New York City is seriously one of those places you could never run out of things to see, do and eat. Which makes it kind of challenging when you only have a few days to see, do and eat EVERYTHING!! Just kidding. 🙂 But not really.
During our stay in Manhattan earlier this month, my Aunt Georgann and I had a hard time prioritizing what were “musts” and what were more “would like to”. Especially in the area of food! We had received so many dining recommendations and I unrealistically was determined to eat at all of them. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I’m especially disappointed I never made it to Sprinkles for a cupcake. 😥
But on to what we actually did get to see, do and eat! On our fourth full day in Manhattan, we woke up early to get ready and walk to the United Nations Headquarters for a tour. This was something Georgann really wanted to do as her aunt worked for the United Nations in New York for 35 years and was actually a part of its inception!
After waiting in a line outside the gates for quite a while, we finally made it inside and through security. We then entered the General Assembly building where our tour commenced. Did you know that the grounds of the UN headquarters are considered international territory? I had no idea! It has its own fire fighting and security forces and even its own post office branch.
I actually really enjoyed the tour we took and learning more about the functions and purpose of the United Nations, as well as seeing where issues are brought to the table and solutions are presented.
The UN is comprised of 193 sovereign states who, with the help of various specialized agencies, programs, committees, etc., promote and coordinate efforts for peace and friendship among nations as well as support economic and social progress.
Our tour took us through many different areas and chambers including the Security Council Chamber, the Economic and Social Council Chamber, the Trusteeship Council Chamber and the General Assembly Hall. Two of these chambers had meetings in session so we had to walk through the back of these rooms quickly and were not allowed to take pictures.
What I was most inspired by during this tour was hearing about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): “Time-bound and measurable targets which embody needs and basic rights that every individual should be able to enjoy to live with dignity.”
There are eight goals that encompass everything from reducing child mortality to combatting HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. The goal that touched me the most, however, was the first on the list: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
Whenever I hear about the suffering of people around the world, especially children, I can hardly stand it. I want to do something about it! There are millions of children alone who are living below the poverty line and are extremely malnourished. It’s just crazy to think that there are humans in this world who are literally dying from hunger. The United Nations World Food Programme has really helped with this but there is just so much more to be done. It’s such an overwhelmingly huge world-wide crisis!
Our tour ended in an area that had numerous shops, a cafeteria and the post office. We each purchased some mementos then headed back out to the U.S. 🙂
It was around lunchtime at this point so we started looking for a place to eat. We decided on Soba Totto which had great ratings on Urbanspoon. We had to wait a bit for a table so by the time we sat down we were really looking forward to the soba noodle bowls we were planning on ordering!
I have to say that we were both quite disappointed with our meal. The noodle bowls were just very plain with not much flavor at all. There is a place in Washington DC that I have been to twice called Daikaya. I literally have cravings for their ramen noodle bowls! So, so, so, so good (please do me a favor and go there if you are ever in DC – your life will be forever changed 😉 ). So my expectations were pretty high for Soba Totto and it seriously failed to deliver. But, based on the reviews and the packed restaurant, they must be doing something good – just not what we ordered. 🙂
After lunch we made our way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Along the way we passed MacarOn Café which was on my list of “foodie” places to visit. Not to be deterred by the fact that I had just bought and eaten macaroons the day before from Ladurée, I confidently entered this fanciful cafe and drooled over, then purchased, another half dozen delicate cookies. Yum.
I had visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral on my one and only previous trip to New York years ago, and it was actually the first cathedral I had ever been in. I found it just as impressive now as I did then – even with all of the scaffolding on the inside and outside as they are embarking on a $175 million restoration.
This cathedral looks like it was just plucked out of Europe and plopped down in the middle of this metropolitan U.S. city!
For dinner this evening, we met a friend of Georgann’s at an Italian restaurant, Coppolas. The food was actually pretty tasty but the service definitely left something to be desired (we dined at the West Side location).
After dinner, Georgann and I made our way to the Lincoln Center area to look around. The American Ballet Theater is (or was) currently performing at the MET – seeing one of those productions at this location is definitely on my bucket list!
Right outside we discovered the Midsummer Night Swing – a giant dance party where anyone and everyone is invited to participate. A ticket will get you onto what looks like the world’s largest dance floor, but the dance party was just as swingin’ off the dance floor! This evening was disco night which isn’t necessarily my favorite musical genre but it’s definitely at the top of Georgann’s favorites! The music and dancing brought her back to the days when she would go out and dance into the wee small hours of the morning. 🙂
We were both craving something sweet after our earlier dinner and really wanted some good pastries. Unfortunately all of the nearby bakeries were closed for the evening so we opted for frozen yogurt instead and ate it in Columbus Circle. A lovely way to end another lovely day in the Big Apple!