Falling in Love with Central Park

I must confess: I’m in love with NYC.  My love grows even stronger in the fall.

I always tell Paul that if we accidentally fall into a goldmine, I want a place in NYC…I want the steps, the flowers on the stoop, and my favorite market down the street. Then Paul reminds me we’ve actually fallen face first in a money pit thanks to the precious gift of inheritance.  It is then, all at once, that I am suddenly jolted back to reality.  Not that a NYC pad was even close to feasible before I inherited my little house on the prairie…

But a girl can dream right?

Lucky for us, we live just a short train ride away from the big city lights.  I used to think being born a Jersey Girl was a sweet little blessing in disguise.  Now, I know for sure it was. The older I get the more I realize that having access to the beach, the city, and good pizza is truly something that should never be taken for granted.  Never.

My love for NYC starts with my husband.  If it wasn’t for him, I’m not sure I would have ever developed such strong feelings for a place that moves so quickly and produces so much noise.

My husband took me to NYC about two or three months into our relationship.  While I had been to the city before for various reasons, I’d never really experienced it.  We stayed at a beautiful hotel (Marcel Hotel) and spent the weekend eating amazing food at incredible restaurants.  For the first time I tasted steak nachos at El Rio Grande, a Mexican restaurant on 38th and 3rd and veal saltimbocca at Lupa, a Mario Batali restaurant in the village. While all of the food was delicious and the atmosphere amazing, it was the walks through Central Park that made me fall in love.  And trust me, after all that food, I needed a good walk.

Central Park is a true escape from the bustle of the city.  Its quiet and serene and makes an excellent setting for a romantic walk with the one you love.

This is what Central Park looked like this past Thursday…

My favorite stop in Central Park is the Boathouse.  Believe it or not, at one time, Paul and I dreamed of getting married here.  The location and scenery are magical. Since the place is more than pricey, we got over that dream quickly and settled for making it our perfect stop for a warm glass of aged grape juice on a cold day.

The Boathouse

After our morning walk through the park, we headed over to El Rio Grande for my favorite nachos.  I’m a huge advocate for a plant-based diet, but I throw that all out the window when I’m in NYC.  This restaurant really knows how to dress a chip and I’m always more than ready to indulge!

A photo by Michelle…

Next we headed over to the Flatiron District in search of an Italian market that I’ve been craving to see.  Eataly is an Italian masterpiece of fine Italian everything!  Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, and her son Joe Bastianich, have partnered together with Oscar Farinetti to make Eataly, e-mazing!  You can shop, eat, drink, and learn everything Italy without even boarding a plane.  While I do strongly suggest visiting Italy over Eataly, Mario and his friends have successfully brought Italian cuisine to NYC in one fun and tasty package.

Michelle took this photo too. That is why it is so blurry…

First we hit up Birrerria, a rooftop establishment with a retractable roof and a great view of the top of the Empire State building.  Even though I had just chowed down on some steak nachos, I couldn’t pass up the wide selection of salumi and cheese available for sampling.  Yes, it definitely was not a plant-based day.

After Birreria we headed back downstairs for me to look into purchasing an orange Mario Batali pepper mill.  I was sure it would serve a great purpose in my kitchen at home. Unfortunately, Mario wanted $70 for the large version of his autographed pepper grinder and I was not willing to spend that much when I already have a fully functional pepper grinder at home.  If he was willing to throw in an orange Croc or two to go with it, I might have considered…

Another super iPhone photo by Michelle…

Usually, Paul and I look forward to taking a mid afternoon nap once we’ve eaten a reasonable amount of food to land us in a food coma.  Since we weren’t staying overnight, we had to keep on trucking along and fight through as best we could.  We took this opportunity to play a few games of pool at Society Billiards.  I was a little worried when we first got there since it looked like a place for the serious pool player. Fortunately, it wasn’t very crowded on a Thursday afternoon and there weren’t many people around to witness my amazing stick technique.

For the past four and half years I’ve been losing to the same guy over and over again. I usually hang my head in shame and rack the balls again and again. But on this day, I finally beat the man.  I knew this day would finally come.  Now I hold my head high.

Believe it or not, after several games of pool, it was time for my victory dinner!  We headed back to Eataly to eat at La Pizza La Pasta.  It was a beautiful ending to a truly beautiful day.

During our walk back to Penn Station, we spotted this once in a full moon view of the Empire State Building.  Goodnight NYC!  Until next time…

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