Easter in NYC (long and possibly boring)
Mother Nature, after placing nasty tricks the week before, decided to be nice this weekend, so we went up to spend Sat night with our daughter and do a mini taste-tour. she lives in an apt in Stuyvesant town and it was out first visit there. despite the austere interiors, the company still does a nice job with the park-like setting. Parents and their littler ones have an area for soccer/building blocks/messing around and on Sunday, the Oval featured an Easter Bunny. Trees and bulbs were just coming into bloom and a stroll around the complex was a delight.
We arrived late morning on Saturday, so the first order of business was something to eat. Fortunately, David's bagels is located just across 1st Ave, so we went over there. A hole in the wall selling great bagels and bagel sandwiches. We joined the line of about 20 or so ( the "hangover crowd" as my daughter called it) to place our order.my daughter had an everything with butter, my wife a boiled ham sandwich and I had a Garlic bagel (toasted). Two coffees, two bottles of water and a lemonade (alas Snapple). $21. We were able to snag a table and watched the hangover crowd continue to stream in, but the line moved fast and the asian family(s?) that ran the place worked fast and efficiently. They also do bicycle deliveries. Well worth stopping into if you are nearby.
After finishing, it was a quick subway ride across town to visit the High Line, the remaining section of the 8th ave raised train line that was saved from destruction and turned into a mile-long elevated and nicely landscaped, most of the work done by volunteers. Although it was packed and slow moving, it was interesting. Some of the trees had come into bloom, although most of the plantings were still dormant. I much preferred out walk along the Hudson last year about the same time - it's longer, much,much less crowded, and more interestingly landscaped - the walk was interesting although they could do with more signage telling about the history and the various sculptures dotted along the way. A cab ride up to 84th and Madison took us thru Central Park and dropped us in front of the apt I lived in back in 1974. we walked back to the Met and took a leisurely stroll down the park to 59th. Many daffodils, many bikes, many families out enjoying the sunshine
Dinner that night was at the Red Egg. I suppose we should have gone for the afternoon Dim-Sum, but they still have a number of items in the evening as well as an extensive and interesting Chinese dinner menu. I had been told mixed things about the Red Egg, but we were very pleased with both the food and the service. When we arrived, the place was packed, mostly with Asians, and many waiting for their takeout order, usually a good sign. With a reservation we were promptly seated and ordered drinks - two of their classic Ginevere(Gin, lemon juice, mint bits) and a G&T. We decided to go for the famous Peking Duck sliders ($24 for 6), so we limited the other of our dim sum choices to 5. The duck was sliced at table side and was excellent on soft buns, although the guy could have been a bit more generous with the slices of duck and there seemed to be a lot leftover that must go back to the kitchen for other uses.
The vegetarian Spring rolls were perfect.light crisp and tasty. Two of us liked the beef balls (3rd: "too bland"). Nice Pork buns/dumplings with peanuts and, I think, Cilantro. The other pork buns were a bit disappointing, perhaps over steamed and gooey. The highlight was the Red Egg puff pastry....and almost croissant like crust filled with something sweet, a fruit perhaps. With a 2nd round of drinks, the tab was $120 before tip.
Our daughter wanted to take us to a place she liked to go for drinks, and since it was only about a block a way we trudged over to the Mondrian hotel. She warned us we might not be able to get in because of the way we were dressed, but they were very accommodating and frankly most of the crowd was equally attired. A wonderfully airy bar/food area, highlighted by a glass shelf suspended well above diners' heads displaying a vast array of crystal. Must have been a pain to dust, but lovely to look at. The very accomplished and friendly bartender quickly made us a gin "smash" to duplicate what we had had at the Red Egg (sweeter, but nicer). A glass of port and a glass of Malbec and the tab was $43. Although we ran an open tab, we decided one was enough.
Arising late the next morning, an Easter Brunch was in order. Knowing the clinton St. Bakery would likely be packed, we opted to search locally and ended up at a Belgian place right across from Stuyvesant town. Very light and airy with outside seating available, we opted for inside. alas, they were out of the small Belgian style pancakes simple to the Dutch ones, but they did have blueberry ones on special. Instead, I opted for the Gouda cheese croquettes and was glad I did. the other orders were a Croque Madame and a Roastbeef BLT, the latter served on some of their outstanding bread. They had also brought us a breadboard of 4 slices and butter gratis so we all got a taste.
A short cab ride up to 49th and Madison and a return to Fifth Ave for the Easter "parade". The only ones "strolling up the avenue" were the gawkers like us. Any folks in costume or elaborate hats were corralled for endless pictures and/or socializing. costumes ranged from Rabbit ear Deeley-Boppers to very elaborate outfits that must have taken quite some time constructing. Adults, children and lots of dogs ( mostly of the "small variety") were all nicely tuned out, and I got my fill of Nantucket Red pants ( not an Edgartown Red to be seen!) and brooks brothers blazers with Khaki shorts to fulfill my preppie side for another decade as we wove our way uptown, dodging the many ice cream cones held at knee level until about 56th St. where we veered off to 6th ave and then back down to Rockefeller Plaza and J. Crew. The female contingent needed to do some inside shopping so Dad found a seat in the sun on the plaza and people watched while having a cigarette ( something not allowed on the high Line nor in ALL of Central Park). There was also some form of craft/flea market going on.
Besides the visual displays.....both mobile and floral (Rockefeller Plaza had lovely yellow tulips in full bloom) the thing that struck me is that we may have been the only party of strollers who spoke English as their first language.
Leg weary (me), crowd weary (my wife) and most likely parent weary (my daughter) we decided it was time to head back to her apt and use facilities before heading home and beating the late afternoon traffic. We retrieved the car from its on-street space and headed across Houston to the Holland Tunnel. As we passed Katz's Deli a little before 2, we noticed the line to get in was halfway down the block.
Stopping at WAWA for a cple of dinner subs (one turkey, one cheesesteak) on the way home, we pulled in in plenty of time to enjoy the late afternoon sun and sunset. In bed by 9.