This story starts way back in May of this year. Or if you want to be even more specific, it starts in the year 2007, when I was in high school and had just discovered one of my favourite musicians of all time, Butch Walker. You may know his name from his production work with some of the biggest pop musicians of today such as Pink, Taylor Swift, Avril Lavigne, Fall Out Boy, etc.
Anyway, he had a few shows with Ryan Adams in New York City and I was thinking of going.
I had never been the type to travel from city to city just to catch my favourite musicians - the furthest I had travelled for music was from Toronto to London, Ontario. But alas, they weren't playing a show in Montreal and so it was between Toronto (my hometown, at Massey Hall, a venue I had been to countless times) or the more exciting option, New York City
Sometime between late Summer and Fall, I must have have mentioned to my friend Olivier that I wanted to go to New York City for the concert because he booked a hotel for the weekend and suddenly it was set.
New York City was kind to me this time around. I spent the weekend walking around Manhattan, jetting around the city in taxis (the way locals do it), taking in the Christmas spirit and eating a lot of gourmet food. I recently moved in with two serious rock climbers
and everyone's always watching what they're eating, so I decided to take a break weekend in New York.
Our first day in New York, we walked around Lower Manhattan, visiting neighbourhoods the neighbourhoods of Little Italy, Chinatown and NoHo.
We stumbled into a New York rollerblading group called I Roll NY
and watched a competition for a while.
Then, we found a Christmas Market and all these European Christmas Market memories
came flooding back.
Of course, there were key differences between the New York City Christmas market and the European Christmas markets - the main one being the food focus of European markets and the artisan focus of this one.
We ended our first night at the Village Vanguard, enjoying jazz music in a basement and knocking back some brandy. It seemed like the appropriate thing to do in New York.
The next morning, we started our hunt for breakfast and by chance came upon Eataly, a gourmet Italian food market by Madison Square Park.
I first heard about this market by its recent cookbook being featured in all the bookstores in Canada. To all the marketers out there: writing a book with beautiful pictures is an awesome way for self-promotion.
We consumed all the pastries with our eyes, but eventually settled for a sit-down meal of fresh pasta.
I enjoyed my meal of tagliatelle with short rib ragout very much.
Next, we headed to Chelsea Market, which might be my favourite place in New York City.
There's an incredible contemporary artisan vibe at Chelsea Market. The place is made up of exposed brick walls and beams, but finished with crisp glass windows and design-driven typography. It seems like an ideal place to spend a morning with friends, eating your way around the different stalls and restaurants.
After a quick tour around the market, we made our way to the High Line, a pedestrian-only structure above the city that allows visitors to view the city without traffic or bike interruption.
The High Line used to be a means of transport for goods throughout New York, but when the trucking industry gained popularity in 1980, they shut it down and turned it into a walking path instead. While they were redeveloping the neighbourhood, it became trendy and new apartments were built along the way.
There are park benches, picnic tables and a million different places to view the sunset - which is exactly what we did.
As night settled in, we rushed to Hammerstein Ballroom to see the concert which had brought us to New York. If you squint, you can see me in the second row of the floor on the left side of this photo taken from Ryan Adams' twitter.
It was a good concert, but both Butch and Ryan didn't play my favourite songs! I suppose it doesn't matter too much. The concert was a fantastic and fairly legitimate reason to visit New York and I'm glad I finally caved.
Off a post-concert high, we went to Shake Shack and had our first Shack burgers, then disappeared into the night in the city that never sleeps.