Birthdays are awesome. A whole day dedicated to one person being squeezed into existence from her mother’s birth canal some number of years ago. But you know what is better than a birthday? A birthday week. That’s what I was lucky enough to get this year, as my celebrations were extended to nearly seven full days.
Last Wednesday afternoon, my Dad arrived in the city in time for us to visit the MoMA, get dinner at Angelo’s Pizzeria, and see Les Miserables (the fourth time for me, fifth for him, first on Broadway for both of us). It was excellent, and I’m so glad we went on Wednesday night instead of my actual birthday so we could see Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean instead of his understudy. He did a great job and nailed “Bring Him Home,” arguably Valjean’s most crucial solo. Kyle Scatliffe, who played Enjolras, was my other favorite voice; I was thoroughly blown away by his power, tone, and emotion.
After a late night of eating birthday cake my mom sent up with my dad, opening a present from her, and crashing on my couch, my dad and I hit a Brooklyn diner for breakfast on my actual birthday (April 10), and then he had to leave, so he dropped me off at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens on his way out. While it’s too early in the season for anything to have really bloomed, it was still nice enough outside to walk around for a few hours and snap some photos while enjoying the grass and trees (something I see less than rarely in the city).
I took the day off from work on Thursday, so I went back in on Friday and met Vanessa at her bus in the evening after grabbing a beer with my coworker. The second person to visit me here in NYC and both were in the same week and for my birthday! We hit a restaurant first and then migrated to The Churchill Tavern, a bar nearby. I’m pretty sure this place is quite authentic as there wasn’t a man in there without a British/Scottish/Irish accent and they played old Winston Churchill speeches in the bathroom. Naturally I’m moving in next week. Around midnight we called it a night and caught a train back to Brooklyn.
On Saturday morning, we headed out in search of bagels and found this little shop near the L train, Milk & Pull Cafe. Nothing like a good NY bagel, amirite? We made our way to Bedford Avenue, a fun street in Williamsburg, and spent a few hours there people watching and shopping. We both designed our own charm necklaces, I got a lapis ring that I’m obsessed with, we bought Urban Decay NAKED 2 eyeshadow pallets for like 75% off (how NY of us to buy discounted makeup from a street vendor), and Vanessa found this great peacock swing tank that I spent the rest of the weekend wishing I had also bought. We met the roommates at a rooftop market event in Brooklyn, but of course even though it was only a few hours after they had opened, it had hit the day’s capacity and we couldn’t get in. Damn hipsters… We wandered around a bit and raided a very large thrift shop (should have grabbed their card so I’d know where to go back) and then broke off from the group for a slice of pizza before heading back to the apartment, chilling, and cooking a chicken & veggie cream sauce dinner.
Saturday night was birthday celebration time! All of my roommates came out with us, and one of Vanessa’s friends joined the group after suggesting which bars we should hit. It was my first time going out in the city and we ended up at two different spots in Little Italy/SoHo. Most of my night was captured in Snapchats that all pretty much look identical…sorry not sorry.
The places we went – Loreley & Gatsby’s – were a great mixture of chill, good music, open seating, and dancing. Everyone bought me drinks and toasted to 23 (which maybe won’t be such a boring number after all)!
The next morning was a little lazier, and Vanessa and I headed out to brunch a bit before noon. The plan was to hit a Brooklyn spot I have been wanting to visit, but of course we chatted all the way through our stop on the train and ended up in Manhattan instead. However, we found an even better brunch spot, for half the price, and ate way too much. We walked off our meal in Essex Market, where Vanessa bought a dozen bagels to take home, and another store where more shopping took place. Back home again (so many train trips this weekend), we hung out on the roof for a bit, forced the puppy to cuddle with us, I got my first sunburn of the season, and then I accompanied Vanessa back into the city to make her bus trip home.
Around 4 o’clock, I got a slice of pizza, hung out on the post office steps across from Madison Square Garden, chatted with my mom, and then took what became a two-hour trip home when my F train turned into a C train and it let me off an hour southwest of where I needed to be and I had to take a 40-min bus ride the rest of the way. Oh well, at least it was nice out.
Thank you, Vanessa, for making the trip up to see me, my pops for taking me to Broadway, my roommates for coming out with us, and the weather for being so dang gorgeous for my entire birthday week! Your move, 23… what else ya got?
Weekend linkup with The Rachael Way