Welcome to New York!

Taken from the song lyrics of one of my not-so-favorite musicians, Taylor Swift, “Welcome to New York, It’s been waiting for you!”  I may not like all of her music but I found myself humming this catchy tune from the minute I landed in New York.  And why am I in New York one may ask?  Well  Sarah has moved to New York, Brooklyn to be exact.  I am so proud of my best friend for always following her dreams and working hard towards her goals.  I had always wanted to visit New York City around Christmas time to see the Rockefeller tree, and now I had the perfect reason to visit, Sarah!  I flew Spirit Airlines, when I purchased the flight it was 80$ USD, however, I had to change my flight due to work obligations, so I was charged an additional 100$ – but I made that money up at work so I didn’t mind!  My flight left Chicago at 5:30 A.M. and I landed in New York around 9 A.M.  I took a taxi (I’m in New York I figured I had to) to Sarah’s apartment in Brooklyn, and had her door man buzz me up.  I was so excited to see Sarah, I had not been reunited with her since our last visit in London in August.


Sites to see:

Statue of Liberty: About 18$ for a visit to the island via ferry, you can access the inside of the building and the crown but you probably have to get to the ticket office very early, it fills up fast!
Freedom Tower and the World Trade Center:  This area is very sacred and special.  The Oculus mall at the World Trade Center is also located in this area, and even though I did eat there I still find it strange to have a shopping mall and restaurant in this area…..
Hotel Chelsea: I was SO excited to get to visit the Hotel Chelsea where so many amazing artists and musicians have stayed or called their home BUT it’s under construction and the concierge was very strict about not letting me get a peek inside -_-
Empire State Building:  Did you really visit NYC if you don’t take a picture at the top of the Empire and caption it “Empire State of Mind?”  Joking.  I did not visit the top this time but I do plan to, once again, when I visit this summer.
Times Square:  Times Square is not for the faint of heart (or claustrophobic might i add) if you are trying to see a broadway play, which you should, I recommend getting tickets in Times Square, and you have to walk through the crowd, it’s the tourist thing to do.
The Rockefeller tree: It’s not as big as you’d imagine from movies/TV!  But go see the tree, ice skate, and look at the Christmas windows nearby, such-as at Saks.
Tiffany’s:  If you’ve ever seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s then I am sure Tiffany’s is already on your New York bucket list, and even more excitingly they have recently opened a restaurant inside.
Central Park:  Grab a Nathan’s hot dog from a nearby stand or some hot cocoa and enjoy a horse ride through the park, or if you have a guilty conscience when it comes to animals like i do, enjoy a nice walk around the park.
Brooklyn Bridge:  As we all know I am terrified of heights and bridges, this was the perfect combination of fears, but Sarah convinced me to walk the bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn and I am SO happy I did.  You can also bike it!
Coney Island:  It’s closed until March, but because I have had the privilege of seeing Coney Island in the Spring Time I decided I would also like to see it in the winter/when it is closed to the public.  It was eerie but also pretty cool.
New York Aquarium:  Since Coney Island was closed I figured why not visit the Aquarium;  it has sharks, seals, penguins and adorable little otters!


Day 1: We left the apartment in search of finding “The End Brooklyn” a hip coffee shop with juices and relaxing, pretty lattes – perfect for instagram.  I had the Amethyst latte and she had Radiant Beauty (NOTE: these are caffeine free) we then walked over to The Bagel Store for some New York style rainbow bagels!  It began to snow – HARD! so we ran into the subway and enjoyed our bagels on the ride to the Liberty and Ellis Island Ferry.  We purchased the tickets which were 18$ and boarded the ferry to the Statue of Liberty.  When we reached the island the snowfall had seemed to have increased, and turns out there was a hole in my boot!  We snapped a few photos of the statue then had to head back because I am pretty sure I was developing frost bite… oops.  We then went to the Oculus shopping mall at the World Trade Center.  Eataly had a truffle pop-up restaurant that was SO worth the 45-minute wait.  YUM.  Later, that night we went bar hopping in Soho, starting off at Mother’s Ruin and ending the night at Slainte.  My wallet really hurt at the end of the night.


Day 2:  We grabbed a delicious brunch at Pietro Nolita before site-seeing.  We first visited Hotel Chelsea which was unfortunately under construction, before heading to Times Square, followed by the Rockefeller Tree and St. Patricks.  We stopped in Saks 5th Avenue and Tiffany’s before grabbing a Nathan’s Hot Dog to enjoy as we walked through Central Park.  We then took the subway to the Brooklyn Bridge entrance from the Manhattan side.  It was not as cold or snowy as the day before but the bridge was still a bit slippery, I was anxious as hell to walk across the bridge to Brooklyn but we did it, and you get a beautiful view of New York from the bridge.  We had pizza and gnocchi for dinner at Luzzo’s BK in Brooklyn before changing at Sarah’s apartment.  We then went to go see the film Wonder Wheel, which is about Coney Island – but not before getting ice cream at Taiyaki NYC!  After the movie we were trying to take the subway back to Brooklyn but parts were under construction and there were a lot of police officers around, it made us a bit nervous but we made it home safely.


Day 3:  I awoke to a text from my mom asking if I was ok – and I just knew something must have happened for her to check in on me in such a way.  There was an attempted terrorist attack on the subway.  Sarah, her roommate and I were all spooked – but we were not going to let this ruin our plans.  The subways were all delayed and a mess so Sarah and I took an uber into Manhattan to grab breakfast at Black Seed Bagels (SO GOOD!)  we then walked around and did some site-seeing (the flat iron building, markets, the Empire State Building), before hopping on the subway and going all the way to Coney Island.  It is closed in the Fall/Winter months but it was still cool to see how eerie the amusement park is when it is closed to the public.  We walked the boardwalk and visited the Aquarium before getting back on the subway and heading to CIRCA brewery for a beer flight then eventually Yaso Tangbao for dinner.  After dinner I grabbed my bags from Sarah’s apartment and uber-ed to the airport, sad that I had to return home from such an amazing trip – but don’t worry New York, I will be back soon.


The Bagel Store:  A really cool Bagel Place in Brooklyn that sells all different types and colors of bagels and tons of crazy cream cheese flavors – if you love a good bagel you’ll need to pop in for a visit.
Black Seed Bagels:  Alright, this was the most amazing bagel sandwich I have ever had.  It was called the BOCA and Sarah had the Hampton.  This bagel makes me miss New York even as I write this from my bed in Chicago…
Eataly: Hey, I know Eataly is in a bunch of major cities but the fact that they had a truffle pop up restaurant when I was in New York makes me say,  hey, you should stop in if you’re in New York and can’t find a decent place to eat… however, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.  But anyways, Eataly is always delicious, no matter where you are.
Nathan’s:  This is a New York staple item, you cannot visit New York and not have at least one Nathan’s hot dog – the best place to have one is at Coney Island but I understand that if you are not visiting in Summer that the stands around Central Park will just have to do.

Taiyaki:  An adorable Japanese-influenced ice cream shop, and the ice cream does taste as good as it looks!
Yaso Tangbao:  This place had the best bao’s I have ever tasted, the ramen was pretty good, I wouldn’t argue that it was the best – but those bao’s on the other hand?  Yeah.
Pietro Nolita:  We went here for breakfast and all of the decor is pink and adorable.  They have delicious coffee and the omelettes, eggs, and pancakes are all yummy.
Luzzo’s BK: SO GOOD. GO. GO. GO.  Amazing pizza and amazing gnocchi.
Vinnie’s Pizzeria:  We ordered this drunk, it’s pizza and it’s great.. there is not much else to say.


The End Brooklyn:  This is the adorable coffee shop that also makes pretty specialty lattes such as a unicorn latte, mermaid latte, or the amethyst like I had.
Circa Brewery:  Anyone who knows me also knows that I am obsessed with beer so I had to visit at least one brewery while in New York.
Swedish Espresso Bar: Great coffee
Mother’s Ruin:  A fun and hip bar with a really strange bathroom concept and drinks that cost as much as my dinner did.


When I first visited New York, five years ago I was with my mom and I had a wonderful time, but it was so interesting to re-visit this city five years older and to explore it with my friend who is now a resident of NYC.  Although it is an expensive and hectic city, and at times a bit materialistic it is also a magical city, where one can believe that anything may happen; and although it may be cliche to say “New York, I love you”, I do and I cannot wait to return to you soon.


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