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If you follow NPS, you know about no fly July which basically gives me a chance to slow down and think away from airplanes. You may also have figured out that this year has (thankfully) been a light year of travel so far. After more than a decade of road warrior work, that feels pretty good FWIW.

Anyway, no fly July plans were interrupted this year for a trip up to NYC. United was its usual awful self. For the first time ever, I paid revenue for what was essentially a jump seat on a propjet. United has gone completely to the dogs.

It got better. The NJTransit train from EWR was convenient and fast.

Once we got to NY, we started with a game of Escape the Room, which was pretty fun all told. The only problem with the game is it is not puzzley enough and relies too much on random finding. But we had a good time (even though we ultimately did not escape the room).

We regrouped at Butcher’s Daughter near Little Italy to plan a quick trip down to Battery Park. Where we took a very touristy sailboat ride to the Statue of Liberty.

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

Dinner at Keste with Jason and Haley was fantastic and authentically italian as always. A quick trip to Mulberry Project was kind of disappointing due to the thundering dance beat. Good drinks, wrong atmosphere.

View from the Cigital apartment in NY.

View from the Cigital apartment in NY.

We’re staying at the apartment again. Midtown 36th floor penthouse. It’s gorgeous in NY this week. Kind of Fall-like weather. Not bad. I guess nature is playing along with no fly July.

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More NY impressions…

Morning way up north at the cloisters. A visit to the conservatory gardens in central park. Excellent tapas at Txikito. Comedy at the upright citizens brigade. Late nightcap at Ayza wine bar.

The Cloisters

The Cloisters

A walk down the high line after a very late but decent breakfast at the Petit Poulet (right across the street from the apartment) is a good way to start the day. Follow that with coffee at the superb Happy Bones. Then a first visit to the 9-11 Memorial museum. When you go, plan to spend over 3 hours.

Liam Finn at the Poisson Rouge

Liam Finn at the Poisson Rouge

A late night begins at Le Poisson Rouge (LPR) for a Liam Finn show. Great show. Excellent use of charisma. Followed by midnight dinner at the Blue Ribbon.

Liam Finn also loves customer 42 (starbucks identity of NPS)

Liam Finn also loves customer 42 (starbucks identity of NPS)

Sunday included a trip up the Empire State Building next door, a visit to the Brooklyn flea market (meh), lunch #2 at The Meatball Shop, an Iranian film (close curtain) at Film Forum and dinner at L’Asso.

The apartment and its tall next door neighbor.

The apartment and its tall next door neighbor.

Way down there is the roof of the apartment.

Way down there is the roof of the apartment.

Time to go home (on the Acela).

6am came awfully early this morning. I made it through Logan in a daze. Uber’ed up a car and slept on the way in to the apartment.

Empire state building (the neighbors)

Empire state building (the neighbors)

Looking down from the roof.

Looking down from the roof.

Manhattan.

Manhattan.

Things are even more stunning at night.

Moon by Empire State Building

Moon by Empire State Building

Movie set.

Movie set.

Caliope in the west village is outstanding. Simple French bistro food done right. They do need to remove some tables and charge more so things are not so tight and a little less hectic. But the food is outstanding. And they make a great Negroni.

Also worth a visit (and way better than Hearth) is Fedora in the west village. Well crafted cocktails made by barkeeps who know what they are doing (Negroni, Old Fashioned), a quirky wine list heavy on the French and a bit overpriced, and very good food. The mushroom appetizer is a must.

After dinner with Chalmers and a quick run by a tribeca party at Steve Pyke‘s house, we headed up to ZZ’s Clam Bar for a nightcap. Delicious oysters and well-crafted cocktails from the tiki side of the universe. I ordered off the card, and barman James Kaspari (who had on very silly shorts) made the following ZZ Topper (my name):
1.5 oz Bourbon (Elija Craig 12 yr)
.75 Apple brandy
.5 Cinnamon bark syrup
Teaspoon orange liqueur
4 dashes Angostura bitters
2 dashes mole bitters
Stir down, serve on the rocks with an orange twist.

ZZ Clam bar is worth a visit. Though rumors of their tiny size seem to be holding people back, we were gladly received and had a great time. Just go.

Sunday brunch at the gorgeously-appointed Maialino (in the Grammercy Park Hotel) was a perfect ending to a great weekend.