Sunny Springtime in NYC

I slept quite well that night, and managed to avoid any jet lag at all. Justine slept in a bit, and we wanted to have a bit of a relaxing day with the race ahead of us. I had booked us dinner at Spice Market, our favorite New York restaurant in the Meatpacking District, and we were meeting up with one of Justine’s friends for drinks beforehand. That left us with most of a beautiful, sunny day to explore.

A view of the new World Trade Center

Justine’s great grandparents (?) immigrated to the US in the late 1800s, and entered the US through Elsmere Island. She had the details and wanted to look them up if we could. So after getting organized, we hopped on the subway and made our way to the tip of Manhattan to see about a tour to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. On a Friday in March we were hoping that the lines wouldn’t be bad, but the ticket line was wrapped all the way around the outside of the building. As much as we wanted to get over there, we didn’t feel like wasting our day standing in lines.

So we skipped that, and instead headed up to the new World Trade Center. I thought it might be nice to go up to the observation deck, given how beautiful the day was. Before heading in, we wandered around the memorial to 9/11 and the original World Trade Center towers. It’s a pretty spectacular site, and well worth visiting. When we went into the ticket office for the observation deck, we discovered that the cost to go up was $32 per person. That seemed a bit steep, so we chose not to go up. Maybe that was a mistake, but $32 to ride an elevator seemed excessive.

"The Dove", as this building is being called, is overtop of a subway station, open public space and new retail space. It's been controversial for the amount of money that's being pumped into it.

One of the two memorials to 9/11 and the original World Trade Centers.

A bit of everything - an old graveyard from the 1700/1800s; the Dove and the new WOrld Trade Center

After that short stop, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner at Spice Market. Once again, the great location of our hotel made life easy. It was only 4 stops on one line up to 14th Street, and a quick walk into the Meatpacking District. We were meeting Justine’s friend John at the Brass Monkey (http://brassmonkeynyc.com/about/), a bar in the area we had missed out on! What a great spot – 3 levels including a rooftop patio that it was a little too cold for. John is a transplanted Australian, living in New York City and worked with Justine a few years back. He’s a good guy, and we had a fun couple of hours hearing about living in New York. Far too soon (and a few too many beers later), it was time for us to head for our dinner reservation.

As anyone that’s read this blog will know, Spice Market is one of our all-time favorite restaurants, and we make a point of having dinner here any time we’re in New York. This trip was no different, and we started with ginger margaritas, and continued on to have another amazing meal. We tried a few new things this time, including this amazing beef dish that I’d have again in a heartbeat. Given that we had a race in a little more than a day, we made it an early night and headed back to the hotel after dinner.

FDNY Ladder Eight, under construction

Saturday was a pretty low-key day. We wanted to keep our legs fresh for the race the next day, so we didn’t have a lot planned. We had to buy a few things for the race, and get our gear ready. And since we were in the middle of March Madness, I got to watch a lot of basketball.

As it turned out, our hotel was literally around the corner from the firehouse that was used in the Ghostbusters movies – FDNY Ladder Eight. Sadly, it’s under renovation so we couldn’t really see it, but there was some cool art on the sidewalk out front to commemorate the location. You’ll see it again in the new version of the movie that’s coming out this summer.

 

Justine photobombing me...

 FDNY Ladder Eight

FDNY Ladder Eight

After looking around, we stopped into a local bar for some lunch, and to watch basketball. After that, it was relaxing in the room (and more basketball) for a pretty chill day. Eventually we needed to head out and get some dinner. So we walked back through SoHo, and into Little Italy. Seeing as we need to carb load, it made sense to search out an Italian restaurant and get some pasta. We found an OK place – a little too touristy, but such is life – and had a good meal. After dinner we walked for a while, and found some interesting street art around the area. Seeing as we had a very early start for the race, we called it an early night. Big day Sunday!