Day two started off with a quick catch up on the news back in the UK post the Brexit vote, I won’t go into it too much. I then decided to walk to the 2.5 miles from my accommodation to Domonique Ansel’s Bakery in Soho, for one reason and one reason only, to try the Cronut at it’s birthplace. When the cronut was first created the queues were up to 6 hours long. I’m glad that the hype around the Cronut has died down a little, but I still had to start queuing at 7.30am for a chance to be able to get my hands on one. They make one flavour a month and for June 2016 it was Blueberry-Elderflower with Lime Sugar.
As you can see from the picture above the line for cronuts had already started, I did a quick recon and there were 65 people ahead of me in the queue so I knew I’d be able to get a cronut today #Winning. (FYI, due to it being a 3-day process to make the cronuts they only make 300 a day and a maximum of two per person.) They cost $5.50 each plus tax, a hefty price for a pastry but given that it takes three days to make I can understand why.
The bakery starts serving the cronuts at 8am, and the team inside regularly come outside and offer complimentary refreshments to those in line, today they bought out some lemonade and madeleines and both were great. They let 15 at a time into the store so the wait wasn’t too long to get my cronuts, I opted for the maximum of two – all in the name of research for you guys of course.
After finding a quiet spot to sit down with my coffee a Cronut, my initial thoughts were that it was laced in sugar, after the first bite the flavours were something special, the lime sugar and blueberry-elderflower worked well together. As for the cronut, it was light, fluffy, flaky – although a little too much sugar for my liking and it did make for some messy eating. Note they are not suitable for bearded men or women as your beards could end up covered in sugar…..
I then proceeded to head down to the Freedom Tower aka One World Trade centre, I spent some time walking around the area and the 9/11 Memorial Plaza and spent a few quiet moments there before heading back to the Freedom Tower for a trip up to the Observatory, the ticket price was $37 plus tax but if you book in advance you can save $3. The views from the top were great but I spent more time learning about the architecture and learning more about the design of the building and must say that the team at the site both on the ground and up at the observatory were quite informative and able to answer most of the questions that I fired across to them. Tip: try to get to the trade centre early in the day to avoid the large crowds.
I then walked towards Battery Park via Wall Street, and being quite honest became annoyed with some of the tourists near the Charging Bull, who were taking dozens of pictures in various poses, blocking others from getting near it. Take a quick picture get out the way and don’t shout at innocent kids!
At battery park given that the temperature had hit 30 degrees plus and I was in formal attire due to my lunch plans I decided to find a nice quiet spot in the shade and enjoyed an iced tea whilst looking toward the statue of liberty. Despite my many visits to NYC, I haven’t actually visited the the Statue of Liberty up close and personal – and continued this tradition on this trip.
I had lunch plans at Jean Georges (a 3* Michelin restaurant in the Trump Towers) so decided to walk the 5.5 miles from Battery Park to Columbus Circle, as I wanted to avoid Times Square, I decided to walk via Hudson St and 8th Avenue. I’ll keep Jean Georges to a separate report to this it’ll follow in the next few weeks.
Given that Columbus Circle is at the bottom of Central Park it was the perfect opportunity to walk around Central Park and ensure that I worked off my rich and wonderful lunch at Jean-Georges. I managed to walk from the Columbus Circle entrance (59th Street) all the way down to Harlem Meer on the other side of the park (110th Street). If you guys do go NYC in the summer make sure you take a day just to spend in Central Park it’s a fantastic place with lots to see and do. For the runners/cyclists amongst you there are tracks available for you to run/ride your bike around.
On my way back towards Columbus Circle I ended up finding a team kickball event and managed to talk my way into playing for the #GreenTeam – kickball for anyone who doesn’t know it, is a game I used to play in my early years, it’s basically similar to baseball but rather than using a bat to hit the ball you kick a larger ball, rules are very similar but all in all a fun game! I wouldn’t suggest attempting to play in a blazer, jeans, shirt and shoes – but the #GreenTeam did finish a respectable 3rd position out of 4 teams. A big thank you for the guys for letting me gate-crash their little bonding event and the beers that followed after.
I did get extremely dirty whilst playing kickball as I do get competitive and did end up sliding around a little, so headed back to my accommodation for a shower and change into something more comfortable before heading to a bar for a drink or two with my friend Pete in the East Village. After a few drinks it was best to grab a bite to eat and we went out separate ways as I wanted to head to McDonalds – ok yes you are judging me right now, especially since I had a Michelin star lunch, but after seeing Casey Neistat’s YouTube video on McDonalds Create Your Taste, I was intrigued by the “Gourmet McDonalds” experience.
I opted to order at the touch screen so that I could mess around with options – I had no intention of creating a $12 like they did in Casey’s video but I thought I’d experiment. I opted for grilled chicken breast, bacon, American cheese, grilled mushrooms, crispy onions, picante with sriracha mayo served in a buttered artisan roll. I opted for fries and a soft drink on the side too. I sat down and 15 minutes later my burger and fries were bought over to my seat.
As you can see from the picture above the burger was huge, and it did take some effort to finish it – I won’t go too much into it but I’d say it’s the best McDonalds experience I’ve ever had, the burger quality of ingredients was of a higher standard and I felt that it was a better experience. The fries were the normal McDonalds fries served in a basket – a nicer option than the standard red packaging.
Continuing on with my quest to walk everywhere (and work off the calories from the lunch and dinner) I walked back across Brooklyn Bridge to take a few pictures I felt that were worthy of sharing with you all….
Link: The $12 McDonalds Burger
To follow are my posts on Jean Georges, NYC part 3 and my flight with FlyNyon.