Day 3 - Our original itinerary changed slightly for day three. I had planned to spend the day in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, but after seeing a billboard for How to Succeed in Business, a favorite of my daughters, we decided to add that to the itinerary, limiting our time in Lower Manhattan.
We started our day again very early, grabbing a bagel at Time Square Bagels and then hopping a train to South Ferry. (The bagel was pretty good, but I have never had a bagel before so I don't know what a bad bagel may taste like.) Our timing couldn't have been better, as we came out of the subway and into the ferry terminal the ferry just arrived and was ready to board. We started out on the left, port side, of the ferry, taking in the views of Brooklyn and lower Manhattan.
After taking as many pictures as we could of Brooklyn, we walked over to the right side, starboard, to see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty looked so much smaller in real life, and didn't seem as amazing as I thought it would be. I was glad that we decided on the free ferry instead of the Statue of Liberty tour. We came, we saw, we walked to Brooklyn for lunch.
We walked from the ferry terminal along the East River to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was quite a walk, about 3 miles, and it was hot and humid that day, but the views from the bridge were beautiful.
Our first stop in Brooklyn was just under the bridge at Grimaldi's. I read many reviews on yelp on where to find the best pizza and Grimaldi's sounded like the place. Obviously we weren't the only ones that heard about it, because outside the restaurant people were lined up waiting to be seated. This restaurant was not like others where you put your name on a list and waited to be called, this place treated you like cattle, corralled by a rope on the sidewalk. Once we made our way to the front of the
I had been told that New York makes a pizza called a white pizza that I should try. It is suppose to be delicious and yet plain enough for a picky eater like myself, made with only crust and cheese. My daughter wasn't interested in the white pizza at all and since they were too big for just one person, we compromised and ordered a peperoni pizza from the uninterested waiter. The pizza was absolutely amazing, I have recently turned into a super picky pizza critic and this had to be the best pizza I have had. The crust was thinner than I typically like, but it made up for it's thinness with flavor, and the sauce was delicious as well, but I think what really made the pizza delicious was the soft gooey mozzarella cheese, a far cry from the rubbery cheese you typically get on pizza. I would gladly be treated like Flossie the Cow to have just a slice of Grimaldi's pizza again.
Although we were stuffed after finishing the entire pizza, we had to have dessert at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is only several yards from Grimaldi's and on a small water taxi pier in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. The shop was small and crowded, but the employees were friendly and beyond efficient. I ordered a Chocolate Chocolate Chunk and my daughter ordered a plain Chocolate, it was delicious. When they claim they use the finest ingredients, they are right, it was rich and creamy and you could taste the high quality chocolate. It was so good, I finished the entire ice cream cone, even though I was completely full from the pizza.
Even though we were absolutely stuffed, and already had our dessert, we were in the neighborhood of Jacques Torres Chocolate, so we had to go in. Jacques Torres is the person responsible for my passion of making sweets. My first dessert cookbook was his Dessert Circus, and my first recipe I tried was Cotton Candy. (I have never been one to start slowly.) The shop was like walking into a box of chocolate. I was ridiculously full and completely overwhelmed when I walked in, and the only thing I could remember was that their chocolate chip cookie had a good review. I have to say, it wasn't very good, if it had been something out of the ordinary I would have found a way to eat it, but instead I took a bite and threw it away. It was such a let down.
After all of the food we ate we could have used a walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge, but instead we found the nearest subway and went back to Manhattan to the site of the World Trade Center. The large opening between the buildings and the construction work was a little eerie. When we went into the temporary 9/11 Memorial Museum, it really hit me. I have avoided Pearl Harbor every time I have been to Hawaii for a reason, so why did I think I could handle something like this. My eyes teared up instantly and then my stomach started to turn. I quickly went to the store area to keep myself busy as my daughter continued to looked around.
It was a strange transition from something so somber to shopping, but it was the next thing on our itinerary. We stopped by Canal Street but were too creeped out by the pushy knockoff vender's, literally grabbing my arms, that we continued on to the more relaxed West Village. After buying some adorable Lulu Guinness accessories, the sales girl told us that we should go to Magnolia Bakery, just across the street.
I had been wanting to try Magnolia since we got to New York, and now we could finally taste the famous cupcakes. It sure wasn't what I expected. Inside the tiny shop was a small sad looking self-serve table with a few cupcakes surrounded by unappetising crumbs. I make it a point to stay away from self-serve food, people touching everything with their dirty hands, coughing or sneezing on the food, hair falling onto it, no thanks, but we were in New York and this was Magnolia, so I ignored my inner health inspector and picked up the best looking vanilla and chocolate cupcake. (Luckily I don't own a black light.) We walked to the nearby park and bit into the worst vanilla cupcake I had ever tasted, my daughter's exact words were, "I don't like it. It's dry and gross". The chocolate was even worse, I had to spit it back out into the box. What were people thinking raving about these cupcakes and buying giant bags full of them, have they never used a box of Duncan Hines, because a box mix was better than what they were selling. The lesson I learned from this, don't trust what you see on Sex in the City :)
Unfortunately I didn't have time to shop at the boutiques in Soho, we had to get back to the Theater District to see another Broadway show, we had added to our itinerary.
Just this past year, my daughter saw her high school's performance of How to Succeed in Business, and loved it, so when we saw a billboard advertising the show I had to get tickets. It was a fun show, staring Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette, who played off each other and the audience brilliantly. Although Chicago remained my favorite, my daughter thought this was the best show we saw our entire trip.
It was another late night dinner after the show, this time at Carmine's. I was still amazed that at 11:30 at night restaurants still had 30 minutes waits. The food at Carmine's is served family style, so like the pizza for lunch, we had to both agree on something. We chose the basic spaghetti marinara, and like most of the other food we have had in New York this was close to the best pasta I have had. (They have some competition in the Cook Islands.) I was so impressed by their food I bought their cookbook, and even the spaghetti and meatballs I made from the book were quite impressive.
* Tip - CVS has Dr Scholls foldable flats that fit into your purse and come in handy 1/2 across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Stay away from Canal Street knock-offs, they are not cheap and kind of scary.
* Cost - Grimaldi's: peperoni pizza & 2 sodas = $18.00
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory: Chocolate Chunk & Chocolate = $8.00
Jacques Torres: Chocolate Chip Cookie = $3.00
Magnolia Bakery: 2 cupcakes = $5.50
Carmine's: Marinara = $25.00