On every visit home to New Jersey, Husband and I try to get into NYC at least a couple of times. Sometimes we take the train in, sometimes we drive in. Sometimes we take the kids, sometimes we go alone. We’ve explored and been to the city in so many ways we could write a Dr. Seuss book:
I like New York on foot.
I like New York by train.
I like New York in sun, or snow, or rain.
I would visit it alone or in the company of lots.
I’d visit it with Husband or dogs or young tots.
But biking in New York City? That’s new. I’m not even really sure how that idea has never crossed our minds before since, as we both described it after, it was game-changing… but better late than never. It was a fresh way to kick off celebrating our anniversary and, more importantly, taught me a marriage truth I’d like to share with you, my friends: love doesn’t get old if you make it new.
“Love doesn’t get old if you make it new.”
The train at 11am is pretty empty so finding a seat and place to lock up the bikes is easy. Arriving at Penn Station and taking the bikes up the escalators is a little more of a struggle and I’d be lying if I said that finding our bike legs in Manhattan is simple. Walking around Times Square is intimidating enough; finding your groove on a bike, through construction, while minding traffic, lights, and pedestrians is, well, as complicated as it sounds. But like everything in life, it just takes a period of adjustment. Once we are fully invested in biking in New York City, we start spotting what roads are better to ride down and where the bike paths are. Now, biking is a breeze.
In my metaphorical back pocket, I have surprise reservations at a restaurant on the Hudson River Parkway, so I suggest we bike there. It works well for our wheeled adventure since there is also a great bike path. Our first stop is one we stumble upon. Maritime 66 is an old floater barge restored as a bar and restaurant that couldn’t be any cooler if it tried.
We make a couple more stops at parks and spots along the way before finding Grand Banks.
“Oysters and drinks? We’ve gotta stop here, right?” Husband suggests reading their chalkboard sign.
He still doesn’t know we actually are stopping here.
“Of course. Especially since we have reservations. This is the surprise.”
High fives and laughs later, I tell him I’ve been lugging around a change of clothes in the bag if he’d like to change before boarding. It seemed fitting to celebrate our wooden anniversary at Grand Banks; a historic wooden schooner, the largest wooden vessel in New York City, which was hand-built in 1942, now turned seasonal oyster bar. It looks and sounds like something that George Clooney should be sailing around Lake Como and definitely the coolest place I’ve ever been to. It feels trendy without feeling played out. I guess, that’s called classic.
We ride even further still downtown into Battery Park City where we wander into Le District, a “french-inspired” market that could single-handedly explain to newbies visiting New York City, why New York City is the best city on Earth.
We took advantage of a great happy hour with $1 oysters and $5 house wine. We got a deliciously brewed single drip coffee which was as tasty to sip as it was cool to watch make. And we moseyed around the cheese case, salivating and open to trying any cheese recommended. The lovely Irish girl behind the counter, who is here on a working visa, is possibly one of the most knowledgeable people I’ve ever met; her knowledge only surpassed by her affable and gracious disposition. She pairs a blue cheese type fromage with chocolate and we trustingly gobble it down. It’s an amazing duo. Who knew?
We follow the course of the sun. As it begins to set, so does our energy. I’m ready to head back for the train but we can’t leave New York without a slice of the apple so we head to Bleecker Street Pizza which has been named “one of the top 5 places you must eat” at in NYC by The New York Times… for good reason.
We find ourselves riding down an eerily quiet 4-lane street towards the West Side at dusk. The sun is setting ahead of us, the wind on our faces, the sounds of a city so alive in the distance yet so silent in our moment that I could hear only my legs pedaling and the crunch of the street beneath the tires. I want to let go of the handle bars and stretch my arms out to embrace the moment. But let’s be serious, I’d bust my ass so I hold on but breathe in the moment nonetheless. We knew bike riding in Manhattan would be game-changing; we didn’t realize it would be life-changing.
“I could hear only my legs pedaling and the crunch of the street beneath the tires.”
And what a great lesson for us to learn that day as we were celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary. After 5 years of marriage, almost 10 years together, and 2 kids keeping us busy, some might think that the fun is behind us. What could we possibly do together that hasn’t already been done? Well, I’ve loved NYC my whole life; lived in New York City for four years when I was in college and came back every weekend for years after I graduated. I know the West Village intimately. I know just about every corner of Central Park. And we’ve strolled around the Upper West Side, “deciding” where exactly we’d live if we ever win the lottery. And yet, even with all that familiarity – after all of that – we found a new way to enjoy this place, a new way to love it. And that, I believe, is one of the keys to a happy marriage too. Nothing gets old if you find new ways to love it.
“Nothing gets old if you find new ways to love it.”