Adventures in NYC, Part I

You may be wondering to yourself, where was the Crunchy Baker last week, and why were the posts so short? Well, friends, we were visiting New York City! And yes, I’ll be recounting some of those adventures right here.

I’ll start this entry off by saying that this was my third visit to New York City, but the first time that I actually got to decide the schedule, for the most part. The first time was with my dad and brothers when I was a moody teenager, and I remember being mesmerized by seeing so many of the buildings and sites from movies and TV in person, like the Statue of Liberty from a ferry (that I miraculously did not get sick on), the daylight brightness of Times Square at 3 in the morning, and the awe of seeing Phantom of the Opera on actual Broadway. I will also never forget the chicken wings that were whole chicken wings, and that we ordered two dozen of them and couldn’t finish between the four of us. New York City does it big, y’all.

The second trip was when I was a college sophomore, and the itinerary was largely decided for us – we were visiting various schools and districts for Teaching Fellows, which was pretty cool in its own right, and understandable, given that it was all-expenses paid for that purpose, save any extra money we wanted to spend on souvenirs and more expensive dinners. I had a little more freedom on that trip, bopping around town with Fellows from other schools as an adult, and doing silly things like bartering for purses in Chinatown and eating a fancy meal in Little Italy (and a not-so-fancy-but-overpriced meal at Hard Rock Cafe. Never again).

But for this trip, I had complete freedom every day to decide what to do while husband attended a journalism workshop during the day. Those of you that know me know that I’m a Planner with a capital P; I’m so Type A it hurts, and you’d better believe I had an itinerary planned at least a week before we even set foot out of our own house to the airport. I didn’t plan every single minute, however, since that has stressed me out on trips in the past. Rather, I planned one or two big things, like visiting a museum or shopping at a particular store, every day, and left room for exploration in the particular part of town I happened to be in for the big thing.

Now, at this point, you may be wondering to yourself, why is she writing about this trip in a blog about recipes and sustainability? Firstly, because I can do whatever I want – it’s my blog and website, and I write what I like. Secondly, there is a lot to be said for travel and sustainability: I made observations regarding sustainability efforts in NYC, and I was more conscious on this trip than I have been on past trips about my own choices, be they about food, travel, or the activities I chose to partake in. Thirdly, food: I ate a lot, and I ate well. Did I take a million pictures of what I ate? No – phones are gross (did you sanitize your phone after using it in the bathroom? I’ll bet most of you didn’t), my camera on my phone is terrible, especially in dim restaurant lighting, and I like eating more than I like taking pictures. But, boy howdy, can I describe food. It’s what I do here every day, right?

Without further ado, the trip:

Sunday

Our flight, thankfully, was mid-afternoon, so no early morning wake-up call for us, and there was time to finish last-minute packing before leaving for the airport. Are airplanes and air travel great for the environment? Hell no – while they may, per person, emit fewer carbon emissions than car travel, they still emit a lot of gas pretty directly into the atmosphere, and we, as humans, would not be traveling to the places planes take us if they didn’t exist. I’d much rather use high-speed rail, but we’re not about that here in the States (and I won’t go on my why-don’t-we-have-more-trains rant today). But that being said, we (husband and I) severely limit our air travel, and find alternatives for trips and activities closer to home when we can. This trip was an opportunity that did not exist here in Asheville, and we certainly weren’t driving, so air travel it was!

Uneventful airport and plane travel aside (other than the goofball sitting behind me on the plane asking which boat in the harbor was the “prison boat” from the Dark Knight), we arrived in the late evening, fought to get ourselves a Lyft that would actually find us in the organized chaos of airport pickup in the city (seriously, that line was nuts, and our first driver dropped us when he couldn’t find us blatantly standing there), and rode in the last car we would for the rest of the week to the hotel.

Having not eaten since about 1:30 that afternoon, we were pretty danged hungry by 8:30 that night. And while Asheville is a food mecca in its own right, we still don’t have Chinese food beyond cheap takeout and Asian fusion buffets, so we wanted some actual Chinese food beyond these parameters. We found a fairly highly-rated hole-in-the-wall noodle and dumpling shop walking distance from the hotel (I can’t even remember the name of it) and devoured some big ass bowls of noodles. I went with a pork, cucumber, and bean sprout bowl with a mild brown sauce, while husband went with more of a tomato-based clear soup (he could tell you better than I could what he ate – I was way too engrossed in my own bowl at the time), and we shared some shatteringly-crisp and steaming hot vegetable spring rolls. It was cheap, and it was friggin’ delicious.

Times Square
Throngs.

Before retiring for the day, I made husband walk to see Times Square in all its glory at night: the costumed characters dancing and taking photos for tips, the throngs of Sunday night tourists (yes, still throngs, although not as many as there would be the following Friday and Saturday nights) taking selfies on the steps near the brightest marquees, the buildings that make you crane your neck all the way back to see the tops of, and even the bits of confetti in the gutters left over from the previous week’s New Years Eve celebrations, which we were watching on TV (whoaaaa).

I’ll likely intersperse the normal recipes and everyday life back here on the homestead, but stay tuned for the rest of the NYC adventures. Until then, happy eating and homesteading!

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