New York City Day 3: Bacon, Bacon, Bacon
I'll be honest, I didn't focus on photography today. Between the race, the frigid cold and the bacon coma I didn't have enough brain cells to scrape together to take all of the photos I might have wanted. But, sometimes I have to remind myself to enjoy the moment while I'm in it as well as when I'm looking back at it through my images, so today was a good reminder of that lesson.
I suppose my day began around 3 a.m. when our hotel neighbors loudly returned from an apparently raucous evening. Then at 4 a.m. awoke to another loud episode outside. By 6 a.m. I was as awake as I could ever be for that hour and got up to prepare for my race. Not only was it ungodly early, but it was also inordinately cold (20 degrees, "feels like" 12) for spending the next few hours outside so I put on literally all of the running clothes I brought with me - a long sleeve, a quarter zip, a windbreaker, spandex shorts, capris, full tights, compression socks, ear warmers and my dad's way-too-big gloves. In an unheard of move, I raced in all of that but the capris.
Unfortunately, my phone couldn't take the cold and died before I was able to take any photos of the beautiful race location, so I'll have to describe it the best I can. I've also included one of dad's photos with me making a rare photographic appearance. The park itself was the most "New York City" kind of place I could imagine with wide tree-lined paths running the length of the Hudson and leashless dogs running every which way. I'll admit I got distracted more than once during my warmup. In a surprise twist, we found out right at the line that we were running a different course than was advertised but this meant running a full loop down right beside the river rather than just an out-and-back around the park so that was perfectly fine with me! When you travel to race like this there's always an extra desire to run well; after all, you've put in so much money and effort to get here. I'm happy to say that I finally had a breakthrough from my last year of training and ended up being the first female to cross the line! I even got to break the tape for the first time so it was a very fun race and well worth the trip.
Afterwards, Dad was so ridiculously cold that we headed straight back to the hotel so he could warm up by working out. Then for the time we'd all been waiting for: Bar Bacon time. As we'd been enjoying our walks through the city, we opted to travel on street level rather than below it and got a taste of Hell's Kitchen along the way. There were too many restaurants to count that I would've been delighted to eat in. But, there was only one Bar Bacon. Alas, we were too excited for the food for me to actually get any good pictures, so we'll just have to settle for these phone snapshots.
We started with the artisan bacon and beer flight, because really what else would you start with, and were not disappointed. Right to left the bacon flavors were pecan, cornhusk-roasted, maple and jalapeno and the beers were Brooklyn Lager, Sweet Action, Lancaster Milk Stout and Union Jack IPA. I think we unanimously decided on the maple as the best bacon, although the jalepeno had the most distinct flavor, and the stout was far and away the best and boldest beer. I was already starting to get full but we had to power through as our three entrees - chipotle pork belly tacos, corn tostada with avocado salad and bacon and lobster mac and cheese - quickly arrived. It speaks to the deliciousness of the food that I even enjoyed the mac and cheese (although who wouldn't when it has lobster and bacon?) but nothing compares to pork belly tacos. Nothing, that is, but chocolate covered bacon with bacon flavored cream. It was as absolutely heavenly as it sounds with the perfect combination of sweet and salty, hot and cold, subtle but incredibly rich.
After a meal like that, it was absolutely necessary to walk but since the last thing on our trip list was the Brooklyn Bridge, we first took the subway. We ended up walking 10 miles so I don't think that subway ride hurt us. Since I spent a lot of time this trip with a wide-angle lens scouting locations, I didn't take the peopled street photos that I would've liked to (guess I'll have to plan another trip to do so, aww darn), but that wide angle came in handy capturing the chaos of the Brooklyn Bridge! For as many times as I've been here, this was the first time I'd actually walked over it and it was certainly worth the walk. Most interesting to me was seeing all the different neighborhoods so close geographically yet so far in many other ways.
"Less locks, more lox."
Once across, we headed towards the World Trade Center memorial to see the finished monument - an interesting comparison to my first trip ten years ago when they were still excavating the area - and the fanciest subway station I have ever seen. The thing looked like a mall! But, fancy as it was, it didn't actually have any trains running through it at the time. Rather than fool with trying to find a station with trains running back to Penn Station, we found a recognizable landmark and set off on foot, trekking through SoHo and Washington Square Park in the process. I could've spent much more time there but will have to add it to the list for later. We had heard about an amazing place called Cookie Do by NYU that happened to be on our way back, but it was apparently so amazing that the wait was at least an hour. Nixing that, we finished our long, long walk to the hotel and grabbed gyros at a halal cart before finally sitting down to watch the Knicks v. Cavs game going on right beside us in Madison Square Garden. And then I got back up again to buy us a couple slices of triple chocolate mousse cake at the diner next door.
It's currently 9:30 as I write this but it feels like at least midnight. I don't remember the last time I was this tired. But that's the sign of a trip well-spent and fully maximized! Though we fly home tomorrow, I'm already anticipating my trip to Portland next month for more adventures.