I always have such grand plans when I’m mapping out a day in NYC…and this trip was no different…but the reality was less ambitious than planned, but still OH SO FUN! I arrived in the wee hours of the morning after a red-eye flight, which I prefer and usually sleep on, but for some reason I only slept a couples of hours this time. So instead of hitting the ground running, I decided I should start the day with a quick hour nap at A&K’s apartment before my adventure to Roosevelt Island and day in Manhattan.
You gotta love the, most times, very efficient public transportation in NYC. The “F” train starts in Coney Island, has a conveniently located stop around the corner from A&K’s apartment, makes a “U” from Carroll Gardens westward to Manhattan, up the East side and then takes a turn back west, stopping after about 1/2 hour at Roosevelt Island, before finishing it’s run in Jamaica, Queens. A ride on the subway is always a lesson in social behavior….whether it be the interaction between people, just basic people watching, or the use of headphones and cell-phones that allows one to retreat into their own world. I just love observing it all.
So, why Roosevelt Island, you ask? I don’t know…it’s just one of those places that I’ve seen numerous times on previous trips as I’ve come over the East River on my arrival into Manhattan and was always curious. Do people live there, is it a big park, are there restaurants? Well, yes, yes and yes. Mostly, Roosevelt Island is a residential enclave in the middle of the East River, although part of the borough of Manhattan, it is owned/operated by the state of New York. It is home to about 11,500 people, has a few restaurants, a couple of hospitals and a cool lighthouse at one end. So, this would be the NY trip where I put my curiosity to rest…and, of course I had to see that lighthouse! I exited the architecturally cool subway station and headed north on the pedestrian river walk. The weather was gorgeous for the one and a half mile walk along the waterfront looking towards Manhattan’s upper east side in my quest to see yet another lighthouse.
Blackwell Island lighthouse (named after the family that owned the island for awhile) is not an official Coast Guard lighthouse, but was built in 1872 to light the northern tip of the island for boats navigating the East River, as well as the nearby insane asylum. It is Gothic in style, looking almost cobblestone-like and, interesting side note, designed by James Renwick, the same architect that designed St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Ave across from Rockefeller Center.
The island itself would be a nice place to take picnic and hang out for lunch…maybe on one of the many hammocks scattered about… or catch one of their outdoor movies in the summer. Maybe next time I’ll try to catch a football game at the Riverwalk Bar and Grill Restaurant? I didn’t get down to the south end of the island, where there is a statue of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the ruins of a smallpox hospital, South Pointe Park & FDR Four Freedoms Park, but I’m sure it’s a beautiful extension of the river walk and a nice stroll. You can also take a yoga class on the lawn!
It was time to take the tram back over to Manhattan and I’m a little scared of heights, but no time like the present to face your fears! It’s a cool view as you fly over the water for the 5 minute tram ride. Got to the other side in one piece and booked it over to the subway to meet my childhood friend, Kelley, for lunch at Trattoria Trecolori. It was packed and we got the last table for two. I’d recommend it for a meal or quick bite before or after the theater. We did some catching up and then headed over to see the Broadway musical, Shuffle Along.
It was a non-stop tap dancing spectacular and why wouldn’t it be with a choreographer like Savion Glover and a great cast including Brian Stokes Mitchell, a Broadway veteran. I saw it without their star, Audra McDonald, and her understudy was great! I didn’t miss Audra at all…but, unfortunately, due to McDonald’s pregnancy, the producers decided to cancel the show and it will close on July 24th (they made the announcement the day after we saw the show). So stupid! She is not the only one who makes this show fun and great. I think it’s a bad call…but I don’t have money invested, so they’re not listening to my opinion. I also ran into an old friend of my mom’s while I was at the show…small world!
Next we started to walk across town to check out a roof top bar that Kelley had been to, but they were closed for a private event…but, we stumbled upon a Latin dance party at Bryant Park fountain, so being that we were both fans of Zumba, we joined in! It was a fun little detour in our day! We continued on to cocktail hour at my daughter-in-law’s desk at Conde Nast Publications, with a view of the World Trade Center….pretty impressive & a cool place to work!
Kelley left us to head back to her home in Connecticut and we walked over to Pier 25 for our 8:45 reservation at a new-ish place on the Hudson called Grand Banks.
It’s a floating, stationary boat docked at Hudson River Park and we arrived just in time for sunset! It was a bustling scene with a line down the pier for those without reservations, but we walked right on and waited in the bar area until our table was ready.
The kids started with some oysters….I’m not a fan…and then we enjoyed lobster roll with New Bay spiced potato chips from their small plates menu, which was just the right size at that late hour (although being on California time, it felt like 6pm, perfect!) I loved the addition of cucumber on the lobster roll too!
Back to the subway where it wasn’t as “on time and efficient” so we Ubered it back to Caroll Gardens and fell into a deep sleep. Didn’t get to everything I had originally mapped out for the day, but is was a fun-filled, exhausting day one!
You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!