This is Part 2 of a 2 part series on our short weekend trip to New York City. You can view Part 1 here.
Day three of our trip marked our first anniversary. If I was shooting for a romanticized version of the day, I must have utterly failed — we went to a Yankees game instead.
Our hotel was right beside Grand Central. This gave us instant access to New York’s subway system. It also gave us access to New York’s immense crowds. I’m sure the photo above isn’t bad compared to high time at the end of the work day. But this number of people in one location is too much for me.
Luckily, our trip to Yankee Stadium was far less terrifying than our journey to the Bronx Zoo. It was pretty easy to spot who was going to the game as well — everyone on the subway was wearing some sort of Yankee memorabilia.
The Yankees played the Cincinnati Reds this past Sunday and were gunning for a three game sweep. The game started with an incredible parachute display of an American military parachute team. No less than 10 jumpers jumped from 15,000 to 20,000 feet and landed gracefully in the Yankee outfield.
Equally incredible was the attendance at a fairly meaningless game in the middle of July. 43,000 people packed into Yankee Stadium. I was blown away by the support for the team.
That support kind of makes sense though. Yankee history is packed with more monstrous names than any other team in baseball history — maybe in professional sports history.
The biggest of those great names for someone my age is Derek Jeter. I grew up emulating Jeter as a shortstop. He plays with a deep respect for the game and the people involved. It was such a treat to watch the greatest shortstop in Yankee history.
And that doesn't mention the opportunity to watch Ichiro, Mark Teixeira, Jacoby Ellsbury, Johnny Cueto, Todd Frazier and the now famous Aroldis Chapman.1 I was blown away by the stardom on the field.
I haven’t even touched on how beautiful and how breathtaking the new Yankee Stadium is. We walked around the field before the game and I couldn’t stop taking photos. We visited Citi Field last year (whose Ebbets Field resemblance is nostalgically gorgeous), but it can’t shake a stick at Yankee Stadium. Absolutely spectacular.
After the Yankee game, we took the subway back to Grand Central and looked for a dinner spot. We had eaten at a couple Zagat-rated restaurants prior, so we were happy to try the well-known Applebee’s around Times Square.
We were definitely not happy after we left. What a joke. Our waiter had a horrendous attitude and we were herded like cattle through the restaurant. If you’re in the neighbourhood and are looking for a nation-wide restaurant you recognize, don’t consider the Times Square Applebee’s. You can thank me later.
After calming our anger, we jumped on the Big Bus Night Tour and rode around town. Although a very touristy thing to do, bus tours provide awesome photo opportunities and a chance to see the city from 20 feet higher than street level. You can see so much more of the city by getting out of the crowds.
Access to a tour guide also makes a bus tour worth the money. Learning about the Chrysler Building/40 Wall Street battle was superbly interesting. My wife felt the bus tour was the best thing we did on our trip — and that’s after seeing most of the city prior to the bus tour.
If you hop on a bus tour, I recommend getting there early and trying to get a front or back seat. Sitting in the middle of the bus quickly eliminates the best photo opportunities.
Despite all our walking, my wife and I hadn’t had the chance to walk past the Flatiron Building. There are countless beautiful buildings in New York City, but something about the Flatiron Building left me starstruck.
As famous as New York’s monumental skyscrapers are, the great Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges are historically spectacular. I personally feel the Manhattan Bridge has a more elegant look, but my opinion doesn’t count.
The bus tour marked our first chance to see Brooklyn. After taking the bus tour, my wife and I quickly understood why Brooklyn is growing immensely. Brooklyn appeared to be more quiet, more spacious and more clean than Manhattan. Too bad it’s quickly becoming a mini-Manhattan.
Even still, if we could move to NYC, we would move to Brooklyn.
Our bus tour opened our eyes to the beauty of Brooklyn, so we woke up bright and early on our last day to take a walk down the waterfront. We checked out of the hotel, hopped on the subway and had breakfast at a coffee shop in the neighbourhood before making the breathtaking walk.
I couldn’t believe we were the only two people on the boardwalk that morning. Crazy beautiful if you’re a city lover.
Capitalism at its finest.
I just had to.
The tour guide on our bus tour said that Juliana’s — home of the original Grimaldi’s coal oven — had some of the best pizza in the city. We walked right by Juliana’s the next morning, so we stuck around until 11:30 and had a small pie for lunch.
If you end up in Dumbo,2 you have to stop by Juliana's for a small margherita pizza. They make the best pizza I've had in my life. Hands down.
Our walk back to the subway was the hardest walk my wife and I made during the trip. Our trip to Brooklyn was the cherry on top of the cake and left a fabulous taste in our mouth as we left the city. Had we not visited Brooklyn and Dumbo, we probably would be looking at our weekend as the last time we set foot in New York City.
Instead, our trip was part of a “To Be Concluded” saga. On our two short trips to the city, we have yet to truly explore Central Park and we have yet to visit the MoMA.
You can literally do or buy anything you want at any time of day in New York City. This strikes a contrasting chord with our prairie blood, but it’s a chord we’re going to strum for the rest of our lives.
New York City is our guilty pleasure. If it wasn’t so damn expensive, we would permanently partake in the Concrete Jungle.
Maybe one day.
For those who aren't baseball-literate, Chapman holds the record for the hardest pitch thrown in Major League history (105 mph). He threw 10 straight fastballs to Jacoby Ellsbury, none of which fell below 100 mph. The crowd was blown away. Apparently Ellsbury wasn't, because he singled to left before scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 9th. ↩
“Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”. This knowledge was a direct product of the tour guide and not Wikipedia. He also correctly pointed out that “Overpass” had to be added to the name, otherwise the neighbourhood would just be known as “Dumb”. ↩