New York: June 14, Thursday

A., my bf, wanted to eat tacos. Last night he was so underwhelmed by the tortas that, today, he was determined to find the best tacos. On Broadway and Myrtle, in Brooklyn, is a grocer called Regalo de Juquila. I ordered the Chorizo Taco because… I see chorizo, I want chorizo. If they had tacos that had innards or tongue, I would have gone for that too. But, today, the Tacos Al Pastor wins the taste category (I’m sure I have another write up on this lovely creation saved for another day).

chorizo
Chorizo Tacos.

Filled and blissful from that wonderful surprise of a meal, we headed up to Central Park.

When I was still researching about New York and things to do, I learned about Shakespeare in the Park. For tickets to the show, you can either line up at the Delacorte Theatre, The Public Theatre or download the TodayTix app for a chance at these tickets. I thought, sure, I’ll join the digital lottery, go to Central Park anyway. But, if I didn’t win, I should at least know if there’s something else I could do at the park. I bookmarked a blog post on must-sees at Central Park. Then, we were at the park but we didn’t win the tickets. But, just outside Delacorte is the Belvedere Castle. I thought, “Wow, a castle! Let’s go there!” We got there and the place was closed and under repair. We made our way north of the park, and away from the crowd.

We found this big field populated with people mostly picnicking. It was really nice to look at. Here, literally smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, is a taste of nature anyone can have access to. Yet, of all the people I saw on the field, I noticed this  group of young men playing what must have been frisbee. They were wearing colorful shorts as bright as the future their lawyer parents can give them.

It was difficult to find a place without people but we found a relatively quiet spot. In the middle of this spot stood, as it turned out, an obelisk from 1600 BC!

obelisk
Cleopatra’s Needle.

Cleopatra’s Needle was given by the Khedive of Egypt to the United States as a gift for being a friendly neutral while the UK and France were trying to take control of the Egyptian government.

At this point, A. wanted to be by a body of water and enjoy its vast stillness. There’s just something about a body of water that invites inner peace. That’s how we got to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.

onassis

We wanted to sit down so bad but every bench was taken. We knew we would be hungry in the next half hour. So, we made our way south of the park.

Wildlife wasn’t that wild here. This one pigeon hung out with us like he was one of us. This pigeon sat beside me and A. on the park bench, not exactly sensing that he was being a third wheel in this date (take a hint, birdie!). A turtle walked towards me from the bush expecting to be fed, only to walk away defeated. I don’t recommend feeding wildlife. You shouldn’t either.

Finally, at the south end of the park: Columbus Circle. A. watched a Youtube video on this new thing (at the time) called meat-free burger, and he remembered that a specific restaurant in New York sells them: Bareburger. There was one near Columbus Circle. We were definitely destined to taste it today! Bareburger is a decently-sized place. It definitely had a family-friendly vibe, but it had a hipness to it. There were 2 types of meat-free burgers sold here, made by 2 different companies: Impossible and Beyond burgers. We didn’t know they were by different companies (we just assumed they were different just by name, like a Coke and a Sprite. Different pop but made by the same company) until we were invited to participate in a survey. I thought Beyond burger was better because it tasted better. It tasted like hotdog meat. It was juicy and a little smoky. For our time, the surveyor gave us $20 Bareburger gift cards. That’s a really good reason to come back.

(Sidenote: I think the surveyor was from Impossible because his enthusiasm slightly waned when we praised Beyond so much)

beyond
Beyond.

A. likes capping his meals with dessert. Always. So, we looked for the best New York cheesecake because, duh, we’re in New York. We took the train from 59 St – Columbus Circle to 50 St Subway Station. If you look up 50 St Station on Google Maps, you’ll see that we were on BROADWAYYYYY! We didn’t watch any musicals. We had Junior’s cheesecake though. I almost got a free slice but the cashier was quick and remembered to give us the receipt. Dang. The slice was divine but it needed more crust.

Some show nearby probably had just finished. We couldn’t find a seat in the bakery. But, Times Square was nearby. Times Square is a quintessential New York tourist experience. I don’t think locals ever really go there unless they work there. We found a table and people-watched. The place is as crazy as you see it on TV. I thought, how is a place with so many screens a tourist destination? It’s like a huge security room.

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