Where were we? We just read In Five Years by Rebecca Serle and are ready to go on a literary date, right? If you didn’t read In Five Years, then check out my book review to learn more about it. If you haven’t read it and are not ready for the literary date, no worries, because I’m not ready for it either. We still have this global pandemic thing going on in the world, maybe you’ve heard about it?
New York City has entered phase 2 in our reopening plan. That means that some restaurants are open for outdoor patio seating. That’s cool! I still plan to wait a couple of weeks and also would like it to cool down a bit before venturing out on an all day/night literary date extravaganza. Ya know what I mean? It is HOT down in this city right now.
Anybody been in the city when it’s mid 80s heading into the 90s? Whoa baby, the heat radiates off the buildings!
Okay, I’ll stop being a whiny good-for-nothing and let you all in on the potential tour spots for In Five Years. Then, you all can help me decide where to go, what to see, what to eat? Sound good? Maybe you could convince me to get off my lazy bum? Do it! Sometimes I just need a little tap on the shoulder or just shove me right off the diving board. I’ll enjoy it once I’m in that nice, cool, refreshing body of water. Liquid heaven! Did I mention NYC is hot?
Let’s get to it! In Five Years mentioned all real spots that actually exist in NYC. Sometimes, I use the book as inspiration for going to a certain place, instead of it being specifically mentioned in the book, but I’ll let you know if that’s the case for any of these spots.
*Spoiler disclosure* As you know, I don’t put what I would call spoilers in my posts, however, some of these locations that I list might give you clues to the storyline. My opinion will always be that it will make you want to read the book even more, but I’m obviously biased. 😉
This place gets a mention in the book, but the main character, Dannie doesn’t actually go here in the book. She reminisces about going here with her dad. It’s a classic spot in NYC known for their frozen hot chocolate. It was featured in the movie with the same name, Serendipity. Side note, I love that movie and own it.
This restaurant is also known for its long lines. Not sure what it would be like during pandemic times, but really think about if you want to send me to a spot with a very long wait. How much do you like me? Okay, I would do it for you if you really want. 😉
It’s located on the upper east side.
Sarge’s Delicatessen & Diner
This spot is in Dannie’s neighborhood in Manhattan, Murray Hill, and she eats her favorite, a whitefish salad on a bagel. I’m vegetarian, but I certainly love an opportunity to eat some yummy bagels with scallion cream cheese. Especially if they have a good whole wheat everything bagel, but I’ll take a regular one too. Yum!
Dannie says, “Their whitefish salad rivals Katz’s downtown, and the wait, even with a line, is never more than four and a half minutes.”
See, Dannie doesn’t like to wait and neither does Lauren! She’s my kind of girl!
Too expensive! Next!
Dannie and David ordered Thai food after eating at the Rainbow Room. I’m guessing, but I think they probably ordered from the Union Square location.
Dannie, David, Bella, and Bella’s date meet here for an Italian dinner. I do love Italian! It’s located in Soho. They always order the arugula pizza and the Rubirosa salad.
Bridge Coffee Shop
Located in Brooklyn, in Dumbo, Dannie orders her usual- whitefish salad on a bagel. She said it’s really good, “surprisingly close to Sarge’s.” I’m a Brooklyn-snob so I bet Bridge Coffee Shop’s is better. Yeah, I said it, Dannie. Fight me.
Pret a Manger and Le Pain Quotidien
Dannie and David meet in Bryant Park to eat nicoise salads from Pret and drink Arnold Palmers from Le Pain. Seriously, they need to go to a separate spot to pick up drinks? Is the lemonade/iced tea combo really that good at Le Pain? And WTH is a nicoise salad? Googling now…I’m not a fan of tuna or olives. But surely they must have a different kind of salad that would be equally as yummy?
More salad but this place looks yummy. Lots of healthy options. A bunch of different locations are sprinkled throughout the city. For now, it looks like the ones that are open, are for takeout only. Dannie ordered from here on a lunch break.
Side note, Sweetgreen is one of the restaurants that has fed all my coworkers at the hospital for free throughout the Covid-19 global pandemic. We get food trucks every day from various spots in the city that give out food to healthcare workers for free.
Big Daddy’s Diner
Dannie meets up with a friend here. It’s a retro-style diner with American comfort food. Yum. I approve of that. Currently, take-out only.
West Village Restaurants
This neighborhood in Manhattan is where Dannie’s best friend Bella lives, so it seems like they hang out a lot in her neighborhood.
It’s a little French cafe and “it’s one of Bella’s favorite spots.” Dannie also says that “they have the best eggs and croque monsieur on the planet.”
There’s a picture of a fully feathered bird with its head missing on their website. It’s an artsy shot but I have a feeling this might not be the spot for a vegetarian. They do source locally though, so I support that. They also have a croque forestier on their menu, so maybe I could give them a chance despite the dead bird on the website? I’m an open-minded vegetarian.
The ever-thoughtful David had take out waiting for Dannie when she got home after a long day/night at work. Her favorite from this spot is their cacio e pepe, however, I don’t see that listed on their online menu. I love Italian food but most of their options contain meat. Even their gnocci is made with lamb ragu. I’m getting the feeling that Dannie and I couldn’t be friends…
This little Greek spot might treat me better. Dannie and Bella order fava beans drenched in olive oil and garlic, greek salad, lamb souvlaki, spanakopita, and roasted eggplant with tahini. This sounds like a yummy spot! I’m getting hungry!
Bella has a favorite bakery for cookies on Bleeker Street, but the cookie spot is not named. However, I found Chip on Bleeker and it sounds delicious.
They have the old standard chocolate chip but also cookies & cream, blueberry cheesecake, nutella sea salt, and peanut butter & jelly cookies, just to name a few. Yum. Yum. And More Yum. I should buy a big box for all my coworkers and then accidentally on purpose forget to bring it in. Oops! I’ll have to finish them myself.
Options galore, right!? Many of these spots are still take out and delivery. I hear July 6th will be phase 3 in NYC and that will mean restaurants can open up indoor dining with reduced capacity. Although Cuomo just put NYC on blast for not social distancing and congregating, so that could get delayed. Either way, I still plan to take a little bit of time before venturing out. Also, with reduced capacity, I think restaurants might require tables of two or more. That could throw a wrench in my literary date plans, since usually I go on literary dates on my own. Much to consider!
Moving on…to book locations…where the characters live, work, and areas they venture to.
Dannie lives in Murray Hill in Manhattan, which is a neighborhood on the east side above 34th Street and below 42nd Street and between Madison Avenue and 1st Avenue. It used to be the neighborhood where young professionals could find a more affordable apartment. I don’t know if that’s the case anymore. Now everything in this city is priced at expensive or a little less expensive.
Dannie’s bagel place Sarge’s is here but otherwise not too much action happens for Dannie in Murray Hill.
This is where Dannie dreams of living. Gramercy Park has a private gated park and you have to live in one of the buildings that surrounds the park in order to get a key. If you stayed at the Gramercy Park Hotel, you could also get access to the park. Who wants to pay the $400 per night fee to get me in? 😉
To learn about the history of Gramercy Park and the various ways to get access to it, check out this interesting article on Curbed.
The author ultimately describes the park as a time capsule instead of a park. I would agree with that.
My other option of getting in is to hit the dating apps hard to find a guy who lives in Gramercy Park. See how far I’d go for you all?
Rebecca Serle gives us the exact address of where Dannie works. I love when authors put in a specific address. Dannie works at a law office at 51 West 52nd Avenue. Her law firm, Watchtell, is located in the CBS Building. Another factual location.
Dumbo is an integral part of Dannie’s storyline. When she sees her life in a “dream” or whatever it was, in 5 years, she wakes up in an apartment in Dumbo. Rebecca Serle does it again and gives an exact address- 37 Bridge. We also follow Dannie as she walks down Plymouth street until she gets to Bridge. I can literally retrace her steps and see what she passes by like the old Galapogos Art Space. And of course I would share it all with you.
Dumbo also claims one of the most instagrammable spots in NYC right in front of the Manhattan Bridge. Now I have to get a shot there. I’d have to find some nice, passerby who will take my awkward photo in front of that perfect backdrop. Where’s an instagram boyfriend/husband when you need him?
Bella’s apartment is in the West Village at the corner of Bleeker and Charles Street. It will definitely be a nice spot. I love the West Village.
Next stop on our Literary Date could be for some shopping.
Dannie shops at Reformation in SoHo because she knows she’s about to get proposed to and wants to find something perfect for the occasion. I could definitely peruse here, but the stuff would be out of my price range. If I go here, I hope I wouldn’t have one of those, “Well, how often do I treat myself?” moments.
You guys, I do not need to go to a lingerie store. Please don’t make me. I’m not getting any action. Oh okay, you think if I shop here, then the universe will bring me an occasion to wear it? Oh geez. Seriously? We’re gonna go that route? I probably can’t afford this place either.
Mark Ingram Bridal Salon
Ohhhh helllllz no! Seriously, if you all try to get me to go to this spot, we will have some words. Don’t tell me you want me to pose as a bride. Don’t even think it.
Moving on…to activities!! YES! Now we’re getting to the good stuff.
Activities Inspired by In Five Years
I could head over there and look inside from outside the gate like a sad New Yorker who just wants a taste on how the other half lives or how the 1% live. It’s an option!
The MET Rooftop
Dannie says of David, “David knows I’m a sucker for a view. On one of our first dates, he took me to an event at the top of the Metropolitan Museum of Art…that was two and a half years ago now, and he never forgot how much I loved it.”
We women are a sucker for a nice rooftop. Men know it and use that intel…but that’s another story…
I’ve been up to the MET’s rooftop a couple of times including on one of my past literary dates. You can read my New York, Actually Tour to check out my pics from their rooftop.
Blue Note Jazz Club
This is not a specific location in the book that the characters go to, however, it is located in the West Village (near many of the restaurants they dine at) and Frank Sinatra songs were heavily featured in the start of the book. So this could be a spot that is inspired by the book.
But of course, due to the pandemic, who knows when it would be opened again?
Dannie runs the loop in Central Park and around the reservoir. No, I would not use the book as inspiration to take a jog, but who doesn’t like an opportunity to hang out in the Park? I’ve been a few times on past literary dates, but always would go back. Much to explore there and to enjoy.
West Side Highway
Dannie meets up with a friend at the corner of Perry and Washington Street in the West Village. They walk down Perry St. to the West Side Highway.
The West Side Highway is by the water and it’s a nice, scenic area to walk along. It would also be nostalgic for me. When I first moved to NYC, I worked at a restaurant on Perry St.
My first job in this city about 15 years ago was as a reservationist at a restaurant on Perry Street. It was owned by one of the most famous chef’s in NYC and probably throughout the world. My job was to answer the phone and take reservations. That’s it. My most favorite celebrity interaction did not happen in person, it happened over the phone with Sarah Jessica Parker. I was not allowed to book celebrities a reservation myself, I had to pass them along to the restaurant’s manager. Sometimes more well-known people got annoyed to have to be put on hold, but not Sarah Jessica Parker. She sounded just as gracious and polite to little ol’ me as she does during interviews on TV.
It was an especially sweet moment for me because I loved the fact that I walked past Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment on my way to work every day. As a new New Yorker, I loved passing that famous stoop and then the cherry on top was talking to her on the phone!
And this brings us to the final activity…
The Brooklyn Bridge
Dannie runs across the bridge and again, this book will not inspire me to jog, however, I’ve lived in this city in Brooklyn for 15 years and I’ve NEVER walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. I can’t believe it either! I’ve always meant to do it, was once going to do it with a group of friends, but it was a cold day. I bowed out. They froze. I think I made the right decision.
However, it’s not right that I still haven’t walked across that bridge. It’s about time!
That’s All Folks!
These are pretty much all the spots mentioned in the book. For those who have read it, have I missed anything?
So now I open it up to you all to give me suggestions on what you’d like me to do from this list. What YOU want to see. Also, if you have any ideas on how to navigate a tour amidst this pandemic, I’m all ears. I’m thinking I might have to wait until things get more normalish just because I don’t want to get the side-eye if I take up a table just for myself. With reduced capacity, I know restaurants will need larger parties. And this reopening is one big experiment so I may want to see how it pans out before venturing out.
However, so many possibilities with this book, right? I can’t believe how much is in this one book. If I wanted to do it all, I’d need like a two week staycation at least!
Thank you again to Christine from The Uncorked Librarian for recommending this book. I absolutely LOVED it. It would definitely make for a fun literary date in the city.
In my last post you all voted for my next NYC book and the book that got the most votes is The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. Originally, I thought about posting the poll again here, but I figure you already voted and I can’t wait to read my next book. Thank you for voting!! I can’t wait to read it and post about it next! There’s fantasy and love, I hear. Let me know if you plan on reading it too!
In other news!!! I already have my next book lined up. I got invited to be a guest on a podcast where we will discuss the romance book With Just One Kiss by Francis Ray. It is set in NYC! I’m so excited. More on that later but the podcast will be sometime in August. Eeek I’m nervous!
Thank you all for reading. I’ll leave you now with more pictures from New York City. Love this city of mine!