3 days in New York – Second day
Second day in New York
Sunday Brunch in Central Park
Is Sunday!! Yessss it’s time to try the New York Brunch! We don’t wake up early! We’re not really good at waking up early in the morning … not even to go to work! Imagine if we can do it when we’re on vacation! But we’re in New York! Hurry!! Finally ready, we head towards Central Park! Taking a short walk, on 8th Avenue, from our hotel, we arrive directly at Columbus Circle, on the southern border of Central Park, with a very specific goal: Sunday Brunch in Central Park!
Quokka Recommend: In the United States on Sundays it is typical to do Brunch (for the uninitiated, this word is the union of BReakfast and UNCH). Most of the dinners or delis organize special menus for this regular meeting of Americans and New Yorkers!
Having studied in Italy what to do, we know exactly where we want to do our Brunch in New York: Sara Beth’s on Central Park, a chain of well-kept and very famous places for breakfast! So for us, the best choice for Sunday Brunch! It is located right on 59th Street West that borders the South border of Central Park and although the restaurant is outside the park it has a great view of the greenery.
We arrive at the entrance and the waitress promises to wait half an hour for the table: we do not care, we decided we would do the Brunch here and we will do it here! The day unfortunately is not the best, drizzling at times and the sky remained covered like the night before, so the tables outside are not popular even if covered by curtains, but this will not ruin our breakfast with a view of Central Park and we decide to sit outside.
Meanwhile behind us there are a lot of carriages with horses waiting to pick up the couples and the tourists to make the romantic tour of New York in Central Park!
After 20 minutes of waiting it’s our turn! We sit down and, as usual in the United States, they bring us the menu, two glasses of water with ice (you’ll never pay for water in America!!) and on the spot they ask us what we want to drink. As usual, we take two “Lattes” which would be our Italian macchiato milk or in some cases a slightly lighter cappuccino, depending on the cup/glass in which they decide to put it.
After a quick read at the menu we decide to order a typical tourist’s breakfast in America: Eggs & Bacon, Pancakes with fresh strawberries and French Toast.
We feel a little VIP, to have breakfast served and revered in this place in the Big Apple and enjoy our Brunch!
Cash, these Strangers
it’s time to pay, in restaurants and bars in America, it works like this: they bring you a leather receipt holder with a first receipt in it with the total, you leave the credit card inside and the waiter takes it all away . After a few minutes the waiter returns with a second receipt in double copy (one for you and one for the restaurant). In the copy for the Restaurant, below the total there are two fields to fill out: Tips and Total. In most cases it is also specified the percentage of “recommended” Tips is never below 10/15%. Basically you have to add the tip, making the count with the calculator and add it to the expense to write the True Total that will be charged on the card. Without this you can leave and the waiter will be happy to collect the tip!
Quokka Recommend: we tried it on our skin just this morning after Brunch! We paid with the card and since we were not used to the tip of the tips and the second receipt, we assumed that the transaction was over and as we had no cash we were going a little embarrassed! We know that in America the tip is “recommended” but in essence mandatory! And it’s most of the waiters’ salary! The very friendly waitress who served us almost chased us while we were leaving and kindly explained how we could tip even with a credit card! We could not hold back from giving at least 15% to make up for the fool!
After our delicious Brunch, time continues to threaten rain, then we decide to buy an umbrella, a small problem: we don’t have cash yet because we only started with € to change then here in $ … We therefore discard street vendors on the street and we head to a kiosk on 6th Avenue that doesn’t really understand what it sells. On the outside tent there is written “Lottery”. There are chips, soft drinks, postcards, cigarettes, mobile phone accessories and an ATM, but we have seen umbrellas too… so let’s try the approach hoping that it will make us pay with a credit card! You won’t trust us, but even for a minimum purchase of $5 without problems it make us pay with a credit card (what a strange place these states are ?!).
So, after this beautiful example of practical life in New York, with our beautiful little umbrella (black, and we’re sure it won’t arrive at the end of the day) we head towards the entrance of Central Park!!
What a park! You guys have heard that from everyone but it’s worth seeing! This green lung of Manhattan is almost unreal compared to the city that remains outside. Green, well-kept, huge lawns, ponds that are not so small, carriages that carry tourists around, people of all ages who do Jogging … it really seems to be in a movie! Central Park is to live! Every description and every photo will never make the idea of what it really is.
After the first steps inside, the city seems long gone and, as we enter it, it seems to have changed country! Voluntarily, we decide to follow the paths towards the glimpses that inspire us the most and we do not plan a route to take inside Central Park.
Entering from the South, we immediately meet The Pond, the first of the many lakes that meet, and we head north towards the Wollman Rink which becomes the Central Park ice skating rink in winter !! It is truly spectacular!
We continue following our instinct, and meet the Sheep Meadow, a huge meadow, where New York families are organizing their picnic in the park (some are extra-organized with even the table set!). Along the Sheep Meadow, we meet children playing with squirrels, whole families improvising baseball games inside one of the many diamonds in the park, and we arrive at The Lake and the Cherry Hill Fountain.
Like two idiots we lost the Bethesda Terrace & Fountain which is right there beside us, but we find a small Gazebo on the surface of water that looks like a romantic movie set…
After taking some photos (just 2! Ahahahahah), we walk along the Bow Bridge… from here, we stop to look at the boats with the couples in love that pass right under our feet. Just like real tourists we start taking pictures to capture this wonderful moment! Shortly after, we find a Jazz Band that is getting ready to start playing! You can’t really get bored in this park!
At some point we no longer know where we are, but fortunately there are the tips of the skyscrapers that sprout from time to time in the trees and allow us to orient ourselves and not get lost inside Central Park! (to be honest the tips of the skyscrapers were not enough, but we had to use also the iPhone Maps to be able to orient ourselves! We are already too tired! ahahahah)
At this point, we decide to head towards Belvedere Castle which is located around one third of the park. After being lost in the streets and the various romantic views, we come to this Castle, a little one, surrounded by greenery. From here you can see Central Park from a raised position and also a little magical … We remain to enjoy for a while the view of the Great Lawn and Delacorte Theater which is set up for the summer show of the moment, but things there are too many things to do and see so we have to start again!
We can’t come to Manhattan without touring the Upper East Side, New York’s “In” neighborhood, TV series and movie theater! So, to leave Central Park, we decide to continue north to Ancient Playground and to follow 5th Avenue, passing by THE MET – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, but only to observe it from the outside.
Here, reality reminds us that we are in a tourist city: in front of the Museum, in fact, we already see, in the distance, a row of parked Coaches. Many visitors take photos of the museum’s external façade, fountains or rest on the famous staircase of THE MET.
Direction Upper East Side!
We quickly leave the crowded THE MET entrance, and head towards the Upper East Side!
Already after a few steps, we realize that the neighborhood does not even look like the same city from which we arrive. Modern skyscrapers and palaces have been replaced by stately buildings, with separate servants’ entrances. Here the streets are all tree-lined paths and even the traffic seems to have disappeared. We begin to get lost in this neighborhood, wandering around the streets and avenues and watching the people who live there. Here the tourists have not yet arrived, if not a few people, recalled by the designer shops located on Madison Avenue. Most of the passers-by we meet are locals, very far from the snobbish TV series characters, who “should” live in this neighborhood!
We then resume the 5th Avenue, at 64th Street, and, almost casually, we come across the Central Park Zoo and decide to stop nearby on a bench to relax and recharge with a black singer who sings a cappella di background!
Ok … we recovered a little, we can start again! We continue our journey on 5th Avenue to return to THE GULLIVANT TIMES SQUARE. The part that borders Central Park is still full of beautiful mansions overlooking the Park, but as soon as you reach the end of the park, on the Grand Army Plaza, the road changes. It takes the look of the famous 5th Avenue that we all know for high-fashion stores and famous brands all over the world!
Shortly thereafter, we pass in front of the Trump Tower in New York, which is now guarded as a military base. Outside the main entrance there are no regular policemen to guard, but giants of 2 meters in military outfit with helmet, bulletproof vest and automatic weapons. It makes a little effect to see them popping up among the tourists who come out with the full bags from the designer shops, but we understand why they are out there.
As we descend, we decide to go and see the MoMa (Museum of Modern Art). The legs begin to feel the effects of walking and unfortunately we are not very educated, so we decide to see it only from the outside. So, we get back on the 5th Avenue and, 3 blocks further south, we also stop at the Rockefeller Center. We can’t not see it at least from the outside !!
A real New York Dinner!
Finally, destroyed, we return to the hotel! Just enough time to rest your legs an hour, take a regenerating shower, and come out again! This time, however, just to have dinner. We are too tired to even want to go another way … so we look for something in the area. So, a little later, we come across Gallaghers Steakhouse almost by accident. (We only found out later that it is a starred restaurant and also finished in the Michelin Guide 2016).
We have been conquered by the visible cold room with the T-Bone Steak in full view. We enter and we immediately understand that the cold room is a bit all the local … there will be 15 degrees !! It’s very cold and we’re not equipped !! Let’s take a mediocre Steak Tartarre and an excellent Rib Eye New York. However, the cold does not make us fully appreciate the dinner and the bill is also exaggerated with respect to the quality of the service.
When we leave the premises, we thank that there are almost 30 degrees outside, useful for resuming sensitivity! Now it’s time to go and rest to get ready for another day!!