I woke up at 8 and still have to pack. We’re leaving for the train at 11…
So, naturally, I did some online stuff and at 9:08, I posted “We’re getting on a train at 1:02 (love how precise Amtrak is!) today so I guess I should start packing…”
Tom called for a cab to arrive at 11:15. The cab arrived about 11 and started honking his horn. Mimi started barking. I took the first bag out at 11:15. Good thing – the driver was getting ready to leave. I told him that we’d said 11:15 – he’d missed that part
We got the 3 finally packed bags to the cab and settled in, fairly early to get to Union Station.
About 15 minutes out, I asked Tom if he had his passport. He’d been thinking New York, not the cruise to Bermuda so we went back home and started again.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, if expensive. The driver was fairly talkative and carried on an interesting conversation with Tom about Sikhs and other religions. Also, immigration to the states as opposed to the UK, education here, life in India…
Finally – Union Station. Hooray!
We only had to wait in line for about 10 minutes before our train was called. Since the train originated in DC, we were able to get seats together. Hooray!
View of the next train to our left…
The ride to New York was fine. No derailments, which was really good. The train that derailed in May was Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188. We were on Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 186. I assume that they retired #188. It seemed ridership was down a little but we were on an earlier train than usual so maybe not.
We arrived at Penn Station, NY on time and started getting in the cab line. I hate to say it, but the line was long and we fell for a gypsy cab trip. The driver didn’t take us out of our way – I was following the trip on my Waze. The driver got us to our hotel – and wanted an exorbitant amount of money (plus tip), cash only. Tom convinced him to take a lot less (and NO tip!) and we checked into the hotel.
Four Points by Sheraton SoHo is apparently built on a small lot – it’s very compact, but tall. Our room is on the small side and I think that there are only a few rooms on each floor.
We’re on the second floor and the view is a next door roof. I’ll try to get a picture of that tomorrow.
Michael arrived – hooray! After some discussion – nap or food – we decided to go out to eat. We walked through Father Fagan Park. Mimi wouldn’t consider this to be a “real park” but then, she’s not a city dog.
The first restaurant we tried could have taken us without a reservation but we’d have to eat quickly so we could be out when those who had reservations arrived. We left, allowing plenty of time for those who planned ahead.
Walking along, we read other menus until we arrived at Spice. Yummy Thai food! I had Pad Thai with tofu and Tom had the same but with chicken. Michael had rice with mixed seafood – some of the mix was squid. EEEWW.
As an afterthought, I asked for Thai tea. I was surprised, and very happy, when it came as a bubble tea. As far as I know, there are only 2 places near me with bubble tea so this was a real treat.
What You Need
1/4 cup dried boba tapioca pearls per serving (NOT quick-cooking boba)
1-2 tea bags per serving, any kind
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Milk, almond milk, or sweetened condensed milk
Fruit juice or nectar (optional)
Bowl for holding the cooked boba
1. Cook the Boba: Measure 2 cups of water for every 1/4 cup of boba being prepared into a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the boba and stir gently until they begin floating to the top of the water.
Turn the heat to medium and cook the boba for 12-15 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, cover, and let the pearls sit for another 12-15 minutes.
2. Prepare Sugar Syrup for the Boba: While the boba are cooking, make a simple sugar syrup to sweeten and preserve them once cooked. Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil over high heat on the stove or in the microwave. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup sugar until dissolved. Set aside to cool.
3. Prepare a Strong Cup of Tea: This can be done either while the boba are cooking or ahead of time. Allow enough time for the tea to cool completely before making the boba. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add the tea bag. Use one tea bag for regular-strength bubble tea or two for a stronger tea flavor. Remove the tea bag after 15 minutes and chill the tea.
4. Finish the Boba: Once the boba have finished cooking, drain them from the water and transfer them to a small bowl or container. Pour the sugar syrup over top until the boba are submerged. Let sit until the boba are room temperature, at least 15 minutes, or refrigerate until ready to use. Boba are best if used within a few hours of cooking, but will keep refrigerated for several days. The boba will gradually harden and become crunchy as they sit.
5. Make the Bubble Tea: Pour the prepared tea into a tall glass and add the boba. Add milk for a creamy bubble tea, juice for a fruity tea, or leave plain and add a little extra water. Sweeten to taste with the simple syrup from soaking the boba.
• Very Chilled Bubble Tea: For an extra-chilly bubble tea, combine all the tea, milk, and/or juice, but not the boba in a cocktail shaker. Add a few ice cubes and shake for 20 seconds. Pour into a tall glass and add the boba.
• Shortcut Boba: If you want immediate gratification, just cook your boba until they are tender, 5 to 10 minutes, and use them as soon as they’re cool. This kind of boba don’t [sic] keep for very long (turning rock hard in a few hours), but are delicious if eaten right away.
• Saving Leftover Boba and Making Boba for Later: Boba are best if used within a few hours of cooking, but will keep refrigerated with simple syrup for several days. The boba will gradually harden and become crunchy as they sit.
During dinner, we discussed where to go next but that was fairly indecisive. We thought about going to Tribeca park where one of the Sing For Hope pianos is located. That was going to be about a mile walk and it was about 7:00 so we went back to the hotel to use the free WiFi and find another activity. We ended up doing nothing except coming up with ideas for tomorrow.
So far: breakfast, Michael has a training session at 12:30, Barge Music, Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center in New York to hear an all-Mozart program, possibly a talk before that. Somewhere in there we need to practice some…
We’ll see how that all works out! Meanwhile, It’s 5:30 and I’m going back to sleep!
This is a real surprise. I had wanted to see Aladdin for some time but they were always sold out when we were in NYC.
Our son got tickets for Aladdin for this weekend, in addition to The 39 Steps! He had sent calendar invitations. My DH had accepted and forgot we were going and I never got my invitation. 🙁
Backing up to Friday. This weekend was supposedly so that my son and I could practice for our next Steinway Hall event. This time, we’re playing the duet Capriol by Peter Warlock.
The day that we do this, we’re also heading out for a cruise to Bermuda. Busy day!
The train ride to NYC was uneventful, if late. We have a timeshare in NYC but it’s always full so we can never go 🙁 We had a favorite alternative that we really liked but they converted into a long-term stay hotel.
So, we went to a new hotel for this weekend. I kept it in the same neighborhood so I’d know my way around a bit and we could eat at our favorite restaurants 🙂
We got to our new place and Michael was waiting for us. Hooray! After checking in, the next order of business was getting something to eat. We decided to Uber over to Union Square to be close to The 39 Steps show at the Union Square Theater.
Lots of places to eat but we decided on getting a snack at the Barnes and Noble and having a real meal later.
The show was wonderful! Very clever with only 4 actors doing all the parts with just a few props.
Different actors but you’ll get the idea:
After the show, we walked around a bit and ended up at Paul & Jimmy’s for dinner. It was a good Italian dinner. We didn’t have a refrigerator at our hotel, so I sent my leftovers home with Michael.
Up early the next morning to go to breakfast at our old favorite – Scotty’s Diner on Lexington.
Michael had been to a place called The Cloisters and thought we might like to go so we Ubered (spell check doesn’t think that’s a word) north of Manhattan up the Henry Hudson Parkway.
The Cloisters museum and gardens is so peaceful and beautiful. You almost feel like you’re back in the middle ages. We had headsets as a guide and they used period music to help get in the mood. The Cloisters is a branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art which is devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, was assembled from architectural elements, both domestic and religious, that largely date from the twelfth through the fifteenth century.
Tom got a ton of pictures. I just got this one, in the garden:
After the briefest stop at our hotel and a too-short nap, we went to Michael’s to actually practice some. We had a snack at Ramen.co. I had a bento box and the others had burgers. The interesting thing about the burgers was that the bun was made of ramen noodles pressed together.
We then walked up past South Street Seaport, although there was a lot of construction going on so we couldn’t go in. We’d been there before, in January 2010 and took lots of pictures so it was ok that we couldn’t go again. When we were there in 2010 it was way colder and I’d had to buy a new hat and mittens.
After that, we walked along the bike/pedestrian path for quite a ways and it was very nice, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, even though we were walking next to it, and under an overpass! There was one poor guy out in a rubber canoe or kayak having trouble paddling in the current.
Back to the hotel to get ready for Aladdin! That was playing at the New Amsterdam Theater. Both the hotel and theater were on 42nd street so we walked – and made it on time! What a beautiful old theater, built in 1903.
Aladdin was fantastic! What can I say?
After the show, we stopped at Cafe Metro for some take-home food, then we hiked back to our hotel to eat that and for much needed sleep.
We made a change in our traditions and stopped at the Pershing Square Café for breakfast. We’d seen it while we were walking by the night before. Quite $$ for breakfast. Pershing Square is also on 42nd Street, directly across from New York’s famous Grand Central Terminal’s main entrance and underneath the Park Avenue Viaduct.
Our next stop was Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises for a partial sightseeing trip since we were short of time. We were 1 pier over from the one where our cruise ship for June 7, the Norwegian Breakaway, was docked.
The Statue of Liberty:
And, most importantly, Michael’s office next to the Staten Island Ferry
A bit of lunch (we eat a lot!) at Mr. Biggs in Hell’s Kitchen then over to Michael’s for more practice – the reason for this trip.
We took the subway back to Grand Central, then our hotel to pick up our bags. We took a cab back to Penn Station to catch the Acela and head home.
I think that’s it – we did about as much as anyone could do in 48 hours.