Them: “Have you been to New York City before?
Me: “Yes. Yes I have.”
I can ACTUALLY say that now and it’s still pretty unbelievable.
At the start of this year, I told myself that 2018 would be the year that I visit New York City for the first time. As the months flew by, I stayed determined that this would happen. Even as Summer started to fade into Fall… I kept telling myself that I had no idea how it’d happen but it would. I’d close my eyes and picture myself in the middle of Times Square, in the midst of all the lights and the tourists… in awe.
Then I got an email from Girlboss saying I’d been selected to attend the Girlboss Rally in New York City in November, and it happened. To NYC I’d go.
So pretty much, I owe it to Girlboss and T-Mobile for selecting me to be a Girlboss Game Changers recipient. But really, I owe it to myself for working hard enough to deserve that. I LOVE conferences and I feel so darn lucky and fortunate and grateful to have literally attended three major conferences in just the last couple months (A3C, ComplexCon, and Girlboss Rally).
If you’d like to read about my experience at the Girlboss Rally, click here.
I wasted zero time in New York City. Okay… maybe I did trying to figure out what exactly I wanted to do everyday and how to get there BUT that’s besides the point. I went to Times Square quite a few times - all at night, which… I don’t think I am missing much during the day (other than the fact that some box offices for broadway shows close early and restaurants are PACKED at night).
Speaking of restaurants being packed at night (specifically in the Times Square area), one night I was craving Italian food (pasta) and I found a superstared restaurant with raving reviews called Trattoria Trecolori on Yelp, so I decided to trek there. Upon my exciting yet quickly disappointing arrival, the whole restaurant had been reserved for one party. Long story short, I found two other awesomely reviewed Italian joints that were fairly close and they were ALL packed. I was so cold and so hungry (hangry at that point), I ended up having a slice at Ray’s pizza (a friend recommended) and… honestly it wasn’t that good. It was whatever, really. But when you want a cheap eat, that’s the place! I did end up eating at Trattoria Trecolori a different evening though… it was pretty good. Not amazingly delicious, but good.
Seeing Times Square for the first time was a really emotional moment for me. As mentioned, it was where I had closed my eyes so many times and envisioned myself in. And there I was. It was so magical every single time.
What I am bummed about is that I didn’t go see a broadway show/play (next time). But apparently TKTS is the place to buy!
The other magical place I frequently visited (and walked through to get to the other side) was the one and only: Central Park.
Yes, it’s huge. Every time I visited it was a whole new view and all of it is stunning. It had me falling in love with a relationship that doesn’t exist yet (haha). It’s just so romantic.
Not going to lie… I lowkey shed a few tears there. It’s everything you think it is and more! I feel so lucky to have been able to see it covered in snow, as well as naked with Autumn leaves. Can’t imagine how lovely it must be in the Spring/Summer. If I lived in the city, I’d spend so much time meditating here and, if I was a runner, running here too.
The skating rink here was really cute. Spectacular view of a NYC skyline, too.
After my first walk through the park, I went to this coffee shop that had really lovely architectural design (very small and quaint). It’s called Bluestone Lane, and let me tell you… best banana bread I have ever had. It was warm and deliciously accompanied by fresh fruits, walnuts and honey. Every time I am in the city, I am coming here just for the banana bread. Serious.
I was bummed they don’t have syrups for the coffee (I like my vanilla). And the bacon was alright (and expensive, so I wouldn’t recommend ordering).
Anyhow, my plans post-coffee was the MET Museum! This is a perfect little itinerary: Central Park, Bluestone Lane, MET Museum (and other museums if you’re in the mood because there are plenty in this area).
The MET Museum is a MUST. Oh my goodness. It’s truly a historically rich museum full of all sorts of art. It’s pretty big, too. I made it a point to try and see every single room there (probably missed some) and thus, spent about… maybe four hours there. Totally worth it though. So, definitely don’t go hungry there! However, there is a cafe in there with some bites (maybe even a full menu, not sure).
The MET was so wonderful that I am going to do a whole blog post dedicated to it. Image heavy.
Okay, the Rockefellar is a tear-jerker too. (Pretty much I was emotional the whole time if you can’t tell by what I am writing. haha) Probably because it’s Christmas time? Not sure if it’s much of a tear-jerker in the Summer… I don’t know, could be wrong.
Unfortunately, the infamous Rockefellar Christmas tree was up but not lit yet. Bummer, I know. But I at least know how big it is!
Saks had a pretty fun Christmas light show! Their building decor was on-point.
The skating rink here is cute, too. If I knew how to skate, I’d skate at both locations (here and Central Park).
Oh and by the way, there’s a luring little hot beverage truck by the rink (you won’t miss it) and the hot chocolate is unfortunately not good - thought you should know.
The Rockefellar Center is not too far of a walk (at all) from Times Square! A little further down (but still walking distance) is Grand Cenral, too. And yes, it’s pretty grand.
Okay… this was a fun(ny) experience.
After yet another walk in the park, I decide to stop by the Plaza Hotel. I really wanted hot tea (and what better place than to have a cup at the Plaza?), so I walked up to the host for the main restaurant (The Palm Court) in there and asked for a table for one. Apparently they were “full” but really… you just need to make a reservation. So I made a reservation for the following day at noon.
I arrive the next day at 1PM. And luckily, they still sat me (at not the most ideal table but whatever).
Silly (naive) me… I thought you could just order a cup of tea and maybe a couple scones. Well, when I looked at the menu, I knew I was in for an expensive surprise.
I told the elegant, respectful waiter I’d like “thé du hammam” (their most popular flavor tea) and he responded “The New Yorker?” Not knowing what he meant but obviously playing it cool (because c’mon… I’m at The Plaza), I replied, “Yes.”
At that point I just accepted the pricy beautiful mess I got myself into and said f**k it. I’m here, I got a table, let’s have a fancy date for one.
It was like I was playing tea party with myself. It was so fun, so luxurious. I really enjoyed romancing myself to a $95 (before taxes) pot of floral tea, little sandwiches I only took a few bites of (because mayonnaise is ew), and overdose of fine delicate pastries. That green macaroon was one of the best tasting things I’ve ever tasted.
So, all in all, if you are feeling fancy, make a reservation for some afternoon, *full-service tea. And make sure you have the budget for it too before it’s too late. Blessed that I did.
The Chillhouse is a must for those who like Instagrammable coffee shops, massages and nail salons. Because this is all that in one. I’ve been following Chillhouse on Instagram for a while (amazing branding), so this was a must-visit for me. May not be for you though.
That vegan chocolate chip cookie though… was one of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had.
First of all, it was freezing in New York City on Thanksgiving Day. Freezing!
But how could I not check out the Macy’s Day Parade? They recommended you arrive hours before 9AM (when it starts). Some even arrive at 6AM. Not me. I arrived at 10AM sharp!
The metros were pretty hard to navigate that day. And yes, it was packed when I got there! But I got a not-too-shabby spot and saw the Spongebob balloon. That was all I really needed to see and called it a day. I think I was there for maybe an hour, if that.
The above photo is pretty much the only proof I have of any meal I had in New York City. Pretty unfortunate. My phone was dying the whole time I was there (it was frustrating).
This restaurant was highly recommended to me by quite a few people. It’s called Julianna’s, located in Brooklyn. Yeah, it was pretty tasty. BUT not as tasty as arguably the best pizza I’ve ever put in my mouth! And that place is in Nolita, called Prince Street Pizza. Holy guacamole. I have been craving it everyday since and have zero recollection of it on my phone.
Nolita was really cute too. I definitely plan on exploring this area (and obviously having pizza) when I revisit the city.
On the note of not having documentation of this life changing pizza… I actually don’t have documentation of a lot of other stuff I did in the city! Ah! There was just SO much and I was really in the moment (it would make for such a long blog post anyway). So if you have any questions regarding the city, please comment below! Other than that, here are some last random tidbits:
Google Maps App saved my life in figuring out how to get around, including using the subway! (shout out Janice)
There’s a bomb ramen place in Harlem called Jin
The High Line is a good walkway to explore for sights
SOHO is pretty much an outdoor shopping mall
If you like jazz, check out: SMALLS, Blue Note, and/or Village Vanguard
Have cash on you if you want to buy a pretzel from one of the carts