A Rainy Day in New York City: Raincoats, Coffee, Phở, Noguchi Museum and the Beach

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It has been raining for the last few days in New York City. While the rain erases the annoying heat (goodbye heat dome!), it can be tricky especially on Saturdays or Sundays since you feel like you can’t do all the things you have been saving up for your precious weekends. However, unless it’s a storm and trees are falling, we still try to go do something on a rainy day during the weekends. There are certain charms New York City has when the rain comes. Yesterday (a Sunday) it was raining almost all day and our plan of visiting the Brooklyn Botanical Garden fell apart. Instead, we figured there were a few things we could do to enjoy the rain.

Have some good rain gears to get ready to go out there! Umbrellas are cool but I always prefer a good raincoat. It keeps you dry but also warm when the rain becomes a little chilly and it makes all activities easy. Maybe because we grew up in Vietnam where everyone drives motorbikes, we consider a good raincoat an essential item of everyday life. We have been eyeing some Rains jackets from Tokyobike store which happens to be nearby our apartment. So when we woke up, just when it started to drizzle we ran to Tokyobike and bought two jackets (navy for Huy and sand for me!) Rains is a Danish rainwear brand that makes lightweight comfortable jackets that are also stylish. If you want to invest in a good rain jacket that also looks good, check them out! Also, our apartment is very small now with no bike room but we really adore all the bikes from Tokyobike… We need to get one (maybe two) next time we move! I know Huy is dying for a black bike 😀 This is a picture of us taken by Barry (@barrysutton) for Tokyobike NYC in front of the lovely store on Prince Street.

Grab some coffee and pastries at Konditori: Konditori is a very small and casual coffee shop with seats facing a big glass window so it’s perfect to sit down and watch people passing by in the rain. We were in no rush so it was really nice just sitting there sipping hot coffee and looking out the window. There was a topless guy busy painting a mural in the rain while a bunch of tourists stopped to snap his pictures. There was a heartfelt family reunion  or at least that was how I interpreted the scene of a young man all happy hugging an older couple in the rain… We just love watching people doing their everyday life in the city!

Go to Astoria to have a hot bold of phở at District Saigon: I can’t tell you how much I miss my hometown Hanoi because of the food *insert crying face here* – every single day. So we are always always on the hunt for authentic awesome Vietnamese food in the city. When we read on the NYtimes that District Saigon actually shimmer their phở broth for 8 hours, I know we need to try it. In Hanoi, phở restaurants only serves phở, nothing else. That’s how they can dedicate their time to make the perfect broth. In New York, Vietnamese restaurants serve at least 10 different dishes so I have never come across any really good phở. Plus phở is a Nothern dish while most restaurants here are run by Southern Vietnamese so it has always been a little off to me. Back to District Saigon, their phở I have to say is one of the best I’ve tried in New York. The broth is clear and flavorful; the beef is tender. I don’t know why they use the huge bamboo ramen soup spoon though – totally not Vietnamese. I wish the broth is a little less sweet and there are more cilantro too. Overall, yes I would come back for another bowl! Phở is perfect for a rainy day!

Visit Noguchi Museum: It’s such a beautiful museum and it is never crowded. You can have the whole space for yourself especially when it’s raining. Looking out to the courtyard from inside the galleries; sitting by the huge window on the second floor, enjoying the skylight, watching the documentary about Noguchi. All was an amazing experience. The museum is isolated from all the hustle and bustle of the city so the moment you step inside, you are wrapped around with a serene atmosphere. It reminds me a lot of the Louisiana Museum of Art Denmark where art and nature seem to blend and you feel a relaxing comfortable vibe when visit. MoMA, the MET, Whitney, etc. – they’re all amazing but theirs scale and popularity sometimes make me feel tired. Noguchi Museum was such a nice break and totally worth our trip out from Lower East Side to Astoria.

 

End the day with a quick trip to the beach: I know it doesn’t seem to make sense when I say we go to beach on a rainy day. However, this was toward the end of the day when the rain was almost gone. We drove from Noguchi Museum to Jacob Riis Park which is only about 50 mins away. The drive itself was refreshing as the air after the rain was so clean and breezy. We took a nice walk along the beach and watched people swimming (yes!) and playing. There was a different kind of beauty to the sea when the sun wasn’t out. A melancholic kind of beauty that I really enjoyed.

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Our day ended there. It was an enjoyable day with lots of activities despite the rain. I wouldn’t recommend doing all of these when it’s a storm outside but next time it rains in New York City maybe you too can enjoy these nice quiet spots like we did. I’m curious what are other things we can do in NYC on a rainy day, let me know in the comments!

Cheers – Nhung

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