Central Park. Gimme that Harlem Shake! Day 25
It is our first official day in New York as an engaged couple and we are hitting the city hard! However, first I must introduce you to Jess’s Aunty Tanya. She knocked down our door at the god awful time of 8am this morning. In my delirium I almost answered the door in my underwear but fear not Jessica was there to save me.
Now for the love of god somebody get me a coffee. There are two reasons that I am out of bed at 8am. Either I’m cooking or Heston Blumenthal has opened up a brekkie joint next door. Unfortunately it is neither. We instead head to one of the billions of coffee houses for some waffles and eggs. A quick bite with a very very welcome double espresso. Alright now that I’m awake and perky, Central Park here we come.
On the walk we stop by FAO Schwartz; one of the largest toy stores in the world. Ever see that Tom Hanks movie BIG? Well they have the piano that you can play on with your feet. Gotta try that! For just $250 000 this piano can be yours too. Expense is pretty high in this store but well worth a look when you’re in New York. The park is calling so we wander across the road.
We step into Central Park like it is a realm from beyond. Our doorway into Narnia one could say. Or our tumble down the rabbit hole into wonderland…perhaps that coffee was a tad too strong for me? Central Park is enormous, there is a kiddy fairground, baseball parks, lakes and a freakin castle. To tour around this realm bring your walking shoes. Tanya has been on a 28 hour flight and it is not long before delirium sets in. Soon we are all giggling at squirrels, dancing around the Alice in Wonderland statue and climbing the steps of the castle searching for Rapunzel. Central Park is lovely during the day, it’s slightly overcast but we aren’t worried, the wind rustles through the trees and it really feels like we are in New York.
After a long and hilly walk we start searching for that beautiful beacon, that terrific transport, the yellowest of yellows, New York taxis. Next stop Harlem. If Times Square is the heart of New York then Harlem would be the soul. This bright and colourful neighbourhood is full of great places to eat, street markets and shopping. Way less bustle than Times Square but still plenty to look at. What it definitely has is food. You can hear fried chicken sizzling, smell bacon crackling in pans. The scents waft through the city streets like a sirens song, calling to me. I must eat!
We are grabbing lunch today at Amy Ruth’s. The soul food shack here in Harlem. We arrive at 1 o clock, the perfect lunch time. We eat at around half past 2. That is because this place has a line of around 50 people waiting outside and we are right at the end. This restaurant is packed! Celebrities and even Presidents have dined at Amy Ruth’s, renowned for its soul food including creamy grits, chicken and waffles and of course corn bread. After standing in line until all of the people around me start to look like fried drumsticks we finally get inside.
Now seeing as I am rapidly approaching entry level sumo size we opt for sharing some of these enormously portioned meals. Rattle em off. Chicken and waffles, smothered in gravy of course, honey fried chicken, grits, mac and cheese, cornbread. Done! The plates pile high in front of us and we dig in. Now is it the most incredible meal I’ve ever had? Probably not our usual style but his is food from the soul. This kitchen is banging out southern cooking to hundreds of hungry locals everyday and the grub goes down well.
We walk off our Amy Ruth’s with a stroll through the local African markets. Bright and colourful not a bad way to kill some time, then we look over at darling Aunty Tanya, who has gotten increasingly pale as her enormous flight finally begins to catch up with her. Right back to the hotel for a snooze it is. I need to sleep off this chicken anyway. We get a few more photos of lovely Harlem before getting back in a cab and heading home.
Too stuffed to go out for dinner we decide on getting some wraps from the supermarket and munching on them in bed. The Statue of Liberty is tomorrow so we best get our rest.
If only I could stop doing that Harlem Shake!
Josh and Jess
113 W 116th St New York, NY, USA