Archive | August, 2012

New York City, a Reunion Tour

New York City Nighttime Skyline

The downside of living someplace wonderful is that you take it for granted. Returning to New York after a long absence gave us a unique opportunity: to revisit all of our most familiar and favorite places and see them again as if for the first time. We couldn’t wait to dive back in.

Carmine’s Restaurant

Carmines Restaurant New York City Upper West Side

New York has more restaurants than some cities have people: 20,000 of them. So many, in fact, it is possible to eat at a different establishment every single night for 55 years. Yet with all of those choices we only had one eatery on our minds, Carmine’s.

Our relationship with Carmine’s dates back almost to its beginnings in 1990. It’s been a love affair ever since. The oversized menus bolted to the walls haven’t changed in the twenty years we’ve known her. Neither has her incredible food, which is also served in oversized portions meant for sharing.

Arti Cutler designed Carmine’s so that each meal is like an Italian American wedding feast. He succeeded in making our every visit a celebration. We still prefer Carmine’s original Upper Westside Manhattan location but are glad to know the celebration has spread to D.C., Atlantic City, Los Vegas and Atlantis. When we can’t be in New York, we’ll be looking for her there.

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Photo of the Day: Climbing Great Sand Dunes

Hiking Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Climbing the dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado

Home Sweet Hoboken

Hoboken New Jersey Clock

You really can go home again.

I first learned that lesson when we returned to New York City after a year-long absence. During that trip I gained a greater appreciation for the Big Apple, around which I had lived and worked for so many years. This time back, we used AirBnb to rent an apartment in our former hometown of Hoboken, NJ.

While we often consider ourselves New Yorkers, we spent most of our adult life living just across the river in New Jersey. For anyone who’s ever been to Hoboken, the confusion is understandable. The city feels more like a borough of Manhattan than a sister of Trenton.

Hoboken is connected to New York’s great metropolis by a system of subways, ferries, and tunnels that make flitting back and forth between the two as easy as getting anywhere in Manhattan. And while the Staten Island Ferry draws tourists eager to take in beautiful skyline views, a trip on Hoboken’s Hudson River ferry is every bit as breathtaking. A summer evening trip across the river, sailing – wind in your face – away from the sunlit jewel of a city twinkling into nighttime magnificence is nothing short of magical. Although not free, the Hoboken ferry easily challenges Telluride’s claim to “the best commute in America.”

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Beautiful Moab

Moab Utah Landscape

I don’t think we’ve ever been anywhere with a greater concentration of scenic beauty than Moab, UT. Within a short drive of the small town there are two distinct national parks (Canyonlands and Arches) and the spectacular Dead Horse Point State park.

But even just driving ordinary back roads we encountered landscapes (like the one above) that would be considered national park worthy if they were located in any other part of the country. The entire area is simply amazing.

Moab Utah Landscape

The Tip of the Canyonlands

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Canyonlands National Park (also near Moab, UT) is so large that it is separated into three distinct land districts: the Island in the Sky, the Needles and the Maze. No road directly connects these areas and travel between them can take up to six hours by car. During our time in Moab, we only explored Island of the Sky, which is really just the tip of the iceberg. We’ll have to make a return trip to see the other two thirds of this wonderful park.

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