[Andrew: Now, this post is grossly overdue and I also have to say, I am so thankful that Dearie nagged me after our honeymoon to upload our photos, because subsequently I lost our SD card and with it, the NYC segment of our honeymoon, which wasn’t loaded in my laptop. I think we are still missing one day’s worth of photos. Sigh. Dear actually put her draft comments for this entry almost 1.5 years ago.]
Jasmine: Having spent 11 days in New York, we could not just narrow our favourites down to a Top 5, hence we’re doing a Top 10 listing instead! These are our personal favourite spots, so certain tourist attractions such as Statue of Liberty may not be found here!
Andrew: NYC is officially one of my favourite cities in the world, with so many things to do, so much energy, so much character and of course, so many great memories of our honeymoon and spending Christmas with Dearie’s family and ice-skating with Dearie. I really do want to come back here again in future and if possible, even spend an extended period of time here.
1. High Line and Chelsea Market
Jasmine: This was one of my most-cherished mornings ever, and the best part was, it was absolutely free! The High Line is actually a stretch of old railway tracks converted to a high-rise urban “garden”. The winter foliage came in gorgeous hues, and we enjoyed the reprieve that the High Line offered from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Jasmine: Chelsea Market is also Food Network HQ. Understandably, we unearthed a veritable treasure-trove of casual eats there, though we had to scramble to finish buying everything as the shops were closing early for Christmas Eve! The Wicked spiced hot chocolate from Jacques Torres was decidedly rich and velvety, although I would have preferred even more “heat” at the back of my mouth from the cayenne pepper and chillis.
Of note also was Bar Suzette Creperie- its unusual combinations of crepes such as truffle hummus and pear walnut gorgonzola had Andrew queuing up a second time to buy some for our Christmas lunch the next day. Heh.
Andrew: Chelsea market was like heaven for me, with the aroma of freshly baked goods, piping hot seafood and warm beverages wafting at every corner you turned. Hot chocolate was almost a staple everyday, so comforting in the cold winter climate. You could truly feel the ‘Christmas’ atmosphere too as there were so many colorful and elaborately decorated Christmas cakes and gingerbread men! Oh, I remember too that Dearie bought a crazy, bolero swirly thing at Chelsea market, which she has never worn since because she never found the occasion to wear it. It’s still hanging there in her drawer – hey Dear, I think you can use it as a sensory toy for Dylan. Finally it has some use.
2. NYC Photoshoot
Jasmine: Though we have dedicated an entire post to this, indulge us as we just unabashedly spam more pictures in this space.
Andrew: Yes, this photo-shoot will always be memorable because it was the first time I was ever chased out of a library!
You know, I thought a honeymoon shoot would be one of our last shoots after our pre-wedding/wedding photos. Little did I know that it was only the start of many photo shoots to come… 6 now and counting! Dylan has already had 3 photo-shoots (if you exclude the maternity one) – that’s gotta go into the Guinness Book of Records!
Jasmine: We caught Jersey Boys and Spiderman: Turn off the Dark (flop, more style than substance, not even worth a discounted ticket) and were surprised by the former. The musical biography of the band, the Four Seasons, the show was what all musicals should be: entertaining, strong visual appeal, good illustration of universal themes i.e. self-identity and media, with a lot of heart and feel-good factor. Most of the songs did help further the plot, and the witty touch of using video cameras to shoot Frankie Valli recording “live” later sparked off much discussion between Andrew and I, about self-portrayal and branding in the media, and the verisimilitude between reality and constructions of reality. Ok, moving on.
Andrew: Well, we did go to watch Spiderman, knowing that it was bad. It was clearly pitched more for kids as there were many families in the crowd. I thought there were some cool special effects done in a theatre-setting, but of course it’s difficult for a super-hero storyline to be made exciting in a live theatrical performance. Loved the songs from Jerseyboys and kept youtubing some of them after the musical. Tried to replicate some of their dance moves too, but wasn’t successful ONLY because I was limited by space constraints in our squeezy Yotel room. (Jasmine: I think you were limited by the space constraints of your own body lah.)
Jasmine: We actually had no intention of going, but after hearing from many insistent friends that we should make the pilgrimmage, we went down on the same day that the Lims were headed there. It. Did. Not. Disappoint. You would be surprised to know that Andrew outspent me- I only bought a BCBG leather bomber jacket (50% off), BCBG purse for Mum, and some Ralph Lauren Home stuff. Mr Chong, however, was the big spender, scoring steals from Elie Tahari, Theory, shoes… That was one time he did not complain about having to go shopping.
Andrew: Many people went to Woodbury armed with huge suitcases to buy lots of branded goods, so our buys were in comparison modest (including mine). However, it was then that I realised I had busted one of my credit card limits – oops! – but all the clothes have come in real handy, I still wear some of them now!
5. Michelin-Starred Restaurants: Daniel and Babbo
Jasmine: We had to try a couple of Michelin-starred restaurants, so I chose Daniel (a three-starred restaurant given a special mention for ambience) and Andrew chose Babbo (a one-starred restaurant helmed by Iron Chef Mario Batali). Daniel is a really indulgent place that does not deviate much from traditional French cuisine, but amplifies the taste and texture of every one of its luxurious ingredients. While not as innovative as other fine dining establishments we have patronised in the US, New Zealand and Singapore, Daniel knew how to end strong. We were spoilt silly at Daniel, with endless amounts of petit fours and desserts!
Andrew: As always, these classy restaurants tend to be romantically (i.e. very dimly) lit, hence making photos quite challenging. We were very lucky to get ourselves a place at these restaurants as they tend to have very long waiting lists. The best part was enjoying a lovely Christmas Eve dinner at Babbo where I really pampered myself with wine pairings for all the pasta dishes. Our dinner at Babbo started at 10 p.m.! Yes, we were that desperate to try as many Michelin star restaurants as we could.
6. Ice-Skating at Bryant Park
Jasmine: Not exactly a morning person, I was initially reluctant to wake up early to go ice-skating, and indeed, spent the first 45 min pulling myself along the side of the rink, whilst little kids whizzed past gracefully. Andrew also lapped me several times. However, I eventually got the hang of it and it was quite romantic, holding hands with my beloved and watching NYC spin by.
Andrew (speaking out loud): Dearie, do you remember if we took any ice-skating photos?
Jasmine: Yes. I was wearing my red coat.
Andrew: Oh wow. What a helpful visual cue. (scans album) I think it’s lost.
Unfortunately, this was one of the photos that I can no longer find, but I don’t think we took many photos anyway probably cos one hand was holding Jazzy and the other was trying to balance myself. Jazzy was so grouchy at having to wake up so early to go ice-skating, but she eventually got into the swing of it (after much cajoling and collapsing – both her and I). It was romantic indeed and one of my great memories of married life!
7. MOMA and MOMA Store
Water Lilies by Monet – just beautiful!
Jasmine: We visited a number of museums, such as the Natural History Museum and the Guggenheim. I was slightly let down by the MOMA experience as we went on a “free entry Thursday night”, where the crowds were out in full force, lessening my enjoyment of the artwork somewhat. However, the MOMA store was outstanding!
Diamond-studded cup handle
Andrew: Trust Dearie to zoom into the store at any place that we go to. I don’t think we actually ended up buying anything, just taking photos of things we found quirky. Of course, even at that stage, Dearie started thinking of things we could put in our new house when we hadn’t even started looking for a flat yet. I guess you could say she is visionary in the sense that her ‘vision’ makes me ‘w-eary’.
8. Katz Deli/ Russ & Daughters
Andrew: While we had great food at the Michelin starred restaurants, we also had very affordable, but equally delicious food at more humble but very popular food outlets around NYC. Loved loved loved the pastrami sandwich!
Pastrami sandwich – which was soooo good!
Old school meal tickets
Jasmine: I have nothing to say except “YUMMEH”. At the Lims’ Christmas party, Dai Ee also served cream cheese with wasabe caviar from Russ & Daughters, which was the bomb.
Cream cheese and smoked salmon bagel!
Jasmine: Recommended by our friend Joshua, this hotel was conveniently located near Times Square and had a futuristic, space-age decor like no other.
This TV console had surprising storage capacity! Mesh nets and recesses with different shapes to organise bric-a-brac neatly.
Andrew: Besides the decor, I loved the facilities of this hotel – they had a microwave on every floor and free flow of hot drinks. They also had complimentary breakfast everyday, which was muffins and hot drinks but well, for the price you paid, you can’t complain.
10. M&M store
Jasmine: Although I feared that this would be a touristy shop selling cheesy and overrated merchandise, I was so wrong. We actually went in twice, and found many trinkets and even cute T-shirts for ourselves.
Andrew: We bought lots of stuff from here back home as souvenirs – rompers, pillowcases and of course, some M&Ms!
There were just so many other great places we went to in NYC that this post can’t do it justice. Safe to say, we’ll be back some time in the future!