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Despite having a wonderful time into the wee hours at the Traffic Bar in Hell’s Kitchen the night before (the definition of wee hours has changed for this 31 year old) (see previous post), Saturday morning was not an unwelcome sight.  Motivated by the base fact that I was in New York City, I rose, pulled on my running shoes and headed out for a solo jaunt through Central Park.

I ran from my hotel and entered the park from 6th Avenue in the lower east quadrant.  High stepping around the horse-drawn carriages and guys selling knock off watches and bags, I waited my turn to merge with the swell of runners and bikers that glided by, riding the tide through the park.  The main drives were closed due to a concert that was to be held in the park later that night so I took full advantage of running down the middle of the street.  Barricaded walkways combined with loud concert warm-ups and a large police presence made me feel as if I was actually running in the NYC Marathon.  (Hello bucket list, meet your new addition).

Running in Central Park - NYC          Running in Central Park - NYC          Running in Central Park - NYC skyline

After my morning run, I met Meg for brunch near the upper west side.  We fueled up for the day with baked egg dishes and café au laits and then headed off to explore the High Line.  For those of you unfamiliar with this elevated green belt of awesomeness, here is an excerpt from the High Line’s very own website.

The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.  It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues and is owned by the City of New York, while maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line.

(It has its very own fan club).

Meg and I took the subway down to the Meatpacking District and set out to find the Alice-in-Wonderland entrance to the raised walkway.  In the process, we stumbled quite by accident upon a pop-up outdoor area beneath the High Line that shared space with a multitude of vendors.  Jewelry booths, kitchse art and delectables such as meatballs from “Not yo mama’s balls” lined up, single file under the arching green way.

Always up for something tasty, we tried a gourmet grilled cheese with roasted butternut squash and followed it up by an amazing, delicious and fresh off the griddle, Belgium waffle from Wafels & Dinges, a NYC food truck.  But this was not your ordinary, fresh hot and delicious waffle.  (Those are a dime a dozen, right?  Hehe).  Oh no, this waffle was slattered with Speculoos!  A thick, gooey, gingerbread spread that tasted like those cookies they serve on Delta flights.  It was out-of-this-world delicious!

After downing the waffle and licking my fingers voraciously, we proceeded to climb up into the arms of the High Line.  There, tangled undergrowth sprouted up from between pale-gray concrete slabs flecked with silver and thick, green vines crawled down from suspended anchors like stunt men in an action movie – strong, deliberate, acrobatically talented.

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s.

Speakers hidden in the purposeful overgrowth whispered out challenges for the more right brained passersby.  Sliding wooden benches lined the sides of the green space in wider areas and chic New Yorkers and tourists alike sprawled out, faces lifted to the sun.  It was performance art, of sorts, where the prostrate actors carried on animated conversations with their bench buddies and pretended they didn’t know they were on display for the bulbous crowd moving stealthily past.

We strolled along, peering into the windows of the thick brick buildings that brushed the path.  And we admired the new glass and steel structures rising in the distance, proudly modern amidst the rich heritage of neighboring stone and mortar.  Flowers, sculpture, bites to eat and places to rest and ponder the cityscape while high above the fray – the High Line offers it all.

After our thorough exploration of the High Line, we walked around the West Village and Washington Park.  By then it was early evening and time to head back to the hotel to change for dinner at BLT Fish.  Ah, BLT Fish.  What an excellent dinner.  We took advantage of the plethora of fresh treats from the sea and dined on kumomoto oysters and octopus and sea urchin risotto.  Fresh fish, sautéed spinach and mushrooms also made it to the table.  We finished the meal with a Meyer lemon souffle which with green apple cotton candy, on the house.  I felt buzzed from all the flavors of the day (and especially the sugar!).  Oh, to be a New Yorker!  I could really make this city my home.