One More Morning Meander

I’m writing this post (well, starting it anyway) from the airport. How has this trip gone by so quickly?! Oh, that’s right – it’s because time passes differently (ie, much more quickly) on vacation than it does in the real world. But hey, we’re still in staycation mode for the rest of this week once we get home, so we’ve got more relaxing to look forward to!

Although we’re going to be flying home in about an hour, it was nice to have time this morning to get out into Manhattan one last time. Since we didn’t have to leave the airport until about 12:45 PM, we knew we’d have a couple of hours to play with so we decided to do, what else – EAT! There was one more NYC must-have food item to cross off our list and today was the perfect day to do it. Did you guess what that item is? If you said bagels, you’re correct! I know bagels aren’t glamorous, but they’re a New York staple, plus they aren’t too heavy to eat right before a flight (well, a few hours before a flight and before getting nearly 10,000 steps on our feet). There’s something about the bagels here that make them extra delicious (if yesterday’s tour guide is to be believed, it’s the NYC water!) – a little bit firm outside, but very chewy inside, with heaps of delicious cream cheese. Yum!

So the question became where to get bagels. There are SO many options that it’s hard to know which one is “the best” so we opted to go to a known quantity, Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company. They have a few locations around NYC and Scott had been to one (the one in Chelsea that we visited, in fact) with our friend a couple of years ago, so we knew it would be good. And ooooooh, was it good! It was only about a 10-15-minute walk from us, so we were there in no time and were delighted to find no line (we had walked by this same location a couple of days ago to see a line stretching outside). Scott get an everything bagel with scallion cream cheese, while I opted for a salt bagel (my fave!) with sundried tomato cream cheese (which I’d never had before, but sounded delicious). They were both really good! Like many smaller eateries in a pandemic-fueled world, there was no indoor seating, but there were a few, small outdoor tables. Unfortunately, they were all occupied, so we had to start eating standing up, but a table quickly opened, so we snagged it. It’s definitely easier to eat a big, cream cheese-filled bagel sitting down!

The outside view of our bagel eatery.

With bagels for fuel, we made our way to our second (and final) stop for the day, Little Island, which is an artificial island park. It’s very new, having just opened in late May 2021, so we thought it would be fun to check it out. You don’t often get to visit a floating park, right?? Apparently, it was planned as far back as 2014, but delays and lawsuits slowed the process down, which is why it didn’t finally open until this year. At one point, those lawsuits and other issues even got the project canceled entirely, but after 43 days, the issues were worked out and the project moved ahead, with famous designer Diane von Fürstenberg and her husband, Barry Diller, providing a lot of the funding (they gave $260 million!!). With lots of green space and a couple of small-ish amphitheaters as well, it seems like it will be a neat space for the city. It sounds like there are already a lot of performances and events planned (presumably there were some over the summer, since an outdoor space like this is perfect for socially-distanced, pandemic-friendly gatherings), so hopefully New Yorkers and tourists alike will enjoy it. It’s free to visit and, as long as you go before noon on weekdays or on non-holiday weekends, no ticket is needed. On holidays and weekends, no tickets are needed from 6a-12p, but a free ticket is required for entry after that to better monitor the number of visitors. If you get a chance to visit or attend a performance there, do it!

Little Island is part of the larger Hudson River Park.
It’s hard to get a good view of the whole park, but this gives you a good feel for it.
See that skyscraper in the middle? That deck jutting out from it is Edge, which we visited yesterday.
Checking out the New Jersey side of the view from the highest point on Little Island.
And now, the Manhattan side.
One of the amphitheaters. A musical duo was rehearsing (I think) in the other one.

And that wrapped up our time on Little Island and we walked back to our hotel (only ~20 minutes away, so the location of our hotel continued to pay dividends for us). We did an excellent job of timing things out, as we still had about 90 minutes to kill by the time we got back, allowing us to pack up and watch a little TV before catching a Lyft to LaGuardia (oh, and it also gave me time to finish yesterday’s post – woooo!).

Our hotel checkout process was smooth, our Lyft took about a half-hour, and it took us less than five minutes to reach our gate once we hit the airport. It was so fast! We had plenty of time to kill (a little over an hour until we boarded), so we got a few more steps in (our morning activities didn’t quite get us to 10,000 steps, but a little airport walking took care of that) and then waited. As I said above, I even started this post at the gate! After an easy, on-time flight to MN and a quick Uber home, we’re unpacked and relaxing.

This trip was a good (re)introduction to traveling in a world that’s still very much impacted by a global pandemic. We never felt unsafe and didn’t have any issues wearing our masks so much (on the plane rides, in Lyfts, on the borough tour, etc.) It felt like NYC had a good handle on COVID, with people masking up inside and several places asking us for proof of vaccination. Overall, I don’t think we felt any more unsafe on this trip than we have on previous trips. We’ve got another trip planned for the holiday season (more on that later), so hopefully things in the world will continue to improve.

Now, maybe I’ll finally get around to picking my Travel Throwback posts back up. 🙂

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About thejeffelston

Based in St. Paul, MN and love to blog about travel. Comment, follow, and join me on my journey!