NYC Veteran: A Host Perspective

(New York, NY) — SheFed travels to New York City a few times a year for business and, occasionally, HeFed gets to tag along. In rare instances, we even get to show friends around the city. We love playing host! Here's SheFed's experience of our latest trip...

When we realized my Manhattan business trip was so close to Jeremy's birthday, we decided to take a long weekend and make a birthday bash out of it. The plan was to walk the city, eat too much, and drink too much. Basically our "usual" when we're in the Big Apple. (Although I am an admitted museum hound when we travel, I much prefer to grab a cocktail and people watch when we're in NYC. Nothing beats it.)

A weekend in the city with the hubster was exciting enough but when our friends Cookie and LettersToJ decided they could join us, I was over the moon, Even more fun -- this would be their first trip to Manhattan! Wowie. Jeremy and I began to formulate a plan of attack for each day. We picked a few eateries we'd been wanting to try that we felt our pals would like. And we threw in a few favorites that we just didn't want to miss. It's not a trip to NYC without a stop into the Hotel Algonquin for a glass of bubbles in the lobby (fabulous people watching) or a trek through the food stalls at Eataly followed by dinner up at Birreria.

Travelling with friends can be a funny business, though Jeremy and I have always been lucky in this department. I wanted to make sure our friends knew they could break off from our plan and do their own thing, but at the same time I wanted them to understand they were truly welcome to join for all of it as well.

The night before their arrival a sudden case of nerves set in. Our hotel is centrally located and right in the heart of Koreatown. Picture lots of knock-off handbag stores and fur coat salons. I began to notice the litter in the gutters, the graffiti on the walls, and the city's grime. The dull grey weather did nothing to help the city's appearance. None of this ever bothered me before today, but the thought of Cookie and LettersToJ fixing their eyes on this grit instead of the city's beauty was more than I could bear. I began to worry that the garbage would be a real turn off for them. Or many walking in Manhattan's hustle and bustle would send them running in retreat. I've always loved the city, but began to fear our friends would not.

Turns out my fears were unfounded. They embraced the noise, shrugged their shoulders at the bags of garbage lining the sidewalks waiting for pick-up each morning, even reveled in the throngs of people. They loved the city and by day two were already talking about a return visit! I was slightly ashamed I had momentarily doubted the charms of my favorite city.

An added treat was dinner out with two Manhattanites, Steven and MJ, on Saturday night. We ended up with early reservations at Casa Mono and the Spanish themed debauchery ensued. Our six-top must've ordered nearly 20 small plates. The wine was flowing; we started with cava, moved on to a large format rose, and then went with a big bold red. After trying nearly one of everything on the menu (each plate was more fabulous than the last) and sipping the last dregs of the vino, we wandered out into the night. It was still quite early and since our hotel was just one block from Steven & MJ's apartment, he suggested we stop for an after dinner drink at a watering hole on the route back.

Despite our best intentions, one stop turned to three (City Crab, Chateau, and Markt), while one after dinner drink turned into multiple rounds of drinks with platters of oysters, beef carpaccio, and an order of beef tartar thrown in for good measure. Here Jeremy and I thought we'd be showing our Michigan pals how to conquer the Big Apple and we were bested by the locals. I kinda like the symmetry of that.

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