Friendship and Chocolate in New York City: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

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My travels around the East Coast continued last week with an all-too-brief sojourn in New York. Having once lived in the city, I have many friends there and try to go back as often as I can. I usually take the bus from DC, relaxing with free WiFi until the famous skyline first comes into view along the Jersey Turnpike, when my excitement starts to build. Even after making the trip countless times, I still feel a thrill when we pass the New Jersey / New York demarcation line inside the Lincoln Tunnel and emerge into Hell’s Kitchen, the west-side neighborhood I called home my first year in Manhattan.

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My returns to the Big Apple usually take place on weekends, when my pals are off work and able to spend time with me. But with preparations for our move well underway and time pressing in, the only days I had available were during the week. I took the opportunity to see one friend in New Jersey, rather than ask her to make the trek into the city like I usually do. She has two lovely children, whom I met for the first time, and it broke my heart to leave, not knowing when I might see them again.

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A bit melancholy after that visit, I went for a long walk around Midtown Manhattan, where my friend and I used to work. It was hard to stay sad for long with the stunning displays of tulips erupting all over the city. A perimeter of vivid orange surrounded the New York Public Library while small fields of red brightened up Park Avenue. I paused to photograph an abundance of pink tulips on the Upper East Side and shared a smile with several passers-by who seemed to notice the flowers only after seeing me with my camera. It was one of those rare moments between strangers which lifts everyone’s spirits.

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Spring is bursting forth in Bryant Square Park.

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I had planned to take a Circle Line cruise of the island the next day, but the weather didn’t cooperate; instead, I treated myself to some beautiful art at the Frick Collection. Once the home of steel tycoon Henry Clay Frick, the mansion now showcases his impressive collection of Old Master paintings and antique French furnishings. It also offers a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of America’s 19th century elite.

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Photographs are only allowed in the Frick Collection’s elegant central courtyard.

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Later that evening, another friend met me at Chelsea Market where we joined a Great New York Chocolate Tour. I found a super deal on Groupon and thought it would be a fun way to explore our old stomping grounds. We ambled from the Meatpacking District to SoHo, tasting decadent sweets at some of Manhattan’s best shops, all while a quirky guide shared interesting tidbits about the city. My favorite stops included Magnolia Bakery, Chocolate Bar and Bisous Ciao Macarons. We purchased additional treats at about half the stops and had quite a chocolate bounty by the end!

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Once the tour ended, we were hungry for something more substantial and walked along West Broadway until Sanctuary T enticed us with its charming facade. I gobbled up a bowl of sweet corn ravioli with bacon and tomatoes while my friend went for the spicy beef meatballs and the surprisingly tasty cauliflower steak. The service here was really exceptional, with a genial and attentive waitress who even gave us plates and extra cutlery so we could gracefully enjoy the chocolates we’d purchased on the tour!

Leaving the next day was bittersweet. Even though I’ll miss my friends and the city dearly, every “goodbye, for now!” takes me one step closer to a brand new adventure. And hopefully my friends will come visit!

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How do you stay connected to loved ones while you’re abroad? Is there a place you miss more than any other?

 

Heather Hall

Heather Hall

Passionate about travel, food, history and animals, Heather brings a curiosity and fun-loving attitude to most any experience that comes along. The Virginia native has lived abroad since 2011, first in Shanghai, China and now in Riga, Latvia. Follow along as she explores the cultures and cuisines of Europe on her blog, Ferreting Out the Fun!

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22 thoughts on “Friendship and Chocolate in New York City: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit in NYC! The Midtown Manhattan area is so beautiful and charming. I wish I could go for a walk like you did! Look at these flowers… Stunning!
    By the way, friends who love chocolate stay friends forever :-).
    Agness recently posted…5 Ways To Beat Homesickness When TravellingMy Profile

    • Thanks, Agness! It was so nice to walk around by myself and just take it all in. I don’t remember ever seeing tulips like that when I lived there!

    • Yes, do! I’m sure you’ll be able to find some fabulous specials! I think the chocolate tour discount runs through the summer.

      • Thanks Heather – Working in Alaska indefinitely – Some days are a challenge but no matter which day it is… it’s always amazing in Alaska. Come visit.
        Maria Falvey recently posted…Stealthy Street MovesMy Profile

        • I would love to visit Alaska, but don’t think it’s in the cards in the near future. We’re moving to Latvia next month and will be focusing our attention primarily on Europe for a while. But the winter climate is similar so I’ll be with you in spirit πŸ˜‰

  2. I love New York – it is one of my favourite cities. I’ve never been in the Springtime and it looks just spectacular. Sigh….
    Emily recently posted…Paris Je T’aimeMy Profile

    • New York is my absolute favorite city, though I might be a little biased πŸ™‚ Spring is always a special time there, especially after a particularly harsh winter. I can remember walking through Central Park and seeing petals fall like snow. It was magical!

  3. New York is stunning during springtime, I love all those tulips and the Frick – one of my favorite places to visit and then you cap it off with a chocolate tour and a lovely dinner – wow what an exciting schedule you really live a full life on those short trips – just like how I enjoy visiting a place I haven’t been to in awhile, like New York.
    noel recently posted…Friday Photo – 16th Avenue stairs in San FranciscoMy Profile

    • Thanks, Noel, I try to make every moment count! I hadn’t been to the Frick in years, and the chocolate tour was much more fun than just meeting for drinks at a bar!

  4. I always wanted to visit New York and it looks like spring is a great time to do so especially considering tulips are my favorite flowers, to that add some great chocolate and the company of a nice friend and you’ll have the perfect combo! Glad you had a good time πŸ™‚
    Franca recently posted…Weekend Photo Theme – Design HotelsMy Profile

    • Thanks, Franca! Spring in NYC is beautiful, but the weather can be unpredictable. But at least there are plenty of museums to explore on those rainy days πŸ™‚

  5. I find it hard sometimes when we live so far away from family and friends. But the best way to keep in touch would be via skype and facebook so they can see what we have been up too. My mum gets to know every detail as we document out move on Facebook for her πŸ™‚
    Rosemarie recently posted…Beyond Kuta Beach, BaliMy Profile

    • I find staying in touch difficult as well. Parents are easy, we schedule weekly Skype calls with them. But it’s the friends who aren’t on Facebook that I feel most out of touch with. I miss seeing the photos of what they’re doing and how they’re changing!

  6. Mmm, Milk and Cookies is one of my faves! So sorry I missed you this time around! It’s definitely work maintaining long distant friendships, and requires equal efforts on both sides, for sure! For those relationships I maintain, it’s usually a combo of text messages/emails checking in and giving life updates, as I feel these are a bit more personal than just Liking each other’s photos on FB. Although there’s plenty of that going on, too!
    Jess @UsedYorkCity recently posted…Tips On Where To Save/Splurge On Your NYC WeddingMy Profile

    • We got to try the chocolate cookie and it was SO GOOD! At milk bar, I recommend the S’mores and Rang Dangs. I bought one of each and wish I’d gotten more!

      That’s great you are so good at maintaining more personal connections. I was too – before we moved to Shanghai. Then it was only Skype and FB, and I started to feel totally disconnected from those who aren’t online. That’s why I’ve made such an effort to reconnect and strengthen those bonds since we’ve been back.

    • Check Groupon, I think the tour is still available! Could be fun for your next trip to the Big Apple πŸ™‚

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