Memorial Day weekend in NYC (2011)

Last weekend was the long Memorial Day weekend. Alli and I spent it in New York City (NYC), partially hanging out with friends and partially roaming the town by ourselves.

We both enjoy visiting NYC a lot. We often consider moving there.  Maybe not permanently, but for a few months or a year.  The energy of the city is really uplifting.  I love the positive vibe, the 24/7 hours, and even some of the dirt, the grime, the noise, and the strange people.

This weekend I went down there on Thursday morning for the Percona MySQL Live conference.  The conference took the whole day, but it was pretty good.  There was a good DTrace talk by Brendan Gregg, author of the DTrace book.  Ori from Akiban Technologies spoke about their product, which I think is pretty interesting.   There was also an interesting talk about the Tungsten Replicator product.  Overall, the conference was a relative bargain ($130 per person).

That evening I watched The Hangover Part II, on its opening night.  It was a riot, and highly recommended.

On Friday I had a couple of work-related and networking meetings, and then Alli arrived in the late afternoon.  We checked into our hotel, the Andaz 5th Avenue, which was great.  Awesome location, big rooms, cool decor, everything clean and functional, friendly service, no complaints at all.

That night we had a great dinner with a group of friends, mostly Alli’s fellow Harvard Kennedy School alumni.  We went to a cute little local place on the Upper East Side, where one of them knows the owner, so that was fun.  After dinner we went to a bar in the area, and hung out until about 2am.

On Saturday we did a bunch of shopping, mostly on the Upper West Side, and then in Chelsea.  In the evening we met another couple of friends for dinner at Le Bernardin.  I’ve wanted to go to this restaurant for years, and it’s been the last NYC 3-Michelin-Star restaurant on my list for a while.

Yellow fin tuna with foie gras
(Photo by worleyx, not me.)

The restaurant was awesome.  We really enjoyed it.  Nice, high-energy room, but not too loud.  We all had the tasting menu, naturally, and two of us (J and myself) had the wine pairings.  The women had a bit of the wine as well, and everyone had a great time.

The tuna with foie gras was highly popular, as were a number of other dishes, including a variety of amuses bouche and desserts.  Service was excellent, as you’d expect, with good pacing and friendliness and flexibility.  All-in-all, an awesome place, in my top 10 all-time, but not above Alinea nor Per Se.

After dinner, we went to 230 5th, a rooftop bar I’d wanted to visit for about a year.  It was packed, but we managed to get one of the last tables, and that proved to be a wise (if expensive) choice.  The main club / bar areas got very packed, but in the semi-private table area, we had space to dance, hang out, look around, and it was well-worth it.  We met a couple of friends from the previous day, and a mixture of folks hung out until about 3:30am.

(Photo from 230 5th web site above, not mine.)

Sunday was slower, as you might expect.  We had a nice small brunch, visited the High Line, did some more shopping, and grabbed burgers and shakes at The Shake Shack, which we love.  On Sunday evening we were still pretty tired, so we chilled out and went to bed relatively early.

Monday, Memorial Day, was a long day.  We spent most of it in Central Park, tossing some frisbee, roller-blading (Alli, not me), watching the beach volleyball courts (me, not Alli), and helping a young man do some illegal selling of water (me, not Alli) but watching his stash while he hawked his wares.

We also went to visit Ground Zero, since that seemed appropriate and interesting on Memorial Day.  We saw the preview and small-scale mockups of the memorial site which is supposed to open on 9/11/2011, 10 years after the attacks.  It looks like a good design choice.

We caught the Acela Express train back into town.  That was a fun ride.  Fairly quick, quiet, (slow) WiFi access, and friends to chat with.  The train left and arrived on time, which was nice, since our friends experienced a delay with it on Friday.

It was a great long weekend in the city.  Lots of fun, some alone and some with friends,  shopping, eating, drinking, and relaxing.  Can’t complain at all.