Omg, upon returning from New York, specifically the Manhattan borough, I was on a complete high. I mean honestly, I’m on my way to Atlanta now, writing this blog post, and I’m still on a New York High.
If you’ve read my first blog, you probably already know how obsessed with NYC I’ve been since a child and after going…oh em gee I still have that same obsession! It may have even increased a bit. I wish I could’ve stayed there forever!
The hustle and bustle, the smelly sewers, the street vendors, the fashion, the confidence, the public transportation, the people, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Harlem! Lord, let my heart slow down so I can tell you about my experience.
I’m sure there will be some people that just don’t get it. “Why is she so smitten over a city?” I mean, after all its just a place on a map where people live. A place that is so busy people hardly get sleep and are stressed the majority of the time. But it’s also a place for creatives to do what they love, enjoy life, and be smothered with the New York love.
We arrived in New York on Friday morning after being up all night. It was sunny, humid, and about 91 degrees to be exact. We were exhausted but they say it’s the city that never sleeps right? So we hit the ground running. My husband, our 13 year old and myself were ready to take on the city.
Instead of hopping in an iconic yellow cab, we grabbed metro cards, checked out the map, jumped on the train like we were true New Yorkers and hit the road running. As we left LaGuardia, our ride on the M60 was so fascinating. I mean, here I am from little ol’ Peoria, population around 120,000 in Queens, on a city bus thats taking me to Harlem, like I know whats going on, riding like a boss.
We hopped off in Harlem and when down into the subway to catch our first subway ride to Times Square (our hotel was there)!
Once we arrived, I realized that Times Square was everything that is shown in tv show’s., movies, and at midnight on New Years eve. You know how some TV shows make a city seem so amazing and when you get there, it’s not. Well this wasn’t the case! It was so live, it was unbelievable. We checked in to our hotel (The Manhattan at Times Square) which was located in the heart of Times Square, dropped our bags off, rested for about 10 minutes and were on our way. At this point we had been awake for about 22 hours but who needs rest.
We walked around Times Square, which was full of people selling stuff you don’t need, people forcing donations for their handmade items, and tourists like myself snapping random pictures of buildings that have likely been hashtagged over a million times. We did one swoop around and we hopped on another subway that led us straight to Harlem (my husband’s favorite spot).
We spent hours in Harlem… Z and I got our first Henna tattoo ever which was pretty cool, we ate Jamaican Jerked Chicken from a Jamaican spot on a random corner that was pretty busy which implied it must be good! & it was!
After walking Harlem, buying a few shirts from street vendors, connecting with some awesome people, checking out the world famous Apollo Theatre, we hopped back on the subway to keep on exploring!
I feel as if Manhattan is best explored by foot and public transit so skip the bus tours on this trip and save your money to buy a few souvenirs and other fun stuff along the way.
In just a few hours we managed to see The Upper East Side, Central Park, Times Square, Harlem, and The Brooklyn Bridge, which was my absolute favorite. Being on the Brooklyn Bridge literally bought tears to my eyes.
The fact that I was there, in Brooklyn, with the love of my life, doing something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child, holding his hand, showing my daughter another piece of the world, and the fact that I was able to see the beautiful skyline and Statue of Liberty while dreaming even bigger made me emotional. And what was even better was that we were able to get a ton of pictures and videos!
It was 9 o’clock and by this time my family was exhausted, being that we were up for about a day and a half straight so we started heading back to Times Square.
Day 1 was completed and our hearts were full.
Day 2 was here and we were well rested, even though the night before my feet were so sore I swore that I’d never be able to walk again. Thank God for his promises right?
We woke up starving because last night we were so tired we went to bed without eating dinner so we hopped on the train and headed to Harlem To find some great food! We tried deciding on the what we were going to eat and of course there are a million choices but we finally settled in on Sylvia’s! I mean, who can pass on some great soul food from a place that’s been around for a LOOOONG time? I got the chicken n’ waffles which was absolutely delicious!
We walked over to Black Ink NY which my mother in law is a huge fan of. We went up but no artist were there and we really didn’t want to wait 45 minutes for them to come in, plus no one under 18 could come in and Z doesn’t pass for 18 yet thank God!
It started to rain a bit so back to Manhattan we went. Upon arrival, there were men selling tickets for the Statue of Liberty tour which I couldn’t pass up! That was on my bucket list and I couldn’t miss the opportunity. Especially with a deal!
$105 for 3 people and a sweet boat ride later we listened to Taylor Swift welcoming us to New York on a boat ride across the Hudson River!
Talk about awesomeness! It was so amazing to see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Empire State Building and Ground Zero, as well as so many other landmarks!
This was another one of my teary eyed moments!
Pretty much the best boat ride ever! Once we docked we had to wait for our shuttle back to manhattan. This was a hot mess! The trip was supposed to be round trip and the trip there was great but the trip back took 1.5 hours. The first hour was sitting and the 1/2 was the ride back! We got off the shuttle early because we were over it and we wanted to see a bit more of the city. We hopped off near the garment district where I bought my new favorite coffee mug and made our way to the iconic Macy’s where my favorite Thanksgiving Day parade is held annually.
We then headed back to Central Park where we went on the best bike ride of our lives! I mean to be honest, you should be in shape to attempt this but even though we weren’t in tip top shape we hit the ground riding! We rode everywhere! You must not forget to check your life in every 30 minutes. If you don’t you are charged extra. I am assuming this is for the safety of the bikes because some people may not return them for the full 24 hours.
During our second check in we managed to park rack right across from the famous Plaza Hotel! This hotel is the classic from Home Alone 2 Lost In New York, my favorite Christmas movie! So of course we had to flick it up!
We stayed on the bikes until nightfall and thanks to their awesome app, we found out that there was a bike rack around the corner from our hotel so we trucked it to our hotel parked our bikes and dropped off our things.
Since this was our las night in Manhattan we decided to stay out as long as we could! We walked Times Square until we couldn’t see anything else. We actually made it back to the garmet district before deciding it wasn’t a place to walk late at night. There wasn’t much lighting and a few sketchy characters. I don’t think we made it back in until 1:00 a.m. before we were completely exhausted. That day we walked and biked about 12 miles before calling it a night.
Monday morning arrived and I was caught up in my emotions. I did not want to leave but I knew it would end eventually. We went ahead and started making our way to LaGuardia. We caught the subway and the bus one last time before arriving at the airport and calling the trip quits.
All in all, this was the best trip I have ever been on in my entire life! I feel as if everyone should visit NYC as an adult at least one time! New York encompasses so much culture and diversity. It is the melting pot of the U.S. and definitely my number 1 for places to see.
A city of dreams, endless possibilities, so much energy and the city I fell in love with when I was a child was everything I thought It would be and so much more!
Until we meet again…I LOVE YOU NEW YORK!