30th Birthday in the Big Apple: New York Part 1

Now that it’s in writing I guess I am officially 30! I’ve said it out loud plenty over the last month but this must be the first time I’ve actually typed it out because it looks so old  odd!

Robert’s family always makes a big deal out of celebrating birthdays and I am lucky that he has passed that on and makes sure that I feel special and celebrated each year. I met Robert a few months shy of my 21st birthday. We hadn’t had the DTR (defining the relationship) talk before I left for Las Vegas with my girlfriends to celebrate finally being legal. Upon checking into our hotel I learned that Robert had surprised me with a day at the hotel spa the morning after I turned 21. It was such a thoughtful gift and I returned from that trip with an “official boyfriend”. It also kicked off a long line of very sweet and special birthdays (except for the one fluke year where he forgot to get me a card and we ate McDonalds for lunch…but we don’t talk about that 😉 and this year was no exception.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, dinner with friends is always nice and a party (while pregnant) didn’t sound too fun so we decided to take a trip. I hadn’t been to New York City in years and Robert hadn’t been since he was in middle school so we decided it would make for a perfect long weekend. In true crazy planner fashion I started our itinerary right away. There were LOTS of sights I wanted to see, but more so there were LOTS of places I wanted to eat (I mean what else is a pregnant girl supposed to look forward to on vacation?). If you are planning a trip to the city I highly recommend you start following a few NYC Food Instagram accounts but prepare for your mouth to water.

PSP 4

We flew out on Thursday and arrived in NYC around noon, just in time for lunch! Of everything I wanted to try, I was the most excited about trying soup dumplings or Xiao Long Bao. I tried a giant soup dumpling once when I was in China but couldn’t wait to try the cute little ones I’d seen all over instagram (and that aren’t available in any restraurants anywhere near where I live 😦

Pinch

We wet to Pinch Chinese on Prince Street, a menu I had scoped out well ahead of time and couldn’t wait to order one of everything from. Much to my dismay, they weren’t serving the snow crab over glass noodles for lunch, so we opted for pork soup dumplings, beef pan fried dumplings and Shrimp and Pork Wontons which come in the most delicious broth. EVERYTHING was delicious, highly recommend, A+++. Everything we didn’t order that I saw others around us eating looked delicious too. If we return to NYC anytime soon we will definitely be making another visit to Pinch, preferably at dinner so I can get my hands on those crab noodles.

Soup Dumpling 2
The cutest little soup dumpling you ever did see
Making dumplings
Loved Watching this guy handroll each dumpling!

After lunch we walked around Nolita (Soho? The boroughs confuse me) and browsed through a few shops before stopping at Milk Bar for dessert.

This was another instagram discovery that I had been dying to try for a while. Robert and I both got cereal milk soft serve with sprinkles and crunch.

Milk Bar Ice Cream

Unlike the soup dumplings, I found my expectations for the cereal milk ice cream were a little too high. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t nearly as sweet as I was expecting it to be. They must use the cereal milk from cornflakes instead of frosted flakes. I also felt like our server was a little chintzy with the toppings. I was happy to see that as I got to the bottom of my cup (because even just OK ice cream is worth finishing) she had poured extra toppings in the bottom, apparently before she added the soft serve, nice touch but if I returned I would try a bakery item instead. Oh well, can’t win them all!

Memorial 3

We left Milk Bar and walked to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. I visited NYC in 2002 when the memorial was literally just a huge hole in the ground, so I was anxious to experience it again all these years later.

9-11 Memorial

The large water feature of the memorial itself is really beautiful, although of course completely heartbreaking. People leave flowers and tiny flags in the names of the victims carved into the panels. Seeing several names of women along with their unborn children struck a particular chord and was enough to bring me to tears.

Memorial 2

Much like the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, the 9/11 Museum is very well done. It is a mixture of artifacts, memorials to the victims, art installations, videos and photography. Robert and I spent hours there and probably could have stayed even longer than we did. We left feeling quite heavy, but so glad that we experienced it.

It was well into dinner time by the time we left the museum so we walked back towards Prince Street and stopped at Prince St. Pizza, a hole in the wall, no tables kind of place. We waited in a quickly moving line and ordered two slices each.

Robert opted for double square pepperoni (what they are known for) while I got one of those and a slice of Margherita.

PSP 3

SO good! It’s impossible to choose when it comes to pizza in NYC because there are so many delicious options but I would definitely recommend a stop here. Be forewarned that there is no seating and only enough room at the side counter for maybe two people to stand and eat so be prepared to take it outside or to go. We decided to end our day by taking the subway back to Times Square and our hotel. Robert’s first subway ride!!

NYC Subways are not the easiest to navigate (for me at least) but they are SO much cheaper and faster than taking a taxi or an Uber. I mostly relied on friendly locals (you may have to ask a few before finding one of these) to help.

We ended the evening in Times Square, watching breakdance troupes and the other colorful performers before deciding it was time to call it a night. A first day in New York City very well spent!

Times Square

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