You can read about the first half of our trip here (NYC Trip Recap – Part 1).
My husband and I took a long weekend trip to NYC in October. It was the first time either of us had been to New York City. There are so, so many things to do in the city and we decided to mostly plan our trip once we got there and got a feel for the city. We also took the approach that there were some things we plan to do when we eventually come back to NYC with our kids (in 5 years or so), so we’d take advantage of our kid-free status on this trip and just enjoy the luxury of letting the days unfold spontaneously. We lucked out with fantastic weather and, because the weather pretty much demanded we stay outside, we ended up forgoing the (world class) museums in lieu of exploring neighborhoods, people watching and just walking around the city.
Day 2 (Saturday)
We started the day with feet and legs still slightly sore from our full day of walking the day before. We walked over to Paris Baguette in Times Square, just a couple of blocks from our hotel, and did some carb loading and planning for the day.
We walked over to the TKTS booth in Times Square and joined the massive line for day-of show tickets. We were hoping to see Matilda, but there were no discount tickets available for the Saturday matinee. Our next two choices were First Date and Big Fish and, based on ticket availability once we made our way to the counter, we went with First Date. We got tickets for the 3pm matinee and then made a mad dash out of Times Square.
We decided to check out the Upper West Side and, after consulting our most favorite app for the trip, Embark, we figured out our subway route and headed that direction. Once off the subway we stopped in at a Juice Generation store and picked up the second breakfast of the day.
We took our drinks and walked down towards the Hudson River Greenway. It was so picture-esque – the trees, the pigeons, the water, the runners and bikers, the crunchy leaves underfoot. I loved seeing the community tended flower gardens and the little playgrounds tucked away in the trees. Being a beautiful Saturday morning, there were lots of families out with dogs, bikes, training wheels and little scooters. We walked around for about an hour.
From there we walked down Broadway for awhile, stopping in to check out a few of the shops. I was particularly taken with Zabars. It was bustling – full of people, chatter, fantastic smells. If I wasn’t so full with 2 breakfasts and a bit overwhelmed by just exactly how to order, I’d have had a bagel with smoked salmon. Which I’m now craving as I type this…
We made our way to Central Park and walked around. Central Park was even bigger than I realized and we only covered about 1/4th of it. It was full of activity and, once again, world class people watching.
From Central Park we headed over towards the Plaza where we had planned to eat a late lunch at the Todd English Food Hall in the Plaza. There was a longer wait than we had anticipated and we had apparently spent more time strolling the city than we planned, so we had to postpone our meal there in order to make our 3pm Broadway show. We walked up to the Times Square area and lined up outside our theater. The husband grabbed a hotdog from a street vendor as we waited.
We loved the play! It was funny and entertaining and Zachary Levi is pretty wonderful (and tall!) to look at for an hour and a half. The theater was smaller than I expected so we felt extra close to the performance.
After the show we stopped by the hotel to change and then jumped on the subway to head to the Grammercy area for dinner. Ever since reading Raw Food, Real World a couple of years ago I have wanted to eat at Pure Food and Wine. (Let it be known that we see the irony in eating both a street vendor hot dog and a raw, vegan meal in the same day)
It was a bit surreal to walk into the restaurant that I’ve seen so many pictures of in both Raw Food, Real World and Living Raw Food. We had 6:30 reservations and we able to eat outside. The patio was beautiful and intimate. We started with cocktails; I had the White Light Tini and the husband went with the Purple Haze. They were both fantastic. If they hadn’t been $15 a piece, we’d have gone for a second round. For dinner I chose the Cauliflower and Sweet Corn Polenta with Bourbon Maple Peaches and Radicchio and the husband went with the Hen of the Woods Taco al Pastor (see menu here). My dish was pretty good but we both loved the Tacos. Loved them. For desert we tried the Chocolate and Jungle Butter Cheesecake which was scrumptious. While the patio was beautiful, it made for poor food photography as it got dark.
After dinner we had a drink with a college friend who now lives in Brooklyn and it was wonderful to catch up. I also loved being able to ask so many questions about the logistics of living in the city – like do you have to haul detergent and toilet paper home from the store on the subway?
Day 3 (Sunday)
We woke up to a breathtaking blue sky and crisp fall air. We caught the subway to Brooklyn and walked around the Brooklyn Bridge Park and surrounding streets for a bit. It was a charming area and seemed a bit more mellow than Manhattan. We walked over the Brooklyn Bridge which gave some pretty amazing views. It was pretty crowded, being about 10am on a beautiful Sunday morning, so there was some people-dodging involved. If I went again, I’d want to go earlier in the morning so it’s a little less crowded. Still, it’s an impressive bridge and I’m glad we got to experience it first hand.
Once on the Manhattan side of the bridge we grabbed a belgium waffle from a food cart and ate it at a nearby table. We then caught the subway to the NYU area and walked around those neighborhoods for a bit. We stopped in Think Coffee and had some tea and coffee and relaxed on a couch with the NY Times. After resting our feet a bit, we got back on the pavement and headed towards the Chelsea area. We stopped at a little brunch spot that was tiny and fun – I didn’t catch the name. We sat within touching distance of the three cooks who were cooking in an area half the size of my small kitchen.
With full bellies we headed on down Broadway and made our way to the High Line. The Chelsea area was abuzz with ritzy Sunday brunchers and some seriously high fashion. It was very upscale and full of beautiful people. We turned down one picturesque street of brownstones and I remarked to the husband that we should buy one of the ‘for sale’ brownstones we passed. He looked it up and it was a bargain at $19 million. Of course we made a cash offer on the spot…. 19 Million??? I don’t know who all the people are that live in that area but I do know that we will never been one of them.
(that’s me on the steps of a house worth way more than I’ll ever know)
We walked a bit on the High Line until my full bladder (thanks to the 16 oz juice I drank just before getting on) demanded we seek a bathroom. We stopped in yet another coffee shop and people watched for a bit.
From Chelsea we took the subway to Grand Central Terminal. It was absolutely stunning. More beautiful than I expected. It almost feels cathredal-like.
We walked up Madison avenue with the throngs of people out that day. We did the tourist thing and stopped in Midtown Comics, FAO Shwarz and the American Girl Store to pick up a few things for the kids. The toy store was pretty impressive, even sans kids. I’ll admit it was nice to walk around a toy store without hearing ‘mom, can I get this?’ every two feet.
For dinner we were successful in our attempts to eat at the Todd English Food Hall at the Plaza (unlike Day 2). It was fantastic and had a great atmosphere. I highly recommend eating here – it has so many different types of food in one spot. We went with flatbread and pasta (which was wonderful), but every dish we saw come out, from sliders, to potstickers, to sushi and salads, looked wonderful.
We walked back towards our hotel in Times Square stopping off again at Magnolia Bakery. I had one cupcake to eat that night and one that I managed to get home to San Antonio(in a paper travel coffee cup from the hotel) to share with the kids. Seriously fantastic cupcakes. We got back to our hotel around 7 and, once we had a glass of wine in the hotel bar, we decided we were done for the day. Our feet were spent and we didn’t have the energy to head back out for some nightlife. What can I say? We are getting old. :) And I’m just fine with that.
Some of the Day 3 eats:
tea & coffee, brunch, flatbread and pasta
It was a memorable, relaxing (yet tiring), very fun getaway and I’m so glad I’ve finally been to New York City. I adored having so much time with my husband and figuring out the city with him – it’s nice to be reminded of what a good team we are together. I look forward to going back.
Random NYC Travel Tips (now that I’m an expert and all):
- Apps we liked: Embark (must have) for Subway routes and TKTS for same day show tickets
- I found the Fodors Travel Guide really helpful. I may be old school, but I like paper copies of travel guides.
- We used a paper map a lot too – the phone maps are too small when trying to gauge walking distance or proximity.
- If you want to look like a local, wear ear-buds everywhere you go. And a lot of dark colors.
- Wear comfy shoes!!