Day 362: City Love

View of NYC street from High Line

Get ready, folks. This post of 43 photos may exhaust you—yet also blow your mind. 😉

This morning, I woke up feeling so much better. And by better, I mean not ridiculously full. It meant I was ready. My stomach was ready.

We took the F train back into the city, this time to Chelsea, since I wanted to visit Chelsea Market and the High Line, an elevated freight rail line transformed into a free, public park that runs 1.45 miles long on Manhattan’s West Side. Of course, our first stop in the neighborhood had to be food. My friend and I enjoyed a lovely brunch (don’t hate on brunches) at a highly rated restaurant on 10th Avenue called Cookshop. With an adventurous mentality, I ordered a Bloody Mary but then opted for a somewhat healthier option of an omelette, rather than my almost-instinctive choice of either French toast or pancakes.

I was moderately satisfied, because when you know you could have indulged on unhealthier but tastier items, your satisfaction level can’t be 100 percent. But I made the justification that I would be eating for the rest of the day and already pigged out the day before, so really, this was a good choice. Wow, what a hard life, huh.

Then comes the “We feel so full and guilty that we must walk some of this off before going to eat more” feeling. This feeling was briefly forgotten, as the beauty and excitement of walking on the High Line stole my attention. So many opportunities for #ART. I LOVED it. Make sure you click through this gallery for larger-sized photos to see what made me just so, so happy.

Next up: Chelsea Market. I could live here very happily. Despite the insane crowds that made simply walking inside this food haven a challenge, the abundance of FOOD made me fall in love. It reminded me of an infinitely better version of Quincy Market in Boston. Driven by a friend’s suggestion, we sought out the Doughnuttery (click if you dare—try not to drool), a small shop that sells delectable, freshly made mini donuts. We got 6 for $6. For $1 a piece, it was quite pricy but hey, we were tourists. The experience was worth it.

And because we’re fat and our sweet tooth is insanely large and needy, we found ourselves enjoying amazing gelato afterward.

Feeling the #fatass effects, we made our way out of the market and walked. And walked.

Amusing sight while walking in NYC
Just lol.

We eventually found ourselves at Union Square Park and sat on a bench, observing passersby and chatting—while our poor digestive systems worked hard to process the yummy but terribly unhealthy NYC food we had consumed these past two days.

Chilling at Union Square Park NYC
Chilling at Union Square Park NYC.

Maybe two hours or so pass, when I desperately needed to find a place to charge my phone—for the other food photography later in the day, of course. Refusing to go to the boring chain that is Starbucks but somehow still craving something to drink, I made the amazing discovery that Saint Alps Teahouse was less than a 10-minute walk from where we were.

When I was here over Thanksgiving, Saint Alps made me fall in love with sesame boba. Since I kept raving about it, my friend ordered that, while I tried the peanut butter milk tea, which was nothing short of amazing.

Peanut butter milk tea from Saints Alp Teahouse in NYC
Peanut butter milk tea from Saints Alp Teahouse, my favorite place for sit-down boba.

As if we weren’t ridiculously indulgent already, by 5, we made our way to meet up a friend at Momofoku Noodle Bar. Dinner service doesn’t begin until 5:30, but by 5:10, a long line was already forming. #NYC

Pork buns from Momofoku Noodle Bar in NYC
The famous pork buns ❤
Spicy miso ramen with poached egg at Momofoku Noodle Bar
Spicy miso ramen with poached egg at Momofoku Noodle Bar.

I could only handle eating about half of my bowl of ramen (my belly can only handle so much), but I can assure you the chicken was among the best chicken I have ever tasted. I was also in awe to see the entire restaurant fill up within minutes of opening. Amazing. Great job, David Chang.

I wish I could say the return home went smoothly, but I had the most uncomfortable experience on the Amtrak back, which I promptly narrated on Facebook. I’ll copy it below, with paragraphs added to prevent a potential mental breakdown, since you somehow made it through this crazy long post (thank you!), but know that this was like a stream-of-consciousness, in-the-moment rant:

Oh, my gosh. I don’t think I’ve ever been in such an awkward and potentially dangerous scenario in my life. While updating my Instagram profile description (AKA doing important things) on an Amtrak back home, a man who reeks of alcohol sits in the empty seat next to me. When the conductor comes by to ask for his ticket, the man asks if he can buy one. $153, the conductor says. The man proceeds to hand him a crumpled bunch of bills, to which the conductor says, “…I can’t accept that.” The man mumbles something about stopping at the next station to “get cash.” The nice conductor says he can do that and then leaves. The man then reaches into his black plastic bag and opens a large can of beer and begins drinking.

Soon enough, he leans over, asks if I want some, and asks for my name. I had paused my music way back when this whole interaction began with the conductor and had yet to play my music again, but I pretend to have trouble hearing as he repeats his question, the strong stench of alcohol wafting my way. Despite considering giving him a fake name, I tell him my real one. Probably having had experience with people like me, he replies, “Thanks for giving me a fake name. I know it’s not Sonia.” Common sense told me not to argue with him, as I wonder how long it would be until the next stop.

A few moments pass. He then starts rambling about wanting to be the president of the United States, having escaped Ecuador. At this point, I’ve already started playing my music again so I really did have trouble hearing. His slurred speech didn’t help. But then I hear something about him wanting to “kill all the *mumblemumble.*” I feel my eyes widening ever so slightly and literally shout internally, “Holy crap.” He drinks some more.

More now-terrifying moments pass. He slurs, “…you so beautiful?” What? “Wh-mumble-you’re so beautiful?” When is this train going to stop?! Twitter. Let’s scroll through some tweets. Occupy myself. “Do you hear me?” I nod silently. Wait, should I have nodded? An agonizingly long time passes until an announcement comes on. FINALLY. “Thanks for ignoring(?) me,” he repeats. Maybe he said listening. Who knows what he said. “I sat next to you because I want to be(?) you(?)/be next to you(?)” Too scared. Too confused at this point. “Goodbye.” “Bye,” I say.

The train comes to a stop. He quite literally stumbles his way up and out. Oh. My. God. I glance around to the passengers across from me. Asleep. Couldn’t even give anyone that look of, “What. The. Hell.” My seat remains empty.

And now, I have less than a week before I pack up, experience the awesomeness that is CES in Vegas, and then have more crazy adventures in the Carribean until my last semester of college begins!