Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Vacation 2013

New York City

Our vacation to the back east always include trips to New York City. Growing up in Brooklyn  for 16 years after migrating to the US at the age of 12 from the Philippines, I consider New York to be my second home. Yes, I may not be a native New Yorker, but this is where I grew up and had the most time spent of my life than any other places I have been.

It was raining on our first visit to New York City. We were debating whether to go or not that morning due to the weather and my eldest said " let's just go." So we, did. We walked the streets of chinatown to go to our favorite chinese restaurant called " Joe Shanghai ". If ever you are in New York City, this is a place to eat. Here, you will find the most succulent soup dumplings you will ever have. It is a family style restaurant where dishes are big enough to share. Their soup dumplings are what they are known for. I love eating these dumplings because they are so delicious. There's certain ritual to eating them. First you have to carefully take them out of the steamer with a tong and place it on your soup spoon.  Then you take a very tiny bite onto the skin to make a hole. As soon as you do this, you take the dumpling with a chopstick pour the soup into the soup spoon and slowly drink the soup. After you do this, you place the dumpling back onto the soup spoon put the dumpling sauce with ginger on it and carefully bite the dumpling. Yum! Craving satisfied! Sounds complicated just to eat a dumpling? Not really, it is worth doing the above and then finally eating it is heaven. My boys loved it.

I got another chance to visit New York when my boys and husband went camping for 10 days in North Maine Woods - a tradition every summer meant for the boys only on my husband side of the family. They had their camping and I had my version of camping when they left. After staying with my parents for a few more days after the boys left, I stayed in Manhattan for 2 days on my own. I stayed at the Paramount Hotel located in Time Square. My room was small, but good enough space for me.  I checked in and I started my quest. My plan was to walk everywhere like I used to when lived here. I could walk forever and not noticed the distance I've walked. I wanted to do that again. After my train ride from NJ to NYC, I was craving to eat Pad Thai. I found this tiny restaurant in 51st and 9th Avenue called PURE thai cookhouse. It got good reviews on Yelp. My verdict:  5 star.  The place is small which I didn't expect. But, this is not a negative statement. The place was great and the service was good. It was a very busy joint. I had the chicken curry puffs (like little empanadas) and Pad Thai. Both were very satisfying.

With my belly filled, I started to head back to Time Square to check out discounted broadway shows at TKTS. I waited in line and got a discounted ticket for Rock of Ages broadway show. The ticket was 50% at the time for same day show.
                                                   while waiting in line for Broadway show ticket

What a fun show. Brings back good old 80's rock music.  I totally loved it. After the show, I went across the street and got some Juniors cheesecake. A place known for their cheesecake. I believe their first store was in Flatbush in Brooklyn.

My second day in Manhattan, i spent my day walking all day. Started at 8:30 am - I ventured out to walk the high line park of NYC. This was an old rail road meant for freight cargos in the past. They were going to tear it down, but decided to keep it because nature started to grow on the rails ( i believe). The city decided to keep it, make it functional and made it into a park. It started to on 10th Ave. and 30th street and ends at the West village.   It was a good 20 minute walk which wasn't bad. On your journey here you will find lots and lots of vegetation that is kept up by volunteer workers. Benches along the sides to sit on for rest, eating,  people watch or enjoy the scenery of the Hudson River (where you can).

this is a must place to visit if you are in NYC

I was on the on an adventure to find a store, but got lost in West village (first time ever getting lost in city, but never really travelled the West end of the village even when I lived in NY - anyway) and was unsuccessful. I didn't plan that very well. I got my bearings in the village and got to a familiar place and started heading to Broadway and walked my way down to chinatown. After a few sight seeing and purchasing a purse, I was scheduled to be in midtown to have lunch with friends. This was the one time I took the subway.  Met with friends, ate and headed back to time square and looked at the discounted tickets for Broadway show that night. Lucky me, Phantom of the Opera was 50% off!  My friend and I saw the show that night and had a good time. I have always wanted to see this show and glad that I finally had the chance to.

After the show, I hanged out a little bit at time square and had another beef patty for the last time. That day, I was walking Manhattan from 8:30am to 11 pm ----What fun!
 Time Square
 As I was sitting in the middle of Time Square this day, observing the hustle and bustle of NYC, I realized that I was a tourist where I was from. I realized that I took all these for granted when I was leaving there - just always focused on getting from point A to point B. I was glad that I had this time to appreciate it and I think that everyone should experience New York City.

Next stop - Sterling Massachusettes

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