediately. We tried crossing over to see what was happening–to catch a glimpse–but we were told to move along.

antique cars

We did move along, following East 26th Street on the border of the park, but we didn’t see anything else. We rounded the corner, intending to circle back to Madison Avenue. Instead, we found all the classic cars, waiting to be trailered or driven away. Cougar, Beetle, Camaro, Coronet, and more. Hot pink papers fluttered in the breeze all along the street, proclaiming no parking for a production called Teaching Manheim. A quick google search on the iPhone returned the missing piece of data confirming our sighting–Teaching Manheim is also known as Anchorman 2, set to be released in December 2013. How exciting!

Teaching Manheim

From there, I had no idea what else to do. We walked into Times Square, but part of it is blocked off right now for road construction and the feeling of being herded like cattle was never more present than that night. We ambled over to the ticket booth for last minute deals, wondering what we could find, but decided not to shell out the cash. Now what? We wanted to go to dinner at some point, but it was only 6:30 and the restaurants would be full of theater-goers eager to grab a bite before showtime.

Times Square

Funny thing about social media. Some people say it’s too much, that we’ve become over-sharers of our lives, inundating others with the most minute of plans. But the intention of apps like FourSquare was to help us connect with our friends, aiding us in discovering if they were nearby or giving them the opportunity to share insights with us if they saw we were somewhere they’d been before. I don’t always check in on FourSquare, but I had been all day. Serendipity was the word of the day, and it delivered us into fortunate circumstances once again. A friend we had made on a ski forum happened to be in the area chaperoning a school field trip. They were going to see Disney’s Newsies at 8PM and had extra tickets. Did we want them?

And that’s how we ended up seeing a Broadway show on our anniversary trip without even planning on doing it. πŸ™‚

Bryant Park

The day had gone so well that I decided not to push our luck. After the show ended, we walked back to Grand Central Terminal. It had been a full day and had gone so much better than the last time we went to NYC together. Why spoil it?

Bryant Park

Wednesday I will be back! I was lucky enough to be selected by Cookbook Create to join them on tours of the test kitchens at Bon Appetit magazine, Food52, and The Daily Meal. I’ll be tweeting and Instagramming throughout the tours, so watch for it. You can also follow #FoodTourIWNY on Twitter. In the meantime, we’re enjoying a much quieter day for our real anniversary. A dozen years later, and I love him even more!

What do you love about where you live? Have you ever been to NYC? What do you love/hate about it?

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    • Ruthy @ Omeletta on 19 May, 2013 at 11:48 pm
    • Reply

    I loved this, Carrie! You started off in my hood, Union Square, and I looove seeing NYC through other eyes! Isn’t the Greenmarket the best? And I’m so jealous you got to see Will Farrell AND Newsies! Sounds like an awesome day. Can’t wait to hear about your tour on Wednesday!

    1. The first time I found Union Square was by accident, but I keep going back. I wish I could actually shop the Greenmarket–so many delicious options! We were very lucky on Saturday–now I’m wondering what Wednesday will bring!

  1. I *heart* NYC! But honestly, I can’t remember the last time I was there. Sounds like you had a great day and a wonderful anniversary!

    1. Thank you, we did! Growing up, my parents never brought us to NYC (and I live in the same town where I grew up). Now I can’t imagine why with it so close by. Maybe it’s time for you to take a trip back?

  2. I really enjoyed this post! I grew up in rural CT and when I was 17 moved to NYC to attend art school and lived in Gramercy park. I LOVE NYC and stayed for many years working as a makeup artist. I would go back in a hot minute if I had the dough, it’s so super expensive! My absolute favorite area is the West Village…
    Thanks for the wonderful photos πŸ™‚

    1. You lived there?! Aw, man, now I’m jealous! In a different time in my life, I would embrace that. Not now with kids in grade school. West Village is full of finds. Not as easy to navigate when you leave the numbered grid, but that’s part of the fun of it. πŸ˜‰

  3. PS Good luck with your audition!!!!

  4. Beautiful pictures! I wanted to be out there enjoying it all too πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you! Urban adventures can be pretty great, too, eh? πŸ™‚

    • Jenny on 20 May, 2013 at 10:54 am
    • Reply

    Carrie, that was an awesome post! I can’t believe all the stuff you saw in one day! That is why I love NY! Im super jealous you got to see Will Ferrel and crew! How exciting! πŸ™‚ Your pictures are amazing, also!

    1. There’s always something going on, if you’re willing to wander and discover it. πŸ™‚ We had a lot of being in the right place at the right time, which was pretty awesome. We didn’t get any closer than 40 ft from Will Ferrell, but it was still thrilling!

  5. fabulous photos- what a fun day!

    1. Thank you! It was a blast!

  6. You know, Carrie, I do not take enough advantage of the fact that we live so close to NYC. I love that every time I do decide to go, there’s something really amazing going on β€” that dance parade looks like it would have been awesome to see! πŸ™‚

    1. I had so many other pictures of the costumes–boys with bells on their legs and boots wearing scary masks, girls in ornate ruffles, and even the very young participated. It was amazing! After the train tracks are repaired and travel into NYC returns to normal, I’d suggest taking a day and checking it out. There’s always something interesting going on!

    • J Timothy Quirk on 20 May, 2013 at 7:51 pm
    • Reply

    You know, I haven’t gone to NYC since 1986. I hear a lot’s changed since then! πŸ™‚ My wife really enjoys going there and one day I plan on a similar adventure!

    1. Since 1986? My goodness, you need to rectify that FAST! It’s a whole different world!

  7. OH MY…this post made my day….absolutely love NYC. I had the privelege of working there, and living just across the river for years, and my then boyfriend (now husband!), lived in the city. We had so many days of just wandering through the city. I love the chance to see anything and everything, and feel like you had the busiest weekend, while doing nothing much at all.

    It looks like you had a great celebration weekend. 12 years – WOW! πŸ™‚

  8. Happy Anniversary!

    I love going into the City, and some find it odd that my kids do not even blink when we we lived in Westchester to jump a train at 12 to spend a fe hours in the City. We try to get there every 6 weeks or so to just visit. I love the buildings and the ENERGY. And.. I’m a bit jealous of the show. What a great day!

    1. If the train station were closer, I would definitely do that more often. My kids love when I take them in the City. Yours are very lucky! πŸ™‚

  9. This sounds like a pretty perfect day. I love that picture with the dancers! I’m glad you made it in, I was kind of intimidated by the governor suggesting that commuters might be better off staying in NYC and not coming home.

    I can’t believe I didn’t know about Mad Sq Eats until I was about to leave for the rest of the month!

    1. Saturday wasn’t that bad getting in. I think a lot of people stayed home because of that warning. But that was something, wasn’t it? Who would be footing the bill for all those workers staying in the city? Eek!

  10. what a lovely time! the pommes frites and refreshing beverage look amazing. beautiful pics! i went to NYC a few weeks ago to tour the elvis duran show and visit chobani and physique 57. a jam-packed day but there still was PLENTY more for me to do if i’d had time – or energy! the city sure takes a lot out of me so i feel like i can only go a few times a year, haha.

    1. It can definitely be very overwhelming. But the nice thing is that it’s close enough that you can keep going back to discover new things. πŸ™‚

    • Angela Gilmore on 21 May, 2013 at 3:55 pm
    • Reply

    It sounds like you had a really great anniversary. I feel the same way about the city. I love to visit it and I often think about what it would be like to live there, but I don’t think I ever could. I love your pictures.

    1. After heading into the City yesterday (on a weekday, battling rush hour traffic on the highway), I’m not sure I could deal with a commute like that daily. Though living in NYC would make some of that easier–no traffic to the train station, for example. I’m with you on this one!

    • Jen Seiderer on 22 May, 2013 at 9:55 am
    • Reply

    Love this, especially the pics! I like how the first few look kind of gray but then the women’s dresses perk it right up. We’re planning a trip for my husband’s birthday but I’m not ready to go too far from the kids yet, so I’m pulling for NYC. Love it there! Happy anniversary!

    1. The burst of colors at the dance parade was definitely welcome, considering the misty/drizzly day. Do make it your trip for your husband’s birthday! So many options so close by!

    • Sarah on 23 May, 2013 at 1:50 pm
    • Reply

    Wow! Looks like a great time & great pictures! Happy Anniversary!

    • Michelle on 25 May, 2013 at 3:04 pm
    • Reply

    You packed a lot in. I love the market shots and that you saw Stave Carrell and gang.That happened to us once in Eureka CAlifornia. Chris Farley. It was a long time ago!

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