I really don’t know where to begin. Such is the challenge that one faces when daring to go forth to create her own adventure, and as many would attest to, there’s no better city in which to fulfill the desire to get lost, find herself, and fashion a modified life, than New York City. Well, Paris could rival that, but since I’m terribly rusty with my French and because I’m lucky to have a place to live here and because the Vamoose Bus (yes, my new favorite way to get back and forth – run by Hasidic Jews, super clean, fast, inexpensive, and drops me in Rosslyn) is about 1/1000th of the price of a plane ticket to France, well. One must make an executive decision based on realism.
But the possibilities are endless in Manhattan. I’m so in love with the city (apologies for not getting out yet to the outer Burroughs) and feel like my experience so far has been non-stop, frenetic, sometimes overwhelming because there is as everyone says: JUST SO MUCH! (and expensive – damn taxes- the only things cheaper here than in DC are mani pedis and massages – like in Chinatown)
I’m also viewing my first leg of the month in New York as quite different than this second leg. In between, I went to my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary which the family held in a chalet at Wisp Mountain Resort, MD. The early to mid part of June we were blessed with perfect spring-like days and nights alternating with psychotic storms-that just resembled a crazy annoying ex who keeps popping up in your life. I spent as much time as I could trotting through the streets in my Floggs, which while fun and fashionable, are quite comfortable what with their plush cushioned soles. Into galleries and bars, restaurants and boutiques, I would wander, wistfully wishing I could call this home, and that I had amassed unlimited funds, a grand fortune to spend.
However, since returning and summer solstice has joined us, it’s been unbearably hot and humid. It’s like the city has become one steaming blanket and every time you try to catch your breath, you choke. You sweat just standing outdoors, you don’t even have to move. Yes, I know, there’s a heat wave all over the country, it’s just this city is sweltering and with millions of humans (and dogs) trying to suck in the common air, it becomes suffocating.
But, all that won’t take away my joy. I’m tracking where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. Some of my favorite hunting grounds were and still are and probably always will be, are Tribeca (“where rich people go and have kids”), Soho, the Village, Nolita, even the Financial District is interesting. And Madison Ave mid town is well, a credit card’s dream. I’ve spent time in Union Square, the Lower East Side (LES) and Battery Park. Friends have taken me out to great spots like Pravda (cool underground speakeasy with amazing vodka and food), Tiny’s (it’s tiny, but great interesting dishes), Pianos (awesome burgers-but it’s very loud), B Flat (live jazz, good late night), Beauty & Essex (I was toast, so cannot comment), Locanda Verde (love love LOVE, so hard to get a ressie – unless early or late bird – get the ricotta cheese dip), Sant Ambroeus (SJP dines there and everyone looks like a European model), Koi (incredible food, the worst service), the Mercer Hotel (hip vibe, lounge/bar is good for catching up and lite bites), Boqueria (there’s one in DC as well, not a huge fan-always feel greasy later), Ward III (perfect for late night, creative cocktail menu, friendly staff), Brandy Library Lounge (different atmosphere, a bit stuffy, cool space though, the drink menu is like a tome), and Anfora (loved this spot in West Village, awesome service, good layout).
I’ve wandered into venues randomly like Tribeca Grill (like Locanda Verde, one of De Niro’s spots, you can see some of his artwork, lovely service and excellent food), Smith & Mills (intriguing cocktails, simple menu, in an old carriage house, has a lot of authentic decor), Sarabeth’s (the best for brunch, but it’s always crowded with families and strollers), Roc Restaurant (very small Italian, the bartender is great), Caliente Cab Co (nothing to write home about), Madison Bistro (seemed to be popular with large groups) and have taken to becoming a “regular” at the downtown Cipriani bar (the bartender Charles who has been there FOREVER takes great care of me-the pasta while expensive- is incredible-my favorite was the artichoke dish). Even sat next to Usher the other night (my first celebrity spotting since arriving on the island). I found the most adorable games and toys for my niece and nephew at Torly Kid.
I’ve followed through on strong referrals to dine at Mulberry & Vine (as organic and healthy as you can get), Rubirosa (spot on service and delish pizza, kinda divey), and I sipped champagne at The Carlyle bar (where septuagenarian bought me drink and asked me to dinner – no I did not go-and I felt like I was in The Shining for some reason), I got a pedicure at tenoverten (not your typical day spa, you must make an appointment and expect to be wowed), and indulged in a massage by Complete Body & Spa (in the building). I was spoiled rotten with a facial at Mario Badescu (another SJP secret spot, it’s the skincare place for the stars, I saw a plethora of autographed photos on the clinic’s walls) and purchased some products to help save my polluted tired face. So much done, however, THE LIST of what I need to do before I leave seems to have no end in sight.
And as I’ve met many new friends and conversed at length ex-Pats, I’ve learned that a regular conversation topic is no doubt about REAL ESTATE. You can talk for hours about this subject. Neighborhoods, former apartments, nightmare stories, moving, transitioning, neighbors, buildings, amenities, you name it. We can go on and on.
I’ve also come to realize that New Yorkers are quite friendly, accommodating, helpful and affable. The bus loads of sweaty tourists who stop in the center of the sidewalk or take up the entire width of the walkway, well, they are just annoying, but any city has them.
Luckily, there’s still several days until it’s time to return home and there’s more ventures to undertake. Again, you can follow on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for the hourly posts.
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a platform for profiling people who "make it happen" in the Capital region, reviews & topical blog posts. She launched Punch Enterprises, a connector consulting business in 2015 and Pacific Punch based in LA, in 2012. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, VA. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.