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Top That!

25 sucked. Really bad.

It was probably the most difficult year I’ve faced so far… and I’m so glad it’s over, even at the expense of getting a little bit older.

My sister came up to visit for my birthday weekend, which was so incredible. I’ve wanted to share my City with her since I moved, but because of her full-time gig as a mother of two+ it’s difficult to schedule time away from the family.

I knew we would have really limited time, so I wanted to see and do as much as we could. Which as it turns out, was a lot! We walked more than I think I have with anyone yet. Needless to say I sent her home with legs so sore she could barely stand.

Success.

One thing I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do, since as far back as I can remember, was to climb the Statue of Liberty to the crown. It reminds me of how unique New York city is, with this giant green statue in the harbor like the Colossus at Rhodes. So cool.

I’ve heard horror stories of climbing to the crown of the Statue of Liberty. Stories in which people are literally trapped  in a single-file line from the base to the crown. All 354 steps occupied by one person ahead and behind. Makes my palms start sweating just thinking about it!!!

Luckily, that was not at all the case for us! I really wanted to make the trip easy on my sister and fun for both of us, so I planned on going early in the morning specifically to avoid the crowds/craziness. And we so did! We were literally the first to arrive at the base of the statue ready to climb. Normally, the Rangers send up groups of 10 at a time. But because we were the only ones there (and it was my birthday!) so we were ushered through like VIP with NO ONE ahead or behind us.

It was even better than what I imagined as a kid! We climbed the stairs like a jungle-gym giggling and giddy with excitement. We took photos, went the wrong way on the spiral stair, talked to the Rangers, and basically had the best time ever.

When we made it to the crown  we had the entire space to ourselves for a good 10 minutes before anyone else came up the stairs.

It was absolutely one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Ever.

After starting the day with such a bang, we were full of adrenaline and determined to dive in to the city. On foot of course!

Our ‘walking tour’ of NY started resumed where it began, downtown in the financial district from the ferry at Battery Park. From there we meandered North through Tribeca and down Canal St. Then it was up through Chinatown, NoLita, down Houston Street to 2nd Ave and up to St. Mark’s Pl for arguably the best Shwarma in town.

A quick stop at the Pinkberry down the street topped-off our early lunch. We then continued on foot to Astor Pl and the Cooper Union, potty break at Starbucks (where else?) and finally a chance to sit for a few minutes on an uptown train to Central Park.

A quick stop at Grand Central was ABSOLUTELY necessary (considering we were already ‘there’) and proved to be a worthy pursuit. A few moments among the waves of harried travelers and some blurry photos later, it was back to the train, destination: Uptown.

We strolled up fabulous Mp Madison Avenue, then cut through the Park East to West. Onward through Lincoln Center and the Juliard School, Columbus Circle and Time Warner Center. At this point, we both conceded to exhaustion and headed back to the BK for the night.

Dinner was at Gino’s Pizza around the corner (seriously the best slice in my neighborhood) where we were treated to a bag of zepillini and two beautiful squares of “Gramma’s”; favorite: garlic and olive oil rubbed crust, rustic house-made marinara, velvety ricotta and fresh basil… followed by seriously blissful silence/nom nom.

AND as if that weren’t enough, my room mates had picked up a trio of ‘nuts’ from diabolically delicious Dough. Toasted coconut, candied hibiscus and a smoky chipotle chocolate that packed some serious heat.

Did I mention the bottle of Jameson? I am seriously the luckiest guy I know.

Thank you, Universe!

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