New York, New York

I’m in the airport, getting ready to fly to Sydney… but first, let me tell you how I got here! Last week, sadly, it was time to say goodbye to the beach. I had such a fun summer here getting to know the island a little better, from an insider perspective this time. I felt very at home there, in a way I hadn’t felt in while. Everything felt so natural and easy, which I’m sure is common when you’re surrounded by people on vacation with few responsibilities, but it was a nice brief respite from living so far from home for years.

On the other hand, last week felt like the right time to make an exit. The skies turned cloudy and grey for the departure drive. It makes it a little easier to leave your island paradise on a rainy October day.

Baked on the Beach LBI

My mom and I stopped at the best bakery on our way out. We had to bring a little treat to my sister who insisted that we get up to New York as early as possible, just so we could eat again. We took the train from Queens into the city and had brunch at a trendy little bistro called Jack’s Wife Freda.

Jacks wife freda

We did a lot of shopping and bopping to stay out of the rain all day. I learned the many methods that NYC stores have to store your wet umbrellas while you browse. Eventually the rain let up so we could explore outside.

West village

For dinner, we went to the same place I’d gone to on my birthday back in April, The Butcher’s Daughter, except that was the LA version and this was the NY version. Both were excellent!

butchers daughter

Then it was finally time for the main event! We had tickets to see Hamilton, so we made our way over the 42nd street for the show. It was amazing and so unreal to be able to see it! I can’t recommend it enough, and it made for the perfect last night out in NY before my early flight to the west coast.

Hamilton the musical

Back in Brooklyn

This past weekend, my sister was kind enough to host me again in NYC. I don’t know if she loves living there, since she’s not much of a city person, but I certainly love her living there for prime visitation privileges, not to mention having a lot of fun stuff to do nearby. Our dad and stepmom came down on Saturday and we headed into Brooklyn to play shuffleboard. Yeah, did you know shuffleboard is trendy again?

Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club

It’s so trendy that we showed up and registered, only to find that there would be a four hour wait to play. We couldn’t believe it would take that long, so we grabbed a drink and watched the countdown of numbers slowly pass by. We decided that we would definitely have enough time to venture outside to find dinner.

Gowanus Canal

And we did have time to have the most amazing dinner. I might need to become a vegetarian again when I fully devote myself to yoga in Sydney, but for now, this barbecue will have to do… along with this golfish mac & cheese and this most delicious cornbread of my life:

Pig Beach bbq

We ate in the outdoor bbq and beer garden until it was getting dark, and then by some stroke of luck still had room for ice cream afterwards.

Gowanus canal

And, what do ya know? After a couple rounds of 80’s-90’s trivia at the shuffleboard club, it was finally time for us to play! We shuffled our biscuits until late in the evening, then I tried not to fall asleep during the car ride home. It was a lovely sort-of-last hurrah in the city.

Royal Palms shuffleboard club

Summer Water

Spending summer on the east coast means I get to take advantage of being much closer to friends and family than I have in the past five years. It means multiple trips to NYC to visit my sister—she lives in Queens! And last week, my cousins were in LBI to add to the fun. Life has been feeling pretty abundant for the past few weeks. There really is something to having a close, familiar community around you, without having everything be so new all the time. I’ll keep that in mind when I’m cuddling koalas and feeling homesick in Sydney this fall (spring?).

Queens NY

During our first visit, we ate ice cream and watched the live-action Lion King. And I was like, “I drove all the way to NYC just to watch The Lion King?” But, you know, sister time is valuable. The second visit was a little more extra special. We went to yoga in Astoria:

Yoga Agora Astoria

And then, to the Rose Mansion.

Rose Mansion

What in the world is the Rose Mansion? You might be wondering. Well, it’s like a wine tasting mixed with one of those new pop-up Instagrammable art museums. I feared it would be silly and tacky with long lines to take photos, and it had a little of that, but actually it was semi-educational and very fun!

Rose Mansion

Each room had a different part-of-the-world theme and a presenter to teach us about pink wines from that region. We took a lot of photos, learned a little about rose, drank a little more of the rose, and played dress up. Are there better ways to spend a sisters’ day in NYC? I think not, but feel free to send ‘em to me!

Rose Mansion

We had postponed our brunch til later in the afternoon, but we got to stop at one of Elayne’s favorites which happens to be Aussie themed (Citizens). We walked along the water until it was time for her to catch a ride out of Manhattan and for me to meet my friend for teeny tiny tacos and happy hour (Taco Dumbo).

My friend Mike—he lives in Sydney—was playing a show on the Lower East Side, and I remembered that Liz lives only minutes from there. So we all met up for the show, but a night in NYC does not end there… It ends, appropriately, at the House of Yes at 4 in the morning. Or maybe at a bodega deli with the best Italian sub. And it leaves you with a pounding head for the drive home the next day.