Although there are so many places I would love to hop on a plane to go to right now, I’ve been thinking a lot about New York City. The news of how the virus has rocked the city continues to escalate and I can only hope that the city I have loved for years comes out of this stronger. As I write from a home in rural New Hampshire, the paradox of NYC being just a few hours away by car against how distant a reality actually visiting the New York I’ve known is quite a tough pill to swallow. However, my camera roll has been a great reminder of how I’ve always managed to make it back to New York somehow or another despite challenges that have kept me from moving there permanently. Here are some things I absolutely love to do in New York:
- Eat: Have a giant bowl of udon at Tsurutontan Udon Noodle Brasserie
It is truly difficult to capture the enormity of these bowls of noodles in a picture. As you can see, I tried. These bowls are literally the size of my torso and I could not be more excited to devote the first part of this post to these glory-bowls. Eating this curry udon made me feel like a noodle goddess and this would be the first restaurant I would dash straight to if I could sit down in any NYC restaurant for dinner tonight. Noodles are soft and broth is delicious, and most importantly it is SO much fun tackling the mountain of udon that Tsurutontan always delivers. They price the normal and large size at the same price point so… you know what to do.
2. Drink: Cha Cha Matcha
I am honestly shocked at how much I would do for a lovely crafted hot beverage right now.
While I am most definitely a coffee person, I love a good afternoon tea and am a huge fan of Cha Cha Matcha’s quirky and cosy design. They also used to make matcha “dossants” (cross betwen doughnut and croissant… sound familiar?) which were AWESOME, but they’ve stopped baking them the last time I checked. Matcha makes me feel super good and their latte art always definitely adds to the experience. Although they aren’t unique to New York, I’d love to go back when I get the chance.
3. See: Les Misérables on Broadway
It hasn’t returned to Broadway since 2016, but Victor Hugo’s masterpiece was actually my first ever Broadway experience back when I first stepped foot in New York. It’s been a while now and I don’t remember every little detail, but I remember being blown away even with my knees pressed tightly up against the seat in front of me and having to wait an inordinate amount of time for the women’s bathroom when there was not even a smidge of a line for the men’s. Ah, New York City.
4. Eat: Murray’s Bagels
I’ve been having a bagel almost every morning these past few weeks (smothered in Nutella and with a hot mug of black coffee, of course). Growing up outside the United States, I never thought I’d come to appreciate the “bread with a hole in the middle” the way I do now. I still remember having my first ever bagel in the dining hall of my college and wondering why people ate these thick, dense, tough pieces of dough instead of the soft white buns I was used to in Asia, or the chewy sourdough loaves I grew to love on my travels with my parents. Like many things I thought I didn’t like but grew fond of with time, it really was just the case that I hadn’t had a good enough bagel. Murray’s Bagels is a real game changer and helped me answer my bread question once and for all. These bagels are just right and I would go back to New York in a heartbeat to buy 10 of these huge babies to bring home. The baguette of NYC, I guess.
5. Do: Rooftop bars, of course
I spent most of my high school career exploring Bangkok’s nightlife through rooftop bars, which necessarily makes them feel oddly familiar even when I’m far from home. With the constant uncertainty and change in life today, I’ve been thinking a lot about warmer weather as something that will inevitably come at a predictable time, and the summer has definitely been something I’ve chosen to look forward to. Unsurprisingly, I really like Mr. Purple in Manhattan. Pictured above is a moment from a perfect day last summer when my friends threw me a surprise for my 22nd birthday at The Crown in LES. I remember feeling so grateful for my incredible friends, blue skies, and the beautiful Manhattan skyline. Rooftop bars really make me feel “some type of way”.
6. Gym: Barry’s Bootcamp
Predictably, I love paying for expensive classes for a super fit person to yell at me to jump around for an hour. Jokes aside, the music and vibe at Barry’s make me feel great and I sorely miss being able to go to in-person workout classes and even just lifting weights at the gym. My first ever Barry’s class was in Chelsea and I have since also gone to a class in London, both of which which I enjoyed thoroughly. In spite of the steep price point, I have found that experiences that make me feel good are worth it for me and I would love to go back to classes once the at-home workout period of time eventually passes.
7. Eat: Spot Dessert Bar
Since being stuck at home, like plenty of others, my friends and I have turned to baking as both a past-time and a source of much needed comfort food. We’ve so far made some classic cookies, some crêpes, and two batches of lava cake. Although it has all been surprisingly good, I couldn’t help but think of this legendary lava cake from Spot. Though I’d been in the past, this is dear to me because I managed to convince my friends to pig out on dessert with me at midnight on my birthday weekend, and it truly is an NYC specialty to have dessert available until the wee hours of the morning. Added bonus is that Spot was started by a Thai chef! Have been dreaming of sharing these fun and delicious moments with friends again some day.
8. Run: East River Park
My favorite run in Manhattan is hands-down the East River Park. Although it can be windy and is a little out of the way, there’s something so calming about being by the water, especially if you’re feeling a little stuffy in the mess of concrete. It’s a pretty short and bite-sized route, but can be extended down through the Brooklyn Bridge if you’re willing to dodge extreme tourists and extreme cyclists at the same time (me, when I was 18 that one time I ran from Manhattan to Brooklyn to see my boyfriend at the time. Wild!)
Written to the sound of:
- Road – Jerro Remix – Lane 8, Jerro, Arctic Lake
- Just – Lane 8
- La fête est finie – Weekend Affair
- Space Song – Beach House