24 Hours in NYC, and a visit to Roosevelt Island

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Last month I made a quick last minute trip to the East Coast. I flew into New York City and stayed with my sister before we met up with our family in Connecticut. From Connecticut, I went home to Kennebunkport with my parents for the weekend. I got to spend time with my entire family, and I was reminded of how beautiful fall is on the East Coast. I think I made the most of my 24 hours in NYC. I strolled through Central Park with my sister’s adorable dog Milo, went to Roosevelt Island for the first time, and tried a few restaurants. Here’s how it all went down:

When I lived in New York City I survived off of bagels and I couldn’t resist starting by day by getting a proper New York bagel, and my sister lives near The Bagel Mill on 88th and 1st. I like that they offer a wide variety of cream cheese flavors, and the guy who mans the bagel station is seriously the happiest man in New York. He is a delight, and he is the reason I am loyal to The Bagel Mill. Go there and you will see what I mean. I also love their vegetable cream cheese.

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Then Milo and I took a walk through Central Park. He was excited to have an extra long walk. He refused to play with any other dogs because he thinks he is a human, this greatly disappointed a friendly Golden Retriever.

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The fall foliage at Central Park was just starting to change colors and we walked over 3 miles, which was a lot for the little guy.

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We stopped for a rest on a bench and Milo sat on my lap people watching (and I sent a selfie to my sister who wanted to know what we were up to). When he jumped onto the ground and looked up at me, he flipped out and began barking. I think he forgot that he was with me and not my sister.

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After I dropped Milo off at home, I headed to Roosevelt Island. Even though I lived in NYC for two years, and have visited several times since then, I had never been to Roosevelt Island.

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The main reason I wanted to go was because the tram ride over is so scenic. I enjoyed getting a bird’s eye view of Eastern Manhattan. Roosevelt Island itself is small and very walkable.

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Roosevelt Island is about 2 miles long and 800 feet wide, and the tram is located at 59th and 2nd. The tram comes every 10 minutes or so, and you just need a subway card to ride it.

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Roosevelt Island’s most notable site is a lighthouse. I spent about an hour walking around before taking the free bus back to the tram station.

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Next, I went to Soho for lunch because I had heard so much about the restaurant called Jack’s Wife Freda. There are two locations, and the one on Lafayette Street is tiny, but since it was 3pm I had no trouble getting a table.

Jack’s Wife Freda specializes in healthy meals that they describe as “South African Israeli Jewish Grandmother Cuisine”. Owned by husband and wife team Dean and Maya, the restaurant is named for Dean’s grandparents Jack and Freda who lived in Johannesburg. It’s the type of place my girl friends would love, but that my husband might not appreciate. It has the atmosphere of a French bistro, and a menu fitting for Santa Monica with items like Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast, a Vegetable Curry Bowl, Mustard Seed Crusted Tofu, and Roasted Cauliflower.

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I ordered the Breakfast Bowl which had shredded kale, quinoa, spaghetti squash, avocado, two poached eggs, grilled tomato, and hot sauce. It was a meal I felt good about eating, even if I did think it might have benefited from a touch of cheese. The egg yolk and hot sauce combined to create a sauce which dressed the quinoa and vegetables.

That evening I met a friend for dinner at Haldi, an Indian restaurant in Kips Bay. I didn’t lug my camera with me, but the meal was delicious and the menu is very vegetarian-friendly. I loved the Paneer Makhni and the Chicken Tikka Masala.

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After dinner, I went to a small Irish pub near Astor Place called The Scratcher. It’s the type of place you would walk by without even noticing it. It’s located just below street level in a brownstone apartment building. I learned of the pub during a Glen Hansard concert when Glen told the story behind his song “Renata”. Renata is a waitress at The Scratcher and one night Glen found himself sitting at the bar beside her ex-boyfriend, and together they quickly penned the song. The Scratcher has live music on Sundays, something I will remember for future visits.

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If you want to read more about New York City, you can read about a day I spent with my Mom in the city, and all about my favorite places in NYC.

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