Decided to take a spontaneous trip to New York and Montreal in November of 2014. I was nervous and excited initially, but it surpassed any and all expectations!
Since hotels in Manhattan seem to be around the $250+ per night range, Fortunately I ended up crashing on my friend Anya's livingroom floor in her Brooklyn Apartment. She moved to New York from Saskatoon to pursue her Masters in art.
November 11, 2014:
Day 1 breakfast was at a place called Choice (a great Brooklyn area breakfast stop). Brooklyn is alsoy a great area to stay! From there I ended up wandering around the Dumbo area of Brooklyn taking pictures. I crossed the bridge and made it into the financial district. Made it to the memorial statues - you have to see them in real life to fully grasp it.
Headed down to Broad St - saw "the Bull" and the New York Stock Exchange. Headed up through China town area to a cafe I wanted to check out (no longer existed) so had a pint at the Malt and Mold -great! From there headed up to Orst Cafe (amazing espresso). After that, checked out the Pickle Guys (they seem to pickle literally anything. Another cafe I wanted to check out was Blue Bird up in the East Village so made my way up there.
For dinner I took a recommendation from a co-worker to try Mighty Qunn's. As he had suggested they had unreal pulled pork. UNREAL!
November 12, 2014:
Took the subway to Manhattan and wandered through some shops on 5th Ave, then around Madison Park. Found a little cafe called Birch. Got there at the right time as it got ridiculously busy moments later!
Randomly made a decision to go to the Museum of Sex. Not really worth the cash, but does provide a story I suppose.
I met up with Anya for dinner at Vanessa's a dumpling place - so good! From there there we went to grab a drink at Dudley's before heading to watch Close Talker at Pianos. Made it there in time to watch the Dead South's last two songs. Very surreal to watch the Young Benjamins play in New York, and even crazier to watch Chris and Close Talker. My freind Nerie, who I've known online for years made it out to the show. Awesome to meet her in person!
November 13, 2014:
Met up with the boys at the Brooklyn Bridge and headed to the Iris Cafe in South Brooklyn for brunch. On the way there we walked along the side of an industrial road, but on the way back we walked along the water and pier area. What a view of Manhattan from there!
After saying goodbye to the guys, I headed p to the Highline - a neat reclaimed section of old above ground rail line. On 23rd St, I wandered in and out of a bunch of galleries. The Chelsea area is definitely gentrified: lots of new buildings and condos, that are probably insanely expensive
One gallery I checked out in the Chelsea area had Picaso pieces of his second wife, Juliette. Following my adventures in Chelsea, I walked uptown to Penn Station. Never realized that it was attached to Madison Square Garden. Right across the street is a huge US Post Office building. Made my way from there upt to the Empire State Builidng. Acroos from there is Papaya Dogs -not the best hot dog, I've ever had, but pretty good!
Headed north from there to 30 Rockerfeller Plaza. It was neat to see the building in real life, and even better to see it near Christmas time. The Christmas tree, althought still in construction mode, is immaculate. It was a quick jaunt from there to Radio City Hall and Central Park. Already dark, there wasn;t much point in wandering around, so headed to Williamsburg.
In Willaimsburg, had a killer pizza at Oregano, before going to watch Close Talker for the second night in a row at Spike Hill; a great sounding room! After the show I worked the merch table for a bit, before waiting until the guys were ready to pack up. We grabbed the most amazing tacos from a food truck and then headed over to Cameo (similar to Pianos). The music venue(s) are in the back of the bar in a separate, paid entrance room; makes for pretty good space! We watched High Ends, an amazing super group made up of Yukon Blonde, and Lady Hawk. It was a late night, but fun!
November 14, 2014
Started the day out in Willamsburg wandering around and taking pictures. It's a chill, hip area which reminds me of Saskatoon' s Broadway area. or Bloor St. in Toronto. My favourite streets seemed to be Bedford and Berry. My destination for breakfast was Egg (amazing), which is next to Mast Brothers (some of the best chocolate I've ever had!).
After breakfast I headed to Bakeri Cafe, a small quaint place, really good spro! I took a walk along the water to see another good view of Manhattan. It was awesome wandering Williamsburg taking photos. After that I headed to MoMa. As expected, it was busy, but lots of incredible/famous pieces. There was a Matise cut-out exhibit on . After MoMa, walked around Times Sq -lots of lights and action. Looked into going to a play but they were out of my price range. Maybe next time.
Headed down to the Bowrey Ballroom to watch Canadian bands July Talk, and Rural Alberta Advantage. Awesome venue, and awesome show! RAA's first NYC show was at Piano's so I'm now expecting big things from Close Talker! On my way back to Brooklyn, I stopped in at Veselka (a 24 hour Ukrainian restaurant).
November 15, 2014:
Went for brunch with Matt, Kristen and Anya to Alice's, nearby their place(s). After that headed once again to Central Park. Near the park is the Guggenheim; both an architecturally interesting building inside and out, and a home to fantastic artwork. In addition, it was both cheaper and less busy than MoMa! My favourite pieces were by Piene, Peters and Kandinsky.
After leaving the gallery, walked around Central Park, and thoroughly turned around, happened across the Met. IT'S HUGE!!!! The Egyptian room alone, is probably the size of the Mendel Art Gallery.
For dinner, I took a bus up East Harlem to Tom's Cafe, near Columbia University. Definitely a change in income from one side of the park to the other. Tom's food was nothing at all to write home about, and I'm pretty sure the only reason it's still open is tourism.
November 16, 2014:
Last day in New York! Had a great egg and pancake breakfast at Matt & Kristen's where I spent my last night. Kristen recommended checking out the Brooklyn flea, which was absolutely worth it! Fun to walk around and look at the vintage pieces. Found some great chairs that will provide inspiration for my Certificate in Art and Design project. Following that I walked to Prospect Park. The facade of the Brooklyn Museum looks almost like that of the Met. Brooklyn Botanical Gardens also, look worthwhile, although I cheeped out on the opportunity. Happened across Lincoln Post Office to purchase some postage stamps to mail postcards. Although he's never been out of New York, the owner Dean told me that he attempted to make his store look and feel like a small town shop. I assured him that he'd done a good job!
Grabbed dinner with Matt, Kristen, Anya, Steven and Anya's friedn Julie before heading to my hotel in Hell's Kitchen.
November 17, 2014:
Despite, buying a ticket in advance, and staying almost right across the street from the station, I successfully missed my train to Montreal. Luckily, I was able to book a flight albeit much more expensive than the train. On the bright side I was upgraded to first class!
Once in Montreal, I made it to Valentine's place (an online find).
November 18, 2014:
If my Scout leaders could see me now, they'd take all of my badges away, due to being ill prepared for a winter trip. A light hoodie and rain jacket are no match for a humid, early winter in Montreal. My first stop was Gafe Plue; nice chill place with good coffee and music.
Cafe Plume was really close to Mont Royal - would've walked, but since it was cold, opted for the bus. The top of the mountain, definitely provides a great view of the city.
Made it to the Bell Centre for a Habs/Pittsburgh game. Super cool arena, very similar to the MTS centre. Although it was a Pens blowout, it was great to see Crosby in action. After the game, I met up with Brant and went to Dieu Du Ciel.
November 19, 2014:
Went to Beaubien Bagels for breakfast A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Then headed to the Frank and Oak store front, super cool set-up. They share their space with a barber and a branch of Cafe Neve. On a recommendation, went to Drawn and Quarterly (a sweet bookstore) and Phonopolis (record shop).
For dinner, checked out went to Nouveau for dinner, a sweet little diner - the highlight might have been the sweet potato pie. I thought pumpkin pie was amazing! Later in the evening went to the Upstairs jazz Club to watch a girl perform who was a friend of my friend Sorens. Good sounding room and a very, tight band. Glad I went! On the way home, went to L'Astral and caught the last few songs of Little Scream's set.
November 20, 2014:
Went to L'Avenue for brunch, then wandered into shops along Mont Royal. Made it to Notre Dame Cathedral - the architecture alone is worth the hype. Throughout the day, wandered up through Old Montreal, up past the brewery and pier. Nice view of the river, and watch tower.
November 21, 2014:
Took a long bus ride up to the area of Montreal that my dad went to highschool in. Not, the most exciting trip, but neat to see. Headed back to Montreal proper after that and checked out a few galleries. First was the Canadian Architecture Museum, at which I had a private tour. I also went to the __ Gallery which had VanGough and Kandinsky exhibits(s).
In the evening I went to catch the Close Talker crew at which was in my favour was walking distance from my AirBnB place.
November 22, 2014:
Grabbed a tasty brunch at ___ with Carissa, before wandering around Old Montreal a little bit more. A good, spontaneous, two week trip. Very worth it!