The Hooker visits NYC, 2018 edition!

I love New York. There’s plenty of reasons why I keep coming back (food being a big one), but the thing that I love the most about it is that it’s one of the few places that is exactly as it’s portrayed on TV and in movies. It’s every bit as gritty, whimsical, and spontaneous as it’s made out to be. There’s always something happening and something to do, and it’s why I keep coming back.

If I had to sum up this trip in four photos, it would be these:

Otherwise read on for the rest of my trip recap!

  • First things first: I brought 3 critters with me, but only 2 were confirmed finds! Little Wolverine was the first to be dropped on my trip, and while I was able to confirm that he was taken, I haven’t heard back from his new adoptive parents! If you’ve got little Wolverine, let me know! Otherwise my other two critters have found happy homes, and I’m pleased to say that Spider-Man is back home in Queens! 🙂

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  • The MoMA! In all my visits to NYC in my lifetime, I’d been to the Met twice, but never the MoMA. Good news: it’s free after 4pm on Fridays! Bad news: IT’S CROWDED AF. I was actually planning on showing up BEFORE the free hours and just coughing up the admission fee, but my day ran later than expected, so yay, free ticket, but OH GAWD SO MANY PEOPLE. But I got to see lots of amazing art, and most of all, I got to see the crown jewel: Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. I’d love to come back at a calmer time someday just to admire her a bit more. 🙂

  • One thing I’ve always loved about NYC is how freaking CONVENIENT it is. Everything is a quick walk or subway ride away. If it’s not a quick walk or subway ride away, then it’s an even quicker Uber/Lyft ride away. I guess coming from Houston where a 15 minute drive is considered “short,” everything in NYC seems to be just a stone’s throw away.
  • TOTTO RAMEN. I’ve eaten ramen in a lot of places. I’ve eaten ramen in Japan. And after all that my favorite bowl of ramen on the planet is still at Totto Ramen in New York City. I always get a bowl when I visit, and it never disappoints me.

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  • Likewise, my favorite cocktail on the planet thus far is from Angel’s Share. This time I was in a group of four and between the four of us we managed to try EIGHT different drinks in one night. I’ve never had a bad drink from Angel’s Share, and it was a VERY good drinking night. 😀

  • Strand Bookstore in NYC was my favorite bookstore on the planet until I visited Powell’s in Portland last month. Sorry, Strand! I still <3 you though.

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  • Sushi Nakazawa: This was my splurge meal for the trip, where I threw down for an omakase meal at one of the most highly acclaimed sushi restaurants in New York City. The head chef is a former apprentice of Jiro Ono in the famous Jiro Dreams of Sushi documentary, so I knew this was going to be a treat. If you love sushi at all and you’re willing to get spendy on a meal, this was SO, SO worth it. Get bar seating if you can. Twenty-three pieces of sushi perfection. So much goes into each piece, and it’s one of those amazing dining experiences that leaves you wondering how SO much could be happening in such a small bite.

  • MUPPETS!! I visited the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens just for the Jim Henson exhibit, and I honestly wasn’t expecting much out of the rest of it. I figured it would be a quick visit to see some muppets and call it a day, but I ended up having SO MUCH FUN there. It’s relatively small, but they pack so much fun interactive stuff to play with that I had a huge grin on my face the whole time before I even found myself in front of Kermit the Frog face to face. I got to make a cheezy little stop-motion animation, dubbed over lines from My Fair Lady, inserted my own sound effects into scenes from Home Alone 2…it’s a fantastic place to see the process behind making movies and to have some fun with it yourself. If you visit the Tut theater, make sure to check out the little ramp in the back. There’s a surprise that I wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t see someone else walk down from there. 🙂

  • The mmuseumm: fun little mini-museum in a freight elevator! Definitely an off the beaten track find. Part art installation, part museum, part kooky junk display, I had fun listening to the audio tour on my phone while feeling cozy in this little space.

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  • It’s a bit self-indulgent, but if I step into a bookshop I like to see if they’ve got copies of my book Literary Yarns on the shelves. I don’t really expect to find it because I fully recognize that it’s not some massive bestseller, but it’s always nice to find copies in the wild. It makes me even happier when I find copies at bookstores that I like! I’m happy to report that I found copies both at Strand and Kinokuniya!

  • Washington Square Park: this is what I mean when I say that New York is as advertised on TV and in movies. City parks aren’t really my thing when I go on vacation (I’d much rather eat somewhere or visit a museum), but when I visited Washington Square Park on Saturday evening I saw a guy and his friends setting up the scene for him to propose to his girlfriend, a group of people push a piano out (where did the piano come from??) for a street performance, kids playing with giant bubbles, and a story collecting project where handwritten stories would be collected and put on display. It’s like a nice microcosm of New York City as a whole. 🙂

  • I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this town. Thank you again for a great time, New York. I’m sure I’ll be back. <3

     

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