Vieux Montreal, New Yawk, And The Sneaky Swede


Vieux Montreal, New Yawk, And The Sneaky Swede

Tweets and additional commentary from an 8-day trip to Montreal and NYC to celebrate the 7th anniversary with my fiancee, Mila.

Storified by · Tue, Nov 20 2012 16:53:32

Do airplanes have winter tires?
Day 1: Edmonton to Montreal
We started our journey by flying 3500km east from Edmonton to Montreal. We landed, checked in, went for a walk, and went to bed. Day 1 in the books!

Day 2: Montreal

We slept in, grabbed a coffee, and walked down St. Catherine’s towards my Grandpa’s place in Westmount where we were joined by my Uncle Justin and his wife Karen.

Landed in Montreal with The Future Mrs. CarEnvy on our 7th anniversary trip. This is our last November 12 anniversary, moving to August 24…
Obama only asked for 4 more years in the most RT’d tweet ever, I’m asking for 7 with the option for several more re-elections.
We then sauntered over to the romantic Old Montreal and stopped into the Taverne Gaspar for cocktails. The Old Fashioned was delightful, but if you only order one drink, go for the signature Bourbon Lemonade.
RT @autobusiness: Strong. Smooth. Sweet. The @TaverneGaspar Old Fashioned. #7moreyears Gaspar
The Taverne was a social media sweetheart.
@TaverneGaspar Comme ça? #7moreyears
So much so that I tweeted them a pick of my Movember ‘stache! After drinks, we saw Flight with Denzel, but not before we accidentally bought tickets to “Vol”, the dubbed-en-francais version.

That night, Mila had a dream that I was a professional at tectonic dancing. Google it.

Day 3: Montreal to New York

The next day, we picked up our ride. A sparkly red 2012 XC60 T6 R-Design! It’s also the day of our 7th anniversary! Hooray for us!!!

We’re driving to New Yawk today. XC60 is symbolic, reminiscent of the 740GL The Future Mrs. CarEnvy drove all those years ago.
All dressed up and red-y to go.
MTL to NYC: 400 miles, 600 km to go.
The Bombay burrito at Cheechako Taco in Plattsburgh isn’t spicy enough and a touch cold but the late-90’s sound track is money.
Just 150km into our journey, a stop for lunch in the charming town of Plattsburgh. We could’ve spent hours here, but the road, The Apple, and the car beckoned! Switching drivers, I had time to share some more unusual observations.
Infotainment in French is “Infodivertissement”. #ownersmanual #xc60
Giant camera-bearing side mirrors catch a lot of air on the highway. Windy face! #xc60 #7moreyears
The silly mirrors with giant (and wind-grabbing) stalactite lenses. The lenses detect vehicles in your blind-spot. Volvo calls it BLIS, or Blind Spot Information System. Volvo pioneered the technology and it’s now widely available, but Volvo is the only company to use such a bulky design. The price of pioneering!
Now entering Albany NY. Featureless pavement getting pebbly.
The roads were generally excellent in upstate New York. Then we got to Albany. We stopped at two places here, the impressive University campus and The Mall. We didn’t come across the capital buildings.
Mila thought the Coloniale Center mall was downtown Albany. There’s only 100k people here, she might not be wrong.
The next thing we knew, we were in New Yawk, as the locals might say. H/T to the provider of our chariot ;)
After 400 miles, the XC60 left our bums feeling as unflustered as Tiger on Sunday circa 2005. Thanks @Volvo_Canada!
$75 in gas and $11.70 in tolls later, we’re in Le Pomme Grand! Our redneck jaws are already agape in awe!
That evening, we checked into the lackluster Flatotel and were hustled by Jeff, the hotel’s bellman. What is it about asshole bellmen named Jeff? Remember the Rimrock in Banff last year? Below is a refresher:
By Almost a year ago to the day after the best road trip of my life, where I drove from Edmonton to Winnipeg via Saskatoo…
Brushing off Jeff, we set out to explore our neighborhood in midtown Manhattan. We walked to Times Square and Madison Park, where the the psychedelic Bully Ball installation piece was on full display. Right next to the historic Flatiron Building and equally inspiring!
Madison Square Park Conservancy – Keeping Madison Square Park a bright, beautiful and lively public park.Madison Square Park Conservancy’s Mad. Sq. Art is thrilled to announce a monumental sculpture by distinguished artist Leo Villareal . Lar…
On the way back, we stopped into Grand Central Station and gawked at the interior volume therein. We capped off the evening by romantically recapping our first year together at a pizza shop called the Red Pizzeria Cafe.
Day 4: New York

The next day, we had lunch at Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain (killer chicken pot pie, very business-like atmosphere) before setting off to Brooklyn for our only adventure outside the black hole that is Manhattan island. In Brooklyn we found a cookie, and donut, and a whole whack of beer!

The black&white cookie at Peter Pan Donut Shop make the kid in you smile. The whole wheat donuts appease my adult’s conscience.
At the Brooklyn Brewery Tour…
Sassiest brewery tour ever at @BrooklynBrewery. Still lip-smackingly educational.
Mila thought that the drink chips made good goggles. At least they gave us a souvenir glass.
A bit tipsy from the Brooklyn Brewery tour, we took the Subway back to Manhattan and did a bit of shopping at Uniqlo.
Already, New York was started to exhaust us. There’s too much to absorb. It’s not a relaxing city to visit. Certainly not as romantic as Montreal!
New York is like the Vegas of the East, so much stimulation and everything is huge. Forgetting to eat is too frequent.
The black S-Class, the yellow Crown Vic, the iPhone, the tall building, and the scowl are so Manhattan.
Day 5: New York

My first night of poor sleep but not my last. Manhattan yanked me out of bed before Mila and pulled me into Central Park where I’m fairly certain I saw John Legend having coffee with a blonde business-looking woman.

After a healthy walk, I picked up Mila from the hotel and we walked to the BMW i Born Electric World Tour near Bryant Park, a showcase of BMW’s upcoming electric cars, the i3 and i8. It was in town before heading to Tokyo.

Horseless i-carriage. @ BMW i Born Electric Tour NYC
I’d seen the concepts in person at the 2011 LA Auto Show, but seeing them through Mila’s eyes was fascinating. We explored the design, concepts, and materials that BMW was showcasing. We had a great discussion about the use of the colour blue in conveying a brighter and more sustainable future. The blue and white colour scheme that BMW i vehicles use also reminded her of the Better Place cars we drove in Israel this past spring (link below).
by @autobusiness Driving up to the cylindrical two-story Experience Center north of Tel Aviv, bordering a lifeless ocean of un…
Next, the main courses of the day!
Some sunshine! MoMA, Empire State, db Bistro Moderne on the docket for today.
At the Museum of Modern Art, the headlining attraction was Edvard Munch’s The Scream, recently purchased for $119.9M. The Scream was surprisingly casual in person. It looked more like a well-finished draft than a cultural masterpiece.
After MoMa, we checked out FAO Schwarz and Apple’s glass cube store in the southeast corner of Central Park. We played with the iPad mini and as regular iPad owners both, neither of us wanted one.
We had dinner at Daniel Boulud’s Bistro Moderne that evening. I had the Impression Parsley Sagnarelli Pasta with Braised Moroccan Lamb Ragoût, Harissa, Green Olives, Ricotta Cheese, Raisins, and Toasted Pine Nuts. It was the most divine thing I tasted all week! Mila had the Sauteed Lemon Sole with Quinoa, Apricots, Baby Fennel, Coriander, and Brown Butter. It was buttery and delightful. I’m not one for seafood, but I still enjoyed it. I had a Manhattan cocktail to drink. Twas a hearty blend! Overall, a very memorable dining experience.
Later, we caught some live stand-up at the Broadway Comedy Club. Usual basement, brick wall, microphone set-up. We had a blast and the comedians even had Twitter!
Thanks “@autobusiness: @JonnyFisch Loved the cat in the 40-year-old’s bridal party! #7moreyears”Jon Fisch
Just after midnight, we made our way to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. It was very peaceful and also a bit cold.
Day 6: New York

The next day and New York is doing strange things to my body. The nickname should be changed to “The city that WON’T LET YOU sleep.”

This city had no need for cocaine, caffeine, or amphetamines. 4 hours of sleep and I’m wide awake! @mcflipper @jeffjablansky
Checking out the Upper East Side during rush hour was a sight I just had to see. Mila stayed in bed. Park Avenue seemed like The Address. I found a superlative croissant at the Marché du Sud nearby.
People watching on Park Avenue during morning rush hour. I was starting to wonder where the children in the city were.
We then made our way over to the powerful, moving, event horizon-mimicking 9-11 Memorial. I haven’t cried that hard since 2006.
Wall Street was close by, so we walked through the financial district, which was also the area hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy. Remediation crews lined the streets.
That afternoon, after being selected from a lottery, we saw a live taping of Letterman. The 8″-heel-wearing Zooey Deschanel, the crudely hilarious Lisa Lampanelli, and one of the unimpressive Steely Dan guys were on.
Let’s give this live show audience thing a go! #letterman
I then met Twitter pal and car marketing guru Phillip McCarthy aka Phil for dinner at the Grand Central Station Oyster Bar. After 2 hours of non-stop back-and-forth banter, we kept the party going at Keen’s, where we were joined by Mila. After all was said and done, we’d spent 4.5 hours together and there was never a dull moment. We covered everything from marketing, cars, politics, education, work-life balance, and of course, Canadians and their damned straight teeth.
Good times hanging out with @autobusiness and his lovely fiancee. Hope you guys enjoy the rest of your time in New York.Phillip McCarthy
Day 7: New York

We slept in. At last!

We walked to Broadway, got breakfast at Pie Face (delicious meat pies!), and hopped on the Subway to Chelsea and the new High Line, a walking path lined with natural grasses made from a converted and abandoned rail line. We talked about entrepreneurship as we strolled, basking in the rare sunshine.
We then walked to the American Museum Natural History, which led to conversations about about space, time, perspective, child-rearing, gender equality, indigenous peoples, and more! What an amazing catch, that Mila.

We had dinner at the Hi Life Bar & Grill (nice digs, adequate food, pleasant cocktails) before taking in Skyfall in IMAX. Javier Bardem, the baddie in this Bond, is worth the $20 admission.

Day 8: New York

Last day in The Big Apple! The Picasso: Black & White exhibit at the Guggenheim was very enjoyable. I’m glad we snuck it into our schedule before hitting the road. We shared an excellent discussion on the merits of sculpture as an artistic medium.
Mila and I visited the trickier-to-get-to Guggenheim, the one in Bilbao, during our trip to Spain and Portugal in 2009. I don’t have any published stories about our time there. Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to visit the Guggenheim Bilbao AGAIN in 2011 with my brother and father (link below).
by Controversy equalizes fools and wise men – and the fools know it. -Oliver Wendell Holmes Take US Politics, the closest…
Last morning in NYC! Over to the Guggenheim then back into our sizzling @Volvo_Canada XC60 for the 400 mile jaunt north.
New York City, in summary:
New York has been challenging, stimulating, grueling, mesmerizing, sleepless, and completely intense.
If your personal relationships can survive this environment, my hat is off to you! Don’t worry, we survived!
Back on the road home in the XC60. North on the I87.
300 miles to go. Audiobook of How To Win Friends And Influence People is making the time to quickly.
I highly recommend Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends And Influence People. It catalyzed some lively discussion between us.
The @Volvo_Canada XC60 T6 R-Design is holding up marvelously. Confident, fast, soft seated.
Loved the adaptive cruise control in the XC60. It automatically slows the vehicle down if the vehicle in front of you is going slower than your set speed. It’s a tricky bit of technology but Volvo’s system is the smoothest I’ve tried!
I87 is as peerlessly smooth as the XC60’s adaptive cruise. They go together like Guggenheim museums and architects named Frank.
An odd mish mash of units on the Volvo’s dash!
French, metric, imperial, 24h clock. How cosmopolitan! #xc60
Powerful headlights and that ageless beacon, the North Star, have guided us back to Plattsburgh. 100 miles to go.
The Volvo Premium Sound System defaults to sternum-shattering bass. Might also be the side mirror wind noise masking the complete
The XC60 T6 is freakishly, sneakishly fast.
À York Nouveau!
It’s a bit strange that the XC60 T6 is this fast in a straight line. Only the X3 35i would come close. Crazy, sneaky Swedes…
Before we knew it, we were back in the Land of the Maple Leaf!
Back in Canada. Making time!
Now to Grandpa’s for dinner. To get there, we tried using the Volvo nav system. It was slow to input directions, had a frustrating interface, and couldn’t even find his condo building in Westmount. But the beleaguered iPhone 5 could! Yet Tim Cook wrote us all an apology letter. What for? And where’s Volvo CEO’s Håkan Samuelsson apology letter? Still, we arrived safely and quickly, just as you’d expect from Volvo.
For driving directions to my Grandpa’s place in Westmount, Apple Maps found it but Volvo Maps couldn’t. Where’s Samuelsson’s apology letter?
After a dinner of filet mignon au poivre vert at Grandpa’s house (the man can cook!), we flipped through old photo albums from my birth to age 5 and from my bar mitzvah.

After kissing him goodnight, I dropped Mila off at the hotel and returned the Volvo.

These final tweets say it all:
After flying 7000km, driving 1300km, crossing 2 borders, and eating several kebabs, the #7moreyears anniversary trip is drawing to a
In our last solo vacation before getting married, The Future Mrs. CarEnvy and I explored an important array of conversation
Politics, child rearing, family, culture, religion, work-life balance, the value of sculpture as an art medium, nothing escaped
Our ability to converse and communicate is why we’ve been so successful together. New York was a difficult and depleting place to travel. Its demanding pace was anything but romantic, yet the reason why we work so well together shone right through our idealized pretenses. In that sense, the trip was perfect. Will the wedding be similar?
New York will take some time to digest, as will our various talks. Montreal was more readily
And of course, a final H/T to Volvo!
One thing that was never in doubt and cannot be debated was the fast, safe Swedish go-wagon that ferried us about. Thanks @Volvo_Canada!
As we landed in Edmonton, the F1 race in Austin, Texas kicked off. Unable to find a TV, I followed hungrily on Twitter. Back to the real world!
Just landed back in Edmonton. Thank the F1 gods for @Jamesallenonf1 and his constant updates!
Thanks for reading! You have some stamina, kid!