We started my first full day in the city with breakfast at where my friend promised me was one of the best bagel joints in town – Ess-A-Bagel – where I had a massive plain bagel with jalapeño cream cheese, and a huge iced coffee. I have to say, it was pretty darn good and came to around $7.50 altogether.
Fueled up, we headed to Rockefeller Plaza and wandered around the NBC Store, quoting ‘Friends’, ‘Parks and Recreation’ and ’30 Rock’. Why were we at Rockefeller? Well, we had managed to score some of the most sought after tickets in town – to watch Jimmy Fallon’s monologue rehearsal. You have to apply in advance and keep your fingers crossed! While it may not have been tickets for the real show taping, this was still an unique and exciting experience!
We waited in a bunch of lines and then security, before we were greeted by one of the Emmy-nominated writers of the show who explained what would happen once we entered the studio. We were shown a highlight reel of Jimmy’s best sketches and guest appearances and then taken inside! The studio looks smaller than it does on TV and Jimmy was sitting casually behind his desk, unsuited, talking to some of the writers. We had front row seats and before long we welcomed us, explained that Cameron Diaz would be on the main show and told us about the game they’d be playing (a kayak race with some hilarious elements).
He launched straight into the monologue, responding to our laughter by adding asides or imitations which would end up being written into the show’s script, before finishing up with the week’s Pros and Cons segment. The whole thing lasted around 20 minutes or so, and was so fun and again, such an unique experience that I would highly recommend.
We enjoyed dinner that night in the Nolita area, at Tacombi, a great little Mexican place. The decor is really funky, with a campervan serving up the tacos and whizzing up delicious sangria cocktails. We started with guac and chips, then I opted for a veggie taco (mais y poblano – corn, peppers, feta) and a pollo adobo taco, as well as an amazing chicken quesadilla! It was all great, especially with their special hibiscus chipotle sauce!
We started the next day with a cheeky Starbucks and headed straight down to the Financial District, to visit the 9/11 memorial. The pools are absolutely enormous and standing there beneath Freedom Tower really makes you think and reflect on the history causing it to be there. I did find it slightly strange seeing couples and families smiling, laughing and posing for photos around the edges of the pool – as if they forgot what the pools symbolise.
Next we took the subway to the High Line, starting in Chelsea and walking down to West Village. The High Line is an elevated public park, built on old rail line tracks. It’s really beautiful and offers some great views of the streets below, and even over to the Empire State and beyond. People were walking along, enjoying lunch on benches or ‘sun loungers’.
After posing for some pictures we walked over to The Jane Hotel for lunch at one of Reb’s favourite places, Cafe Gitane. I had a massive heap of couscous, scattered with vegetables and potatos, and topped with hummus – completely delicious. While this place may look a little more expensive, my huge portion came to $14 so not too bad at all!
After crashing back at Reb’s for a while, we headed back out for sunset drinks at the rooftop at 230 Fifth. We got there just before the sun went down, ordered a glass of wine, and watched in amazement as the sky changed from blue, to pink, to orange and finally to dark blue as the skyline came to life. It was absolutely beautiful – one of the best sights I have seen. We stayed for one more drink, just so we could continue to take pictures and gaze in amazement at it all!
What a perfect way to end our two days in New York City!