I'd visited New York as a tourist many times and had spent four years in Brooklyn getting my college degree. One of my oldest and dearest friends, while well-traveled, had never been to New York. We both agreed we just had to go. A friend of mine from Brooklyn offered to let us stay at her apartment for an extended weekend, so I started planning my ideal "first time to New York" trip.
It started bright and early Thursday morning in DC, where we caught the Washington Deluxe bus to New York. You can't beat $35 round trip, and the driver made excellent time - probably about four hours. After arriving at the corner of 34th and 8th, Meghan and I caught the subway up to the Met. We happily checked our heavy backpacks and spent a couple of hours in the museum. The Temple of Dendur was roped off to prepare for a party, and a few exhibits we had wanted to see (the Costume Institute, American paintings) were closed or undergoing renovation. Even so, there were more than enough famous and/or interesting pieces to satisfy us. The Egyptian collection, the Asian collection, and the European and Modern paintings were the standouts on our quick run-through.
We left the Met and walked south through Central Park, hitting the Bethesda Terrace and Strawberry Fields on our way. By the time we reached Tavern on the Green, our backpacks were killing us. The lady at coat check was a bit snooty, but no one mentioned our blue jeans, or my sneakers. The drinks were expensive but delicious, and we had a nice conversation with a man at the bar who was there for an event, and dressed accordingly.
After leaving Central Park, we decided to head on to Serendipity 3, as I'd heard the wait time can be hours and the host difficult. We arrived, were given a friendly greeting, and were seated within 15 minutes. We split an omelette with sour cream and caviar, and were both too full to try one of the famous (and enormous) desserts. The Perrier with a strawberry and citrus was especially refreshing for the walk ahead.
By the time we returned to 5th Avenue, most of the shops had closed. FAO Schwarz was open, so we dropped in to gawk at the gigantic stuffed animals and to seek out the piano Tom Hanks made famous in the movie 'Big'. The store is far more low-key than it was several years ago, due to the closing and reopening, I guess. The giant clock and the robot elevator are no more. But getting to play chopsticks with our feet? Still a priceless experience.