#13 Visit New York
For my 30th birthday I decided that enough was enough and it was time for me to see the East Coast. Yup, up until the ripe old age of 30 (whaaa??!??), I had never been to the East Coast of the US until last month. Crazy town. I was trying to hit up as many places as possible in a week and the first one was New York. As soon as she heard the words 'New York' my mom was in! My aunt lives on the East Coast and was willing to be our tour guide as she does work in NY all the time. It was awesome! I loved NY- way more than I thought I would and now I totally want to go back since we just got a small taste of it. We stuck mainly to Manhattan and tried to fit in as much as humanly possible- in addition to cabs and the subway, I made my mom and aunt walk 26 miles all around the city. Basically if I ever start a walking tour group company, I can only accept marathoners. They kept up like champs, even my aunt who had recently fractured her hip- ouch!
As a warning before scrolling through the rest of this post, I took 436 pictures in a 3.5 day period. Yes I narrowed it down for this post but be warned- this is a photo heavy post so in an attempt to keep your scrolling finger from cramping up, I shall keep the words to a minimum and just kind of recount the gist of what we did each day.
Day 1 was a late Friday night arrival and check-in to our hotel (great experience there by the way). Then it was off for drinks and snacks at Bar 21 (had an awesome server who brought me out a plate of birthday treats) and a walk around Rockefeller Center.
After a quick breakfast, Saturday morning started out with a quick trip inside St Patricks which unfortunately is under construction so you couldn't see too much. Then we headed up 5th Ave to Central Park where we wandered on over to the boathouse and the reservoir. My mom and aunt sat on the steps of the Met to watch the German parade while I continued on to see the Guggenheim before meeting back up with them. We then cabbed it down to Soho where we ate a late lunch at The Mercer Kitchen which was awesome- good food, great rose (mmm wine) and fun vibe. We wandered around doing some shopping (even walked by the NY Ink tv show tattoo studio Wooster Street Social Club- hi Ami!)- there are a ton of great stores there. I also liked the creepy and weird Evolution Store with a whole wall of mounted butterflies. After a quick stop back at the hotel, we headed to the Upper East Side for dinner at Tiella- the short rib pappadelle was delicious- before braving the cold and heading to the top of the Empire State Building at midnight.
On Sunday we headed to the High Line which was on the top of my things to see in NY. It was awesome and totally worth it- you get a good walk in, there are plenty of places to lounge and a small market type area with good food. Highly recommend checking it out. We walked the length of it and ended up in the Meatpacking district where we did a little shopping before having brunch at Serafina- yummy smoked salmon eggs benedict. Afterwards, we jumped in a cab and ended up one end of the Brooklyn Bridge. My mom and I walked across it both ways (in an attempt to offset all the eating I was doing on this vacation) with a quick stop at the other end for Starbucks and to check out some of the DUMBOshops.
Back on the Manhattan side, we got on the subway where I immediately got us on a train going the wrong direction (figured it out quickly enough) before successfully making our way to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The museum was very intense. It really stuck with you afterwards- especially recordings of messages from people who didn't make it (heartbreaking) and the crushed firetruck that was at the base of one of the towers (no one on that truck survived- so incredibly sad). Just a heads up that the majority of the museum is behind a closed door warning you not to take small kids inside (pretty graphic and upsetting) and we didn't know that so we stayed way longer than we should have and ended up rushing that part a little. We had a time crunch since we had purchased tickets to a Broadway show that night- we had 10 minutes to change at the hotel before speed walking to Times Square (so many lights) to see Motown. It was awesome!! Amazingly talented cast and I loved the music- plus everyone in the audience was dancing along and loving it. Ended the day on a high note.
We said goodbye to my aunt Monday morning (she had an early flight) before getting breakfast at Fika near Bryant Park (the pumpkin oatmeal was yummy but a huge portion- couldn't eat it all). Then my mom and I walked through Bryant Park- so pretty- before heading into the main branch of the NY Public Library. Unfortunately the main reading room was closed (which is what I really wanted to see) due to a piece of the ceiling falling off. If you're interested, look into how they store the books and how they bring them into the main reading room- pretty interesting. My mom had a late afternoon flight but since we got an early start to the day, we were able to make it down to Battery park where we hopped on a ferry to go see the Statue of Liberty (time crunch so we stayed on the boat and just took pictures of it from the water- really had no desire to see it up close) and Ellis Island. Ellis Island was super cool to see in person- they had to remove a lot of the exhibits due to Hurricane Sandy damage so I definitely want to go back and see more.
After saying goodbye to my mom, I headed back to Bryant Park where I spent a few hours, eating a 'Witchcraft sandwich (so good) and drinking delicious wine at the Southwest Porch. Such a cool spot- a well stocked bar, lounge chairs, swinging chairs and spots to charge your phone (!!) which is a big deal when you're at 10% battery and need it to navigate. After a quick stop at the beautiful Grand Central Station (with view of the Chrysler Building), I found myself in the East Village hunting for a specific pub. My uncle recommended that I go to McSorley's Old Ale House which is the longest continuously operating saloon in NY. They only have two kinds of beer (light or dark- I went with light) which my uncle was smart enough to mention to me so I looked like I kind of knew what I was doing. Afterwards, I grabbed a slice of pizza from Ray's Pizza and ate it while walking all the way back to my hotel. It was a perfect last day and I want to go back!
Lastly, all over NY I kept noticing these water towers on the roofs of a ton of buildings. While they look old and out of use, they are actually still fully functional. Once I started seeing them I couldn't stop- they were everywhere! I was water tower obsessed- you can read about them here.
So much for keeping it short- if you read this far, I am impressed. Now on to the next stop- Philly!