The day after Mother's Day was spent with two amazing ladies who I have the pleasure of calling friends: Trish & LaShendra! Our NYC trip this year was amazing and today I'm sharing with you some of the sights we saw as well as a few tips and tricks I have to share with you if you're planning your own trip soon!
Let's start off with some of the things we saw and experienced! Upon arriving, we placed the car in a parking garage and began exploring. We came across an adorable cafe; Penelope Cafe, and enjoyed a delicious breakfast. The food at Penelope was delicate yet so filling!! We all three walked away feeling full without feeling TOO full. I enjoyed the spinach, mushroom and cheddar 3 egg omelette with sourdough toast and a bowl of non-fat yogurt, strawberries, honey & blackberries. Trish enjoyed the fruit + yogurt bowl while LaShendra had an omelette as well and fruit + yogurt bowl. Everything came out so quickly and although the line was long when we arrived, we were seated promptly. The staff took amazing care of us and honestly, it was the perfect start to our day! After, we walked around while waiting for our AirBNB to become available.
We booked with an awesome host named Dan and he was absolute perfection as a host! Even so much as to let us come in ahead of our check-in time so we didn't have to lug our bags around. While waiting and while exploring, we came across quite the interesting museum and decided HEY! We're in NYC.. why not!? We visited the Museum of Sex and boy were we in for a treat. A surprise, but none the less, a treat. (Click the link at the end of this blog to view the gallery of images taken at the museum). After getting our bags from our parked car, we flagged down a taxi and headed for the apartment. The apartment was BEAUTIFUL. Clean, chic, modern and SO clean. It was the perfect size for us and even could've fit an additional couple of people. (To check out the AirBNB we stayed at, visit Dan's link here: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/23998844 )
We all took advantage of some R&R for a bit and got ready for the day. We hit the subway and headed for Chinatown + Little Italy. On our way there, we saw some amazing sights and tried some delicious treats - such as a walk up shop where you can get .99c ready-to-order pizza slices (YAS!). You literally walk in, tell them the type of pizza you want, they heat it for you and voila.. pizza on the go! It was sinfully good.
We explored Chinatown, at a yummy lunch of handmade noodles & soup from Xi'An Famous Foods, grabbed some delicious mini cakes from a stand, shopped the day away, and even hit up THE BEST place you can grab a fresh made cannoli! The Cannoli King, of course... Cafe Palermo NYC! So delicious - in fact, it should be illegal for a dessert to taste THAT good. P.S. Ask for "Oprah's Favorite" .. amazing! The noodles & soup from Xi'An was so yummy! I went with the veggie soup & noodle bowl while LaShendra went with a beef bowl. I tried a piece of the meat and oh my word.. it literally just melted away. It was cooked to absolute perfection.
After, we hopped on the subway to Times Square and took in the beautiful sights. Times Square is wonderful during the day but at night, it transforms into a magical place filled with so much beauty and culture.
We explored for a bit, enjoyed a delicious salad bar and then headed back to our apartment for the night. After a shower and crashing, it was time to wake up to begin our second day of exploration and heading home. We had breakfast and headed towards lower Manhattan with the intent of seeing the Statue of Liberty - uh. Yea.. see my tip for that one. lol
After a couple of hours, we decided to begin the trip back towards VA; stopping for pizza in New Jersey at Mannino's Pizza. The pizza was AMMMMAZING. Probably the best I've ever had. You could literally taste every single ingredient all in one bite. From the sauce, to the cheese, to the mushrooms and the tiny pepperoni.. all of it. And the guys running the show? They were so kind and chatty which made our visit even better. We found ourselves back in VA around 10P and you know what happened after? I slept. For hours. haha
Truly though - I highly recommend, if you've never been to NYC.. go at least once. I promise, it may not seem like one day is enough, but truly it is to at least get some of the experience of what NYC truly is. This is my second time going, this time for a shorter period, but I feel accomplished in what we were able to do with the time we had.
Here's some of my favorite things we saw / experienced during our trip:
So what about those Tips + Tricks? Well, here they are. And mind you! I'm no expert when it comes to NYC. I've only been twice... BUT, these are just a few little things I think will help you when you're planning and visiting the beautiful concrete jungle that IS NYC.
TIP 1: Book with an AirBNB! Seriously. We ended up getting an entire apartment that could sleep up to 4-5 people for the price of what we were looking at paying for a tiny hotel room that could barely fit 2-3. My tips for booking with AirBNB are - 1. Book early. Like.. as soon as you know you want to go!! The homes and apartments go FAST. 2. Take the time to read reviews. 3. Ask your host for recommendations of places to see and experience! A lot of them even include them in the booking process.
TIP 2: Don't get freaked out by the subway. I promise you it CAN be confusing, but it's not as difficult as it seems. The subway lines are labeled by color, letter and number. The best way to figure it out is to first, figure out where you're going and what street you're wanting to get to. Once you figure that out, look at what color line runs through there. After that, look at what train will go to that area. The best way to do this is to use the maps provided at the subway station. And as always - ask for help! We met some AMAZING New Yorkers who were eager and willing to help as we needed! The best explanation we found of the subway lines was found here: http://www.nycsubwayguide.com/subway/subway_map.aspx Oh! And metro cards = everything!!
TIP 3: When hailing a taxi, know where you want to go. And I don't mean the place name. They're going to ask you for the intersecting streets. For instance, we wanted to get to Penelope's Cafe, so we looked up the address and found the closest intersecting streets of Lexington + E 30th, so that's where we headed. This will save you so much time and aggravation which also saves your driver the same!
TIP 4: Carry small bills like $5s and $1s. You'll come across so many amazing street vendors who are selling great things for $1-$10 and it helps to have smaller bills on hand so you don't have to worry about change or hold them up in the hustle.
TIP 5: Head there early! We left VA around 2:30A and made it in to New York around 7A. We hit hardly little to no traffic getting in to the city because everything was still at a calm. Come 7:30 / 8A, everything was chaos on the streets and traffic was bumper to bumper.
TIP 6: If you are wanting to visit lower Manhattan to see the World Trade Center memorial or Statue of Liberty, the easiest ways to do this are: 1. Catch the subway. 2. Catch a taxi / uber. or 3. Go during one of the bus tours. I cannot stress to you enough; do not drive there. We made the mistake of thinking we could check the car out of parking on our way out of NYC and just visit the areas, find somewhere to park and explore. WRONG. It was pure chaos in lower Manhattan and parking there was through the roof. While we did get to see the WTC Memorial in passing and the Staten Island Ferry.. we didn't quite get to get out and explore like we hoped.
TIP 7: TRY EVERYTHING! Seriously. Let your taste buds go rampant! I always make a deal with myself that when I go somewhere out of my norm, I'll try something I wouldn't usually order. And I have yet to be disappointed! There are so many different flavors and cultures in NYC, I promise you will find something amazing if you just take one step out of your comfort zone. My rule of thumb? When eating out, don't order anything you can make yourself! Try something challenging and different.
TIP 8: Take lots of photos. Of everything! Every few feet in NYC, I always see something that catches my eye. Everyone will give you the impression that it's hurry, hurry and in some places, it is.. but I've yet to feel out of place or rushed when stopping to take in the sights. In fact, I've never felt as if I was in the way. Everyone in the city is used to tourists being there. So the myth that you have to rush around? In my opinion - completely false. Take your time and take it in - especially on foot!!
TIP 9: If you're physically able to, do most of your travels by foot. Taking in the sights on foot is one of my favorite experiences in NYC. The buildings, the people, the sights, the smells, the culture, the experiences.. all of it is what makes this amazing city what it is. And a lot of that, you'll completely miss if you're always in a car. Oh.. and don't worry about trying to be oober cute... wear some comfy shoes, gf! You're gonna need them!
TIP 10: And this is my final tip... SAY THANK YOU. Seriously - all of the places we ate, the stores we shopped in.. they were all floored with a little bit of kindness. My guess is, they don't get it very often. So take the time to be courteous, show your manners and be open minded that not everyone around you is like you. Use your heart.
So there ya have it! These are just my few little tidbits on how to get the most out of your NYC trip. If you want to take a peek at the beautiful (but super naughty) photos we took inside the Museum of Sex, head over to our private link below! 18 AND UP ONLY!! And just to give fair warning: some of the images are depicted in a pornographic manner and some may find them offensive.. so enter at your own risk.