Thursday, June 25, 2015

Concrete Jungle Where Dreams are Made Of

Everyone loves New York, but if you're a city lover New York is the exemplar of cities. New York and I are crazy in love, and no matter how long since our last rendezvous (2011 in this instance), our chemistry comes back instantly. We're amazing together like that. 

I had an inauspicious start to my trip to New York when my connecting flight to LaGuardia was canceled. I found this out as I was pulling into the Detroit airport. The only flight I could get on to get to NYC on Tuesday evening was to fly into Long Island. I found a shuttle and got to my hotel around 1:45 am, the late hour thwarting my plans to run before my workshop's 8:30 am start.

This week I was fortunate to attend a workshop at Foundation Center, a great organization that has already proven to be a valuable resource in my new job. I booked a hotel near Central Park for running purposes, and it was just over two miles to the training. I woke up on Wednesday morning and gleefully walked into the throng of people commuting on foot in the country's most fabulous city. I am sure I smiled the entire way (enough so that several people I passed randomly commented on my smile).  Being in love makes me smile. I can't hide it.
Who wouldn't love this on their daily commute?
The workshop was a busy, full day. During the lunch hour I walked around the neighborhood and encountered pop-up street cafes and a huge farmers market. I fit in a little shopping (shocking news). At the end of the day I felt ready to conquer the philanthropic world. It was either the training or the heady intoxication of New York City that had me in a good mood, but either way I was happy.

Lunchtime sights in the city

The walk back to the hotel took longer with more people on the streets. I took a wrong turn but ended up by Bryant Park and the stunning New York Public Library, so it was a wrong turn worth taking.
My husband and I are huge fans of the Food Network Show Chopped, and my goal this year is to eat at several restaurants owned by Chopped judges. After a sojourn at the hotel I decided to go to Tribeca to eat at Landmarc owned by Chef Marc Murphy. I took a taxi so I could make my reservation, but that was a huge mistake. It’s been a while since I’ve done anything other than walk or take the subway in New York, and the streets were gridlocked. It took more than 45 minutes to go just under 4 miles, and I would’ve been better off walking. 

Landmarc, however, was worth the trip.  I’m obsessed with pasta, so it seemed the pasta special was the way to go. It was delicious, and I enjoyed my food and a cocktail on the patio. It was my first time in Tribeca, and I discovered a charming neighborhood. After dinner I decided to forego the taxi and walk back to the hotel. I needed to burn off the pasta calories anyway.

Delicious, delicious carbs.

A huge part of New York’s strength is its vibrant neighborhoods. I loved walking through Greenwich Village and Chelsea on my walk back downtown. On a Wednesday evening patios were packed. People were everywhere. I love the feeling of being one person among so many enjoying a great city. As I neared Times Square the streets became more crowded. Times Square is a touristy disaster, but it’s the best kind of touristy disaster. It’s an assault on the senses with people everywhere, music, and bright lights. It’s not my favorite spot in the city, but there’s something magical about seeing so many people enthralled by New York.

On Thursday morning I booked a guided run with City Running Tours. I’d used them before in Chicago and San Francisco, and I was excited to run in the park. I met my guide at the USS Maine monument in Columbus Circle at the entrance to the park, and we went on a great 4-mile run.  I’ve been to Central Park every time I’ve been to New York, yet every time I see it with fresh eyes. It’s where the New York Marathon finishes in November, and it’s a bit hilly. I realized that will be an interesting topographical finish to the race, and I know I’ll need some hill training. 

Feathered friends at the USS Maine monument
I was sad to leave the city but excited to head home to my family. Being away from my son for work trips in two consecutive weeks was challenging, and I’m looking forward to spending some quality family time next week on vacation.

New York’s urban beauty makes my heart hurt a little bit, and just being there makes me realize how smitten I still am after all this time. I’ve still got it bad for you, NYC. 

Also this should be in your head now. Seriously:

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