This time, I’m not in charge!

I’m usually the one making all the plans and this weekend was the total opposite. I was following someone else’s plan. It was not better or worse, just totally different. Like Indian restaurants, I have a nice time when someone takes me, but I would not likely go for Dim Sum by myself.

Earlier this month, I was invited to go to NYC on an overnight trip for a friend’s birthday. I’m used to being in charge, but this time, we followed her itinerary. We rode from the Sand Casino in Bethlehem, PA to Chinatown, Manhattan in a limo and I only knew my friend and her employee. The ride went extremely quick and before I knew it, we were passing the Newport Mall, where I normally park my car and get the PATH train into Manhattan. I hadn’t driven under the Holland Tunnel in years and the last couple times I did, I could have gotten through the tunnel faster on foot. This time was different. Before too long, we were at the Golden Unicorn Restaurant in Chinatown. 
 
 
All I knew about Dim Sum was that it was Chinese snacks/appetizers. Although I skipped the chicken feet, pork dishes and anything spicy, I really enjoyed it. I was enjoying not having to come up with a plan. I was VERY full by the time we got the bill. I was expecting my friend to ask me for $40 or $50, but she said “$14 please” and at first I thought it was a joke. We were in probably the most expensive city in America and I had a pretty amazing lunch for $14! This trip was off to a good start.
 
Since my friend runs bus trips into Chinatown from Bethlehem, PA a couple times every year, she knows the area. We went on a bit of a walking tour and she did some shopping. Hey, this is what I do when I’m showing people around………..”hey I need to go get some of this, some of that!”
 
 
Since none of us could eat anymore, everyone wanted to shop. I couldn’t eat anymore, so with my hour of free time, I walked to the Lower East Side and got some macarons from Bisous Ciao. One box for me, one for my friend’s birthday. If I had to choose 1 favorite macaron, it’s the salted caramel from Bisous Ciao.
 
My next destination was the East Village, which is probably my favorite neighborhood since my cousin in law gave me a walking tour last year. Macaron Parlour was my destination. I got a box for me and a box for the birthday girl (lady).
 
I had to walk quickly back to Little Italy, where everyone had to meet the limo to take us up to Harlem. There were a total of 8 people in the limo and I was the only one familiar with Harlem. My friend wanted to have dinner at a “soul food” restaurant and her friend suggested Amy Ruth’s
 
Although it was not my birthday and the only thing anyone wanted my help with was the subway, I insisted that if they are going to visit Harlem, they have to at least see one historical site. Nobody disagreed and we ended up spending a couple hours at the Apollo Theater.
 
Michael Kimmel was there signing books and I ended up leaving with a signed copy of Angry White Men. The Women of the World Festival was also wrapping up there and we watched Michelle Williams speak about depression. It was a very moving speech from someone I knew very little about.
 
After dinner at Amy Ruth’s, we took the 2 train to Penn Station and walked to our hotels in Chelsea.
 
The next morning, my friends wanted to go to Bleecker Street. I made different plans to meet my cousin at Norma’s inside the Le Parker Meriden hotel. I never heard of this place, but my cousin (who I rarely see, but appreciates some of the same things I do) lives nearby and wanted to meet there. 
 
I had some TIME TO KILL (that’s a Deep Purple song) before meeting my cousin and I had not been to Astoria in a while. I boarded the N train and took it out to 30 Av. I picked up some of my favorite seafood salad at Titan Foods and then got some baklava at Artopolis bakery. With the little bit of extra time I have, I walked up to Ditmars Blvd and made a left towards Astoria Park. After walking around a bit and taking some pictures, I needed to get the train back to Manhattan. Feeling too tired to walk to the Astoria-Ditmars stop, I got on the Q69 bus.

 

 

 
After brunch with my cousin, I met up with my friends at Port Authority. Although it was not my birthday, my friend got me a box of Royce Chocolates, while they were on Bleecker Street. We took a bus back to the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA. As I was explaining to my cousin over a $27 crepe at  Norma’s, I’m usually the one making all the plans and this weekend was the total opposite. With the exception of my trips to the East Village and Astoria, I was following someone else’s plan. It was not better or worse, just totally different. Like Indian restaurants, I have a nice time when someone takes me, but I would not likely go for Dim Sum by myself.
 
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Author: The Walking Map

I grew up in a small borough outside of a small city in eastern Pennsylvania. As soon as I got my driver's license, I started going to see my favorite rock bands (Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Pearl Jam, Slayer, Sleater-Kinney to name a few) and quickly realized that I wanted to spend as much time traveling as possible. After earning my bachelor's degree in Management/Marketing from Penn State University, I started traveling overseas and have since traveled to 38 countries spanning 5 different continents. I'm an urban explorer who loves using public transportation. My 4 favorite American cities are New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. & Boston. I'm a lover of food and culture who has been to every state except Alaska. Brazil and Russia are at the top of my bucket list. If you need advice on where to get the best pizza or French macarons, I'd love to help!

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