So I finally got around to blogging. I'm sorry to all my (7) loyal readers. Once we got back from New York it was back to school mode with prepping all week, actually going into school, then trying to relax at the cottage (which turned out to be somewhat hard when you have the worst cold ever - thanks to my darling husband who had it earlier in the week). Feeling better today although still a bit sniffly with a low raspy voice - hopefully for the first day of school tomorrow I am back to myself - so I thought I would do so blogging on my Labour Day off.
So this is the story of our New York City trip. We were there for 5 days, 4 nights, and did a lot of sight-seeing. We were exhausted every night! Some pictures I used the DSLR, some were on my phone. It's hard not to seem touristy when you have a big camera slung around your body, but oh well, everyone was exactly the same as us.
Day 1 - Flight, Hotel, West Village Sushi
We arrived at LaGuardia in New York around 1pm and headed to our hotel. We stayed at Hotel Mela
on 44th between 6th and 7th. It's a small boutique hotel, but it was right in the heart midtown and was pretty and clean, though small. Since our hotel check-in time was 3, and the room wasn't ready, we wandered around Times Square (sensory overload) and random surrounding streets. I also forgot to unstrap my neck pillow from my purse, so though we had stored our luggage, I was the image of tourist with a stupid neck pillow, wandering New York City, for a good hour. We stopped at Magnolia Bakery
for a cupcake, which was really just okay (I had red velvet). Finally it was 3pm so we could check in and freshen up.
Hotel Room at Hotel Mela
Even the bathroom was cute - great wallpaper
Our view was less than stellar, but like most of New York, it was under construction
Once checked in, we headed out for some refreshment (it was very hot outside). We found the Beer Authority
, which conveniently was located beside the Port Authority, about a 5-minute walk from our hotel. We sat on the rooftop patio which overlooked the New York Times building and the bustling city below. I even had a blueberry-infused beer (which tasted more like beer than blueberry, but was still pretty good).
Rooftop view of the Times
Looking over the extensive beer menu
That night we headed to the West Village to meet our friend Kyle and his girlfriend Jillian, for dinner at a sushi place called Amber
. It was really good sushi - between the four of us we had 10 rolls, some edamame, a free dessert and 4 bottles of wine. Highly recommended! We also went to a bar called Willfie & Nell
, which I probably would have really liked had I been about 5-8 years younger, haha. Very loud and crowded for my taste but I can see the appeal for others. I didn't take any pictures...because I didn't want to seem like a tourist in front of them, haha. I wish I did. I think I made up for it over the next few days anyway.
Day 2 - 30 Rock, FAO, Broadway
Our second day started off with brunch at a place close to the hotel called Maison
. Great prices, quick, and good French-inspired food. We then were off to live out our geeky 30 Rock fantasies of seeing Kenneth and Jack and Liz at the NBC Studio Tour
and Top of the Rock
. On the studio tour, we saw Brian Williams nightly set, the Jimmy Fallon set, and the SNL set (really big!). It was a typical touristy thing to do, but I still liked it. Right after we went up to the top of Rockefellar Center and saw the city from above. It was a good alternative to the Empire State Building.
Yep, it's tall!
NBC studio tour - no pictures allowed so this is all I got!
View from the Top of the Rock
Needed to Instagram of course
Central Park - crazy that there is a huge park in the busy city
We could see the New Year's Eve Ball
A random Italian guy took my phone and insisted on taking a picture - thank you random!
Did not see Kenneth, but still a good 30 Rock experience
After the 30 Rock stuff, we decided to walk up 5th and Park Avenue a bit and headed to FAO Schwarz
. It was busy but a lot of fun seeing all the tops and acting like 5 year olds for a few minutes. We saw the Lego land and the giant piano and tonnes of stuffed animals. They had a Harry Potter area too, but since there were no magic wands, I was not impressed. I almost got a geeky science puzzle as well, but figured it would be hard to get back to Toronto with it.
My two favourite men
FAO Schwarz view from above - so many stuffed animals!
Haha, so geeky Matty
He did love his Lego
Didn't mean to be a creeper taking pictures of random kids, but this was so sweet
Tiny brownstone sandwiched between the concrete
That night we had some Italian food before our night on Broadway. We went to a place called Scarlatto
, which was in the basement of another building but surprisingly bright and best of all, it had great pasta. Dinner was quick, and then we headed to Eugene O'Neill Theatre
to see The Book of Mormon
. It. Was. Hilarious. I was laughing so hard I was crying at some points. It is very off-side (makes sense - the guys from South Park wrote it), definitely Rated R, but it was really funny. Not recommended for any sensitive Christian people - it offends pretty much everyone but it was all in good fun. It is coming to Toronto in 2013! Once it was done, we had a quick walk around Times Square at night (even more sensory overload, but pretty spectacular), had a drink at the pub beside the hotel called The Long Room
, and called it a night.
Book of Mormon!!!
Was not supposed to take a picture of the stage...I did not know this at the time...
We were at the VERY BACK of the theatre - it was small, so the view was still great!
Times Square at night
It was packed even at midnight!
Day 3 - Highline, Greenwich, SoHo, Natural History
Our third day we decided to wander around all the neighbourhoods. We started off with brunch at Pastis in the Meatpacking District. Really good brunch, and it was really busy. I had some brioche french toast - yum! From there we walked along the High Line
, which is an old railway track that has been converted to a garden pathway that goes from the Meatpacking north through Chelsea along the west side. We then found Greenwich Village and wandered around that area, and then got to SoHo, and did some more walking. We had lunch there at a place called Cipriani
. It was expensive, and we didn't know that beforehand - Matt's rash decision, haha. We just had some sandwiches, which were good, but expensive for what they were.
Waiting for coffee
Appropriate picture for the Meatpacking District
Along the High Line
I look very fat here, but it's just windy and my dress is billowing...
Moving along through Chelsea
Matt taking some arty pictures
Random sign...I bet they judged my flip flops a lot...
Lots of random art
Matt liked all the old water towers
At an old church - good background
And here's the church
Colourful Greenwich houses
Once we couldn't take the heat anymore, we decided to head uptown to the American Museum of Natural History
. We got there just over 2 hours before it closed, thinking that would be more than enough time. Then I discovered Matt has never been in a planetarium, so we had to do the Hayden Planetarium
which took up a half hour of seeing the stars (although it was quite educational), and then we quickly looked at the dinosaurs, some apes, and of course the big WHALE!
Hall of Biodiversity - the 11 U bio classes would love this!
Pigwidgeon and Hedwig were stuffed I think...
Apadasaurous - my brother liked these ones when he was little
Main foyer of the AMNH
Spiders have taken over the museum?
For dinner we went to Murray Hill to have dinner at Les Halles
, which is where Anthony Bourdain used to be the head chef. Since Matt and I watch No Reservations
whenever it is on, we figured we would try out one of his places, and it didn't disappoint. Great french food and excellent wine.
Brasserie Les Halles
Day 4: Central Park, Upper East Side, Grand Central, Met Opera
We saved Sunday to wander around Central Park
. We started off with breakfast at a little diner called The Flame Restaurant
. We didn't know it was a diner, but it sort of looks like a Denny's, but the food is a lot more fresh. I had a waffle with loads of blueberries, bananas, and strawberries (called the Red, White and Blue Waffle). It was cheap and quick, and then we were off to the park. We actually wanted to ride bikes around the park, but it was a beautiful day and every one was rented out. So we walked a bit and saw Strawberry Fields, the row boat area, lots of little bridges, the little sailboat pond, and some turtles.
One of many monuments in Central Park
Skywriting - only made out the "United We Stand"...it could have said anything else for the rest...
Strawberry Fields Forever
Dedicated to John Lennon
Row boats (wanted to do this too but the line was really long)
Also it had many fountains
Random family and band singing Andrea Bocelli - it was beautiful and the area had great acoustics!
Really just wanted to rest my feet
We have very few pictures of the two of us
Lewis Carroll "Alice" statue
I really liked staring at the turtles...
Once we were done in the park, we went for lunch on the Upper East Side at Serafina
- more Italian - we split a pizza and had a drink. By then my new boat shoes were pinching my toes so we wandered back to the hotel. Along the way we saw some incredible (and very expensive) apartments, and The Plaza Hotel
. Once I changed into some flip flops, we went out to see the New York Public Library
(yay books), Grand Central Station
, and the Empire State Building
(just the outside, we didn't go up). We just looked around the basics of all of these, the library was closed but we originally planned to go in the following day (didn't end up having time, sort of).
Upper East Side apartments
The Plaza Hotel - Fairmont run!
Teacher at the library
It's a much larger Union Station
The ceiling had zodiac signs on it
Empire State building
For dinner we went to the Upper West Side to Rosa Mexicano
. They had the most incredible guacamole served in a giant bowl. I could have eaten it for hours. The best part was that it was right across from the Lincoln Center, and there was a Metropolitan Opera
playing on a screen for thousands - we could here it throughout the meal. Of course afterward we walked over there to see a bit of it. We grabbed a cab back to midtown, and saw a bit more of the Times Square area after grabbing a coffee at Caffe Bene
Outdoor opera night at the Met
Real dark hot chocolate
Day 5: World Trade Center, Stock Exchange, Rain, 6-Hour Airport, Home
Our last day started off with Dean & Deluca
- remember that's where Felicity
worked? We then headed downtown to see the World Trade Center
(lots of rebuilding is occurring), Wall Street, and the Stock Exchange
. We wanted to walk around TriBeCa, but it started to pour rain. So we grabbed a cab to the Metropolitan Museum of Art
, and ran in the pouring rain to the front door only to find it was closed. By that time I was soaked and was no way going into it anyway in a wet sundress and squeaky shoes. So we ran back in the rain to the bottom of the stairs to get a cab and back to the hotel. We had actually checked out at this point but had stored our luggage, and changed in the gym area into our airport clothes. We had to be there around 3pm anyway, and it was one, so we had lunch at The Long Room
, and of course, the sun came out and it was a beautiful day once again. So with an hour to kill we again wandered around Times Square, and went to M&M's World
(so many colour M&Ms). Finally we headed to the airport, only to find out our flight was cancelled, and we had to wait an extra 3 hours - 6 hours later we were off - it was the LONGEST WAIT EVER, but we made it home safe, and spent the next day recovering from our crazy busy few days.
No Felicity or Javier in sight, but still good coffee
New World Trade Center tower
Downtown New York - Financial District
TD Banks have infiltrated NYC
NYSE - very few Occupy NY people around now
Matt called this the cow, I corrected him.
More subway art
Overall it was a great trip. Really REALLY busy, and we could have spent another week there easily and taken our time with things. This is definitely a city where we will return multiple times, and hopefully explore new places each time!