Every few months, I start itching for a change of scenery. New York City never fails to intrigue me, as I believe it’s America’s greatest metropolis. Living in relatively close distance to this cosmopolitan hub, I feel obligated to take advantage of everything it has to offer as often as I get the chance.
For the second year in a row, I decided to spend the couple of days surrounding my birthday in lower Manhattan. With no real agenda in mind, I devised a short list of places I wanted to hit but stayed open-minded to whatever life threw my way during my short time there.
Here’s a recap of what went down during a (60-degrees-and-sunny) February weekend in New York.
Friday: February 17
After a long bus ride and weeks of anticipation, I was ready to booze. My gal pal Lara and I made moves to watering hole that is East Village in an attempt to mingle with some interesting humans. Frankly, the night couldn’t have been more uneventful, but at least I got this dope picture.
Saturday: February 18 (the day of my birth)
With the sun shining and the morning hangover-free, I was ready to take on the day. We were staying in SoHo and had the pleasure of walking through one of Manhattan’s most chic neighborhoods on our way to the Lower East Side. In addition to the superb window shopping, we were stimulated by some alluring street art.
Our first stop was the Lowline, a prototype of an underground park that the city is planning to start construction on as early as 2018. Currently, the masterminds behind this project are harvesting sunlight to grow plants in an abandoned marketplace in LES.
For a suggested $10 donation, I quite literally frolicked amongst the flowers (roughly 3,000 varieties of them) in the middle of downtown Manhattan. Besides the insane engineering work that made this garden possible, I was awestruck by its variety of “air plants” that were growing without any soil (science, man.)
After feeling rejuvenated from all of fresh air we soaked in at Lowline, we spontaneously made our way to an exhibition at the Danziger Gallery. My friend Nadia had pointed out a sign advertising an Andy Warhol exhibit and suggested that we check it out.
This boutique gallery focuses on photography, but features other mediums as well. The aptly-named exhibit was a celebration of Warhol’s fascination with female lips. These silkscreened lips are a compilation of the sensual body part from the various subjects of his portraits during the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Next stop was shopping. Whilst milling around on Broadway, Nadia got an impromptu invite from a friend of hers who’s living in the city to meet at a rooftop bar in the Lower East Side (seeing a pattern here?).
Mr. Purple is a buzzy Millennial hangout located on the roof of the Hotel Indigo. Wanting to bypass the hour-long wait, Nadia used her charm to sweet-talk the bouncer, while Lara and I used our wits to enter through the hotel’s main entrance instead of the rooftop-only entrance (power moves only, people).
While I can’t say that drinking overpriced bulk-brand prosecco amongst frat-boy burnouts is my favorite pastime, I still had an awesome afternoon. There was something intoxicating about soaking up the sunshine on a rooftop in February. Not to mention, Nadia’s friends Kaleigh and Ray were the coolest, proving that great company trumps setting every time.
Our nighttime plans got unexpectedly botched (read more about that at LarasVeryOwn), but we made the best of it and partied elsewhere. While NYC nightlife definitely has its downsides, I will forever be grateful for DJ’s who exclusively spin hip-hop (take notes, Boston). There’s nothing like a some “old” Kanye to get my mood up.
Sunday: February 19
“Brunch” is more of a verb than a noun in New York. I chose Boqueria on a whim as the place to nourish ourselves after a night of drinking. I had a few hours to kill before my bus ride home, during which time I took a meditative stroll through Tribeca and Greenwich Village.
Big-city energy is indescribable; Quaint, mid-sized cities, beachside towns, and the good ol’ ‘burbs all have their appeal, but when you’re dropped in the middle of an urban jungle like New York, you can’t help but feel different.
People-watching serves as a source of inspiration and contemplation for me, and there’s no better place to do it than in the Big Apple. In addition to the myriad activities one can do here, there’s an infinite amount of intangibles to absorb, ponder, and learn. A week later, I’m already looking forward to my return.