Bliss at Central Park

The weather joked with us during our stay. Everywhere we went, our first leg was cloudy while the last day would dawn with merry sunshine. Some say the sun was celebrating our departure – I say it wanted us to see the places in every shade it created, clear skies being saved for the last!

Monday was warm with the temperature reaching 60s and the prospect of Central Park was inviting. It is almost a 2 hour train ride from Raritan which we spent catching up on sleep.

The golden hues of Central Park

Rows of yellow, auburn, gold and brown welcomed us into their warmth and we pretty much let our whims guide us as we rambled through the park over bridges, stony formations and tree houses. Deeper and deeper we went, catching glimpses of cyclists, joggers, artists, dreamers and lovers. The diversity represented different parts of the country and perhaps even the globe. Perfect setting for people watching.

We grabbed honey-roasted nuts (for me) and a hot dog (for D). Side note: We make the perfect combination of herbivore (me) and carnivore (him) balancing the gastronomical wants.


Munchies done, we walked down the Mall with elms forming a canopy above us. Artists, jugglers, musicians, couples and children lined the benches as the statues on each side looked at us gravely. The iconic Bethesda Terrace and Fountain opened before us with the dim gush of the water. Boats slipped down the lake, couples kissed at the benches, dogs rambled past and babies crooned at the sight of the cherubs.

We grabbed a place near the lake where the ducks were having breakfast. Timeless were those moments spent sitting there. A couple was posing in their wedding trousseau complete with bow-tied bicycles. The fall colors would have made a perfect picture as they kissed underneath an old tree.

Isn’t he a sassy duck?
D !!
These cherubs ❤

Our next stop was Strawberry Fields – the memorial for John Lennon. A group of performers were playing his songs and we listened to a beautiful rendition of Imagine. After that I let the bookworm in me take over and we walked chasing squirrels to the Alice in Wonderland monument. And it was gorgeous! It is surrounded by some memorable quotes from the books and I was reading them aloud to D. I think this was the first time I have seen him getting bewildered – in a nice manner. Ever the practical one, he had already made arrangements for my tummy as it had loudly started demanding food.

We also found James Bond’s boat somewhere… 007!
Hey Alice! 🙂

Wistfully, we made our way to the Zoo and the exit. I spied a mother and her young daughter playing on a blanket of fallen leaves, wearing matching hats – that was a perfect send off! That and Delacorte Music Clock. It was exactly one o’clock and the chime of a nursery song started with the animals rotating with their musical instruments. Outside, we saw the Confounding Clock with its rotating face and the sun gleaming behind it.

The Confounding Clock!
Chasing squirrels was fun 😀

Wolfing down pizza and falafel, we covered a part of Fifth Avenue on foot with D firmly pulling me forward as I stopped a million times to gape. I was tempted to go inside Tiffany’s with its gorgeous holiday decorations, but D saved me from possibly bankrupting us. We had time to wonder at the constellations of Grand Central Station (and sample cupcakes) as well as visit the NY Public Library and see the Gutenberg Bible. Our night tour guide Tina had made a great pun on the library standing between the lions as “reading between the li-o-nes!” 😀

It was goodbye to NYC – who knows if we will ever see it again. But Miami and my sister were around the corner 🙂 So it was not very hard to say goodbye!

Birthday in Miami coming up next 😀

New York Hopping

It was a bustling mid-week afternoon when we placed our feet firmly on a packed street of New York not far from Penn Station. We looked up and up and up not even bothering to hide our wonder. That we were in awe doesn’t even cover the happy incredulity over the fact that we were walking on the streets of NYC – arguably the greatest city in the world!

We were staying across the river in Jersey City at Newport with my cousin and bravely tackled the subway system. 33rd St PATH was close by and we managed our metro cards quite easily. No need for a copy of New York subway for dummies as we manged decently over next few days. We had an idea of destinations we wanted to cover and tried to follow the lines that ran through them. We also became skilled at asking for help – unlike our expectations, people kindly directed us to places.

View from Newport
View from Newport

The first night was spent hogging like starved maniacs at Shake Shack in Bryant Park. Cold shakes go well on cold nights I discovered. We also went to Eataly to freak out at the Nutella section … It felt like coming home! 😀 The last stop was the Empire State Building decked with national colors to mark Veteran’s Day. It was dark and freezing on the 86th floor observation deck but forgotten at the sight of the city spread around us like a twinkling blanket.

View from Empire State 86th Floor OD
View from Empire State 86th Floor OD – One World Trade, Statue of Liberty to right
The bright lights are Times Square - from Empire State Building
The bright lights are Times Square – from Empire State Building

The next two days were spent touristy style in Manhattan. We did the Big Bus hop-on hop-off bus including a night tour and ferry ride. It was the best decision as it really helped in getting oriented with the city layout. Times Square became our main point as all loops started from there – we did not mind at all. It is every bit mesmerizing and energetic as claimed.

Downtown loop went through SoHo, Greenwich, Little Italy, China Town, Chelsea, Financial District and Battery Park. One World Trade Center and the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum were incredible. There were flowers next to some of the names on the memorial and we could not even fathom the emotions of the people who had placed those flowers.

Other key stops included the High Line which is a work of genius, Wall Street and Brooklyn Bridge (you have to walk from City Hall to get there). The ferry that goes near the Statue of Liberty is close by. We timed our Brooklyn Bridge to reach just before sunset – we saw the rosy colors as well as the skyline getting lit from each side. Awe and some more awe! Night tour follows a similar route but goes to just kiss the tip of Brooklyn and come back across the Manhattan Bridge. Uptown Loop was more of a “Oh My God!!” and made us realize how not deep our pockets are. Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, Guggenheim, the Met and of course Fifth Avenue were covered.

Empire State from Brooklyn Bridge
Empire State from Brooklyn Bridge
Chrysler Building from Brooklyn Bridge
Chrysler Building from Brooklyn Bridge
One World Trade Center from Brooklyn Bridge
One World Trade Center from Brooklyn Bridge
Manhattan Skyline from Brooklyn Bridge
Manhattan Skyline from Brooklyn Bridge
Street show at Times Square - we caught many at Central Park and Washington Square Park
Street show at Times Square – we caught many at Central Park and Washington Square Park

Some key eating points include Waffles and Dinges, Georgio’s Pizza, Financier Bakery, Sophie’s Cuban Cuisne, TGIF, Bravo Kosher Pizza, Dos Caminos and super yummy food carts. Starbucks made good pee stops. Special mention to Magnolia Bakery as seen in SATC – the best chocolate pudding till date. We were randomly wandering down a street in Greenwich and accidentally happened on the apartment building as featured in Friends.

One day was spent in NJ where we visited Princeton – B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. No other words. We also visited Morristown and saw George Washington’s quarters – interesting, quiet and pretty. Every place was pretty! Inspiration was everywhere.

Princeton University
Princeton University

But apparently people are too busy to actually take note of it. Our last day in NYC approached and we kept Central Park for that special occasion…

Coming up next, Central Park! 🙂 It deserves a post of its own.

A Dreamy Interlude

There was an intense love, a circle of togetherness meant only for us. A happiness inside never felt before. A look in the eyes never seen before. A pace of heartbeat never measured before.

It is only the beginning of the ever after. Happiness has no bounds, but it is invisible. It is reigned in for those unguarded moments. It is subtle and delicate, twinkling like a star when no one is looking (maybe like the one shining on my finger). It is contained in that circle of togetherness.

 Many people guessed that something was up last week and well… It was. The engagement. The first start of my forever, so to speak 🙂 It took me sometime to understand what evolving means, and now I embark on a journey to understand what evolving together signifies. I have a feeling it is a journey that never really has a destination because there is never just one destination! There are turns and forks and slides and climbs. Perhaps, veer off the path and simply enjoy the foliage for a while. It is going to be exciting, fun and inspiring! With tons of schooling.

The first step that we are taking is a trip of a lifetime! 🙂 Three weeks of pure happiness and immersing ourselves in a melting pot of cultures, adventures and sights. United States, here we come! Fall foliage, yummy foods, colorful cocktails and road trips. A time to relax and find ourselves in new ways.

I am excited. Butterflies fluttering like mad! But it is not just the prospect of a long due vacation that is making me happy, and, at the risk of sounding unromantic, not just the prospect of travelling together. It is also making memories that I know for a fact can never have a round two. It is also discovering the version of myself I will meet while I am there. It is also carving different dimensions to the relationship that we are slowly building. Travelling thousands of miles is obviously not necessary for it, but it is a factor that has a heavy weight. It is really going to be one dreamy interlude, seemingly endless.

So it is a race to wrap up loose ends at work, complete last minute formalities and stay sane till the date of departure. It’ll be difficult to be around and keep up with my reading of all these wonderful blogs over the next month. Promise to come back soon and get on track!

Attention US folks/people familiar with US: Some suggestions and tips for New York City and Washington DC is most welcome. New Orleans too! Food, places to see, hidden gems not on the tourist map 🙂 And Oh! Best places to catch fall foliage 🙂