Thursday, March 24, 2011

High Above the City Streets

The High Line is a beautiful elevated urban park in Chelsea. It was originally constructed in the 1930s to lift freight trains off the streets of Manhattan, and you can still see the railroad tracks today (on the right in the photo below).

Even on weekday afternoon, the park saw a lot of foot traffic, thanks to the gorgeous day.

I'll definitely be coming back in a few weeks when the flowers are in bloom!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Inside the New York Public Library: A Slice of History

When my parents were in town, we ventured up to the famous New York Public Library. Lucky for us, we were able to catch a free guided tour just as it was beginning. The docent-led tour was quite informative and interesting. I recommend it for tourists and New Yorkers alike. You learn so much about the foundations of the historic building and its significance in the city of New York.

Tours are free and begin at 11am and 2pm, Mondays-Saturdays; 2pm, Sundays.

Astor Hall
Be sure to stop into the gift shop for some unique NYC gifts (no 'I Heart NY' shirts here). I gave these "Patience and Fortitude" bookends to Luke for Christmas a few years back.

According to the NYPL website--and the free tour--the lions' nicknames have changed over the decades. Originally, they were called Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, after the NYPL founders John Jacob Astor and James Lenox. Later, they were referred to as Lady Astor and Lord Lenox (despite the fact that both are male lions). During the 1930s, Mayor LaGuardia renamed them Patience and Fortitude, for the two qualities he felt New Yorkers would need to survive the economic depression. I think it's telling that these names have stood the test of time. Most New Yorkers would agree that we still need these qualities today.

Trivia: Patience oversees the south side of the Library's steps and Fortitude stands guard to the north. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

After enjoying the slower Midwest pace for a week, I was itching to get back to city life. Plus, we had an exciting weekend on par, with my parents in tow. There are few things I love more than hosting guests in the city and taking them to some of my favorite restaurants. This weekend was no exception.

On Friday, we started at Chelsea Market for lunch: amazing, life-changing grilled cheese sandwiches at Lucy's Whey

Cheddar cheese & fig spread
For dinner, we all ventured down to Zum Schneider in the East Village, my favorite German restaurant in the city. Typically I order wiener schnitzel, but this time, I opted for the Bierhaus Gulasch with spaetzle. Two thumbs up!

Guten appetit!
Saturday morning brunch was at Cafeteria, always a good choice for tasty Southern food. It was quite noisy inside, and my parents got a glimpse of NYC's trendsters and hipsters at their finest.

We rounded out the trip with a phenomenal dinner at one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Mercadito, one of the best places for margaritas on the rocks, homemade guacamole and gourmet tacos. 

As always, it was quite a weekend filled with great food and good memories. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Baby Pilgrimage

I've been waiting oh-so-patiently to see my baby nephew. I even made a trek out to catbird, one of my favorite boutiques in Brooklyn, to get him this adorable little onesie.

(image courtesy of catbird)
Since Matt & Nelle didn't know if they were having a little boy or girl, they waited until after Westley's birth to have the baby shower (quite brilliant, yes?). And the day finally arrived! Luke came home with me to Wisconsin, and it was a full house at the baby shower. Brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. Quite exciting!

I finally got to see the little guy for the first time.

 And hold him for the first time. A very special moment, indeed.

He's a little squirmy!
This is one of my favorites from the day. Four generations. 

He received his first Packer and Brewer apparel. Starting him young!

It was a beautiful day. Congratulations to Matt & Nelle!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Let Them Eat Pizza

With my newfound free time, I've been doing a lot of baking and cooking. Chicken enchiladas, slow-cooker beef stew, pumpkin cupcakes. But my biggest accomplishment yet? Homemade, fresh-from-the-oven pizza. When my friend K stopped by last night for a little dinner chat, I surprised her with a broccoli rabe and potato pizza (recipe courtesy of the amazing food52 blog).

Broccoli rabe, potato slices and fresh mozzarella
Oven ready!
 It turned out quite well, if I do say so myself.

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

C'mon, spring!

Nothing like a stroll through the park on a sunny day to renew my faith that spring is near.

Make way for ducklings!