Friday morning, we got up and walked down a block to a coffee shop called Gregory’s that had really strong cortados. Add that to the list of reasons why New York is awesome.
Here’s the Belasco! We’d be seeing it later.
Gregory’s was across the street from the Algonquin, so we made a note to go back there later.
We walked back over to Times Square, headed to the Subway. Bally stopped to see things there.
At the subway station, we all bought $30 passes that were good for unlimited rides for a week. (The lesser option was only good for 12 rides, and we knew we’d use them much more than that.) I was impressed that New York’s subway passes were cheaper than Chicago’s.
We rode over to Brooklyn, and got off the train to find this amazing building. It has text painted all over it. I love it.
Also, this was everyone’s first visit to Brooklyn! I’d only ever visited Manhattan before.
We walked a half-mile or so to a deli Matt had read about. Everyone wanted to do the pastrami-sammich thing in New York, and the Mile End Deli came highly recommended. It was a tiny place, so we had to wait a short while for a table. Matt and I walked over to a really cute garden store next door, where I wanted to buy everything. (Unfortunately, it was all oversized for a carry-on, and/or breakable.)
We got a table, and ordered brunch/lunch and beer. They all got smoked meat poutine as an appetizer, and I had a pickled slaw. Matt got a pastrami sandwich, and I had a falafel that was big enough to be two meals. Before we left, I went to the bathroom and found it lined in Montreal Canadiens photos. I’m not entire sure what the Quebec connection is, but it was funny (and meant they had great smoked meat, I hear.)
We walked back to the train and continued on to the end of the line at Coney Island.
I’ve obviously never been to Coney Island before, but I was really excited to see it. Having been in Atlantic City, I was expecting something on that order, pretty trashy and amusing. Coney Island seemed way more awesome, though, and legitimately entertaining. Plus it was a really nice day, and not at all crowded there.
I kind of wanted to go on the Wonder Wheel. Next time!
The boardwalk is in surprisingly good shape compared to AC. I kind of like how it’s at beach level, and the sand blows up onto it.
Why haven’t they reopened the Parachute Jumper? I’d go on it.
We went down to the water, because Amelia had never been in the ocean before. It’s too bad the water was so cold, but it’s a really nice beach regardless. Bally agrees.
These guys were hungry. They think they’re in charge.
We sat on the beach for a while, then decided to head back up the boardwalk. I still can’t believe it was so quiet there!
We tried to find a table at the one boardwalk restaurant so we could have a margarita, but it was full. Some of the group got America: The Ice Cream instead.
From there, we went up a block to the original Nathan’s. It has a countdown to the next hot dog eating contest, and a wall of fame. (I gag every time I have to see the hot dog eating contest.) Matt and I checked out some awesome shops along the way, and then the group had to pick up a few hot dogs to try out, even though none of us was really that hungry. Wendy and Matt discovered that Nathan’s orange drink is basically a vat of Tang.
Amelia, Jumi, and Wendy wanted to go to the Coney Island freak show, and I wasn’t super-interested in it since we’d seen the one at Venice Beach. Conveniently, the museum building that houses the freak show has a bar with a great beer selection. Matt and I sat down there to wait while they went into the show.
The freak show went on a lot longer than we expected, especially since the Venice one is maybe 20 minutes long. We had three beers while we waited, and I began to wonder if our friends had been murdered. Especially when the performers who were in the freak show started coming up to hang out at the bar.
(Coney Island USA is awesome, we learned. They have performances almost every night, things like movies on the beach and burlesque shows. Really great.)
Finally, they appeared from somewhere inside the depths of the building. Apparently the show runs on a loop, so they saw the last half and then waited through intermission to catch the first part. They grabbed a drink, too, and we heard all about the show. We also paid a dollar to see a chupacabra skeleton in a dark room, because why not?
Then it was time for food. We debated riding back into Manhattan, and then decided we were too hungry. I looked up what was good nearby, and found a listing for Totonno’s Pizza, which was rated one of the top ten pizzas in New York. It was only about a half-mile away, so that was our decision.
We walked in and were greeted by the Most Awesomely Italian Lady of all time, who was apparently one of the owners. We got a booth, and ordered drinks from the cooler. Then we ordered pizzas (we weren’t THAT hungry, so we got two mediums), and then the owner came rushing up to us holding a bottle of Prosecco. They were celebrating their 90th anniversary, and she pointed out the photo of grandpa Totonno on the wall, announcing that he was the one who introduced pizza to America.
Matt popped open the bottle, and we all had a toast with her. Our pizzas arrived shortly afterward, and they were enormous. Suddenly we were a lot hungrier, and dove into the pizzas. They were spectacular.
On the way out, the owner thanked us for coming, and walked us out. Then she yelled, “I forgot the cookies!” and ran back inside to make us a plate of cookies to go. We all wanted to hug her. We got a huge group photo with her and her husband outside the restaurant, and then headed back in the direction of the train.
We hopped off near the Battery, and walked over to see the 9/11 Memorial and One World Trade Center. A lot of the area is still under construction, but we found our way there eventually.
We agreed that the memorial was appropriately somber. It’s hard to get a sense of the scale.
We said goodbye to Wendy and Amelia, who were heading back toward our hotel for the night, or possibly meeting us for dinner should the opportunity present itself. Matt and Jumi and I headed down toward the Battery to find an awesome cocktail bar. On the way, we had a good laugh over the Bitcoin center, and the man running to get in as they were locking the doors. BITCOIN EMERGENCY!
We found Dead Rabbit on a historic block very near the Staten Island Ferry building. It was close to 9pm and there was a crowd near the door. I asked about the cocktail bar upstairs, and the doorman said it’d be about a 45 minute wait. Since they had a pub downstairs (which also had a good cocktail menu), we decided to hang out and wait.
Somehow we managed to find the only open spots in the bar, at a table right against the front window. Matt’s doppelganger’s picture was hanging on the wall above us.
We ordered a round and hung out talking, taking turns fighting out way through the crowds to get to the restroom. Our buzzer went off after only about half an hour, so we closed the tab and headed upstairs.
The place was worth waiting even longer for. It was a small room with couches around the outside and little tables. They had as many people in there as possible, but it didn’t really feel crowded. The cocktail menu was an entire book, and our server instructed us to review the story, choose the phase of the main character’s life that we felt best fit our mood that night, and choose from that section of the menu. There was a lot to choose from.
As expected, the drinks were amazing. We ordered some snacks, including a cheese plate that had a cheese so strong even I couldn’t handle it (that has never happened to me before!). We decided it tasted like dead bodies. (Don’t worry, everything else was excellent.) Also, there was an old guy at a piano playing ragtime. I’m pretty sure Matt wanted to live there.
We decided to head out about 11:30, before we had to take out a loan to pay our tab. We walked down to the subway station by the Staten Island Ferry building. I love this neon!
It was a good thing we’d left when we did, because one of the trains we tried to catch had just stopped running for the night. Conveniently, there was another option waiting to leave, so we jumped on that instead. None of us had really bothered researching how late the trains ran, so I guess we were lucky.
We rode back, slogged our way through Times Square, and decided to stop into The Long Room to get something else to eat. Our experience was much better this time, with an attentive server and surprisingly good food. After a couple drinks there, it was 1am and time for bed.