Friday, May 28, 2010

Field Trip Friday: Who Knew!

I have often said that it is the accidental that always turns into the best. Of so many things. It is the unplanned night out, where you land in a group and stumble your way onto one of the best nights of your life. It is the  unexpected detour on a long roadtrip where you find the most unbelievable roadside store. And of course, it is the box that attracts the kid rather than the expensive toy.

This past December, I went to New York City with three of my friends for a day trip. Our primary purpose was to see the Radio City Music Spectacular. And spectacular it was. But the show only lasted a couple of hours and we were there for the whole day. Because it's New York City, we hadn't made any other plans. We figured, it isn't possible NOT to find entertainment in that city.

In our vision, it was a gorgeous December day. Crisp air, sunshiney blue skies. In our reality, it was a cold, sleety, rainy, ugly, northeast winter day. What that means is that all of our plans for casually strolling the streets of New York were shot. We racked our brains trying to think of places we could go to get out of the rain that wouldn't require too much time in the rain to get there. We raced the streets, visiting Rockefeller Center to see the big Christmas tree, the MOMA gift shop (because a Tim Burton exhibit had the museum sold out and the shop was as close as we could get), St. Patrick's Cathedral and Macy's, to view their spectacular holiday window dressings.

After Macy's, we decided that we would get some dinner and then head home. None of us had any idea about the area. We'd gotten restaurant recommendations from friends but none of them were anywhere close to where we were and we didn't feel like trekking all over town in search of a bite to eat. So we started down a quiet street, with no real destination in mind. Halfway down the block, we came upon the unassuming entry of a restaurant. We looked at the menu posted outside and decided we'd give it a look-see.

What we found inside was a gorgeous restaurant with a spectacular and a surprisingly affordable menu that was miraculously half empty on a Saturday night. We walked right in and got a table. From there we went on to have one really amazing meal.

I'm embarrassed to say that I don't recall the name of that restaurant. In days gone by, I would have snagged a match book. Remember matchbooks? Me too, I kinda miss them. But with no smoking, there are no matchbooks. In the hustle and bustle to get out the door, I didn't pay attention.

Part of me thinks that if I were to attempt to find it again, I would find only a mystery. I might find my way to the right block, but if I asked around, people would tell me there used to be a restaurant in that building but it closed decades ago. It was a popular speakeasy during prohibition but closed in the 40s, and for one reason or another, nothing had ever replaced it. But sometimes. Sometimes around the holidays, you could hear the sounds of laughter and music coming from the empty building.

You never know.

This post was written as a part of Field Trip Fridays at BlogTrotting.


  1. This reminds me of a "How I Met Your Mother" episode where Marshall speaks of a place in NYC that has the best hamburger, but he can never find it again, so he spends years trying to locate it.

  2. Maybe it only existed that one day for you and your friends . . . a gift from the universe?!

  3. What a great story! It's so fun to find an unexpected jewel like that!

  4. Aaaaaaaaaaagh! That would drive me crazy, Lol!

    Sweet that you put a nice senitment on it:) You write eliquently. But honestly. That would make me nuts :)

  5. Yes, let it be that mystery of a vacant building that came alive to serve only you and your friends in your time of hunger. I like that story.
    Kinda cool!

  6. I don't typically put links to my blog in comments, but just because this post is SO blinkin' similar to a post I did in January, I just had to do it. :)

    I love love love the idea of being an Accidental Tourist: it is absolutely the best way to travel.

  7. We founda martini bar like that in Baltimore. We tried to find it again, walked for hours around the area. Finally, after it was closed and we were heading for the light rail before it stopped running for the night, we found it - apparently under new management and not the same place at all. I guess these experiences should be enjoyed the first time around, because you may never recreate them.

  8. might I just say that as a former NYer that is the best part about living in that city.

    I wish you did remember the name.

  9. Oddly enough we had the same experience in NYC a few years back. Just walking around we found a place that bragged about having a "glow bar". The entire dining room was lit by candle light & low level lighting perfect for couples. We loved it! But yet have no idea what the name was. LOL!


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