NYC Trip, Day Two: Hipsters and A Taste of the Holidays

Waking up this morning felt more natural, particularly because I am now caught up on my sleep. Hopefully by tomorrow I’ll get on track with the East Coast time zone.

Around noon, Adrianne and Mindy came to pick me up. We took the subway over to Williamsburg to check out the shopping there. It’s a little community in Brooklyn that has turned into more of a hipster-friendly and indie-music-supporting section of New York. Mixed in with the older buildings were very nice and chic new complexes, and older shops have transformed into restaurants or clothing boutiques. It’s an adorable little area.

We were hungry before shopping so we grabbed a bite at Second Stop Cafe. Apparently it was prime cafe hours because seating was sparse. By the time our food was ready, we’d managed to snag a table. We’d all originally ordered caprese sandwiches, but they were out of mozzarella so we ended up with these yummy sandwiches of brie, green apple, and ham on ciabatta bread. So delicious. A latté on the side and lots of catch-up chat, it was a perfect midday meal.

We walked up and down a few streets until we found this very tiny but very cute little vintage shop, The Grand St. Bakery. We unknowingly walked past it a few times because it still has the original signs up from when the space used to be a bakery. They had sweaters and boots and records and tshirts stacked and hung all the way to the ceiling. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular but managed to stumble upon an old San Diego crewneck sweatshirt. I’m guessing it’s from the early-80’s, but minus the obvious worn-in look to it, it’s in perfect condition and I couldn’t pass it up. We chatted with the sales associate and she suggested a few other vintage/thrift stores down the road. Of course we made a few wrong turns on our way, but we were finally able to find both of the places she’d recommended. The first was 10 Ft. Single and I could not even handle how many clothes were in that place. There were vintage rock band tshirts hanging from every inch of the ceiling and walls. Practically every other item of clothing was bright and fluorescent on the racks. And sequins! So many sequins! I loved it, but didn’t find anything I couldn’t live without. Our last and final stop was Beacon Closet, a Buffalo Exchange-esque store. The place was massive and packed. All of the clothes were organized by color, which made for easy findings. At this particular point, I was growing more concerned about getting into Manhattan for the Christmas Spectacular show and didn’t pay close attention to the clothes, but if I’m able to make it back to Williamsburg this week I will certainly be focused on the shopping.

We snagged a taxi and Adrianne and Mindy were dropped off at their car and I continued on in the taxi into Manhattan. We crossed the Brooklyn Bridge right as the sun was sinking and it made the city windows sparkle. I was lucky and had the sweetest and friendliest cab driver. He pointed out every monument and landmark to me and told me all about growing up and living in Brooklyn. And he got me to Radio City Music Hall right on time for the show. I met up with Jackie and her lovely family and we enjoyed a nice long performance by the Rockettes. I vaguely remember seeing that show when I was younger. It all felt brand new to me and it definitely put me into the Christmas spirit. Radio City is such a gorgeous venue and I was in a daze looking over all of the lights in the lobby after the show.

We made a quick spin to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree lit up. It was massive and stunning and amazing. The crowd there was so packed you had to shuffle your way through, but I loved every second of being there.

I hopped on the subway back to Brooklyn. One stop before mine, a Hispanic man with a guitar got onto our train and began to serenade the lot of subway riders. Just another little reminder to be impulsive and not to take life so seriously. Off the subway, I walked the few more blocks to the house where I enjoyed some leftover Chinese food and watched Source Code. Not the best movie, but it was nice to look at Jake Gyllenhall for a couple of hours.

It was so good to catch up with old friends and to spend time with new ones. I’ve also made a full realization that I truly thrive in the city. Maybe it’s the season or maybe it’s the privilege to be in NYC, but I’ve been so happy these past two days. I love the life in this city and I love how inspired I am by everyone and everything I see. I love that I can feel a full range of emotions every day: the stress of rushing to catch the next train or the excitement to see something new. NYC has a hold on my heart strings. It might be tougher than expected to have to say goodbye to this amazing place next week.

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