Last year I spent the 4th of July in Montreal, Canada. This year I spent it in New York. I’m getting closer and closer to experiencing Independence Day in our nation’s capitol. I say, next year: July 4th in Washington, DC! 🙂

My Aunt Georgann and I started our 4th of July this year by visiting NYC’s Museum of Modern Art. I feel the need to pause for a second and warn any diehard art lovers (more specifically, modern art lovers) to skip the next few paragraphs. 🙂 This is the first modern art museum I’ve visited since I was in Paris in 2007 but my views of it haven’t really changed all that much. Still not much of a fan. At least of quite a bit of it.

Maybe I’m just cynical or have no imagination. Maybe I’m just not appreciative enough of others’ viewpoints of what art really is. But I really think that if I can make/create it…it should not be displayed in a museum. (I have zero artistic abilities)

Case in point: an apple. Sitting on a pedestal. With a security guard watching over it. Yes, I know, we are to appreciate the evolving life cycle of this beloved fruit as it turns from green to brown, from plump to shriveled. Maybe this represents a parallel between our own lives, and is designed to create thoughtful conversation or at least contemplation.

Much of the art that wasn’t to my personal taste I could still appreciate as something creative and artistic. But a lot of exhibits were really just beyond me. Or maybe I’m beyond them?

All of this is not to say I didn’t enjoy many of the paintings and sculptures and even the design of the museum itself. The floor containing art from the 1880’s – 1940’s I could definitely get behind. I love seeing famous, recognizable paintings up close and personal.


Anyway, we had picked up audio guides on our way in and they really helped enhance our visit, sharing more about many of the pieces we saw. We started our visit off slowly, taking our time walking through the rooms and listening to the audio descriptions, but rushed through the last few floors as 1) they contained the more “modern” of the modern art, and 2) for some reason this museum was absolutely freezing!! Neither of us could warm up the entire time we were there!

As it was after 2:00 at this point, we were both pretty hungry and ready for lunch. We walked to a little hole-in-the-wall pizza joint a friend of mine had recommended called Bella Vita. Such good pizza!! We each ordered a slice which was heated up to perfection for us. We enjoyed it so much that we each ordered another slice. Yum.

Bella Vita pizza

Apparently on a bit of an Italian kick, we then walked a few blocks to Grom for some gelato. Yum again. Stracciatella for me (my favorite gelato flavor) and Crema di Grom for Georgann (egg cream with corn biscuits Colombian “Teyuna” chocolate chips).

Grom gelato

From there we leisurely made our way back to the apartment via Central Park, stopping along the way to do some shopping on Madison Ave. 😉

For dinner that evening, we decided to forego the traditional 4th of July hot dogs and go for Mexican instead. 😀 Maya is a “Modern Mexican Kitchen and Tequileria” which was located just around the corner from the apartment we stayed at.

What a great place! We ended up sitting in the bar area to take advantage of the happy hour tapas prices. And although we weren’t planning on it, we ended up only ordering tapas because they all sounded so good! Fish tacos, zucchini flower & poblano chili quesadilla, chicken tamal, skirt steak flatbread, shredded smoked chicken nachos, guacamole sampler…lots of deliciousness going on right there!

Maya tapas

The guacamole sampler was comprised of three different guacamoles, each inspired by a different region in Mexico: Baja, Sur and Pacifico. And although we had been warned in advance, we were both still quite shocked when this plate was brought out to us and the lovely Sur guacamole was topped with…grasshoppers. Lots of large grasshoppers.

grasshopper guacamole

I wasn’t expecting them to be quite so big…or for there to be quite so many. But, we each tried some. Okay, two. We each tried two. That was all we could mentally handle.

Maya grasshoppers

Leaving the majority of the poor critters behind on our plate, we left the restaurant and started making our way south and to the East River, hoping to find a great viewing location for fireworks.

The Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks are touted to be pretty spectacular. Because of this, they draw quite the crowds on this national holiday! We were initially uncertain as to whether we even wanted to fight the craziness to see them but eventually decided to just go for it.

We ended up at a viewing location on the river around 49th Street and it was perfect. There were a ton of people but we were fortunate to watch from a street ramp which meant we were elevated above a lot of the crowds and we were closer to the “exit” once the show ended. 🙂

People! People everywhere!!

People! People everywhere!!

The fireworks started not-so-promptly after 9:20 and lasted about 25 minutes. And they were pretty spectacular!! I’m so glad we decided to venture out to watch them! Such a great way to bring our trip to New York to a close!

NYC 4th of july fireworks

The following morning we took the subway through the deserted streets of New York to Lafayette Grande Cafe. Seriously though, what a great time to walk through this city – on a Sunday morning after a major holiday. We were two of about 17 people out and about in the entire city. So great. 🙂

Empty streets NYC

Lafayette Grande Cafe had been on our list of places to dine, specifically for brunch. And it certainly did not disappoint! From the fresh pressed veggie/fruit juice and Cafe Latte:

Lafayette drinks

To the soft boiled eggs with goat cheese and leeks and the Croque Madame with fries:

Lafayette brunch

And the pièce de rĂŠsistance, one of the most glorious pastries I’ve ever had: a banana, chocolate, coconut croissant.

Here...then gone

Here…then gone

A simply fabulous way to end our stay in this city! Looking forward to my next visit (to both Lafayette and New York 😉 )