I am not even sure WHERE to begin with this blog post to recap the trip to NYC! Everything was just so wonderful that I can't even get my thoughts together enough to narrow it down to one simple blog post... but I will try! On Friday, April 10th, I made my first trip to New York with some amazing women! They included: Jameelah with Jameelah Scott Makeup Artistry, Jameelah's mother Kimberly and her aunt DeeDee, as well as LaShendra with Luxe la Vie by LaShendra. We seriously couldn't have had a better group of women to travel with. Everyone enjoyed so many laughs, so many exciting moments and I'm just forever grateful I was able to share the experience with them!!!
We arrived in NYC on Friday around 1:30pm and immediately, we were greeted by the insane traffic, the many different smells of the city and the sights! As soon as you pull in to New York City, your senses are overloaded with the amazing things all around you to see, smell, hear, feel and do!
We stopped by our hotel (The Salisbury) to let them know we were in town and were told our room wouldn't be ready until 3pm. We checked all of our luggage into storage at the hotel, took our parking voucher, parked the vehicle and started to look for somewhere to grab some lunch. We found ourselves at a corner restaurant called Rue 57 and went inside to eat. Immediately inside, we were greeted by a friendly staff and beautiful views & smells! After we were seated, we decided on our orders. I opted in for the raspberry, peach & vanilla infused unsweetened tea, the creamy mushroom soup with white & dark truffles and the Cuban Sandwich on Soft Brioche (it had roast pork with garlic, cured ham, Swiss cheese, homemade pickle, mustard, guacamole and a spicy mayo to dip it in). Lunch was amazing. I do not think I have ever tasted anything so delicious in my entire life.
After lunch, we made our way back to our room and unpacked our bags, freshened up and got ready for a night on Times Square. On our way into Times Square, we passed men who were on the side of the street making spray paint art. We stopped at one, took some photos and watched him work his magic. I purchased a painting from him to bring home for a memory of what we experienced. While in Times Square, we shopped around a few places like Forever 21, Inglot, M&M's Store, Hershey's and we took in all of the wonderful sights. This included the topless women who were walking around with only body paint on, the dirty cartoon & Disney characters who were walking around taking photographs for pictures and the sights of the tourists who were whipping out their selfie sticks to grab shots through the city. We walked, and walked, and walked! There was SO much to see and take in! While heading back to the room, hours later, we stopped in Ray's Pizza for a fresh slice of pizza and a cold drink. I had the pineapple, ham & bacon pizza and boy did it taste great! After resting our tired feet, we decided to make the hike back up the strip to our room. While walking, we realized we had actually went several blocks in the wrong direction! haha This was fun but definitely not something I recommend doing. lol
Saturday morning came early and after everyone was dressed, we headed out to breakfast at Park Cafe on 7th Avenue by The Wellington Hotel. This breakfast was absolutely delicious! I chose to get the Mediterranean omelette which had fresh cut spinach & feta cheese, the sausage links, home-fried potatoes, toast and freshly squeezed orange juice. The breakfast was filling and delicious but it didn't weigh me down one bit or make me feel overly stuffed, which was great because we had a full day of walking ahead of us! After breakfast, we made our way to the Q rail on the subway and purchased our metro cards. After a little bit of back and forth between rails, we found the one we were supposed to ride and waited for the train. Once seated, we met an extremely nice woman who helped us understand how the rails work, where the trains run and even offered some advice on places to visit while we were there.
Once our train arrived to our destination, we unloaded and headed up the many flights of steps into Chinatown. This place was AMAZING. The smells immediately hit you as soon as you come up to the street level. From the noodles, to the stir fry, the sweet cakes, the food trucks, the markets... everything combined just put a delicious aroma in the air! As you walk, people are following behind trying to sell purses, sunglasses, watches, handbags, jewelry... you name it, they were selling it! We spent the entire day shopping in Chinatown. Everything was just so awesome to see and experience. It's amazing how many things they can fit into those little building and shop fronts they have!! Seriously, they have trap doors and hidden walls everywhere that is filled with extra stuff. The most awesome thing is everyone is willing to bargain with you - well, almost everyone, so it definitely doesn't hurt to ask if you ever make a trip there! I also recommend stopping at some of the food carts and trying the sweet cakes! They come in a little bag, in 15 pieces and they taste like a cake version of fortune cookies, but BETTER. They were absolutely yummy! So yummy that we made a few trips by the carts throughout the day. haha Also! The fruit! Buy some fruit there! We picked up some HUGE apples and oranges for $1 each and they are the juiciest, sweetest fruit I have ever tasted! I'm addicted.
After a full day of shopping and snacking on sweet cakes, we decided to have lunch at a restaurant called Shanghai Asian Cuisine. Jameelah and I split the fried dumpling appetizer and I decided on having the vegetable noodle soup. Everything tasted so fresh! You could taste each individual vegetable and the noodles were cooked just enough to where they were still a bit chewy and delicious. The food was truly amazing, but the service - not so much. They were quite rude to our table and because of that reason alone, I wouldn't recommend their restaurant as a visit. They were not friendly in the least and seemed quite annoyed to have customers at all! Which is a bummer because we truly did enjoy the meal.
As we left Chinatown, we stepped in to Little Italy and continued our shopping day. After spending about an hour or so looking around in the many shops, we grabbed some fresh made canolis and made our way back to the subway. The canolis - let me just take a minute to talk to you about that!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!! This was the BEST thing I ate while in New York. No kidding. They were filled with cheesecake creamy goodness and absolutely to die for!!!
After our trip on the subway, we made our way back to the room where we all relaxed, chatted about our experiences and some of us even fell asleep from being so tired from the day's adventure. Around 9pm, we settled on going to dinner close to the hotel and ended up at Angelo's Pizza which was conveniently right next door to our hotel! We ordered a brick oven pizza with pepperoni, extra cheese and mushrooms. It was delicious!!! The pizza tasted so fresh and you could taste each ingredient in it. I can't explain the taste of it but I have NEVER had pizza like that before! The cheese was sliced fresh off of the mozzarella block and the pepperonis, you could tell were freshly made as well. I also tried a bowl of their Pasta E Fagioli and it was so yummy. It was made with beans, pasta and bacon which may sound a little crazy but it was delicious! The textures, the taste.. all of it was just perfect.
Sunday morning came very early but we were all excited because it was IMATS day!!! The day we had been waiting on. Everything didn't run a smoothly as it could and we had a rough start to the morning but hey, MEMORIES right!? After getting turned around, detoured, and confused, we found our way to Pier 94 and got in line for IMATS. We spent the day shopping and networking. I absolutely loved it! We were even given some free Makeup Wipes from Vinny, the President of Alcone. I met some great contacts for networking as well as bought some amazing products! It was definitely worth the experience.
The entire weekend was seriously one of the best I have ever had anywhere. I loved the fast paced energy of New York that you draw from. I loved the sights and smells. I loved the taste of the food we tried. I loved the lights everywhere and even the people - even though some of them weren't so nice. But, I would do it all over again in a heart beat! In fact, I'm currently planning a trip there with my husband this summer. It's worth it! If you are ever thinking of going or have ever dreamed of it - stop dreaming and start planning!!! It's great! It's fun! It's just all around a whole new world and I promise you, you will love it and walk away from it feeling exposed to so many different cultures!!