For our last full day in New York City, Koen and I wanted to visit a museum. We only had time this trip to fit one in, so after a lot of thought we decided on the American Museum of Natural History. Last year we visited AMNH and loved it. This time we also wanted to take in the special exhibitions – Dark Universe at the Hayden Planetarium, IMAX: The Great White Shark, and Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs. We started our day with breakfast at Gather in Park Slope before taking the train to the Upper Westside to AMNH. Luckily at the museum you’re allowed to exit and reenter. So we visited the Hayden Planetarium first for the Dark Universe show and then headed to Shake Shack for lunch. I did not want to leave NYC without visiting Shake Shack! After lunch we visited the last two exhibitions – the IMAX show and the Pterosaurs exhibit. We ended the day in Park Slope. First we had dinner at Beet II and finshed with wine at Brookvin. A great last day!
Koen and I were finally able to visit Ellis Island! We really wanted to go last year, but because of Hurricane Sandy, the museum was closed. Koen and I visited Ellis Island with Christina and her family, Ashley, and Meredith. This was a special visit because Christina’s father’s father and grandfather (so her grandfather and great-grandfather) entered the United States via Ellis Island and both of their names are commemorated on a plaque. Koen and I visited the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp recently, which is about leaving Europe for the United States, so we felt like we came full circle visiting Ellis Island and learning about entering the US.
I thought it was such a great idea when Christina told me that she wanted to make the bouquets and boutonnières herself for the wedding. I’ve never thought about buying flowers to arrange myself, so I was interested in visiting the Chelsea Flower Market to see what a wholesale flower market has to offer. The Market opens very early – at 5AM which is usually when professionals such as retailers and event planners stop by and closes at 11AM. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. When I think of a market, I think of the ones that take place during the weekend in Antwerp. At the markets I’m used to, vendors set up tables and kiosks outside in an open area and sell their product. But the Chelsea Flower Market is basically one street filled with flower shops that specialize in certain type of plants, aka roses, exotic, potted, orchids, etc. You can browse outside the shop or in their freezing interiors (if you visit be sure to bring a sweater!) in order to find the perfect pieces to make your arrangement. We spent over an hour visiting every shop to find Christina’s dream flowers 🙂
After the Chelsea Flower Market we headed over to Brooklyn to Prospect Park for the rehearsal. Christina and Rafael were married in the Japanese Garden of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Such a lovely spot! That evening we celebrated with a rehearsal dinner at Lil Frankie’s for a delicious Italian meal. I don’t have any photos from the rehearsal dinner but maybe I’ll find some later!
Day 13 was our last full day in NYC because we needed to head to the airport after lunch the next day. So we spent our last real day eating my favorite lunch again from the trip – Banh Mì from Saigon in Chinatown, and then heading back to Midtown to buy presents. I also wanted to visit the Ralph Lauren stores on Madison Avenue as well as his daughter’s candy store, Dylan’s Candy Bar. As a thank you to Christina for letting us stay with her so long, we spent our last evening seeing Mamma Mia on Broadway! The next morning we needed to pack and get our things together. For our last lunch we decided to go back to San Gennaro’s for steak and mozzarella sandwiches. Luckily we planned a lot of time between leaving Christina’s apartment and our flight. It turns out the exact time we wanted to head to the metro station was during the huge parade for San Gennaro! The crowds were gigantic and we were both with two suitcases trying to fight our way through. Then we had to talk to the police officers to try and convince them to let us cross through the parade because if we had would wait another hour it would be too late. So rather than taking 5 minutes to get to the metro station it took us 30 minutes – but we made it! At the airport we decided to have one last burger from the Shake Shack! Now we are both looking forward to going back to NYC in September!
Now that we had explored a lot of Manhattan, we decided on day 11 to meet up with some friends in Brooklyn. We met up with our friend Matt in Brooklyn to see another side of NYC. First we explored Williamsburg, walking around and stopping at the park to look at the view of Manhattan and the Williamsburg Bridge. Matt also took us to Five Leaves where I of course ordered a Brooklyn beer, because it was only fitting. For dinner we headed to Bushwick to meet Danny at Arepera Guacuco and I tried arepas for the first time! After dinner we met up with my friend Meredith for drinks in Bushwick.
By our 10th day in NYC, we had already seen quite a bit – so we slept in before enjoying lunch at the famous Katz’s Delicatessen, founded in 1888! Everyone knows the famous scene in Katz’s Deli from the movie When Harry Met Sally. There’s sign hanging in the restaurant if you’re interested in sitting in the same booth! After our HUGE lunch, we headed to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The collection at the Met is overwhelming. In general, it’s so amazing how much art is at your fingertips while you are in New York City. Koen and I will be back in NYC September 2014, and we’ll definitely head back to the Met! If you’re on a budget, admission for the museum is based on donations. So if $25 is too much, you can give what you can any day of the week. After our trip to the Met we met Christina when she got off from work for Mexican food.