my uncle seemed reluctant at first: leave the safety of midtown? never! but i didn't have to do much coaxing before he agreed dim sum was a great idea. we walked to the closest subway station which was herald square. he went to a vending machine to buy a subway pass, but i told him it wasn't necessary since i have a pass and we can double swipe (MTA passes are good up to 3 swipes; i know this personally from experience).
i was actually kind of surprised that he didn't have an MTA card. i figured he comes to manhattan pretty often, how can you get around without one? but i suppose he spends most of his time in midtown, gets dropped off by taxi, stays in hotels close by, and then take a taxi back to the airport. my uncle has done a lot of traveling, been to a bunch of places. i've been to some places too, and he's always comparing me to him, that we're like-minded travelers. but i think we're very different. i don't doubt he's been to more places that i am, but i don't think he's explored all the places he's visited, not the way i like to explore a city, but riding it's public transportation system, by chatting with the locals, by eating the street food. he's more risk adversed than i am. plus most of his trips are for business, and when you have a tight schedule, there's no time to really enjoy a new city.
we grabbed a D train from herald square to grand street. from grand street it was a 14 minute walk to the golden unicorn. i couldn't quite get my bearing, especially having to navigate through the snow piles and the slush puddles, and i kept consulting google map to lead us in the right direction. at one point i saw a big ice puddle and pointed it out to my uncle, as i walked around it. maybe it's been a while since he's traveled in a snowy urban environment, or maybe just didn't know what i was pointing to, so he kept on walking ahead and sank ankle deep into the puddle (it didn't ruin his shoes but later back at the hotel he had to change his wet socks). i kept apologizing to my uncle for taking him to the dirtiest part of all of manhattan.
we arrived at the golden unicorn by 10:30am. we went upstairs to the 2nd floor dining area. there were a lot of people, but of those that were there, many were asian, which is always a good sign of gastrological authenticity. there were also a lot of waitresses pushing carts, and everything looked fresh. the first cart that came by our table had tripe and chicken feet, which are my favorite. my uncle ordered in cantonese. i ended up having a few things i never tried before: the abalone fish balls and the steamed taro cake. being from california - where there many more asian restaurants due to the high asian population - it's hard to impress my uncle with our local asian cuisine, but he did say the dim sum here was pretty good. by the time we left the place was starting to fill up with the lunchtime crowd.
we walked back to grand street and grabbed a train uptown. i wasn't paying attention and forgot that 34 street is also herald square, so we ended up going to time square, and had to take the train one stop back to return to the hotel. we didn't stay at the hotel for long, before heading back out again, to my uncle's meeting on 2nd avenue and 42nd, which was about a 20+ minute walk.