New York City is one of my very favorite places in the whole world. I love how much of our country's history is wrapped up in it and how diverse it still is today. I'm always thrilled at how many other languages you can hear as you walk down the street or ride the subway, & could people (and building!) watch the streets all day long.
I've been many times, but this was Robert's 1st real trip so we combined sight-seeing with leisurely walks. And lots of food!
Warning-- Long post ahead. But I know so many of you have trips planned, I wanted to give you a look at our weekend!
Our flight got in around 9 am Friday morning so we took a taxi from Newark to the city, checked into the hotel, and then headed to Sarahbeth's right by Central Park for brunch. I'd made a noon reservation but they were able to get us in earlier, and we got a seat right by the window. People watching + the lemon ricotta pancakes was the best way to start the trip.
We were meeting friends in the city (so fun!) so while they checked in and ate, we wandered Central Park. There were kids on a zoo field trip, moms setting up for child's b-day party, and people already ice skating in the park. I kept saying how beautiful it was and Robert kept laughing and reminding me that our home is on multiple acres, we literally live in a park. Ha!
We found a Strands Bookstore kiosk station right outside the park so we went on and picked up a few souvenir books (hi, this is my kind of party) and then walked up 5th Avenue. It's one of the most luxurious streets in the world and kind of fun to see so many fancy stores in a row. We grabbed a cookie at Milk Bar and then met up with our friends.
It was supposed to rain the whole next day so we decided to cram as much as we could into our Friday. We took the Subway to Chelsea and walked the Chelsea Market, High Line, and along the Hudson River. Walking past all the piers was fun, especially seeing how many kids were playing on the playgrounds, in the skateparks, and in the fenced in soccer/basketball areas. There really is a lot of green/play space tucked inside the city.
We made our way to The World Trade Center site. I'd done the museum before, but never seen the completed Freedom Tower; it's now the tallest building in the city and is just beautiful. The whole area feels sacred and I especially loved the signs around it I hadn't noticed before-- like the one posted on the elementary school nearby, recognizing the students who witnessed the attack firsthand.
After that, we headed to Wall Street. Did you know it used to literally have a wall on it, blocking Native Americans? This area isn't particularly fun for me, but it's fascinating to walk the different neighborhoods; you can feel the atmosphere change as you go from one kind of people group to the next.
Next, we found some fresh juice and then headed to the Brooklyn Bridge. I'd heard it gets pretty busy on the weekend and it was, but it was still enjoyable. People used to put "love locks" on the bridge, which is now illegal, but we found a few sneaky ones.
By this point, we were starving and cold so we made our way to Grimaldi's Pizza on the Brooklyn side. No single slices, cash only, and it was so good. It puts Nashville pizza to shame. We also passed by the Etsy headquarters, which was extra fun for me since Dear Mushka got its start on Etsy!
We took a subway back to Rockefeller Center, watched the people ice skate for a few minutes, saw all the TV studios around, and then walked through Times Square to grab a slice of Juniors cheesecake. We took it back to our hotel rooms, ate in bed, and fell asleep immediately. Long day!
It rained all day Saturday so we did our best to stay inside. We planned to eat at a fancy little breakfast place but after walking for a few minutes in the strong winds, decided to jut inside a nearby diner and called it good. And of course, it was, because basically anywhere you eat in the city is good. I think it was called 9ten and Robert's pancakes were some of the best I've ever eaten.
Then we took a taxi to the MOMA along with every other tourist trying to make the most of their rainy day. Ha! I'd been before when very few people were inside and it was a sweet & enjoyable experience. So many people made it pretty chaotic, but seeing van Goghs and Monets and Picassos up close is special no matter what.
We popped into Saint Philip's Church (it's gorgeous inside) and then we headed to the main NYC Library located at Bryant Park. I ventured down to the children's area by myself and loved watching all the families there on their rainy Saturday. I curled up in a corner to read a chapter of Harry Potter and admired the original stuffed animals the Winnie the Pooh characters were based on.
We were hungry by that point and decided to try Eataly. It's a giant space near the Flatiron Building that has 6 restaurants + an Italian market inside. We got fresh pasta (amazing!!) and listened to all the Italian conversations going on around us. And of course, a cannoli/ gelato for dessert. Next time, weather permitting, I'd love to grab something from one of the market stands and eat it in Washington Square Park.
We walked over to Fishs Eddy, a quirky homegoods store, grabbed a warm drink, and then headed back to our hotel. Our friends had dinner & show reservations but Robert doesn't love the theater so we took a power nap and then went out for dinner. I'd heard about The Burger Joint, this random little burger spot located in The Parker Hotel behind a secret curtain, so we went there. The food wasn't amazing, but the experience was hilarious and we were both glad we did it.
The rain stopped briefly so we walked back through Times Square, listened to some singer performing (the teenagers were going crazy, it made me feel old haha), shopped a little, and then jumped back in bed to snuggle up with a movie. The day wasn't at all what I'd planned, but we did the best we could do with the rain and enjoyed being together.
We woke up to sun (yay!) so we ditched our plans of seeing Tim Keller's church and instead headed to the west side for breakfast at Jacob's Pickles. It's a southern place so we wanted to compare it to Nashville food-- they did a good job! The portions were huge and the atmosphere was super sweet. We got there right after it opened at 9 and didn't have a wait, but the line was really long when we left.
Then we just walked up and down the streets. They're more residential here and every bit of it is completely charming. Big trees, incredible detailing on the buildings, little gardens outside wherever they can make them fit, playgrounds, cute little stores tucked away. Lots of people walking to church! I could have done this forever.
We got a Levain Cookies to go, perused the cutest little bookstore, walked a giant Anthropologie, and then hopped on the Subway to head south. We ate a quick lunch at a diner, laughing at how literally everyone decorates for Halloween, and then headed to The Tenement Museum for our tour.
I absolutely love New York History (this book sealed the deal) and have wanted to do a Tenement Museum tour for years. It was incredible to walk through an actual apartment building made to look exactly as it would have various years ago, and to imagine the immigrants that made their way through. It was eye-opening, and even Robert (who was a good sport but not excited to go) had a lot to say when it was over. A trip highlight for both of us, I think.
After that, we walked around Washington Square Park (my favorite!), watched some hilarious street performers, wandered through the NYU buildings, accidentally interrupted a commercial being filmed, and then walked over to the Greenwich Village area to find the Friends apartment building. We've watched the series so many times and couldn't resist heading there together. When we were close I said "I think it's around here somewhere..." and Robert was like "...it's probably that corner where the mob of people is staring up" ha. A few people around clearly didn't understand the significance of the spot and kept looking up with the group to see if they could see the apparently cool thing happening. It was pretty funny.
Our trip was almost over so we headed back up towards our hotel and met up with an Instagram friend (Teresa). It was so exciting getting to hug each other in real life, we felt like we were catching up with an old friend. I also loved getting to peek inside her tiny & adorable apartment. It'll inspire a home purge, that's for sure ;)
Then our car picked us up and we headed back to the airport (where we waited for hours in security. Three cheers for Robert who had us get there extra early! I would have missed our flight...) and got home right before midnight.
It was a packed three days, and just what my heart needed. Until next time, New York. xx