Day 7

For Friday, we headed out of the hotel, hit Angelina’s Bakery again for a quick bite before heading to Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station.

We booked an Amtrak train north out to the city to Poughkeepsie, NY with absolutely no idea how any of this works. ha

They don’t assign seats, so you get to play this fun little game where you wait in the main hall until they assign a track and display it 15 minutes before departure. Then everyone rushes to that track to get a good seat.

We didn’t know this. ha So, we were in the back of the line, so by the time we got routed onto a car, there were of course no seats together. And, being New York, even when I said “sorry, Norah… I guess you’ll have to sit by yourself here” loud enough to be sure multiple people heard me, no one offered to move. ha

Oh well. Lessons learned. Finally after we all sat in different rows some woman offered to move so Norah could sit with Kegan, so that was nice. But it really wasn’t a big deal either way. She’s old enough now.

The train was basically like a nice airplane with all first class seats. Each set of two seats had its own power outlets and plenty of legroom and wide enough seats for real people. There was only “coach” seats available for the ride north so this is a Coach car. I booked Business Class on the way home, and it was pretty much the same, a bit more legroom between the seats (but there was plenty in coach too) and then the seats had a flip down footrest. Also, the business class car is the caboose, so you don’t have people moving through trying to get to the cafe car. Also- the cafe car was sort of cool- I didn’t get a photo, but it was like a bar/food stand that took up a full car with some booths for eating.

We arrived at Poughkeepsie without issue. Took about an hour and a half.

I have ZERO pictures from the entire day. ZERO. I was on an inside seat with a wall between two windows for my Amtrak ride up. So even though I could stretch up my neck and see the gorgeous Hudson River Valley and changing leaves, I couldn’t photograph it. Norah and Kegan had a window… but of course when I asked Kegan if he got any photos. No. ha

I had signed up for ZipCar online and reserved a car at the station, but when we walked out of the station, I learned they changed my pickup location to across town. Still not sure why because I reserved a CRV and the CRV was parked in the Zipcar spot but didn’t show on the available cars or that it even existed. … SO… we had to get an Uber to our car. But, it only took 15-20 minutes and we were on our way.

ZipCar is a car share app. You sign up to use a car and you walk up to it, unlock it with your phone. There is a fuel card to use to fill it up if it needs it, there is a EZ-Pass for tolls, and you can drive up to 150 miles with no additional charges. It would be convenient if you lived around New York… but otherwise, I’m not sure how useful it would be since it was a little pricey ($150 for an 8 hour rental) but around here, to not have to park a car, maintain a car, etc if you only need one every 2-3 weeks or so…. its a cool model. The car we got was pretty dirty, the steering wheel was sticky, it wasn’t maintained the best, the brakes squealed…so it wasn’t a glamorous experience, but it got the job done.

Because I drove as well, of course there were no photos of any towns or anything we saw.

We were supposed to drive straight to Woodstock to meet a friend for lunch, but she wasn’t feeling great, so she decided it was better to stay home.

So… we just meandered around to various small little towns north and south of Poughkeepsie checking out the area- Kegan and Norah have never been to anything “New England” so it was literally just driving into towns, seeing their downtown, driving around the Hudson River, etc.

We drove by the Vanderbuilt Mansion, Franklin D Roosevelt’s home and a bridge named after him. We really liked Wappinger Falls, Fishkill, Newburgh area.

We ate dinner at an excellent Mexican restaurant. I’d go back just for that. I asked what we wanted for dinner, Kegan starts googling, says “looks like there’s Mexican right up here”. Immediately Norah is like YES! 100%. Mexican. ha We laughed…okay this kid apparently needs some Mexican food in her life.

The child ordered chicken nuggets and fries when we got there. Who’s child is this? Someone come get her. ha

Right behind the restaurant on a high hillside was this awesome sprawling mid-century modern house… and both were right across from a giant Home Depot. So, we decided we were all set to move here and live. ha Huge mid-mod house, walkable to margaritas, train to the city, with a Home Depot across the street?? Sign. Me. Up.

We caught our train back to the city around 8pm.

Kegan captured a photo of Norah and I twinning at the train station. Apparently, I dressed my kid just like me today. Black quilted shoes, jeans, green shirts, ponytails. What can I say, I guess I know what I like. ha
The train hall at night was very pretty with the LED lights
Taking one last photo in front of Madison Square Gardens, all lit up in New York Knicks colors. I’m sure they had a game tonight. The blue and orange colors of The Knicks are a throwback to the Dutch flag, for the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. And the name is short for Knickerbockers- which stuck as a New York history when Washington Irving wrote a satirical History of New York under a pseudonym Deidrich Knickerbocker in 1809.
One last capture of the Empire State Building down the street as we walked north. Technically, it wasn’t the last sighting since we could see it from our hotel room.

Day 8

Our last day exploring New York! We decided to explore Brooklyn a bit today. We took the subway south from Times Square down through the Wall Street area and under the river popping up in Brooklyn.

We walked a few blocks into DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) which used to be abandoned warehouses and shipping docks but now has been revitalized and is a very pricy and trendy area with a great view of Manhattan and a coffee roaster on every corner.

I had pre-ordered breakfast at Butler because their menu looked good and I figured in this area on a Saturday morning, it would be packed. It was busy…but not as busy as I expected.

They had mini sausage rolls, and we thought maybe they would be like the sausage rolls in Ireland! Nope. Ha but still decent except mine had a raw pink spot of pork in it
This smoked bacon, runny egg, truffle aioli on brioche sounded amazing- but it was bland and the bun just tasted like a mushy cheap hamburger bun. I wasn’t impressed lol

Walked back a bit to get the iconic Manhattan bridge photo of Norah.

Found our way up onto the pedestrian walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge
Norah wanted to take a perspective photo where she was holding Kegan in her hand. He was annoyed but complied lol

Walking around the neighborhoods, Brooklyn had a much more chill vibe than other boroughs. It’s so interesting how every part of New York can feel so different… and we didn’t even make it to The Bronx or Long Island or Staten Island this trip.

We made our way to Clark Street and entered the subway there to ride down a few stops to the Brooklyn Museum and Prospect Park

We didn’t have advance tickets here because today was just a play-it-by-ear day. There was a pretty big line so I wasn’t sure we would get in- but we did.

The lobby had these massive 18 ft tall wooden statues by Brooklyn-based artist KAWS. He likes making large statues that had riffs off of consumer goods. There was another of his statues in front of 30 Rock although I didn’t know what it was at the time.

A lot of the art was a little “artsy” for me. I would look at it, try to understand it, then when I didn’t I’d go read the plaque on the wall to explain to me what the intention of the piece was. I love that art exists and that people have the artistic talent to see the world in a new and different way. I’m just a more tactile and objective person usually.

This exhibit was in the Feminist Art wing, and showed a place setting for any groundbreaking female throughout history or female goddesses in various cultures.
There was a replica of the Statue of Liberty behind the museum that used to sit atop Liberty Warehouse in Manhattan until 2003.
Norah discovered Strawberry Perrier and wanted to take the can home as a souvenir because she thought you couldn’t get it there. Hahaha so if anyone sees this around Indiana, please let me know where. Ha

After the museum, we grabbed an Uber up to the Williamsburg neighborhood because I had been talking with an old high school classmate that lives in New York to see if she wanted to meet up for dinner some evening. We decided Saturday worked best for both of us… and Williamsburg was an easy spot between us to meet.

She walked the 4 miles down from her apartment (right??) to meet us at a vendor market called Smorgasbord that had about 50-60 vendors set up selling food and drinks.

It was very crowded, but like with everything in New York, it went smoother than it usually does at home when things are crowded because people know how to act and how to queue. You just weave your way through, people let you pass through the line and you go about your business. Same with driving, it’s a mess of traffic and honking and pedestrians but there are far fewer wrecks than you’d see elsewhere with this level of chaos.

We waited for a table to open up and we snagged it and sat and chatted for over an hour catching up on life.
We got a lobster roll from Oyster Party
More dumplings from Mao Bao- but they were OK at best.
Norah got a Nutella S’mores sundae from Bona Bona
After we ate and talked, we all grabbed a drink from this stand (I didn’t grab the name)
The New York skyline from the pier in Brooklyn. It was such a nice day with the breeze picking up as it was getting ready to rain for the evening.

We said goodbye to our friend and headed away from the water towards the subway. Found a famous New York resident on the tracks while we waited 🙂

This was the highlight of the day. Lol Norah, not paying attention, smacked right into a subway steel beam. I tried to catch her but she didn’t hear me. Ha here she is pictured with tear streaming face and her sweaty face imprint she left on the beam. I made her take a photo as a way to get her laughing and also-because I’m a bit of a jerk.

We were back to midtown and back to our hotel by 4:30pm feeling like I was wasting my last night in Manhattan but it was rainy and expected to continue all evening until midnight. So, we watched Hocus Pocus, packed up our suitcases and grabbed – you guessed it- more Asian food for our “last meal”. It really was my “last meal” of sorts. I have been binging on everything I see all week and tomorrow it’s back to the calorie counting grind until Thanksgiving for me 🙂 I’ve lost 30 lbs this year and hope to lose another 30! But that won’t happen with dumplings and pizza every meal! LOL

Pork buns
Popcorn chicken
Shrimp dumplings
Peking duck buns
Soup dumplings that have broth inside of them. It was my first time having them. They were really good!

Wrap up

Sunday morning, we grabbed an Uber to LaGuardia. Only took about 1 minute for it to arrive and with almost no traffic, we were to the airport way ahead of schedule. We woke up at 6:45am and we were at the airport by 7:35. Pretty great timing. But, our flight didn’t leave until 9:55, so we sat around, had breakfast and then dealt with seat issues again. I’m guessing because the flight change before we left messed something up in the computer. I showed seats on my app, but my app told me to see a gate agent for seat assignments. I went up and the guy told me it was fine. Then I realized I had no clue when to board- so I went back up to ask that and the lady spent 15 minutes trying to figure out the situation herself. Eventually we got our same seats it showed in the app, the very back row of the plane, but we were boarding group 7, so we had to check our carryon bags.

But, just happy to have seats on the flight as it was the only direct to Indy today.

All in all we had a great trip! We saw a ton of sites, experienced a lot of culture, didn’t really have any major issues

They say almost a million cars come into Manhattan a day looking for half as many parking spots. I definitely think driving in Manhattan is doable- but it’s the parking in Manhattan that I couldn’t handle. I love the public transportation options available. Subway, buses, ferries, trains….you name it, you got it.

I’ve said for years, living in the country is a young person’s game. Ha mowing, gardening, upkeep, driving long distances to everywhere and everything….I want to retire to Manhattan. Doorman, elevators, public transport, delivery everything including groceries. Tons of recreational options and hobbies, small space to maintain, no exterior maintenance…that sounds like the best life to me.

Kegan says I might convince him to make that happen down the line, but likely not in this country. I asked him his thoughts overall- he said it was good to see and visit but if he never saw Manhattan again? He wouldn’t be upset. He didn’t hate Brooklyn and he liked it upstate but he said too many crazy hobos and druggies running around everywhere and just too much going on. His brain would be up on high all the time spending too much time there.

Norah says she liked everything except that it smelled like marijuana everywhere we went (which it TOTALLY did-people just walk down the street with a burning joint. ) and there were too many people haha she said she isn’t used to that many people every place you go.

So overall, it sounds like I will not be convincing my family to buy an apartment in Manhattan anytime soon (Kegan’s mom can breathe easy for a while longer that we stay local haha)

Our next adventure to blog about will be Christmas-New Year in New Orleans, so we’ll catch up then! Thanks for following along with us!