New Yorkers have a funny habit of finding cool, unique and interesting things to do on the weekend, and then never actually going through with making the plans. We all get the Time Out New York emails, Urban Daddy alerts, even Living Social deals and send them around to friends, insisting “WE HAVE TO DO THIS,” and then forget to buy tickets, forget to respond or forget to attend. A few weeks back, I got an email from my fashionista C, subject line “WE HAVE TO DO THIS” followed by a million exclamation points (approx.), and initially assumed it would fall victim yet again to “oh were you serious?” or the classic “I thought that was next weekend!” Reading over the details my eyes widened when I saw the event title, and I instantly g-chatted her to buy tickets within the hour. What was so fantastic as to make us break the cycle of always finding and never attending events? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Big Cheesy.
What you’re observing in the photo above is the best $30 I’ve spent in a long time that didn’t come from Hautelook. That, my friends, is Big Cheesy, an annual event honoring the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the city. Tickets got us one hour of entry, two beers and all the grilled cheese we could eat. AND BOY DID WE EAT. Though the event noticeably lacked a classic grilled cheese sandwich, it offered choices with everything from raclet-style gouda, pickled green tomatoes and jalapenos, to Wisconsin cheddar, asparagus and horseradish aioli, to mushroom ragout, white bechamel and truffle oil, all washed down with pints of Goose Island, a perfect afternoon jaunt on a sunny April day. C and I worked our way through each cheesy offering, spilling cheddar threads down our chins and comparing sandwiches, eventually agreeing that the aforementioned mushroom-and-truffle-oil was the winner. Once our hour was up, we wandered around Nolita in the sunshine, stopping for obligatory margaritas and eventually making our way back to her rooftop, spending the whole time laughing, chatting and generally enjoying the day.
I dipped my head back in the sunshine at one point on the rooftop, still completely stuffed from the hour-long sandwich binge, and started laughing for no reason other than I was really, really happy. I’d been in such a funk for the past few weeks, reliving old wounds from a failed relationship and trying to find ways to blame myself for things over which I had no control. It’s not easy, as a woman, as a twenty-whatever, as a New Yorker, to let yourself really and truly enjoy the moment you’re living as you’re living it. We stress over the future and reflect on the past so easily, so quickly swayed in one direction mood-wise or another, rarely savoring that exact moment for what it is. Taking an hour this Saturday to enjoy some comfort food and a stroll around lower Manhattan reawakened my bad mood to all of the wonderful things that surround me in this moment, at this time. There may have been pulled pork and pepperjack mixing up this classic comfort food but it was a classic millennial New York weekend, putting the smile I’d set aside back on my face in a big way.
I left the Financial District as the sun was setting, having made impromptu plans to head to another borough for a low-key Saturday night. Walking with that view of One World Trade was a fitting end to another New York weekend with my fashionista C, comfortably simple and exactly what I needed. I can’t promise we won’t continue to ignore the “WE HAVE TO DO THIS” emails in the future, but if anything sounds half as amazing as “all you can eat grilled cheese” and “lifting a sunken mood,” perhaps I’ll start making more of an effort after all.