Welcome to my inner musings. I’m unsure if a happy greeting or apology are in order but either way…I’m glad you are here.
So why a ‘Girls Weekend’ for the first posts? Well frankly, because it’s always best to honor your inspiration. Being in the city, being with my girlfriends and feeling completely myself is an absolutely cherished feeling. It evokes a need for self-reflection and suddenly everything seems clear. In those moments its like the fog is lifted and I can reconnect with myself. Considering the sheer volume of time we spend inside our own heads, you wouldn’t think it necessary to reconnect with yourself. But truth is, it’s these times when I fully stifle my inner voice & just talk, explore, eat, drink, and LAUGH that I finally feel like I am hearing myself.
So what exactly did I find…. I found out its possible to fall in love with a city and your girlfriends all over again.
I spent months planning our trip and subsequently looking forward to our weekend away. It wasn’t our first rodeo, us ladies have done girls weekends for as long as we have known each other. Basically our junior high slumber parties have evolved into these long-awaited trips together. But this weekend away in NYC felt different for me. I needed the time desperately and I loved the idea of going into the city but avoiding all of the tourist traps. I wanted to LIVE in the city for the weekend, not just visit. Mission Accomplished.
The beauty of living in Delaware (yes, there are tons of advantages) is the proximity to so many living & breathing & inspirational cities. A short train ride into Penn Station and then a Uber away from the hustle bustle landed us at the doorstep of the Ludlow Hotel – which will forever be known as one of my most favorite hotel experiences.
Now I may be a bit biased, since the decor & feel of this hotel looks as if someone poked around in my head before construction, but The Ludlow was top tier from doormen to bed sheets. The simple yet enticing entrance set the tone & the smiling (albeit still very hip) front desk employees were beyond accommodating. The lobby bar & King Tut garden were so welcoming & cozy that I considered spending the entire weekend within these walls. The room for the 4 of us ladies was huge by NYC standards & felt as if we were living in our own city apartment. Plenty of space to stretch out and maneuver as we readied ourselves to explore this Lower East Side neighborhood.
Walking would be our mode of transportation for the weekend, so once we were settled in & sufficiently starved, we headed out find a place to squat & nosh. After a botched attempt to ‘stop by’ Freeman’s (2 pm on a Saturday is not ideal in NYC without a reservation, as this is still prime bunching time), we strolled into Loreley Restaurant & Biergarten. Loreley offered us just what we needed, sustenance so we did not chew off our owns arms and booze to kick off the weekend. Beer selection was fantastic!
Laughing and strolling around the garden & city blocks lead us back toward Ludlow Street which thankfully led us right into the welcoming stools of Pianos. Now perhaps it was the $5 Killer Margarita, (which housed enough tequila to set my night off in a dangerous direction) or the throw back jams, laid back atmosphere & friendly bartender, but this bar was a weekend favorite for me. I could have sat there imbibing and laughing for hours on end. Which in hindsight would have been the smart move, because our 11:00 pm attempt to revisit Pianos was met with a 2 hour line and burly bouncer. So while it is fun to be out on the scene like a typical twenty-something, I’ll be damned if I am going to wear a skimpy dress, 5 inch heels & wait for two hours in the cold just to be seen. Having this sense is one of the advantages of post 30 wisdom, you know better than to sacrifice your time or toes unnecessarily. Luckily, our evening had already exceeded our expectations which allowed us to be sufficiently buzzed and satisfied when we decided to call it a night at 12:30 and take our large pizza back to the comfort of our room.
Before the pizza and pj’s commenced, the buzzed satisfaction of the evening was courtesy of Chris Santos’ two Lower East Side staples. The upstairs lounge at the exquisite Beauty & Essex provided us the perfect starting locale to show off our dressed up selves, while sipping libations that reminded us that laughing uncontrollably with friends is still the best accessory for an evening out. Much in the vain of you can dress us up, but you can’t take us out, we found ourselves in our own little world where inappropriate topics, questionable language & roaring cackles flow as freely as the vodka in my Emerald Gimlet.
As our dinner reservation was fast approaching, we poured ourselves off our bar stools and headed for the exit – but not without a ceremonial stop into the ladies room where the toilet flushes are drowned out by the gleeful giggles of the ladies who realize the champagne being served is complimentary (which explains the almost club VIP crowd that was forming on the restroom couches). Quite the classy touch, although I’m sure it could turn into an over-served mess if one chooses to linger too long.
We moved our show down the road to Stanton Social for dinner, where our server Clyde (otherwise known as our new best friend) guided us through a fantastic, wine fueled meal. The tapas style servings were the perfect way to sample a huge variety of items from the menu. And for someone who chooses each dinner out like it’s the last meal they’ll ever have, this kind of variety allowed my indecisiveness to be a desirable dining trait. Four ladies with four very different pallets and one severe allergy and we came out of dinner with full bellies and no need to use the EpiPen. Stanton Social did not disappoint & dare I say, even lived up to the hype.
Now in my perfect world, the obvious next stop should include some toe-tapping music and space for me to show off my sad dance moves if the urge strikes. The right combination of beat & lyric can move me to shake everything my Momma gave me, with little regard for how ridiculous I look. Embarrassment is not a factor, I simply love to dance while laughing at myself & singing at the top of my lungs. A tongue in cheek misnomer, ‘NoFun’ was the ideal bar for us to saunter into for another round. Luckily, at least one of my girls was willing to accompany me to the small dance floor in the back of the bar, where the DJ spun the perfect mix to make us forget that we were a good 10 years older than all the rest of the dance floor population.
The time to roam led us back out into the transformed LES streets. What was a buzzing neighborhood in the daylight hours, had turned into a virtual nightlife playground. I could have lost hours simply observing all the personal interactions unfolding around us. Aimless wandering eventually led us back to the welcoming scene at The Ludlow. The lobby bar was glowing full of beautiful people in dim lighting loudly conversing. This was certainly the perfect night-cap stop but somehow, at this moment, the elevator up to our room seemed slightly more appealing.
Buzzing and reflecting on the day, it became glaringly obvious to me just how much I adore the options available within the city. The day as a whole exceeded my expectations in every way. We had so many encounters with people and restaurants & bars that were absolutely top shelf, and yet we barely scratched the surface of what even this small NY neighborhood has to offer. The idea that we could spend a lifetime strolling these city streets and never be able to fully take in everything this city has to offer, well it just sets my wonder filled mind a flutter. And yet, being in the comfort of our hotel room, curled up in leggings & my favorite tee, alternating between the thin crust pizza and a massive chocolate chip cookie, I realize just how in love I am with simply being with these beautiful ladies. New York certainly makes for a perfect backdrop, but truthfully, I could be anywhere in the world with them and be having the time of my life.