This trip was to celebrate Father’s Day with our daughter, who has recently moved into the city. I grew up in Rutherford, NJ and met my husband in East Rutherford so we are both pretty familiar with the city. We spent a lot of time there while dating and when we were first married, since there were so many things to do and see and much of it was perfectly free!

Things haven’t changed; you can still spend a little or you can spend a lot-NYC is there for everyone, whatever means you have.

We left State College, PA around noon and didn’t get to the Lincoln Tunnel until 5pm, so it was slow getting into the tunnel. Once we were in the tunnel it moved along steadily and was not too bad at all!

We were starved and my daughter recommended we kick off our weekend with dinner at Pio Pio 6, 94th and Amsterdam, known for their rotisserie chicken. First things first, we ordered a pitcher of red Sangria (very light & a little too sweet, with tiny chunks of green apple) and the Limeño Ceviche, a raw seafood dish. I’ve had ceviche a few times before but was never a big fan. THIS however, was really delicious, so even if you didn’t enjoy it the first time, try it again!

Ceviche at Pio Pio 6

We then ordered Juanita’s whole chicken, maduros (fried, sweet plantain) and fried yucca. The chicken was tender & delicious, the maduros succulent. The fried yucca was yucky (no pun intended). We had enjoyed fried yucca in Costa Rica and it was a whole different thing-tender & delicious. So, don’t judge yucca on the yucca served at Pio Pio 6. We had no room for dessert but I later regretted not trying the Tres Leches Cake.

We walked the neighborhood a bit and then walked down to Riverside Park along a stretch of the Hudson river. There is a beautiful, lighted path that we strolled along and we watched the sunset. We called it a night by 10pm in preparation for Saturday’s plan to walk Greenwich village.

Operatic performer on our walk home from dinner.

We didn’t ride the subway much when we were younger. We usually drove in and became expert parallel parkers, squeezing into any size parking space we found. Since moving there, my daughter has been riding the train everywhere (no car), so we wanted to do the same and headed for the train.

First time on the subway in many years.

Getting on the subway was easy. You tap your credit card at the turnstile and get a “go” signal to go through. Its $2.75 per ride no matter what your destination is, so its a real bargain vs. a cab or Uber. The route downtown was pretty simple so this was a great first trip. This is not to say that every trip is as easy. On our return trip the following day they threw us a curve when they suddenly made our train an express, which would bring us several blocks north of where we wanted to go. Taraneh warned that they do that from time to time. If you are on a newer train there is a nice display that tells you where you are and shows all of the stops ahead. On the old trains you have to try to hear what the conductor is saying which is like trying to hear what a pilot is saying while you are flying…

Easy to follow display lets you know what stops are next!

Anyway, the train experience is not as bad as you imagine it and not as good as it could be. The amazing thing is that everyone is on it.. families with babies in strollers, first dates, working people and others you can’t easily describe. It’s a sort of marvel to see that so many people can be so close together and follow an unwritten code: Allow people their personal space, don’t stare (there are opportunities), let someone older take your seat (it does happen) make an occasional joke about a comical circumstance…it all happens on the subway, millions of people, every day. Amazing.

We got off of the train and into West Village. After walking awhile we needed refreshment. Smoothies at this stop were tasty and did the trick.

Delicious smoothies!

As we walked, we came across a brownstone on Perry street where several women were taking photos outside. Turned out this was “Sex in the City” character Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment in the show. Taraneh is a big fan of the show, so we took a photo. “Real” people live there now, so a sign posted on the stairs asks devotees to be respectful of them.

Sex in the City devotees take photos outside of
character Carrie Bradshaw’s house.

Next up we happened to walk past Arthur’s Tavern on Perry Street. This was the spot where friends and I would stop to listen to Mabel Godwin and other jazz musicians. It has a rich history, so check it out!

Arthur’s Tavern, a speakeasy where jazz greats performed.

We had a reservation at Thai Diner later but had worked up a thirst and stopped at Mother’s Ruin, a cute local bar on Spring Street, with friendly service and we enjoyed the Blue Point toasted lager, Second City gin cocktail and Rag Tag Drag cocktail-all good!

Taraneh is a real foodie and while we enjoyed our drinks Taraneh spotted Alex Delaney, a well known bon appetit chef with Emily Schultz (also at bon appetit) visiting a pop up clothing brand event across the street.

Taraneh spotting some of her favorite bon appetit celebs!

She ran across the street to tell them how much she loves them and they got a photo together. She said they were very friendly and fun!

Alex Delaney & Emily Schultz from bon appetit with Taraneh!

While she was there I began watching the classy gentleman who was the gatekeeper for the same popup event. Normally a person in this position is judging people he thinks have the looks & the means to purchase.

As I watched, I noticed that this man, who was so stylish, was courteous and friendly to everyone passing by, answering questions and not the least bit a snob. Once Taraneh got back I headed over there myself to tell him how terrific he was. Unbeknownst to me, Taraneh filmed this so I took a few snapshots from the video to share.

Explaining my appreciation for his approach to his job!
I swear, he was the one that said “Give me a hug!”

My Dad always expressed appreciation for people when they impressed him by doing a good job, so I have a great model to follow. I think I made this guy’s day and his boss showed up as we were hugging so I got to tell him too! 🙂

On our way: The pandemic allowed most restaurants to increase capacity by spilling out into the street. We passed so many that really took it up a notch with designs that were inviting. We saw many; here are two!

Wayan Restaurant has zen like outdoor venue.
Tio Pepe also has an adorable outdoor venue

On to dinner at Thai Diner on Mott Street. If you like Thai food you will love this place. The food was spicy but really good.

Khao Soi At Thai Diner – so good! Also enjoyed the stuffed cabbage.
Clams Nam Yaa – Spicy goodness!

We headed back on the train around 6pm so Taraneh could attend a neighborhood party. Parv and I were done for the day (too many steps).

The next morning we headed to Washington Square Park to enjoy the great weather and people watching. Chess players were all along the entrance of the park, there was a family playground and then the iconic marble arch.

THE CAGEWest 4th Street amateur (but very serious) basketball.

Please don’t judge me: Taraneh had gotten me a gift certificate for Mother’s Day at Perry Street Reflexology, NY and we tried to book my appointment while there for the weekend. Sunday (I know, Father’s Day), was the only day available. Parv was a real sport and told me to go, so I did! I’d never had a reflexology session before…it was a wonderfully relaxing & rejuvenating experience. While I was there Taraneh & Parv went to Allbirds for his Father’s Day gift, so our feet came away feeling good!

Allbirds kept Dad smiling all day!

As you might have noticed from my trip blogs, it’s mainly about the food:) The corner Italian cafe Sogno Toscana delivers on their promise to be “A True Italian Experience Recreated in New York. Our waiter was Italian, so that completed the experience. Highly recommend this spot!

Sogno Toscana – An authentic Tuscan cafe in NYC’s West Village.

We walked back to Washington Square Park to relax and enjoy the music and people watching there. This guy belted out “One is the loneliest” by Three Dog Night on a piano, playing for tips.

Washington Square Park musician performing for tips

Taraneh planned a special Father’s Day dinner for us at Sofreh in Brooklyn, so we got back on the subway and strolled around Prospect Heights for a bit. The restaurant has a clean, modern vibe and menu is based on Persian classic dishes with a twist.

Persian Herb & Noodle Stew
Eggplant and Whey Dip
Rose Custard for dessert- delicious!
Saffron Rice Pudding
Taraneh and Papa Ansari

We met up with Taraneh’s friend Emily and started walking over the Brooklyn Bridge! The construction of it between 1869 and 1883 is truly fascinating! To stand on the bridge is to appreciate this engineering feat!

Closing out the weekend on the Brooklyn Bridge!
Tired but happy travelers!

Trip ups and Tips:

-Wear comfy shoes.

-Take advantage of any opportunity to use a clean restroom 🙂

-Don’t believe what they say about New Yorkers. Most of them are really great and will help you out if you ask.

-Make two different itineraries based on weather. We lucked out with great weather but if it had been raining, we would have needed a whole other game plan.

-There are lots of ways to spend money in NY. We had a place to stay and took the subway, so we spent ours on food and had few other expenses besides the subway. A different trip might be to visit museums or see a show and then you can plan to eat at food trucks or more affordable restaurant options to offset that cost.

-On this trip we set out to revisit the Greenwich Village area but there are tons of other areas to explore – hope to bring those to you in future posts.


5 responses to “New York City”

  1. Hey Amy, another great read. Especially loved so many of your stops.
    I’ve been to several Pio Pio’s through the years & all of the ceviches are always spot on & Oh The Roast Chicken!!!!
    Thai Diner is always a winner- Great choice!!
    Seeing Alex & Emily was a Big Bonus sighting (we are huge fans)
    I’m not sure if id ever had a trip that didn’t include hanging in Washington Sq Pk. always something amazing to see, hear, witness.
    Thanks for the memory Jog of “The Cage”….another Chef from Le Cirque & I used to “run” there back in the day. very serious hoops.
    I discovered Reflexology while in Seoul & Tokyo & it truly changed my life. “No pain, no Gain”.
    &&&&& I noticed your HOKA’s – they to changed my life.
    Brava Amy!!! Ill look forward to your next adventure.


    • Hi Tim-I replied earlier but not sure it’s listed as pending so I’m replying again.
      Thanks for reading and for your thoughts – I’m glad some of the spots we visited brought you down memory lane!


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