I think many girls in their teens and early twenties fantasize about living in New York, and I was no exception (I think we have Carrie Bradshaw to thank for that). But eventually that desire died for me and I never visited. Over the years I've heard about how dirty and expensive it is, so when it came time to plan a trip, other cities always seemed more appealing.
But let me tell you, if you have never been to New York, you need to go. It is such a fun city.
Micah and I knew we would only have about a day and half, so we intentionally did not visit any museums. We instead chose to see as many iconic sites and memorials as possible while also leaving time to wander.
We landed in La Guardia Airport Friday afternoon, and as we were waiting for our luggage, I saw a very cool looking guy standing with three other very cool looking guys.
"Micah, I think that's a famous rapper," I whispered.
"Huh?" Micah mumbled, briefly looking up from the Lyft app he was downloading. "Oh, okay," and he resumed with is phone, unimpressed.
A quick Google search revealed I was right: it was Fat Joe. I regret not taking a picture with him, but my brother said I get 10 cool points for recognizing him, so there's that.
We took a Lyft from the airport to our downtown Manhattan hotel, and it only cost around $25, which is a fraction of what a taxi would have cost. Our driver told us that Lyft and Uber had only recently been allowed in the city a few months prior; I can't imagine taxis will be able to compete with their prices.
We stayed at Hilton Garden Inn in the Financial District, mainly because it was one of the more reasonably priced hotels (but still quite a bit more than we normally spend), and also because that truly is a great part of the city to make your home base. Our room on the 18th floor was small but comfortable.
Our hotel was right next to the Statton Island Ferry, so after checking in, we hopped on to see the Statue of Liberty. There are actual tours you can pay for, but the ferry floats right past the statue and is free.
Once docked, we headed over to the 9/11 Memorial. I thought it would be completely crowded, but getting there around 5:00 p.m. seemed like an ideal time. There weren't many people there, so we were able to take our time and absorb the gravity of this place.
We ended the day by biking across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset. I must say, this is one of the prettiest bridges I've ever seen, but it's scary to bike across. Between the pedestrians crossing over into the bike lanes and other, more advanced, bikers whizzing past, I thought for sure I was going to wreck. But goodness, it was gorgeous!
After a quick dinner at a pizza restaurant (it was okay, but not good enough to suggest here), we decided to call it an early night.
The next morning we started early, grabbing a couple of coffees and hopping on a subway to Grand Central Station. This subway station is truly something to see--it is nothing like typical dirty and unattractive stations. Its corridors are lined with upscale stores which lead to this large and ornate arched room. The roof of the arch is painted robin's egg blue with gold illustrations of the constellations. It's something so unexpectedly beautiful that it makes one gasp upon first sight.
From there we walked to Madison Avenue and popped in and out of a few shops.
We eventually made our way to Tiffany's, which was top on my list to see while in NYC. I am a huge fan of Breakfast at Tiffany's, so I've always wanted to visit the same store from the film.
The multi-floor store is filled with long stretches of glowing glass displays and employees who are enthusiastic about their brand. After browsing the silver floor in awe for quite a while, Micah encouraged me to pick something out. I chose a sweet little apple necklace--a little apple from The Big Apple--and got to have my Holly Golightly moment.
We then grabbed a couple of city bikes and headed over to Central Park. We spent the rest of the afternoon biking around this impressively huge and beautiful area, only stopping once to share a hot dog from a Nathan's stand (which was delicious, by the way).
That evening we got cleaned up and headed back to Midtown to see Broadway's longest running musical, Phantom of the Opera. We arrived to the Majestic Theater almost two hours early, so we asked the lady working ticket sales where we should have dinner. She suggested walking up and over one street to find a string of really good and unique restaurants. We did as we were told, and found ourselves at a French restaurant called Marseille. The atmosphere was warm and inviting, and our waiter was very kind and knowledgable about the menu. I ordered the duck breast, which was my first time having duck, and it was delicious--tender and slightly reminiscent of filet mignon. Micah had a burger, and he said it was also very good.
The highlight of the trip: Phantom of the Opera. Oh my gosh, this was an amazing show. Micah and I were completely blown away by the story, the musical talent, and the staging--it's easy to understand why this musical has been successful this many years. I highly suggest seeing it.
Our trip was quick and busy, but it's one that left me feeling energized rather than exhausted. I can't wait to go back to experience the museums and take in another Broadway show.