Spring weather in NYC, I learned, can be dreary. I apologize that this post is already sounding sour, but I am used to three hundred days of sunshine. However, the silver linings on this damp cloud are:
1. A fatty broth of slow-cooked ramen is perfect on rainy days
2. And so is getting lost inside world-class museums
3. It is New York and there is an abundance of both #1 and #2! Cartwheels!
Ramen and Other Indulgences
With a mishmash of countless cultures and a population of 8.3 million, with much of that populace possessing discerning taste in food, New York could very well be the center of gastronomy in America. After a long day of sloshing around in the rain, there was no other place to be than at one of the plethora of ramen houses in New York. At the suggestion of a friend, I skipped David Chang's Momofuku and instead chose to slurp at Ippudo. They open at 5pm and not even realizing that my timing was perfect since I rendezvous-ed here with the Dutch at 4:45 PM. There was already a line of groupies forming in the rain, but good thing we got there in time. And that I had an umbrella.
Ippudo opened right at 5PM and since we were about #12 on the queue, we were seated promptly. I had their "Akamaru Modern", a shoyu ramen mystified with a "secret" sauce and was good, if a bit underwhelming. I tried to shush that voice in my head that Katanaya in Union Square, San Francisco, is exponentially better and less hyped up. We also had the hirata buns which are open-faced steam buns with some veggie slices and meat. But yet again, I found those so-so. We did enjoy the atmosphere, however, and the service was pleasant and efficient. (For a list of the best ramen houses in NYC as collated by the New York Times, click here.)
Breakfast: Amy's Bread, 672 9th (between 46th and 47th) for breads and pastries
Happy Hour: Snack EOS, 522 9th Avenue (at 39th) for half off appetizers and drinks
Dinner: Mercato, 352 W 39th (at 9th). Don't miss the straciatella and amazing Italian wines.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
I've been to the Guggenheim three years ago but have never set foot at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This museum just floored me and I must admit that it is because I probably set my expectations too low. I’ve been to Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, and the Smithsonian, so I was unprepared for the gargantuan collection that would startle me here. You really cannot tell from the outside how staggeringly beautiful, massive, and old The Metropolitan Museum of Art is.
If you are planning a visit, let me share some practical advice, if I may.
Don’t get me wrong. I do possess the conviction that everyone has to see New York in their lifetime at least once. Don’t scratch it off your bucket list. It belongs there. It truly does. It is hyper-dimensional and each visit, a layer comes off, then another, then another...
In other words, I will be back.
And no matter. Love it. Hate it. Take it. Leave it. There is still no other place in the world quite like New York.