Let’s start with a story of how nearly 20 weeks pregnant, full of energy but devoid of common sense I’ve decided a winter baby moon in New York would be appropriate.
We landed at JFK the day before Thanksgiving and the weather looked relatively mild from the comfort of our taxi. Fast forward to next morning’s -7 degrees, we had a first (sour) taste of NY’s subway in our full Iceland attire.
We were going to watch the parade and having read how busy it gets, we left quite early to get there before it kicks off. Our hotel was in Brooklyn and coming out of the underground in the middle of Manhattan was amongst the biggest shocks of my travelling life. I looked up and I was surrounded by concrete, just like in the movies and the songs, and it felt so much like a deja vu that it did bring tears to my eyes. You don’t know me, but I can tell you I’m the opposite of a cryer, so maybe you’ll understand the impact.
The parade started so we watched a bit – I really didn’t feel too comfortable being among so many people (never once did I feel unsafe though). The plan was to walk around so we can keep warm and catch glimpses of the parade; somehow the thought of sharing body heat with strangers did not feel appealing at the time.
Manhattan did take its toll on me that day. We’d just grabbed a coffee from Epicerie Bouloud and were heading to see more of the parade when, too busy looking up, my foot caught the corner of a fence they used to close off a side street. In that moment I knew I was going down no matter what, and my thoughts were veering from how to save a couple of sips from the overpriced coffee to how not to land on my pregnant belly. I ended up twisting my body and landing my shoulder on the kerb and I’m hoping I never get to hear the bones in my body crack right into my ear ever again. I know exactly how this happened because I must have had an out of body experience that allowed me to see this scene in slow motion. No, the coffee did not survive.
Let’s take a break here and discuss Epicerie Bouloud.
Of course, the dream is one day we’ll make it to famous Cafe Bouloud but as we didn’t want to spend all our savings on a meal out, we thought coffee and cake would do (they didn’t). The place was overcrowded and people were erratic, I had the most panic attacks in the shortest amount of time ever.
To my European mind the queuing system made no sense – I waited in line for our too small and too expensive hot dogs (hey guys, they were the crispy onion on top fancy) on one side, then waited to pay to the next person along. Husband was in a different line at the other end of the epicerie ordering coffee and again, paying for said coffee somewhere differently.
Cafe shambles aside, the food was an instant regret. The hot dog was small and it couldn’t even count as the breakfast we’d skipped. We ate outside in the cold because during the 45 minutes that we spent fiddling around the different queues, no table had freed up. I can’t remember much about the coffee apart from how expensive it was and how I didn’t cry when I spilled it.
We spent the evening at the Empire State Building where, much to my horror, I realised that not only my shoulder broke in the fall but also my camera (spoiler alert: i fixed it). Because of the considerable pain I was in, total time it took us to get inside, cold weather plus time of day, this was the letdown of the trip. The Empire State Building is really special to look at, but you can’t do that if you’re inside can you? The view from the top was subpar especially when compared to the other buildings in NY, so I’d recommend spending the money on some street pretzels and a chai latte instead (I know a place, stay with me).
But I had more planned for what was starting to feel like the longest day ever. I had had a table booked for Thanksgiving dinner for a couple of months and boy, was I hungry. But about that, some other post.