I’m not gonna lie friends — as our weekends slowly whittle down during our last full month living here in the city, it seems like every single thing we decide to do is important. That’s why I’m pretty happy with our weekend choices from last weekend, if I do say so myself.
To start off Saturday, we had to break in some new hiking boots we bought for our trek up Machu Picchu, so we decided to do that with a heart-pounding, rock-climbing hike up Breakneck Ridge, which is where we went for my 30th birthday, ummmm, a few years ago :/
Anyway, Saturday was a glorious day for a hike, and here’s a bit of what we saw:
Needless to say, our shoes are more than broken in after that hike. You can take a bunch of different trails on Breakneck, but we chose the same one we did for my birthday, which is about 3 miles and includes a whole lot of rocks to climb, and a whole lot of spectacular views.
After working up a sweat that morning (way more exercise than I’m used to, friends), I was beyond excited for our dinner plans at The Monkey Bar with some of Chris’s family friends who are in town visiting from Australia. It had been my suggestion (of course), and I couldn’t wait to go there again. We had made the reservations online, and when we arrived were a bit sad to realize that the main dining room was closed, and we were seated in the bar area. It turned out okay, though, because the piano player started about halfway through our dinner (and was fantastic), and afterwards we asked the manager if we could take a stroll through the main dining room to check out the painting that lines the back wall. Not only did he oblige, but he handed over a smaller depiction of the painting that contained a key for who everyone in the painting is.
So we spent a couple minutes walking around the entire length of the room, checking out the painting. This was much closer than I got to it last time we were here!
^^ Look at that tiny monkey at the top of my dessert plate! I mean … come on now! (Ummm, also, look at this fantastic dessert. And it was fantastic, my friends!)
After dinner we decided to stop off somewhere for a nightcap, and here, my friends, is where living in Manhattan really comes in handy. Because every now and then you might say, “Hey, how about a nightcap at that cute place we passed on the way to dinner with the jockeys outside,” and stumble into some place with so much history, just accidentally.
So the place we ended up, the pace with the jockeys outside, was actually the 21 Club. It was only fitting that we ended up here after dinner at The Monkey Bar (what with its own prohibition era history and folklore), because the 21 Club has plenty of its own amazing facts to tout. According to their website, ” ’21’ has never been a private members club. Even in the dangerous days of American Prohibition, the front door was always open to the public, although it’s fair to say that certain ‘guests’ wouldn’t be welcome.
A receptionist or ‘screener’ would be employed to keep certain characters out, including gangsters (most notably John Thomas ‘Legs’ Diamond, who wanted a cut of the business) and federal agents (at least until prohibition was repealed in December 1933).”
Apparently the place has a disappearing bar from when they used to need to hide the booze at a moment’s notice, and it’s also been featured in more NYC movies than any other restaurant, including All About Eve, Sweet Smell of Success, Written on the Wind, Wall Street, One Fine Day, The Associate, Sex and the City, The Apprentice and Rear Window.
There are some pretty amazing facts about the place here, as well, my favorite being about the eclectic collection of toys that hang from the ceiling in the dining area. Apparently they started out as an ego contest. The first was a model plane from British Airways, which they hung over the table to impress investors. When Howard Hughes was dining there it caught his eye, and he insisted the place hang one of his planes as well. And so began the bragging-via-toys contest. These days the collection includes a model PT-109 boat from President Kennedy, a baseball bat from Willie Mays, a pool cue from the set of The Hustler, an Air Force One flyer from President Clinton, ice skates from Dorothy Hamill and a tennis racquet from Chris Evert.
According to the site, the staff dusts each of the 1,000 pieces on a regular basis, treating them as priceless antiques which, I guess you could say they are.
So Saturday was, for all intents and purposes, the perfect, old-school New York night. Exactly the kind of night I would like to have as we begin to wind down our time here. (And I begin to start crying every single day. Seriously. Don’t even get me started.)
Sunday we started what I’m sure will be a heart-tugging, emotional round of farewells to friends throughout the next couple of weeks. We met up with one of my best friends from high school and her (brand new!) husband for brunch at The Smith in the East Village.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
Anyway, this week I’m doing some traveling in New Mexico, and I’m really excited to share all that information here soon, as well. But for now, bis bald, my friends! I’ll be back soon …