Food, Magic, Purple Zone-outs, and Critters

Oh, New York City. I keep going back because I love the place so damn much. There’s so much happening at any given moment. I went back for another trip, stuffed my face, visited a few spots that I hadn’t seen before (or hadn’t visited in a long time), and of course I brought a few critters to drop too.

The Food:

The primary reason why I keep going back to NYC is to eat everything in sight. Houston’s got fantastic food, but for everything that I can’t get at home in Houston, New York hits the spot every single time. I ate at various bakeries, slurped up noodles at ramen shops, and I had one splurge meal at Aska, where J and I overdid our eating rampage and got a 19(!!) course Nordic tasting menu where we ate some of the most innovative and unique food that we’ve had in a long time. Two courses that particularly surprised me with how FREAKING GOOD they were were the fried lichen (reindeer moss) and the mushroom ice cream. It was different, and it was something that I’d never find at home, but in the end my favorite meals whenever I visit NYC are always the simpler, cheaper meals. There’s nothing like ending off a night of drinking with some cheap Japanese skewers.

Stuff that I didn’t get to eat this time around:

  • Katz’s and/or Russ & Daughters – AGAIN. I even walked past them, but I was too stuffed from another meal earlier and had to forgo some bites at these two spots again. Inner fat kid problems, I know.
  • Any Eastern European joints. I’ll get my fill of pierogies and blintzes one of these days!!
  • Ice cream. I had several different ice cream spots mapped out (Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, Ice & Vice, a return visit to Momofuku Milk Bar), but I skipped them all because it was ridiculously cold over the weekend.
  • POMMES FRITES. I’M STILL UPSET ABOUT THIS ONE. It’s one of my favorite spots in NYC, then it burned down, BUT IT HAS RISEN FROM THE ASHES. Just about every night I told myself I was going to leave space for some delicious fried potato goodness, AND EVERY NIGHT I HAD NO ROOM FOR IT. WHY. WHYYYYYYY. (because I ate too much, that’s why)
  • Peter Luger’s: Being from Texas, it’s counterproductive for me to eat steak when I travel because we’ve got so much good steak right here at home. But I’ve had multiple people insist that I need to try this place (including other Texans), so I’ll have to give this a shot in the future.

The Sights:

  • The MetI hadn’t been to The Met in over a decade, and that was on a half-assed visit from a high school trip. J had never been to the Met at all. We decided to pay a visit, and we immediately got lost in all of the art and history on display. I flipped out over the Van Gogh paintings, and J looked like a kid in a candy store when we walked into the musket room in the arms & armor collection. But can I talk for a minute about how incredibly well thought-out the exhibition halls are? Oh, we’ve got a collection of Greek and Roman statues to put on display – instead of putting them in a stark white gallery, let’s rebuild a freaking Roman temple to house them all. Got some portions from the walls of an Egyptian tomb? Let’s rebuild the tomb. European art ends up in rooms with royal maroon walls and gilded frames, modern art is in high-ceilinged white rooms with lots of open space. I enjoyed the Met when I was in high school, but I didn’t fully appreciate it until I visited as an adult. It really is a magnificent place.
  • Tannen’s Magic StoreThe world’s oldest magic shop! I’d read about this place and I wanted to pay a visit because a magic shop sounds crazy interesting to me. It was a bit hard to find…I walked right past it a few times, and when I asked a girl at a clothing store about it she had no idea what we were talking about. Eventually I found it (it’s on the 6th floor of a small building), and I was rewarded with a small space with lots of fun and interesting magic trick supplies, and the staff was more than willing to baffle me with a few magic tricks of their own. Sleight of hand is a super impressive skill. Definitely a fun hidden slice of New York.

  • The Dream House: Another random piece of New York that seemed interesting to me. It’s an art space from the 60’s, and the plain English description is that it’s a room flooded with purple lighting, with speakers playing a loud humming sound at a low frequency, with pillows on the ground if you want to meditate, zone out, take a nap, etc. Artsy description is “sound and light can be experienced as a new form or new media: the sound and light environment.” I walked in, and sure enough there were people just…lying around. Some were sleeping. One way or another I went in, grabbed a pillow, and just laid there for a while. And wouldn’t you know it, I actually started to zone out. Took a short nap. And I actually did feel better afterward! Maybe it’s because I was thawing out from the cold. Maybe it’s because that humming sound was starting to become a light droning in my ears. Maybe I was just plain tired and needed some rest. I didn’t find the meaning of life or anything, but it was kind of nice in a weird way. I wanted to see something off the beaten track in New York and I definitely found it.

  • Ghostbusters Firehouse: CLOSED FOR CONSTRUCTION. FAIL. 🙁

  • New York Public Library: Welp, I didn’t make it to the Ghostbusters Firestation, but the New York Public Library is just as good! And holy crap, this is their public library in New York City? Like people can just casually waltz on in there and study or read?? Beautiful, beautiful place.


    I’ve been to NYC a few times now, and somehow it never occurred to me to visit some yarn shops! Thanks to the advice of some redditors, I visited Purl Soho and the Lion Brand Yarn Studio and saw some amazing fiber art and touched some of the softest, most luxurious yarn around. I didn’t even want to know how much it cost, but there were so many pretty colors and it was super soft. Far better quality yarn than the cheapo yarn I usually use to make my critters.


    For this trip I brought three critters with me, and all three were found!! Woohoo!! Here’s where they all went:

    Iron Man was the first critter that I dropped, where I decided to leave him at Midtown Comics.

    I know, not the most creative hiding spot I’ve ever done, but it seemed like a fitting place in the big city. About 20 minutes later I got confirmation that he’d been found!


    That’s one down, two more to go! Next was Captain America. He’s the kid from Brooklyn, and since I had my dinner reservation in Brooklyn on Friday night, it only felt right to take him back home. I got a tip from a redditor to visit Desert Island while I was out there, and I ADORED the place. Small, but full of charm. I didn’t want to make a trend of leaving the critters at comic book stores, but I couldn’t resist leaving little Captain America there.

    I later got a message on Instagram that the kid from Brooklyn had been found! He’ll still be around New York City, but he’ll be getting a change in scenery and be moving to Queens.

    Last one was Spider-Man. I know, I know, I left Captain America in Brooklyn so Spidey should’ve been left in Queens, but Queens wasn’t in my plans so he was going to get dumped off somewhere in Manhattan. With Peter Parker being a journalist I felt like I found a decent substitute for a drop spot:

    I later got a buzz that Spidey had been found and he’ll be moving to LA!

    That’s another 100% drop report rate! I’ve been getting more of those lately. That makes me happy. 🙂 Thanks to everyone who joined the hunt, and thank you New York City for being amazing as usual. I’m sure I’ll be back. ❤

    3 comments on “Food, Magic, Purple Zone-outs, and Critters”

    1. What a write up. I not only want to go and do this exact trip you did but I would love to go to NYC with YOU! You are so fun and I love how you find the off the beaten trail things. That purple room sounds like something I need to visit RIGHT NOW! Awesome trip report. Thank you so much for sharing!

      1. I’d say the Dream House isn’t for everyone…it’s definitely on the avant-garde artsy side (i.e. borderline “WTF is this”-artsy) and I can see a lot of people being like “dude, it’s just a purple room,” but it’s still interesting to see ($10 donation for admission, FYI). Tannen’s Magic Shop on the other hand was a super fun find, I’d definitely suggest that as a fun offbeat place to visit! 🙂

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