I don't just like things to be awesome. I need them to be awesomer--more awesome. I appreciate people, places and things with character. A story. Ambiance. Aesthetics is extremely important to me. It's the nuances and idiosyncrasies of people, places and things that give them depth and make them memorable. Basically, I like any nouns I encounter to be memorable.
This is the mindset I had while planning a weekend visit to New York. I wanted to create a trip that had my name written all over it. Like, I would tell people what I did and their response would be, "Yeah, that sound like some -ish YOU would like, Sandi!" I've been to New York quite a few times, so it wasn't hugely important to do all the touristy stuff. I just wanted to do me. And I did.
Here is my list of three things (because three is one of my favorite numbers) that were authentically awesomer about my New York trip with the mister:
Figuring out where to stay really gave me the flux at first. The easy part was knowing where I didn't want to stay. I had no desire to stay at a big name, cookie cutter hotel. Staying at the Marriott didn't scream "VACATION" to me. I can hop on a train and stay at a Marriott now. Like, right now. I wanted to do something different. Thus came the hard part: figuring out where I did want to stay.
I know some folks will argue that it shouldn't really matter about the hotel because the plan shouldn't be to spend a lot of time holed up in a hotel room. In my opinion, the room definitely has some importance because I plan to spend a reasonable chunk of time in it since I'm paying for it. It's especially important if my trip is all about relaxing. I do enough ripping and running when I'm in Chicago; it's nice to enjoy a room with a view and various amenities for a change.
My hours and hours and hours of research put me on the path to researching boutique hotels--smaller-sized hotels that tend to specialize in ambiance and "the personal touch". New York has quite a few boutique hotels, which opened up a whole 'nother can of worms because I had to figure out what part of town I wanted to stay in. Do I do SoHo? Brooklyn? It's hard to really know when everything sounds equally good on paper.
I got pretty frustrated, but somehow I stumbled on to a link for The Library Hotel. It was like God dropped this gem right in my lap! It's writer/bookworm/nerd nirvanna. The Library Hotel is a 10-floor, 60 guestrooms hotel in Midtown with a library theme! Each floor is dedicated to one of the 10 major categories of the Dewey Decimal System. How awesome is that?!
As if that wasn't enough, complimentary refreshments are available 24 hours a day, including their wine and cheese receptions in the "Reading Room" every night 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. There were books everywhere, a 14th floor rooftop "Poetry Garden" with an amazing view, free wireless Internet (including complimentary use of their computer room) and the hotel sits around the corner from Central Station, so it was extremely easy to get everywhere we wanted to go and we never had to worry about getting lost. (Note: Unfortuantely, I did not see Rhianna shoot a man down in front of big old crowd, but Central Station was still great.)
The staff was very welcoming and even after checking out, we still had access to the wine and cheese later that night before catching the flight home. I'd definitely stay here again.
Seeing a Broadway show wasn't on my original To Do list, but it's hard to leave NY without seeing one. We waited in line for discount tickets from TKTS for about an hour, but ended up snagging some pretty decent seats. There were some annoying ladies sitting behind us who cursed their luck having to sit behind me and my head 'o hair (it was up in a bun, which isn't very theater friendly), but I still managed to enjoy the show. The production is pretty true to the movie, so we laughed a lot, but what made the show awesomer for me was that the lead actress, Patina Miller, made her Broadway debut in this show. I think it's pretty cool seeing people live out their dreams and to be a part of it in some small way is an extra bonus. I'm sure Patina Miller is a name we'll be hearing a lot more about in the future.
Note: I think I overlooked this in the film, but in the stage production the themes of sisterhood, "finding your voice" and "living out loud" were really pronounced to me.
I had to do two things before I left New York: Spend a day in Brooklyn and get some Soul Food. Thankfully, we stumbled upon SoCo, an amazing spot in BK on Myrtle Ave. We actually found this restaurant in passing on our way to another restaurant we found online. The original destination looked wack, so we backtracked to SoCo and it was a winner. We opened the door and were greeted by the sound of Bernard Wright's one-hit wonder R & B classic, "Who Do You Love." They had a DJ spinning! Definitely had ME at hello!
The vibe was soulful, lots of patrons with natural hair and the food was so good I'm writing abou it. I had pecan-crusted pork chops, cornbread, mashed sweet potatoes and braised greens. I have a habit of humming when I eat, so the music mixed with that good food had me doing a sway in my seat. I'm STILL thinking about that food...
I need them to bring that SOuthern COmfort to Chicago ASAP!
I don't know about you, but I'M inspired to plan my next awesomer getaway! Can't wait to see what I discover next :-)