89. New York City (Day Nine)
One last run around Central Park on our final day in the city. I had finally started to develop some consistency in my running, which hopefully I could continue back in Australia. The end of our holiday was approaching rapidly, and I wasn't sure how I felt about it. Great for getting back into a routine of eating healthy and exercising, not so great for facing the real world again (jobs, bills, driving, not being inspired by new adventures on a continual basis).
I had raved to Danny how much I loved the Met yesterday, so he spent the morning seeing it for himself. Meanwhile I took an easy stroll around the streets, perusing street stalls and watching the locals as they went about their daily lives. It was an incredible city; I would be sad to leave.
Around lunchtime I bought a couple of bagels, Danny bought a bottle of Cava and we met back at the hotel for a quick feast. The rest of the day turned into a long eating and drinking session. Heading towards midtown we stopped for our last $1 slice of pizza before making our way up to a a fancy rooftop bar. There was a view of the city from the 22nd floor and we were lucky to grab a seat on the edge of the balcony. The cocktails were incredible - if we were filthy rich we would have stayed for more than one drink.
While wandering aimlessly we happened to come across an Australian bar. Usually we tried to avoid the Aussie bars after past experiences, but this one was decidedly less bogan than those found in South East Asia. We were going to continue walking but my keen eye spotted AFL playing on the TV screens. We couldn't help ourselves. Despite neither of our teams playing, we pulled up a chair at the bar, ordered a drink and watched the game for a while.
I was determined to visit the Empire State Building; Danny was not. Danny found a brewery he wanted to check out so we split up, agreeing to meet up again before dinner. I paid the exorbitant fee to gain access to both viewing decks, and arrived on the 86th floor just as the sun was starting to set. Of course the place was jam-packed, so there was a lot of squeezing, pushing and not-so-subtle elbowing to make my way to the best vantage points. The 102nd floor was much quieter, but as it was all contained within glass walls (not open-air like the lower deck) it was difficult to take decent photos. I spent about an hour and a half across the two levels, watching the city slowly transform from day into night. Amazing.
The night was about to get even more amazing. I found Danny and we power-walked up through Manhattan, via the congested Times Square to the Time Warner Center. Per Se, a three Michelin star restaurant, was where we spent our final night in New York. Danny and I had discussed eating at a fine-dining restaurant while in this city a while ago, and after scouring dozens of online recommendations we settled on Per Se. As soon as reservations were open we made one, receiving a 10pm slot. The interior was stunning, more like a lounge than a dining room, with views over Columbus Circle. Part of the reason for choosing Per Se was that they offered a vegetarian set menu, alongside their meat-filled one. It was easily the best restaurant I had ever dined at. We were lucky enough to be served the chef's signature truffle-infused custards, which were out of this world. Eggplant, artichoke, beetroot, doughnuts, pistachio ice cream, macarons - everything was flawless. After nine courses, plus a couple of extra amuse-bouche, we were well and truly stuffed. We reeled off a story about celebrating our honeymoon, which landed us a free glass of red wine each. Overall, it was the perfect way to say goodbye to the USA.