New York

So Brian and Olga, my wonderful cousins from Australia, came to the US for a few weeks recently. They ended that trip in New York City and I was lucky enough to meet up with them for their last weekend.

Now, because they had spent much of a week there already, they had managed to do most of the standard tourist stuff on Manhattan. This left me in the enviable position of showing them some of the less accessible parts of New York that many tourists end up skipping simply due to time constraints.

I gave them a list of options in the other boroughs. In the end, we decided on the Brooklyn Flea and Coney Island. Getting off the subway in Brooklyn, their first comment? The people here are so much friendlier! They were very happy to see that there are people in New York who are happy to chat and answer questions with more than a simple "it's over there".

After wandering through the market, I was amazed to see that Brian and Olga hadn't purchased anything other than a mini version of Charlotte's Web (for Charlotte, of course!). Turns out they'd already done enough shopping that they were going to have trouble fitting stuff in their bags to fly home. But they did enjoy seeing it; especially seeing that parts of New York can get away from the craziness that is Manhattan.

Hopping back on the subway, we continued on to Coney Island. First stop? Nathans for some dogs and lemonade. Brian and I had chili cheese dogs while Olga and I had corn dogs and we all shared some fries. Mmmm. But, of course, that wasn't enough. Had to get some funnel cake too! Nothing quite like fried batter with so much icing sugar that we all looked like we had jumped in a big vat of it after eating a few bites.

And, of course, we wandered all over looking at the various rides and entertainment. Wonderful way to spend a beautiful afternoon.

On the way back, we were treated to that New York specialty of a subway show. A few young men walked into the subway car, threw on the phat beats and started dancing up a storm. At the end, as always, they came around with their hat and earned a pretty penny before moving on to the next car.

Arriving back on Manhattan, we met up with Alex and grabbed some (free) drinks at Brian and Olga's hotel. Shortly after, we headed out for Peking duck! Nice golden crispy skin coating juicy pieces of duck meat? Throw in some pancakes, scallions, cucumber and hoisin sauce? Yes please!

Having sated our hunger, we wandered off to see Central Park and the surrounding area at night. Wandering around, it became clear that Brian and Olga had missed a very important landmark: they hadn't gone in to FAO Schwarz, the amazing toy store. While we sadly only had a little time there before they closed, I'm glad we rectified that gross oversight that so many tours seem to miss.

Of course, just nearby, we also had to stop by the Rolex store so Brian could show off his new watch. Better watch out--he could be Australia's next big model!

After that, we tried to track down some of that elusive New York specialty: cheesecake (and other deserts). Sadly, I seem to have found the only desert shop (if not restaurant) on Manhattan that would serve bad food... Mediocre cheesecake, stale red velvet and cannoli... That place doesn't have long left, if I had to guess.

Luckily, we still had breakfast the next morning to make up for it. Nice fresh New York bagels smothered in cream cheese. But then it was time for them to leave and catch their flight home:(. Hopefully it's not a long gap before I get to see them again--the distance usually makes it so but it's always great fun to see them.

So after they left, I had to find a cure for my sorrows. Cue meeting up with a friend and going for a flash food tour! Reminded me just how much I can eat when things are really tasty. Fresh pork buns, bowl full of spicy noodles, Captain Crunch pastry deserts, fruit tarts, fresh roasted nuts, New York pizza and more crammed into a few short hours. I miss New York already:(. But luckily that's a much easier longing to fix.

Brooklyn Flea
Smokey! Mmm, Nathans.
Mmm, hot dogs! Mmm, chili cheese dog! Tinkling in the wind.
Funnel cake!
Stylish! Sun protection is very important.
Water!  Water water water water water.  Woof. Water!  Water water water water water.  Woof. Water!  Water water water water water.  Woof.
If Manhattan can afford this, why can't everywhere else?
If Manhattan can afford this, why can't everywhere else?
Fresh baked cookies?  Until 3 AM?  Sign me up!
Glass box over a hole in the ground...a marvel of marketing. Toys!
Despicable! Muppets!
Raptors sell shoes?  Who knew? Oh yeah, work that "Rolex"! Show them your stuff, Brian!
Watch out Macpherson, Brian's coming home! Cartier has expanded their line into...vacuum cleaners?