After Costa Rica I flew back to New York with my sister, and since we missed Mother’s Day, we flew our mother down for the weekend. My Mom loves visiting NYC, and has been many times in the 10 years my sister has been living there. She has seen all the major sites, so when I asked her what she wanted to do she said that she wanted to get a mani-pedi, go to JCrew and Anthropology, and eat. Those things might sound silly, but they are things you can’t really do in Kennebunkport, Maine.
We started with mani-pedis at a salon near my sister’s place on the Upper East Side. We went to Cara Nails (1722 1st Ave) and they did a great job, plus it was only $27 each.
Next we ventured to Union Square to shop at JCrew and Anthropology, my Mom’s favorite stores. The shops in Union Square weren’t as busy as they tend to be in more touristy areas.
By then it was time for lunch. I took Mom to my favorite pizza place, the original Artichoke Pizza on 14th street. The place is about the size of a closet, so we took the pizza to go and walked two blocks to Styvestant Park and ate at the park benches. Artichoke Pizza is an incredibly creamy and cheesy pizza with chunks of artichokes on a hearty thin crust.
For dessert we went down the street to Milk Bar (251 E 13th St but there are multiple locations) where I introduced Mom to cereal milk ice cream. She was a bit skeptical at first, but she really liked the sweet soft serve cereal milk ice cream with fudge.
We also picked up a couple pieces of their famous Crack Pie for later. Milk Bar’s Chef Christina Tosi is a James Beard Award Winner, and the creator of this pie with a cult following. It’s sweet and gooey and buttery and incredibly satisfying and unlike anything else.
We walked off the food a bit, returned to the Upper East Side (it’s just 3 stops on the express 4 or 5 train from Union Square) to walk my sister’s pup Milo – who refused to walk because it was drizzling.
Next Mom and I went down to St. Mark’s Square and grabbed drinks before dinner at The Immigrant (341 E 9th St), a bar that is divided into two parts – one side focuses on beer while the other on wine. During happy hour glasses of wine are $8.
Mom wanted to go back to a Moroccan restaurant called Cafe Mogador (101 St Marks Pl) that she had eaten at years ago. Maine isn’t a diverse place, so it’s a special opportunity for her to try new cuisines when she is in NYC. We loved the falafel and hummus platter, the lamb kebabs, lamb tagine, and the bastilla.
The next day we went to the New York Botanical Garden up in the Bronx. The current exhibition is Impressionism: American Gardens on Canvas. The exhibition includes a gallery of 21 American Impressionist works at the library.
And continues with gardens inspired by the paintings in the Conservatory building.
I loved these brightly colored poppies.
This looks like a scene straight from a painting. The grounds of the garden are massive, but there is a tram that you can take to get from place to place, or you can just ride the tram to quickly see everything.
We went to one of our favorite restaurants for lunch: Dinosaur BBQ (700 W 125th St). We first discovered it when I lived down the street in Harlem, and somehow the Dinosaur BBQ location in NYC is much better than the one in Chicago.
I was also curious to see the neighborhood I lived in for two years. I thought that it might be totally different after eight years, but it was just the same. It looks like my old place got a paint job but that’s the only big difference.
And then it was time for me to head back to Chicago. It was a really fun three days in NYC, but I was excited to see Charles after 12 days away.