Andrew and I just wrapped up an absolutely incredible week and a half in the city that never sleeps! New York is truly magical- from the twinkling Manhattan lights to the homey feel of the Brooklyn borough- we never wanted to leave.
We were fortunate to proceed a business trip with a mini vacation and I think this may be one of the best decisions we have ever made!
We arrived early in the morning on New Year’s Day and hit the ground running- or rather walking a lot!
We explored the city, allowing ourselves to get lost among the skyscrapers, stumbling upon landmarks such as Radio City, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and eventually strolling into Central Park.
Central Park is massive! I believe one could live in the city their whole life and still never experience all the park has to offer- around each and every turn there is a beautiful statue, landmark, or garden (and it is a runner’s paradise with trails traversing the whole park).
After Central Park we found our new home at the Plaza Hotel. The experience and drinks were one of a kind. Although the Plaza is probably the most luxurious place we have ever stepped foot in, Andrew was served a rum cocktail in a ceramic tiki man- it was too cute!
We continued to explore until our tootsies were yelping after our early wake up and we made our way to dinner. Our first true culinary experience in New York was a recommendation by Andrew’s sweet sister.
Eataly is a dream. That is that best way to describe it. A delicious, Italian dream. It’s a little village of restaurants in the Flatiron District- lots and lots of wine, gelato, paninis, meats, the most magnificent cheese boards, handmade pasta, and Neapolitan pizzas- best of all- everything is fresh!
Our second day began at a quaint coffee shop where we ordered cappuccinos and to our pleasure they had hearts drawn in the foam!
We spent a lot of our second day exploring again- who knew we were such explorers? Andrew’s mom gave us the wonderful gift of hop-on, hop-off bus tickets! When we were finished exploring Manhattan for the morning we hopped on the bus with our giant cupcakes from Crumbs (if you love cupcakes, we definitely recommend Crumbs!) which I am embarrassed to say were big enough for a meal, but if you know Andrew and I, you know we enjoyed every last crumb of our sweet treats!
We took the tour bus from Uptown through the Flatiron District, SoHo, and Greenwich Village, all the way to the World Trade Center and Wall Street. It was very important to us to spend some time remembering the innocent who lost their lives on that sad day 14 years ago. The World Trade Center Memorial is beautiful, but viewing it was a challenging experience because of the sheer magnitude of the tragic situation. Seeing all of the names etched in the rims of the fountains brought tears to my eyes.
Adjacent to the memorials stands Freedom Tower- a 1776 foot tall building- serving as a constant reminder of the year we gained our freedom.
Wall Street was quite different than I imagined, the streets outside of the NYSE are actually quite quaint and seasonally adorned with wreaths and Christmas trees. In fact, the oldest church in the entire city resides in the Wall Street District- Trinity Church. My grandma told us we had to see this church and it did not disappoint- the Gothic Revival architecture is beautiful!
After Wall Street we further enjoyed the dry- humor of our New York Mets loving (Andrew was very happy) tour guide and took the tour bus to Rockefeller Center where we ascended to the top of one of New York’s iconic landmarks for a panoramic view of the skyline. We made it to the top just after sunset and the view was, in all honesty, absolutely breathtaking. I will remember that view forever!
After our incredible experience at the top of the Rock, we hurried to my second cousin Patty’s home for a home-cooked Italian meal. Patty is an incredible professional chef and it is truly evident that she has found her calling in life- her flourless chocolate cake was unlike anything I have ever tasted! It was wonderful to connect with Patty and some other family members who I hadn’t seen in years and Andrew had previously never met! After an evening of laughter, wine, and storytelling we headed over to Greenwich Village to do nothing other than- explore! We found a bar we liked and settled in for a while to warm up and enjoy some cocktails.
Day three was ripe with potential before we even stepped foot out the door- we were going to Brooklyn! For those of you who do not know, my family is from Brooklyn so this was extra special to me. Our tour passes included a ferry ride so we made our way to the pier and hopped on the ferry in the freezing cold and made our way to Brooklyn. The views were well worth the cold- we caught some amazing glimpses of Freedom Tower, the Statue of Liberty, New Jersey, the list goes on, because let’s face it New York is gorgeous!
To say we were frozen when we arrived in Brooklyn was a vast understatement and we were on a mission to get inside. Andrew couldn’t have planned what happened next any better- a Shake Shack came into view- it was as if the heavens were opening and beckoning Andrew to come inside. We scurried in and I immediately smiled at the sight of a fireplace as Andrew ordered the burger he has always dreamt of, as well as a shake and the most unbelievably delicious, dark chocolate, salted caramel hot chocolate 🙂
We truly enjoyed perusing the trendy shops of Brooklyn and even did some non-touristy shopping. We walked the streets of Brooklyn, taking in the sights of downtown Dumbo until snow began to fall. I absolutely love snow- the real kind- not the Texas kind, but the kind that is powdery and soft and gently coats your eyelashes- it was at this moment that I truly felt at home in New York.
And this is where I leave you- Part 1 of our recollection of New York is complete. Stay tuned! Part 2 is to come soon!