Our trip to New York City actually started in Connecticut. After the car show, we needed a new place to go for the night, and we managed to arrange some last minute plans with a wonderful couple we met through Boondockers Welcome. Boondockers Welcome is a website that connects RV travel enthusiasts to provide free overnight parking (usually no hookups, sometimes called dry camping or boondocking). So that is how we landed in Bolton and met Chris and Cheri.
Bolton is a little town outside of Hartford, CT. Our hosts live on a beautiful lake and they spoiled us by inviting us to use their kayaks and unwind on their lakefront deck. After a relaxing morning on the lake, we took the motorcycle into Hartford to get lunch and check out the city. We really enjoyed our time there, and even got to join in on a BBQ dinner with the neighbors.
Meanwhile, we’d been plotting an escape to NYC, but hadn’t nailed down a plan. There just wasn’t a good place for us to park outside the city, and all the campgrounds were full or over $80 a night. Chris suggested we just leave our bus at their place and take the Greyhound bus into NYC. He even went so far as to give us a ride to the bus station in Hartford. So we booked a room for the night at the Sohotel and said a temporary goodbye to our little home.
We made it into the city just in time for breakfast, so after walking through Times Square, we made our way to a bagel shop (duh). Once our faces were stuffed with bagels and lox, our next stop was the Empire State Building. On the way, we walked through Grand Central Station, which was very impressive. We got to the Empire State at a good time, because it wasn’t terribly busy. I’m glad we went, because even though everyone has experienced the scenery through movies, the view was breathtaking. Standing up there makes all the other buildings look like they’re built out of legos.
We meandered south through town to find our hotel and soon after, dinner. Our Connecticut host, Chris, had told us to keep our eyes open for celebrities in that part of town, and I hadn’t thought much of it. But that’s exactly what happened. As Steven and I were hiking down the street I walked right into Adam Levine, just as he came out of a doorway and was quickly ushered into his Escalade. Famous people! So exciting.
After dinner we found what we were really looking for: 124 Old Rabbit Club. Recommended to us by some guy back at our favorite brewery in Florida, the Rabbit Club is a discreet basement bar in the West Village. Hidden underneath a sea of college town nonsense, the Old Rabbit Club is serving up fine Belgian beers and very loud punk music. What seems like a strange combination is a perfect storm, and we love the little hideaway that it is. This is our kind of bar.
On Tuesday morning, we went in search of our next very important New York breakfast: doughnuts! As luck would have it, a very trendy and fancy doughnut shop was only a short walk from our hotel room. They. Were. So. Good. Enter Doughnut Plant, where the filled doughnuts are square and the small doughnuts are referred to as “dough seeds”. We had maybe more than is recommended…
Tuesday was also the day we had to have a go at the Subway system, which seemed a lot easier than it really was. We fumbled our way through it and are thankful we don’t have to deal with that sort of thing on a daily basis back home. I’m sure we looked like total tourists and made of ourselves, but hey we are tourists and I suppose we are fools when it comes to commuting through NYC. Of course we had to catch the Statue of Liberty while we were in town, but we really didn’t want to pay money just to stand in line all day. So at the advice of a friend, we instead took the Staten Island ferry for free, which is a nice twenty-minute journey and gives you a great view of the statue as well as the rest of the Manhattan waterfront.
Next stop was a bakery in Brooklyn. Seems like a lot of nerdy foodie things I’ve read about New York are in Brooklyn, so we had to go. I recalled an article in the NY Times about artisan bread and a bakery named Bien Cuit, which translates to “well done” and reflects the head baker’s European style of achieving a deep golden hue in his baked goods. We managed to get two loaves stuffed into our backpacks to enjoy later. We went next door to Konditori for coffee, purely because I wanted to see an adorable bear drawn in my foam. They did not disappoint.
Lunch was really fun because we got a little more than we expected when we chose an Italian pizza spot around the corner. Not only was the food amazing, but the Italy-Uraguay World Cup game happened to be on at the same time. I think we were the only non-sports fans in the restaurant, which wasn’t too busy except for the group of Italians sitting on the edge of their seats, white knuckling it and yelling at the TV in Italian. Our server did a great job, considering the obvious distraction and as soon as he would check on us, he was back over by the screen, watching intensely. This was the same game where one Italian player got bit on the shoulder, and boy was it fun to be in an Italian crowd for that moment. We happily devoured our pizza and made our way out toward the Brooklyn Bridge.
The bridge was a beautiful walk back to Manhattan. On our way back to the bus station, we happened to walk right past the Classic Car Club. We had just met two gentlemen from the rental service at GFest, where they showed up with the coveted E30 M3 and a sleek Porsche. We didn’t see our new friends there, but we stopped in for some photos.
The only real hiccup we had in New York City was missing our bus. With the help of a taxi, we made it to the station with plenty of time, only to be directed by the staff to the wrong bus terminal. The thing with the Port Authority bus station is that it is made up of several buildings and a ridiculous amount of bus terminals. As we waited for the Peter Pan bus to Hartford at Gate 15, our actual bus was already embarking from gate 83. By the time we figured it out, we were only four minutes too late. Damn. Luckily, the nice lady at the desk took pity on us and changed our tickets over to the next bus for no extra charge. In the end, we still made it back to Bolton that night where we were reunited with our bus. It’s funny to think that after only spending 2 ½ weeks in our vehicle, it has come to feel like home.