My Dream City

I briefly mentioned in my last post that I had my life-long dream come true and I visited New York City. This trip was my college graduation gift from my mom and I had the best time. While our days were jam packed, there are still a few things I had wanted to do that we didn’t get the chance to. Going to the Top of the Rock, seeing a show on Broadway and visiting the Met were a few on the list of unvisited sites. Now I have an excuse to come back and do all the things I didn’t get the chance to.

My aunt joined us on our trip as a multi-time NYC visitor. And we met up with my cousin, Nathalie, who is just under a year older than I am, who is living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn while she interns in Manhattan this summer.

Below are just a few of the many photos I took while in the city. Although I took a bunch of pictures, I wish I took a lot more. I didn’t think to take any other pictures in Central Park other than of the John Lennon Strawberry Fields memorial. And I didn’t take any of my trip with Nathalie in Williamsburg. We went to a BBQ on the rooftop of one of her friend’s apartment and we had a great view of the Empire State Building.  All of that aside, I had a fantastic trip and I cannot wait to make it back up to the city. I would love to live there someday, especially while I am young. There is so much to see and do, and there is something new at every turn.

Our trip to New York was June 27 to June 30, it was a short trip, but well worth it.

After getting settled into our hotel on Thursday, we began our trip meeting up with Nathalie at a bar in the middle of the City called Lucy’s Cantina. It was super cute with an outdoor bar on the top level, it seemed like a little tropical place in the middle of Manhattan. From there, although it began pouring down rain, we walked to Times Square and visited the M&M’s and Hershey stores.

Friday we woke up at 4:30am to get ready for the day and leave by 5:30 to head to the TODAY Show. At first I didn’t think we were going to make it because we were at the end of a line that wrapped around One Rockefeller Plaza. Fortunately, we made it in and I shimmied into every gap I found, with my mom and aunt following close behind, until we made it pretty close up to the front. We saw all of the anchors of the show and saw Phillip Phillips perform for the Toyota Summer Concert Series. My mom’s friend even asked if we were there because she thought she saw us on TV! And while I really wanted to stay for the entire show, by 8:30 we were all starving so we made our way out and found a cafe called Dean & Deluca.

From there were headed toward the Empire State Building to find tickets for a hop-on-hop-off bus tour. We met the best street peddler working for CitySights and convinced us to buy the ticket for the bus tour that included multiple tours. We had access for 48 hours and went on their Harbor Tour on Saturday morning. After buying the tickets we hopped on the bus and toured the city. It was great! To be honest, I did not want to do it at first but I am glad I did. I learned so much about the city and it’s landmarks that I hadn’t known. We eventually got off the double decker back in Times Square in hopes of purchasing sale Broadway tickets at TKTS. Unknown to us, evening show tickets don’t go on sale until 3pm, so we headed to lunch. We found O’Brien’s Irish Pub and Restaurant. It was a nice relief to be out of the sun and in cool air for a little while. After lunch we made our way to Central Park and sat under a tree and rested then made our way back to TKTS. By the time we walked back there, the line was ridiculously long. We made the executive decision to not waste our time in line when we weren’t sure if by the time we got to the front there would even be tickets for the shows we’d be willing to see. Once we decided we were not going to wait in the line, we headed back to our hotel, napped, showered, and got dressed up for the evening.

Our hotel offered complimentary wine from 5 to 6pm. So we made sure to go down to the lobby before 6pm to get our wine. Yes! After our trip to the lobby we then made our way to the roof where there is a rooftop bar and we got to see a fantastic view of the city. We enjoyed a drink on the rooftop then walked a few blocks to see the glory that is Grand Central Station. We wandered around the station then hailed a cab to Restaurant Row – a street of over 15 restaurants. We walked to each one, read the menu and then decided on Swing 46 Jazz and Supper Club. Expensive dinner for a small meal but it was still delicious. We even got to watch a little dance class. Two people from the restaurant got volunteer diners to learn to dance. It was so fun to watch. Following dinner we walked outside near our hotel and saw the Empire State Building lit up in rainbow colors. It was quite a sight.

We got to sleep in a little bit on Saturday compared to our 4:30am wake-up call the previous day. We made our way to the Ferry Bus to take us to the Hudson River. With our CitySights ticket we took a 90 minute tour around the city. At first I was a little reluctant but was happy we went on the tour. We saw the New York City skyline, Brooklyn Bridge, all the major buildings in the city, the New Jersey skyline, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The morning was just beautiful for a boat tour, a breeze, sun behind clouds but still bright out.  When the boat docked we made our way to the High Line. The walk there took us about 20 minutes but we walked along a nice trail right on the water. By then, the sun was out and bright and hot. We walked along the High Line for just a short time but it was still a nice experience: seeing a railroad track turned garden and walking path.

We hailed a cab and made our way to MOMA – a site I was very excited to see and planning on visiting the moment our trip was planned. We started our museum visit eating lunch in one of its cafes because we were all very hungry. After eating we made our way to the exhibits. We saw Van Gough, Picasso, Monet, Warhol and some very interesting works of art from the Minimalist era. After viewing the art for a few hours we were exhausted and made our way back to the hotel for quick naps and freshening up before we met Nathalie in Central Park for a late afternoon stroll. We walked until we found the John Lennon Strawberry Fields memorial then just made our way around the park on a lovely afternoon. When we left the park we visited F.A.O. Swartz to see all of its amazing toys. I have never seen a more elaborate or large toy store. It was just fascinating. After exploring the toy store we walked some more to get to Dylan’s Candy Bar…finally. We had been trying to find it for a while. We spent about 30 minutes filling our baggies with as much candy that could fit. By now our tummies were beginning to grumble again for dinner. Fortunately there was a fantastic  Italian Pizzeria right across the street from Dylan’s, Patsy’s Pizzeria. My mom, cousin and I shared a delicious pepperoni and mushroom pizza, I have never eaten a better pizza in my life.

Now Nathalie has been living in New York since January for her internship so she has become a little local and invited me to go out with her for the evening. I was excited and nervous, having never been out in New York before. We left my mom and aunt to head back to the hotel and do their thing for the evening and Nathalie and I took the Subway to Brooklyn. When we got off, we walked down to the river and got a wonderful view of the sun setting with the skyline. After going back and showing me her apartment, we met up with her friends for a BBQ on an apartment rooftop for one of their birthdays. It was a great time. I met so many cool and interesting people and they were all so nice and excited to get to know me. What I learned while I was hanging out with them is that people in NY don’t go out until very late. We were planning to go out to a bar with everyone after the BBQ but it was 1am and they were just starting to make moves to go out. However, I was traveling out the next afternoon and didn’t want to get back super late. So at 1am I made the trip, by myself in a taxi back to the hotel. I was nervous at first to take a taxi alone from Brooklyn to Manhattan late at night but it was a great experience. I talked to the taxi driver and enjoyed staring out at the night life of the city.

Sunday morning we got up, packed our stuff up and then went out for a real breakfast (not just croissants) to Pershing Square across from Grand Central Station. We passed an outdoor market on our walk to breakfast so made our way back there after eating. We wandered around all the tents to see what they were selling and I bought three adorable rings for $5 and a bracelet for $10 at one. I’ve worn each ring multiple times since I’ve been back and, surprisingly, nothing has turned my skin green yet. After shopping around for a little while longer we made our way back to the hotel, checked out and got a cab back to LaGuardia to spend a long day traveling.

My trip to New York City was an absolute dream come true and I cannot thank my mom enough for taking me to visit. This trip just solidified my dreams of living in the city and now more than ever I want to live there. So much so, I have been applying to jobs in the city throughout this past week. Fingers crossed I get a bite because living and working in NYC would be a dream come true.

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Times Square on our first night in the City.

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We went to the Hershey’s store in Times Square. They had HUGE versions of their candy.

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We woke up at 4:30am on Friday to head to the TODAY Show.

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Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer. Hosts of the TODAY Show.

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Me and my mom in the middle of Times Square on Friday afternoon.

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Lounging on the rooftop bar of our hotel before dinner Friday night.

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Perfect view of the Empire State Building from the rooftop bar.

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Grand Central Station

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Inside Grand Central Station.

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The Empire State Building was lit up in rainbow every night we were in NYC.

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Saturday morning we went on a harbor tour. It took us under the Brooklyn Bridge.

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We had an amazing view of the NYC Skyline on the boat tour.

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We stopped right in front of Lady Liberty.

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Van Gough’s The Starry Night at the Museum of Modern Art.

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Monet’s Water Lilies at MOMA.

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We took a stroll through central park and saw the Strawberry Fields memorial on Saturday evening.

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The most wonderful toy store.

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This GIANT Minion from Despicable Me was the first thing I saw. I died.

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From FOA Swartz, we trekked to Dylan’s Candy Bar.

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We had dinner at a wonderful Italian place called Patsy’s Pizzeria on Saturday night.

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After dinner Saturday, I took the subway and the L train with my cousin to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where she lives. We stopped by the river and got this amazing view of Manhattan.

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