After three and a half months of my summer work in the bakery, it was finally time to pack my bags and travel to New York City.
Going to New York City from New Hampshire is a long journey (that is, if you're eco-friendly, or in other words, poor). It's a six hour bus ride, but the thing that makes it really lame is that it only takes five hours to get to Manhattan... And another hour to 34th street. I had a backpack, a handbag, a huge paper bag and a suitcase that was about to explode. To top it off, it was already dark by the time the bus got to the station, and it was, of course, raining. Fortunately, all I had to do was to go to the nearest subway station and take one of the trains north. This sounds a lot easier than it actually was. I accidentally took the express train, which didn't stop at my station. I had to get off at 125th street, walk upstairs (why are there no elevators?), walk downstairs again and take the southbound train. This time, the right one!
Somehow, I made it to the hostel. No elevator, of course. I drag all my luggage to the room... and the room, if you can picture it, looks like this: plastic chair - empty space - window - bunk bed - locker. At this point, I started asking myself: did you really have to do this, Tanja? Did you really need this trip to NYC to happen? Can't you just wait until you get a real job, earn some real money and actually afford a hotel when you travel?
No. I just HAD to go sleep in a cheap hostel. I shouldn't say cheap, though. Cheap-er, that's what it was. Being afraid of leaving your valuables in the room while you're taking a shower really is part of the fun.
I woke up next morning, on Wednesday, and had no idea what to do. I had things planned, but when it was time to actually do something, I didn't remember anything. I ended up in Times Square. It was still raining and I felt so small in comparison to everything else in the city... It certainly wasn't what I expected.
Thursday was a lot different. I picked up my New York Pass (a great way to save money) and all of a sudden, everything started making sense. I started the day by going to the top of Rockefeller Center. I took the NBC Studios tour and saw where Saturday Night Live is taped (if you look closely, you can still see tiny bits of Ashlee Simpson's shattered career in the corner of the stage). Radio City Music Hall tour was also interesting, even though we weren't allowed onto the stage. I had lunch at Planet Hollywood, next to some very famous movie costumes (Darth Vader, anyone?), went to Madame Tussaud's Museum and took a photo with Leonardo DiCaprio (finally!), did some shopping, and, in the evening, checked out the view from the top of the Empire State Building.
Friday started with a delicious breakfast at Planet Hollywood. I had pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream, which was also the first time in my life I ate pancakes (I had only had crepes before). Next stop was Museum of Modern Art - MoMA, which I didn't really like because... I don't GET modern art. I just don't. Then, I took a tour of Central Park TV and Movie sites (I'm kind of obsessed with celebrities...) and visited the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space museum. Don't look at me like that, it was included in the Pass price!
To make the day complete, I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the evening and sat on the stairs afterwards, just like Blair Waldorf and her ''friends'' always did during their lunch hour. It was a warm, perfect summer night and that was the first time I said to myself: I should move here.
You're probably wondering: when do the cupcakes come into the picture? Fear not, they are here. The first cupcake-related thing that comes to my mind when I hear the words New and York is Magnolia Bakery. So I guess it makes sense that it was the first bakery I visited, even though I found it by accident.
Magnolia was made famous by the Sex and the City series. But back then I had no idea what cupcakes were, so I found out about Magnolia later, while looking for cookbooks about cupcakes and baking in general.
In a way, I was worried about going to Magnolia because it's supposed to be very crowded and I didn't want to waste any time standing in line. But then I accidentally found a Magnolia Bakery right in front of the Rockefeller Center, and there were no people inside - meaning, I had to go in and buy a cupcake! I chose chocolate with blue vanilla frosting and paid $3 for it. Not cheap... however, I got it in a pretty paper box in a paper bag. That costs money. So I was perfectly fine with the price. They offer the classics (vanilla and chocolate) every day for $3, while specialty cupcakes cost $3.50 and different flavors are available on different days.
The bakery itself is small and cute, and it can get crowded really fast, so I left as soon as I got the cupcake. And the box. And the paper bag. This ''photoshoot'' took place at a McDonald's restaurant. I ate lunch there every day, so I could save some money to spend on sweets. So healthy! I need to stop doing that.
This was a good cupcake. Nothing special, but good enough. I didn't come for the cupcake anyway, I came for the experience. But I just loved their buttercream! Their cupcakes are not too big, and I hear they're famous for their Banana Pudding. Unfortunately, I read about it a few weeks too late. They have five bakeries in New York City, one in Chicago, Los Angeles and Dubai. If you live nowhere near those locations, you can also order their baked goods online, and they will ship them frozen (within the 48 contiguous states).
Magnolia Bakery Rockefeller Center
1240 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue)
New York, NY 10020