I was in NY for about 10 weeks, and I was very lucky to have 3 sets of visitors from home and seeing some familiar faces is definitely something I'm going to miss on my European leg.

It was my birthday last week and I was especially fortunate to have a couple of good friends visit so we could celebrate Alberta-style. By the time they made it down, I was already a well-seasoned tour guide, so I was able to become the mayor of several places on foursquare... something that gave me a lot of nerdly pleasure. I was also able to knock a number of things off my to-do list, including: have a NY bagel, skate at Rockefeller Center, have a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery, visit the Guggenheim Museum, go to a fancy NY nightclub, eat NY cheesecake, and go to Tom & Jerry's bar.

The last thing on the above list was the first thing that we did. Over the course of my trip Yelp! had become something that I'd come to rely on to find great places to go. The reviews for Tom & Jerry's was pretty much the kind of pub that I was looking to find in NYC. It delivered. There were several large animal heads on the wall, which I found interesting, and had an atmosphere similar to the Black Dog in Edmonton. We did a lot of bar hopping that night and 2 of us got good and drunk... my other friend is pregnant, so she is an unbelievable saint to let us be hammered well in to 3 of their 4 nights there.

My b-day is Jan 26, but since they flew out that day we celebrated on the 23rd. This was basically the day:
  • went to square diner for breakfast (my Phil's equivilant in NY);
  • went on the Staten Island ferry to see Statue of Liberty (was a great day btw);
  • walk through West Village and along High Line Park;
  • Chelsea Market where we rested up from an afternoon of walking and drank some tea (they had Roibus & I mention it because they are Roibus connoisseurs and I have another friend who has an unreasonable distaste for Roibus which makes me laugh... anyways, I had Yerba Matte);
  • Magnolia Bakery for a delicious cupcake - although I think Crave might make a better one;
  • met another mutual friend who was in town visiting some Torontonians who were in NY on business. It was one of their birthdays as well so we all had a great birthday dinner at a place called Malatesta Trattoria. I got a chocolate mousse with a candle on it brought out for me, which was very nice;
  • went to a place called the Sullivan Room, which I call "fancy" because the cover was $25 and it was a normal night. I'm the opposite of a "club" guy as I don't dance, but every once in a while it makes for a nice change of pace and I at least wanted to experience it one time in NY. Turns out the guy from TO that shared the birthday was a DJ and knew some people to get us in the back door. The cover was waived for me and him, reduced for everyone else and we got a private table with bottle service, including a complimentary bottle of vodka and champagne. I don't think the champagne ever showed up and we went through enough vodka that we'd worked up a $700 tab by the end of the night... but was a great time. There was a mural of 2 wolves painted on the wall, and I think that was what I needed to get my dance on;
  • moved on to a little establishment called Cafe Wha? where they were finishing their final set;
  • ate a falafel at Mamoun's... which was my second home in NY.
At the end of it we realized that we lost their camera at Cafe Wha? so it meant that most of the evening was lost with it (although I got a couple with my iPhone which I've posted below). The next day the camera woahs continued as I fell while skating at Rockefeller Center & broke my zoom lens (the rental place only gave out figure skates... the toe picks are my excuse). Aside from the camera mishaps the rest of the visit was solid with a trip over to Brooklyn for some Grimaldi's pizza and a pub find in the Lower East Side that topped Tom & Jerry's: 2A.

Below are a couple of the photos from my iPhone.