(Previously, on NYC 2017, we were reunited with Ben’s college friends over dinner, board games, and a night out. After some rainy dollar pizza, we went to sleep ready for our first full day in the city for the weekend.)
(Apologies about the lack of photos in this post. I’m discovering that I seem to have lost some data from this day specifically? Best case scenario is that I deleted the photos when I was clearing out the junk from when I accidentally had my camera on burst mode. At worst, the card got corrupted. ☹️)
The next morning, after sleeping in a little bit, we got up for lunch at Xi’an Famous Foods (review), my first time finally trying any location of this famous northwestern Chinese eatery. I majorly regretted ordering a noodle dish for Ben and myself, as we really should’ve split one along with the cumin lamb burger I ordered. Having leftovers while traveling in New York just doesn’t make a lot of sense, and yet we had way a lot of noodles in our hotel mini fridge until the morning of checkout. Oops, that was definitely my bad, I didn’t communicate what we were ordering very well. Err on the side of ordering less, you won’t go hungry!
[ all photos from Xi’an Famous Foods are MIA, hopefully the video isn’t corrupted and I can put together some vlogs for you guys in a few years 😛 ]
From there, we started walking towards Times Square. At this point in our lives, we avoid Times Square because it is not as fun as the flashing lights would have you believe. (It’s hard to believe how recently I made sure to visit Times Square with every visit. I still wind up there almost every year, but not nearly as enthusiastically.) But we wanted to see what tkts had to offer for shows that Sunday, so off we went. The Sunday before Labor Day was actually Brazil Day in Manhattan, so we caught glimpses of a live Brazilian concert and stall after stall of food. It was a freaking bumpin’ time in the middle of the island and I got pretty swept up!
At tkts, we spotted Anastasia tickets on sale for 50% off, which was amazing and incredibly exciting because I have been DESPERATELY wanting to see this show. (Fun fact: I saw Anastasia in theaters and on ice. The movie is very near and dear to my heart, especially as a December baby.) Unfortunately, there were only individual seats left, and the point of me and Ben seeing a show together is to be together. So we opted to see Groundhog Day in the last days of its run, which ended on September 17. Before leaving Times Square, I checked out the art installation “Once Upon a Place” by Aman Mojadidi. Consisting of repurposed phone booths, visitors are invited to step in, close the door to the hustle and bustle of the literal center of Times Square, and pick up the phone to listen to real immigrant stories from real New Yorkers. It was a lovely quiet reprieve to step into another experience.
We ran a few quick errands, picking up bits and bobs for our flight to Paris and walking through some of the stalls that were up for Brazil Day, and dropped off our things at the hotel after a quick bubble tea stop. (The 3 Guys is so tasty! One of my first boba orders in the city and it is always a go-to when I stop by CoCo.)
Not sure of what to do for dinner, we wandered through almost all of the food stalls still open for Brazil Day, which was winding down, as we made our way back to Broadway to watch Groundhog Day (review). I’ll admit, I was not that excited to go see this show when we got the tickets or even when I walked to the theater. But by the time I sat down in my seats, I got that tingly anticipatory feeling I get when I’m facing a stage and taking in the pre-show vibrations of the theater. I haven’t seen the original Bill Murray movie but the show was incredible, with some super dark humor I wasn’t expecting and a great second act opening number that featured the girl who is an object of sexual desire singing about her role in life (and more specifically this show). I laughed, I cried, I loved this show.
Ben and I both knew exactly what we wanted to do after the show: hit up Halal Guys (review), one of the few spots that we visit every single time we come back to the city. They’ve since (FINALLY) opened a brick and mortar location closer to home, but nothing beats the fresh food from the carts, so we enjoyed our short walk over without a torrential downpour. I wasn’t feeling hungry, so we split a single platter, which was a mistake as that delicious plate of food really triggered my appetite! We’re thinking that this may be our last time waiting in line for the original cart, as we learned that cart charges more! So you are paying more for the exact same food (we saw guys prepping meat and rice at a stand down the street and bringing it over) when there is another cart LITERALLY across the street. Yep, that means there are no fewer than 3 official Halal Guys stations going on at the corner of 53rd and 6th, with 2 of them serving platters and one of them with a long line. The line moves fast but we’re starting to feel awfully silly standing in it. Bellies full of good food, we closed out the evening watching Slumdog Millionaire and dancing to “Jai Ho”.
Here’s just a handful of seconds from this day, even fewer than the previous one!
What’s the last great musical you saw? I hope I get to see Anastasia sometime soon and, of course, I still gotta see Hamilton!!!
What are your favorite simple meals in the city? Ben and I really truly love going to the Halal Guys cart every single time we come to the city. I’m glad we finally got to visit Xi’an Famous, too, and I get the hype even though I don’t like cumin! That’s part of what I love about New York’s food scene, is the simple meals that don’t break the bank and are really reliably good.