I turned on to the Esplanade and walked south towards my first stop for the night. I have to say, the view was just gorgeous even if it was cloudy.
I stopped in the Winter Garden, which is kind of a mall/performance space/office building. The final competition in Mad Hot Ballroom took place here. I walked into the main atrium and was startled to see huge palm trees! In New York! Lots of people were hanging out on benches underneath the trees. What a great place to have a coffee!
I left the Winter Garden and walked further down the esplanade, passing tons of joggers, dog walkers and dog joggers. There were some neat sights along the walk. Like this place...
It's kind of hard to tell from the picture, but all the surfaces were covered in mosaic tiles. It seemed like something out of a Dr. Seuss story: very colorful and unexpected.
And the sweetest, happiest, most innocent looking snowman I ever saw in front of...
...a holocaust museum?
I finally made it to the bottom of the esplanade and walked over to my first stop, The Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park. I had heard that there was a bar called Rise in the hotel that had amazing views of the harbor. I walked into the bar around 6pm only to find that it was standing room only. I was a little worried about how much a drink would cost so I thought I'd be safe and order a glass of Chardonnay. Let me give you a tip: if you are in a fancy hotel - like the Ritz -and you're looking to get a relatively inexpensive glass of chardonnay, don't ask the bartender which brand he recommends. I ended up spending $27 on one. glass. of. wine.
The view was pretty spectacular though. The bar was small, but it had a terrece that opens in warmer weather that must double its size. I tried to get a picture of the view from inside the bar. This was the best I could do without a flash (that would bounce off the windows)...
The green blob in the middle is the Statue of Liberty.
I finished my glass of unicorn blood-I mean, wine, and got up to leave. There was now a long line of people waiting to get in. I stopped in Rise's "Chocolate Bar" down the hall (something the bar was doing every weekend in February). There was a replica of the Brooklyn Bridge made out of chocolate. Across the bridge was a spread of chocolate desserts. I had to leave before I devoured it like a chocolate-crazed godzilla.
I suspect the papers underneath are loan applications.
I walked back up the esplanade to meet my friends, Gene and Kate, at the restaurant, Steamer's Landing. Gene said that the restaurant had good food and great views. (More great views!) Gene also mentioned that 30 Rock shot part of its Cleveland episode here. "It was ridiculous. You could see the Colgate Clock in the background!" Gene cried.
The food was quite good. I ordered the "Pan Roasted Bell & Evans French Chicken Breast". It was a really yummy chicken breast atop 4 polenta triangles with a creamy, roasted garlic sauce. Gene got the Seafood Stew (which looked like it could have fed all of us) and Kate got the crab cakes.
The view was the best part of the place. (Have I mentioned the view?) It was so great that when I was writing this I actually I had to go back to Steamer's Landing's website to remember what restaurant itself looked like. Wherever you sat, you looked right out over the river. With that, the dim lighting, and the hushed conversation I could imagine this as the perfect location for a romantic dinner. Too bad Gene and Kate are taken.
After dinner, Gene and Kate showed me a few more sites including a part of the Berlin Wall!
Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this section of wall!
I had a great time in Battery Park City. Who knew? I definitely plan to come back for future visits. I'll have to take out a mortgage, though, before I return to the Ritz.