New York City Staycation

Between the summer share on Fire Island, a weekend of camping, and various trips to other local beaches, I haven’t been in NYC one weekend this entire summer.  So now that we’re at the end of July, I took a full weekend and vowed not to leave this tourist town I call home.  And I had a pretty damn good time.  So if you’re stuck in town for a weekend, here’s a recap of mine, which can also be used as a guide for creating your own great summer weekend in the concrete jungle.

Thursday night, I met two friends for a free wine and cheese tasting at Fig & Olive in the meatpacking district.  Afterwards, as the sun set over the Hudson, we took a walk on the park in the sky, the Highline.  They extended the Highline ten blocks earlier this summer, so now it extends from the West Village all the way up to 33rd Street.  After this leisurely stroll, I went to meet Joya at her law firm’s summer party at Chelsea Piers, where we watched the sun completely disappear over the Hudson.  As if that wasn’t scenic enough, a little while later, someone in New Jersey decided to create a spectacular fireworks show, which we thoroughly enjoyed from our perch across the river.

Friday – after work, I headed to our go-to happy hour spot – El Rio Grande.  Cheesy, yes.  Overdone, yes.  But you know what? There’s a reason we’ve been going there for years – they make a hell of a margarita that you can enjoy on their amazing outdoor terrace.  And when you roll up with 15 of your best friends, the douchebag crowd doesn’t really bother you.  Two margaritas in, standing on the outdoor deck in the beautiful 70 degree weather, I was making an emmy award winning speech about how life at that moment was truly wonderful.  And no, I will not be posting that speech here (although for the reasonable price of two margaritas, you can witness the live version.)

Saturday we all went to Central Park’s Great Lawn to celebrate a friend’s birthday via a picnic and elementary school style field day.  We played a little soccer, a little volleyball, befriended a stranger with a guitar, made more friends by talking to the people around us, and actually closed out the park (I didn’t know you could do that either, but apparently it closes at dusk).

Sunday we took a little trip across the river to Long Island City to have brunch and check out some new apartments for my roommate and her boyfriend, and we took the water taxi back across the east river.  It was no Fire Island Ferry, but it was a nice outdoor urban experience.  Later that day, Randi and I headed to Madison Square Park where we laid out our blanket beneath the current art installation, the giant head.  We people watched for hours until we decided to grab some dinner.  Since we were missing the whole barbeque scene by not being on Fire Island or in someone’s backyard somewhere, we decided to go to a barbeque restaurant.  We walked over to Hill Country, where apparently their way of “serving food” is to slap pieces of meat down onto a piece of paper and hand it to you on a tray. Overwhelmed, (and thankful that Randi and I shared one serving and didn’t each get our own) we enjoyed this carnivorous feast.  And then we rolled our 400 pound selves all the way home.  But not before stopping for Ralph’s Italian Ices.

Surprisingly, being a tourist in your own city can still bring upon new experiences and adventure.  Especially when you live in the best city in the world.

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