As the residents of New York City flee to the coast for Memorial Day weekend, we take advantage of the empty sidewalks and open bar stools. Packing everything we need for the next two days into a backpack, we book an Airbnb and an early flight into LaGuardia Airport. Exiting the airport, we board the Jackson Heights Q70 bus, transfer to the metro, and for under $10 per person, we arrive in Herald’s Square. Strolling by bustling stores, food carts, boutiques, and restaurants, with no particular destination in mind, we see Heartland Brewery.

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The menu is extensive with appetizers, rotisserie, desserts, daily specials, and eleven beers on tap. There are four hundred and fifty seats throughout the two story brewery in the Empire State Building, one of three locations.

After ordering a flight of beer and a giant pretzel, we notice a line forming around the brewery. Finishing our flight, we walk outside and follow the quickly moving line of people to the entrance of the Empire State Building. In only a few minutes we are through security, purchase a standard pass, and are on our way up to the eighty-sixth floor.

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The eighty-sixth floor main deck, is the highest open-air observatory in New York. First opening in nineteen thirty-one, the Empire State Building was later granted their own zip code.

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Descending back to ground level, we continue walking down the street. Waiting to cross at an intersection, a sign holder advertising The Long Hall catches our eye. Fans of Irish pubs, we decide to stop in for a beer.

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Popular for viewing soccer games, this traditional Irish Pub offers GAA game specials and traditional Irish cuisine in addition to burgers, sandwiches, big plates, and appetizers.

After a pint of Guinness, we begin the walk to our Airbnb. Spotting an Irish flag a couple store fronts ahead, we create a brilliant idea to stop at every Irish pub on the way to our room. Let the Irish Pub Crawl begin! #challengeaccepted

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2. Gabby O’Hara’s

3.  The PlayWright Irish Pub

4. Langan’s 

5. The Mean Fiddler

6. Hurley’s Saloon

7. P.J. Carney’s Pub

8. Molloy’s Irish Pub (now closed)

9. The Irish Pub

Extremely underestimating the quantity of Irish Pubs in New York City, we declare our challenge complete at pub number nine. Long after the sun has set, we check into our Airbnb and drop off our backpacks. We end our evening with a dinner of traditional Korean tabletop barbecue and makgeolli at Bann, the premier Korean restaurant in New York City for dinner.

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Traveling Gingerbread Note: Since this visit to NYC we have eaten bulgogi and Korean barbecue in South Korea. We cannot wait to return to Bann to enjoy authentic Korean cuisine and makgeolli in the United States. We give this restaurant five stars!

The next morning we order breakfast sandwiches from a small corner market near our Airbnb. After taking a walk through Central Park, we find another Irish pub and indulge in Irish coffees before watching Aladdin the Broadway Musical at the New Amsterdam Theatre.

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The USS Maine National Monument, located in Central Park, was dedicated in nineteen thirteen to the men Killed in Havana Harbor aboard the USS Maine.
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Originally built in nineteen thirteen, the New Amsterdam Theatre now only shows Disney performances. In Nineteen ninety-three the theatre closed for renovations after signing a ninety-nine year lease with Walt Disney. Four years later, the revamped Disney’s New Amsterdam Theatre premiered Hercules and the highest grossing musical of all time, The Lion King.

After a phenomenal show, we visit one last Irish pub, McGee’s, the bar that inspired How I Met Your Mother. We were disappointed in the dimly lit, sticky pub with little resemblance to the bar on How I Met Your Mother, MacLaren’s.

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There are Monday food specials and a drink menu inspired by How I Met Your Mother such as: The Naked Man, S.O.B, Robin Sparkles, Don’t Drink Tequila, Daddy’s Home, The Pineapple Incident, Gay Pirate, Tantrum, Have you Met the Captain, and Slutty Pumpkin.
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Jeff Koons unveiled his forty-five foot tall sculpture, Seated Ballerina, in the middle of Rockefeller Center. The inflatable, nylon sculpture represents his modern interpretation of the Roman Mythology Goddess, Venus.

Not sure how we even found the narrow staircase entering what we thought was a Japanese restaurant, we enter Yuki 55, a Japanese karaoke bar. NYC.png

Attracting attention of the staff being the only two occupants, we decide to stay for one quick drink after realizing our mistake. As we are about to pay our bill, customers trickle into the narrow bar, popular American music fills the air, inner Japanese and American Idols are released, and we spend the remainder of our evening in the small, magical, sake filled bar.


May 2017