Anyone who knows me knows that I am a New England girl and Boston is my city.
But I do feel some shame when I think about how little I time I have spent in New York City even though I have lived in Upstate New York for almost nine years.
The first time I went to NYC was when I was a senior in high school in 1996. My cross country team traveled from rural Maine and we ran a 5k in Van Cortland Park in the Bronx. We also saw Les Miserables on Broadway, went to the Natural History Museum, shopped at Macy’s and saw Trump Tower, the Plaza Hotel and FAO Schwartz. We also ate a Bennigan’s in New Jersey. I loved all of it. I was amazed that NYC was so big and that it made Boston look like a small town.
My second time in New York City was December 2008. I had been dating Bryon for a couple of months and we met in the city to attend the New York City Young Republican Club Holiday Dinner. Bryon took me to see all the store windows decorated for Christmas. He also took me to see the tree in Rockefeller Center and that was the first place he told me that he loved me.
I returned a few more times that year. I was still living in Maine and I was running for Northeast Region Vice Chairman of the Young Republican National Federation. I would stay with friends and campaign around the Mid-Atlantic. Bryon would join me. The trips were fuzzy but I remember going to a bar called Stitch in the Garment District that had $20 drinks (Bryon didn’t let his status as a poor 1L in law school stop him from getting me drinks) and I remember walking by the Brooklyn Bridge with Bryon.
But I have only been to NYC four times since I moved to New York State 9 years ago.
The first was right after I moved here. Bryon and I drove to Queens to attend a cookout at a friends house.
The third time was in November, 2013. I was pregnant with a baby I would miscarry later that same week. Bryon and I took a one night cruise on the Norwegian Gem out of NYC and the following day we explored the city. Only being pregnant, I was not good company. I was tired, had sciatic pain and could only tolerate eating saltine crackers. I remember we had lunch at McGee’s Pub, which is the bar that inspired McLaren’s on How I Met Your Mother. Then we saw Pippen at The Music Box Theater. I had wanted to see the Rockettes but Bryon really wanted to see Pippen. He told me we would see the Rockettes the next time.
The next (and fourth) time Bryon and I would go to NYC would be when I had him transferred to Columbia Presbyterian and I temporarily moved down there. A family who was friends with my daughter’s godmother took me in. I will always be grateful that they welcomed me, a stranger into their home and did everything they could to make me feel welcome even though we had no way of knowing how long Bryon’s recovery was going to take.
Aside from the one night where my daughters godmother took me to Times Square and to a Mexican Restaurant in Harlem on the same block as the Seinfeld Restaurant, I did not see much of the city. The family I stayed with lived in Hamilton Heights. Every morning I would walk a block to the subway station, stopping to get an Iced Coffee at Dunkin Donuts. The hospital was one stop on the express (three on the local) away in Washington Heights and I spent my days in Bryon’s room in the MICU located in the Millstein Building. The security guards knew my name. When I was hungry, I either got food in the cafeteria or I went to the Chipotle or Starbucks on the same block.
Since then, I have driven by NYC on a few trips where I have flown in and out of Newark, NJ. We also drove by the city on our way to and from Philadelphia last month. I remember saying to my friends that I had not been to NYC since Bryon died. I know there is so much that city has to offer. We had so many ideas of things we wanted to do with our daughter when she got older. I am thinking about possibly doing a weekend trip next fall. I want to take her to see the Rockettes. We will see if I am ready.
I think it is safe to say that if I visit NYC again, I will be avoiding Washington Heights.
So now that I have gotten all that out of the way, I will get to the point of this post.
I am choosing to remember Bryon and our second trip to NYC.
It was May 2011. Seven years ago. I was pissed at Bryon because we never went to the city. So he did what any good boyfriend would do. He took me down to NYC. And typical to his zest for life, he packed a lot into that one day.
So he took me to the city.
We drove downstate and took the Metro North train into the city. We arrive in Grand Central Station.
We went to the Top of the Rock.
We then went to Chinatown where I may have bought an “imitation” Coach purse. Bryon was dissapointed that I wouldn’t go into the places with a back room. It scared me. Bryon normally couldn’t care less about purses, but when it was time to haggle, he jumped right in and haggled with the lady. Even though I was paying, he wasn’t satisfied with the price given.
Bryon then took me to McSorley’s. McSorley’s was an experience. It is the oldest running Irish Tavern in NYC. You have two choices of beer, light and dark and you order them in increments of two. We ate the cheese platter which consisted of cheese, saltines and raw onions. The place is full of history but the best is the legend of the wishbones. the legend is that when the soldiers went to war during WWI, they put a wishbone up above the bar and took them down when they returned. So the wishbones that remain memorialize the soldiers that did not come home.
After McSorley’s, Bryon took me to a dish shop called Fishs Eddy. I don’t remember it being the best place to be when you were tipsy.
Then we went to Little Italy. We had dinner at a pizza place and then went somewhere else for cannoli. I have no idea the names of the places we went.
We finished the night at a hidden bar above a Five Guys.
A city with so many memories. A city that I will always associate with Bryon’s death. A city that Bryon planned on taking our daughter at Christmastime.
I need to decide if I want to take my daughter down this fall. It would be a shame to not take advantage of all the city has to offer. Nothing in life is definite and if I were to leave the area, I would probably kick myself for not going down there. So now I need to decide, Rockettes or the Natural History Museum or both….
Have you ever been to New York City? What is your favorite thing to do?