I had the most soul nourishing weekend with a group of Persian friends I had in college who came to NYC for the first time. Since living in CT, I’ve been much less exposed to that culture and have had to trade chicken barg and tahdig with lobster rolls and pizza. I’m not sure what it is, but there’s something about the Middle Eastern culture and the people that I feel so at home with and it felt so so good to be around them.
Usually when I come to the city (typically about once or twice a month) I go stay with my sister and her adorable baby and then spend the day going to see theater or meet up with various friends. I usually document my whole day with Instagram stories and pictures, but this time I was so in the moment and having such a good time, that I barely even picked up my phone and didn’t post a single story.
Instead, I wanted to capture the weekend with only my words so I can still share it with you all.
I woke up at 7 am on Saturday morning on my sisters comfy and luxurious bed in Brooklyn. I knew the boys I was meeting up with would sleep late since they said they went to bed at 4 am so I had an amazing, relaxing time in bed doing my morning pages, having the most high vibrational meditation session I’ve had in a long while, and raiding my sister’s bookshelf and finding all of the goodies, including Gabby Bernstein’s Spirit Junkie, The Alchemist, and a book that I had found while in Ireland but didn’t buy but had by chance found it on my sister’s bookshelf – talk about manifestation magic!
My sister came home from a run (she’s training for the NYC Marathon coming up in 2 weeks), and we went to brunch together at this cute place called Colonie that was just across the street. We had the most mouthwatering orgasmic warm donuts dipped in lemon cream for a brunch appetizer, and I also got turkish poached eggs which were so good paired with warm bread, greek yogurt, and middle eastern spices.
I went downtown to meet up with the boys at Battery Park because they wanted to see the Statue of Liberty. The line, as usual, was way too long, so we instead took the free Staten Island Ferry that passes by the Statue of Liberty so you not only get an amazing view of the statue, but an amazing view of the city skyline, neighboring islands, and get to enjoy a free boat ride.
The weather was pretty perfect which was a nice change since it had been dipping below the 40’s the past week.
We took the ferry right back to Manhattan and hopped on the subway to go uptown back to their hotel. When we passed the stop for West 4th st, we decided to get off so they could see Washington Square Park. I had been telling them about Big Gay Ice Cream Shop and how they had to go, but didn’t have any plans to. When we got off the subway, we were literally across the street from it, so we stopped in for some salty pimps (vanilla ice cream with globs of caramel, sprinkled with sea salt, and dipped in chocolate, YUM) and walked to the park while licking our conez 😉
Because of the unusually warm day, the park was full of interesting street performers which included a puppet show, a man juggling knives on a unicycle, and a full on band.
After enjoying the entertainment for a bit, we got back on the subway and stopped at their hotel before heading back out to walk up to Central Park.
Our plan was to bike the entire park, which is something I’ve never done or frankly had the desire to do, but I was along for the ride (literally & figuratively lol).
We found someone renting bikes on the street and in typical Persian fashion, the boys began to haggle a price. It became absurd and hilarious as they began to ask for a lower price, emphasizing that there were 5 of us renting and the man was saying he couldn’t go any lower. They started to shit talk him in Farsi, but somehow by chance the man also happened to speak Farsi. It was very funny. In the end, I don’t think we got any money off and we grabbed our bikes and set off in the park.
I’m used to riding my beach cruiser which is actually really difficult to ride, so having a bike that had actual gears was a dream. We biked past so many horse-drawn carriages, runners, lakes, fountains, expansive fields with big rocks, and admired the leaves slowly changing color.
It was golden hour during our ride and it felt so peaceful and magical as the sun peeped through the leaves, cool air rushing past us, getting to quietly experience the magic of Central Park in the middle of New York City, as the bright half moon rose over tall buildings.
We ended up biking the entire park (it loops back in a circle) and at the end of our ride we were exhausted, thirsty, and hungry.
The boys wanted chelo kabab (of course) and after spending far too long trying to relocate the bike rental shop, we finally found a Turkish Kebab place that was small, but delicious. I got chicken shish kabab with rice & vegetables which was so good paired with yogurt sauce and spicy red sauce. I have truly missed middle eastern culture & it’s cuisines and being with the boys listening to them joke around, speak farsi, and salivate over rice and chicken kebab made my soul feel so at home.
We had plans to go to a jazz club that night at the Dizzy’s Club at Lincoln Center. The establishment was far more classy than we had imagined and we ended up there in our sweatshirts and jeans in a nice sit down place that had a beautiful view of the city skyline.
The jazz was played by four white men and during the first song, we literally couldn’t tell if they were warming up or not. They sounded out of sync and a little bit like pots clanging haphazardly.
However, the atmosphere felt so nice and I enjoyed the not-so-beautiful music while sipping an earl-grey infused vodka cocktail in the midst of great company.
After the only slightly disappointing show which only lasted an hour, we headed out to the East Village to go to a bar. I’ve never been to the east village at night but it was like party city. Again, I don’t really like going out anymore and was already tired (grandma) but we found this bar that one of the people we were with wanted to go to. The bouncer told us that for 6 people we had to have a $200 minimum if we wanted to get in (again, why I hate bars/clubs – what’s with the exclusivity and rules) but we agreed to do it since we figured it was about the same as 2 drinks per person. It was crowded to the point where you could barely move and the music was too loud, so we stayed mostly in a corner for an hour or so before I left to go home to Brooklyn.
The following morning, I enjoyed another luxurious time writing in my sister’s comfy bed before heading out to meet up with the boys in Midtown.
We had loose plans for the day, they wanted to see Little Italy, but when we were walking and passing all the Broadway theaters and seeing them get ready for the matinee, they thought we might as well check to see if there are any cheap tickets available for a show.
Of course, I was super excited by this since neither of them have ever been to a Broadway show, let alone the theater really, and I love introducing people to the power of theater.
Usually when I buy my discounted tix, it’s just me so I wasn’t sure what we could find for four people. We checked the TKTS booth in the middle of Times Square to see what was available that day and I gave them a short rundown for each show. They were most interested in Chicago or School of Rock since they had seen the movie and the TKTS booth were selling them for around $80.00.
I knew that School of Rock had general rush available in the mornings for only $40 and since the show has been running for awhile (and frankly isn’t that great and has announced a closing date) I assumed there would be tickets available, so we went to the theater directly to check. Fortunately enough, they had them available and we excitedly bought them.
My opinions of the show aside, it was actually the perfect show to take Broadway first timers, especially a group of Persian guys who have never been to the theater. There’s rock, cute and super talented kids, and all around good vibes and fun.
The boys were HOOKED and said that now they wanted to see all the Broadway shows. Mission complete.
The day was already winding down and I knew I had to get on a train back to CT, but we all stopped for one last dinner together at this Greek place called Souvlaki. The interior of it looked exactly what I imagined Mykonos to look like; white walls, blue accents, pink flowers, and fairy lights.
We sipped on Greek wine, ate cheese balls with tzatziki, and had the traditional Greek dish Moussakas which is an eggplant & potato & beef casserole as we savored our last moments together.
The boys were headed down to Philadelphia as they continue their tour of the East Coast from California and I headed back to Metro North with a belly full of food, a soul nourished full of culture, and a heart full of love and laughs.