‘Try walking around aimlessly’, my husband encouraged me. I was getting super restless trying to do what he was telling me because I am a woman who sticks to a plan and with no plan, well, I don’t know what to do.
We came to New York for the weekend and from the chats I had with Tanveer, it looked like he had planned the trip and had things under control! Sigh. Talk about miscommunication already! But to give him some credit, that weekend in New York he had in mind turned out to be the best one day in New York I had!
Well, firstly, we discovered this app called ‘HotelTonight‘ whose customer focus is entirely on people like my husband who makes up ‘plans’ within a five minute time frame. This app provides good hotels at throwaway prices for last minute bookings on the same day. Instead of staying at a friends’s place, we booked the hotel ‘Affinia Shelburne‘ literally at 11:30 PM, and checked in before midnight. For the price we paid, the room we got was a steal- a huge living room, a dining hall, a small kitchenette and a bathroom of my dreams.
The next day since we had nothing planned, like any other tourist, we decided to walk to Times Square. I am sure, even the best of my plans & checklists would never have given us a great time like what we had during our 5 hour walk to Times Square. Yes, the 15 minutes became 5 hours because we stopped and savored every place along the way and I had tasted all kinds of New York by then!
Cosi: A self proclaimed organic restaurant using age old recipes with a modern outlook. We ignored that and ordered a regular cappuccino and some wraps. The wraps were too skinny and we finished them in two bites. It costed us $20.Period.
There was a 99c pizza place right opposite the street run by an Indian. Tanveer is still guilt-ridden for not going there.
Croque: Still in the need for some good food that we could call breakfast, we entered Croque. I don’t want to sound too weird, but it did have a very very delicious vibe. A cute tiny place (that fits the description of anything amazing in my head), with freshly baked goods and some amazing sandwiches. We had a croissant that melted mostly in my mouth and something called Mr. George. Apologies for the half-eaten picture. It was yummy.
As a good travel blogger, I went across the street to click some pictures and noticed a comic book store upstairs. See up?
We went in to see how geeks like Sheldon and girls like Penny would feel inside the store (characters of Big Bang Theory if in case you live on the other side of the world), but instead, saw a place filled with families and kids crying for some super hero tee-shirts. Warm and fuzzy I felt upstairs. I tried to read some books in the farthest corner of the shop, trying not to get caught, just to see if I ever will be interested but fortunately nothing caught my eye.
Utsav: We kept walking and saw a very colorful sign pointing us to a fancy Indian restaurant called ‘Utsav’. Now, at this point, I need to tell you more about Tanveer. He is a person who will only eat ‘desi’ food even in between a nuclear war. He will research and google and find out all places where he can feed himself some yummy ‘Dal Makhani’. So needless to say, we walked right inside and without a reservation, we got a nice table. The lady must have sensed the urgency in Tanveer’s face; good that she offered us a table and did not piss him off. I do not want to think about what could have happened.
I must say, the place was very very crowded, may be because of the all-you-can-eat buffet for $21. There was a long line just to get the plates and the line went out of the restaurant! Talk about fine dining! We ordered a plate of Biryani and lassi for ourselves and feasted. The waiter who took our order spoke to us in Hindi and that was the maximum Hindi I have heard in the last 2 months since reaching the U.S.
We walked a little ahead and realized that we have reached Times Square! Walking around, accidentally photobombing other’s pictures, I was thoroughly enjoying myself!
By now, Tanveer was sleepy and tired and cold and I took him to M&M World to cheer him up and to got a bunch of chocolates to wake him up.
2 more cappuccinos at the nearest Starbucks and we both were done. In fact, Tanveer was so done with New York that he cancelled the entire weekend plan of staying with his friends and decided to head back home.
Our taxi driver who took us to Grand Central, needless to say, another Indian, was talking to us in Hindi like he found a long lost companion in Tanveer. I know about his family, his likes and dislikes and hobbies now. God bless him because I felt very good listening to all the Hindi I could.
One quick click at Grand Central and we ran to catch the almost moving train to New Haven thus having our own DDLJ like movie ending. (DDLJ=Bollywood movie)
I must say, not having a plan works out sometimes. SOMETIMES!